If you’ve ever read a McCarthy novel, you already know what I’m getting at. People love him or hate him (I come from the first school), and the latter often feels the way they do because he seems to hold something against the conventional use of punctuation. And, if you’re reading out loud, breathing. If … Continue reading On Writing with a “Personal Style”
The average writer is his or her own worst enemy when it comes to motivation, discipline, and skill. We all have/had an age by which we wanted to be published, and for those of us who haven’t yet reached that goal, it can feel like we failed our own expectations. As a kid I was … Continue reading Ways I Hold Myself Back as a Writer
As I hem and haw about the possibility of participating in NaNoWrimo this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the protagonist of my in progress novel. He’s been the subject of a lot of controversy in the ream of critiques. He went from a supporting nobody to a guy with a full backstory, a … Continue reading Who is Your Protagonist?
If you submit your creative writing for critiquing, you’ll quickly become familiar with the phrase, “Show, don’t tell.”
According to the modern critiquer, “telling” is an unspeakably evil act in the realm of creative writing. You must never tell. Always show.
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, showing is more interesting for the reader. On the other, well… Imagine if you had, back in kindergarten, had “show” instead of “show and tell.” Imagine each child holding up a random ass item, allowing the other children to stare at it for a length of time, then wordlessly returning to their seat.
There is room in the world for show and tell, and both are important. I don’t see a need to show everything, but this is where my stance on the matter shifts.
Showing is so much better.
Showing happens in verbs. With action.
Back to the…
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I want to make clear my opinion before I get into the meat of this post: I almost always write about the opposite sex. (So, men.) I don’t know why. I’d just rather.
So obviously, I think you should write about who-the-fuck-ever you want.
You’ll run into plenty of people who think otherwise. In my millions and millions of play by post roleplays over the years, I ran into plenty of people who got outright pissed when they found out I don’t have a penis. Mind you, this was us playing as fictional, made up characters, not me catfishing people as a dude.
I’ve had people tell me that, as a woman, I can’t write convincingly from a male point of view. (Before seeing my writing.)
If someone comes at you with that bullshit,
headbutt them in the face ignore their ass. You can and must write who and what…
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Using great tools may not automatically make you a great writer, but it’s also hard to write at your best when you’re dissatisfied with your word processor. Maybe the fonts are rendered poorly, or the interface is cluttered with too many distracting options. These are a few of my favorite writing tools for word processing and editing.
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Head Hopping: What not to do.
“It’s spelt grey,” said Bertha, slamming her fist down on the restaurant table. “G-R-E-Y.” How was Barnaby dense enough to believe otherwise?
Barnaby looked into Bertha’s beady, unintelligent eyes and seethed. “No, it’s spelled gray. G-R-A-Y.” He felt ready to up and leave her sitting there at the diner.
Close-Third Person: What you can do.
“It’s spelt grey,” said Bertha, slamming her fist down on the table. “G-R-E-Y.” Barnaby was such an uncultured idiot. Why was she even hanging out with him?
Omniscient: What you can also do.
“It’s spelt grey,” said Bertha. “G-R-E-Y.”
She couldn’t wrap her head around how stupid Barnaby was, and he felt the same.
Standing from the table, Barnaby slammed the cash for his meal onto the table. “That’s it; I can’t stand your pretentious spelling habits another moment. I’m going to the theater alone.” He felt…
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You’ve just written a bangin’ chapter for your novel. You’ve looked over it for typos and grammatical errors. You even waited, sleeping on it before reading again in the morning. Everything seems to be in order, so you put yourself out there.
And putting yourself out there feels a lot like walking naked into a busy city street, all your goods exposed to the speculative eyes of strangers passing by. Will you get appreciate glances, nods or raised thumbs?
Or will people sneer, whisper to their partner, and cackle?
You know it’s a vulnerable feeling, but maybe this isn’t your first rodeo. You know your
privateschapter is kickass and people are going to love it.
But then the first critique comes in and… the critiquer hated it. Their suggestions amount to more words than you even submitted.
“This style just isn’t doing it for me,” says one stranger.
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Bullshitting has its limits.
There is a lot of advice out there that says you should only write what you know, and even more that says to write anyfuckingthing you want.
The problem with the former is that most of us are less exciting than the stories we create, and the problem with the latter is that if you get it wrong, someone is going to be uncannily quick to point it out and leave you a scathing review about how unbelievable it is.
So, here are a few of the things I have had to Google in order to write my current in-progress novel:
- What does human meat taste like?
And, when that only yielded a particular result…
What does raw human taste like?
- How long does it take for blood to replenish?
- Intravaneous Immunoglobulin
- Dogs sniffing out diseases
- Direct blood transfusion
- Rolled steel factories in Texas
- Where is…
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I don’t know if this is the case for all other English speaking countries, but here in the US, kindergartners know how to use “me” properly in a sentence. For example, “Please call me if you need anything.” We continue to use “me” correctly right up until someone, usually a teacher, tells us sometimes “me” … Continue reading Me, Myself, and I