Stop Putting Commas Before Verbs!

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!

The 5-Paragraph Essay Will Be Your Best Friend in College

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

Grammar Exists to Make You a Better Writer

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

Stop Using the Word "It"

Stop Using the Word “It”

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”

The Most Dangerous Advice Young Writers Believe

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

How Not to Write a Love Triangle

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 Reality of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’

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’