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
One hundred and nine times, the word “Leviathan” appears in the book Moby Dick. This is a particularly long and dramatic approach to the word “whale,” but you will find Moby Dick is a particularly long and dramatic approach to a story that at its core is pretty damn simple. And the skeleton of said … Continue reading Moby Dick
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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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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Characters are the lifeblood the story. You can fabricate a setting that lives and breathes, but without characters to thrive in it, you do not have a story. Characters without characterization are all but useless. Don’t get me wrong: they can still carry out all the actions the story requires, bringing it from beginning to … Continue reading Know Your Characters
Using “and I” Incorrectly Example: She invited Sarah and I to her party or She invited I and Sarah to her party. It’s one thing when someone uses “and me” when they should have used “and I,” but for some reason misusing “and I” is on a whole new level of obnoxious. It makes me … Continue reading Grammar Pet Peeves
If English is your native language, you need to get these right.
I have a friend who reads a lot. Like, a whole lot. Like, more than even some of the most avid readers, as she works in a library. Today I asked her which tropes she finds most annoying, and she came up with several straight away. Love Triangle First on her list --and I believe … Continue reading Overused Tropes