Through many years of school, researching, editing, and writing, I’ve learned a lot about the world of writing. Here are 15 of the most common mistakes I see writers make. (Also 15 examples of a book or author I think exemplifies the correct way to do these.)
1. Telling, Not Showing.
People read because they want to fall into a new world, be distracted by their own, experience something they haven’t, or learn something new. If they wanted a straight forward list of facts, they would go to Wikipedia. Whether you’re writing nonfiction or fiction, you need to pull the readers into the story. They should be completely enveloped by your world. Continue reading →
Why, oh why, do I make things so difficult? Why do I give myself unnecessary work? Why, when I’m [hypothetically] walking down a path, do I see a turn that has been blocked off with large rocks and think, “hmm, here’s the direction I should go,” rather than continuing straight on the path that’s been lit up for me?
I don’t know about you, but the way I get places, whether it’s college or to a relationship or to a milestone in my relationship with the Lord, is always crooked and more difficult than it should be.
But I make it. And I am under NO delusion that I make it because of my own ability to follow a bath or to not fall or to succeed. The only reason I make it anywhere in life is because God has willed it. Continue reading →
With nowhere else to go, I drove to the base of a mountain and started climbing. My shoes weren’t made for the steep rocks and I slipped more times than I’d like to admit. There were no other people around; after all it’s the middle of a Tuesday on a hot summer’s day. No one in their right mind would be hiking right now.
I give it up to poetic justice when I reach up to grab hold of the rock and feel a sting in the tip of my fingers. I yank my hand back to see blood trickling down the palm and onto the hot stone below. Continue reading →
For some reason, it’s often seen as selfish or arrogant to be proud of yourself. If you say “I’m proud of this accomplishment” you run the risk of other’s thinking you’re conceited.
There is merit in modesty humility, though. It’s probably not a good idea to wear a shirt that says “I’m the best” everyday or force your friends to throw you a party every time you make an A or B on a test, but if an accomplishment is a large, unusual, and meaningful one, then it’s 100% okay to be proud of yourself. If you just made an A on your MCAT, then you should have a party. Yeah, modesty is a virtue but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to voice your own excitement at your achievements. Continue reading →
My fingers were cold and stiff, covered in mud and growing numb to the increasing wind. I used a stick to dig, uncovering the long metal pieces. Despite it still being early in the day, the sky was losing light quickly. I whipped around at the sound of crashing. A tree not far away had broken at the base and fallen.
A small hurricane was underway. I, being young, stupid, and obsessed with crazy adventures, had no plans on seeking refuge indoors. The creek beside my house was filled with trees, many of which were dead and threatening to fall under the force of strong wind. If I truly valued my safety, I would have already been inside, warming up and sitting on the couch with my sister. However, there was an old sewing machine buried in the bank of the creek and this discovery would lead to riches my small brain had never known. (In reality, I would uncover an old Bartlett Sewing Machine that would be broken in many places and no more valuable than a rusted piece of metal.) Continue reading →
His head rests against the side of the bus. His eyes began to slide shut, then the wheels hit another bump, his head thumps against the metal, and his eyes snap open. The bus pulls into a station.
He sits up and blinks at his watch.
Ten AM. Just four more hours to go.
The buzzing in his head grows louder and he groans, pushing his palms against his eye sockets. He feels his seat shift slightly.
A young woman, maybe twenty-five, twenty-six, is sitting on the empty seat next to him. Her hair is grey and tightly pulled back in a bun. Her long fingers pull her oversized shirt down, straightening it. She turns toward him, eyes slithering down his body. Her gaze tugs on his insecurities and he crosses his arms, dragging his hoody tighter around his body. Continue reading →