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?
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!
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
There are two types of people who talk about grammar on the internet: those who pedantically criticize every real and imagined misuse, and those who rant on Tumblr that they’re gonna write however they want cuz that first type can suck it. Both types have entirely missed the point of grammar. Grammar functions as a tool to make your writing readable. That’s it. It’s not … Continue reading Grammar Exists to Make You a Better Writer
It’s absurd to tell you to stop using a pronoun, especially one that’s so ingrained into our language, most writers don’t even realize when they use it. It is a useful word, standing in for long referents, keeping you from awkwardly repeating yourself, introducing Mario. But it is also a crutch. Nothing will weaken your writing quite as quickly as relying on it. Whether this … Continue reading Stop Using the Word “It”
You’ve seen them on Tumblr, on Pinterest, in writing groups. You’ve seen them reblogged with the captions “yes!!!!” and “THANK YOU” and “this is really good advice!” You may have even posted one somewhere yourself. Words to use instead of… Said. Very. Great. Feel. Nice. You name it, there’s probably a badly made infographic for it. The people who make these charts and tout their … Continue reading The Most Dangerous Advice Young Writers Believe
Love triangles are one of the most overused tropes out there today. In any kind of writing. Novels, movies, television shows, comics—all of them include characters fighting over who gets to love someone. Like any bit of writing, love triangles can be used well. But they can also ruin an otherwise good story. There’s no good way to write a love triangle, because the minute … Continue reading How Not to Write a Love Triangle
The most oft-repeated piece of writing advice is, of course, show, don’t tell. There are articles all over the internet of varying degrees of accuracy explaining what exactly this means and how to put it into practice in your own writing. To save you the trouble of googling it and squinting angrily at the plethora of almost-but-not-quite good advice out there, here’s a basic explanation … Continue reading The Reality of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’