Writing Tips

A character that bleeds…

pottery wheel

It is a common fallacy that stories are driven by plot. The truth is, the stories that last are the ones driven by character. They’re the ones where we’ve become so attached to the characters over the years, that we simply can’t let them go, rather we continue to re-imagine these characters over and over again. Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield, Randle Patrick McMurphy-these characters are unforgettable, their traits carved into the memory of all readers who’ve met them, just as if they had walked through the door and shook the reader’s hand. These characters breathe and bleed upon the pages as the reader follows their stories in anticipation of what will become of them. How did their writers do it? What exactly is the perfect recipe for a character that bleeds? (more…)

When the First Draft Gets Rough

typewriter

“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my first draft sucked with a capital “S.” Halfway through chapter one, I wanted to take it out back and beat it with a hockey stick for wasting my time. I’d like to say this feeling dissipated as I got further along, that my confidence grew word by word, sentence by sentence. But I’d hate to lie to you. The truth is that I became more sure of the inevitable failure looming ahead of me, blocking my path to success. (more…)

Distilling Poetry

poetic muse

Poetry is the ultimate baring of the poet’s inner thoughts. Not to say all poetry will be deep and serious (just as our inner thoughts can be lighthearted and fun, so can poetry), but that regardless of the tone the poem, you can always be sure that it’s a reflection of the poet’s mental state when they wrote that particular poem. As such, the poet must carefully construct each poem with full consideration of tone, word choice, and structure. (more…)

Writing in Color

pallette

If you expect everyone to see colors the way you envision them while you’re writing, then you may be disappointed. I may refer to blood as crimson while you think of it more as a ruby red. You may think the sky a soft Carolina blue, while I would paint the sky with a tint of periwinkle. While this may not seem a huge issue, it can complicate how your reader perceives your work. (more…)

Breaking Grammar

writing book

When it comes to grammar, writers tend to divide into two separate groups: the grammar police, known to frantically run down those guilty of petty grammatical crimes, and the grammar hippies, who believe that creativity shouldn’t be stifled by the archaic rules of English professors long dead. Personally, I fall somewhere in between. I have been known to obsessively scour my writing for grammatical errors and to proudly pinpoint mistakes discovered in novels or on corporate websites, and other times, I recklessly break all the rules. Writing is an art, and with any art, there are times to scribble within the lines and then there are times to push the boundaries. So, how does a writer know which rules to break and when to break them?

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