In his comedy special “New In Town” John Mulaney remarks that the satisfaction of cancelling plans is akin to using heroin. Having never used heroin myself, I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of this statement; I can however affirm that I love not doing things. I’m a homebody through and through, and I can’t remember any time in my existence where I would … Continue reading No, You Can’t Reinvent the Wheel, But…
My wife and I got our first dog together in November of 2019. I should first clarify by saying that of course we grew up with dogs, both us with labradors whom we loved and adored, but the dog we took in during the waning months of 2019 was our dog. Like never before in our lives we were solely responsible for the health and … Continue reading 5 Things About Writing That I Learned From My Dog
If you struggle with writing dialogue, you’re definitely not alone. As a big part of characterization, dialogue can be the difference between whether a reader loves or hates your characters. Dialogue that’s not broken up by action can be confusing, but too many dialogue tags can bog down your writing. Plus, people tend to talk differently than they write. Should you include slang or speech … Continue reading Writing Realistic Dialogue: How Real is Too Real?
Your fingers hover the keyboard. You inhale deeply. Then you do it: you type the words “The End.” You exhale. You blink back tears of joy. You’ve finished the first draft of your story! It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve pushed through. You’ve done the thing. You finished your draft. Then you think, “Now what?” First, take a break. Read that book you’ve been putting … Continue reading How to Edit Your First Draft
My dearest internet writers who have chosen quantity over quality and eschewed the laws of grammar in the name of poorly constructed stream of consciousness sentences, this one is for you. Rather, I suppose, it is meant for you, but it is really and truly for the grammarians and pedants of the world who will read this and agree with it and perhaps even share … Continue reading Stop Putting Commas Before Verbs!
From March through the end of August, I experienced a major creative dry spell that convinced me I wasn’t a writer anymore. I was just a person who happened to write sometimes. But my dad, another evening writer, gifted me The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron because his friend said it was life-changing. I’m sure it is, but I barely made it past Week One, … Continue reading Mourning My Morning Pages
As writers, we’ve all been there. Staring at a blank page, an idea humming in the back of your mind. You write a sentence. Read it. Delete it. Rinse and repeat. You know what you want to write. You have ideas and characters and a general idea of the setting or aesthetics. But the words won’t come. The story won’t spark. What do you do? … Continue reading How to Spark Your Writing with Mood Boards
There’s a rampant hatred of the five-paragraph essay among academics and writing instructors, and I’ve heard many a teacher express the desire to do away with it completely. The arguments for its destruction usually revolve around students’ stunted writing abilities, especially in terms of writing for a specific audience, but every criticism I’ve found is a criticism of general writing instruction rather than the specific … Continue reading The 5-Paragraph Essay Will Be Your Best Friend in College
This is not about body language. It has nothing to do with tone of voice or eye contact or facial expressions. This is about the unconscious linguistic associations that people will make while reading your writing, and why ignoring things like etymology and prosody makes you a really bad writer. But first, What is prosody? Prosody, for the purpose of this article1, is the musical … Continue reading You’re Saying More Than You Think You Are
One of the biggest problems facing young writers is a lack of solid constructive criticism. Bad books get self-published because friends and family didn’t want to be mean. People delude themselves that they’re good writers because no one has ever told them otherwise. And it’s hard, giving negative feedback. But it’s necessary. It’s so, so necessary. Even if you know nothing about the formalities of … Continue reading How to Critique Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Guide for Readers