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 →
More so than any of my other children, Peter and I enjoy each other. We laugh and cook and clean and I even teach him some of my potions, though to truly work they need a bit of my magic. He helps me through grieving when Lionel, Abigail, and Theodosia leave. He becomes close with Abram, who is only a few months older than him, and helps me with the two girls I save a few months apart a year after he came home with me. Peter and I explore The Wood and meet all the creatures that loan me their gifts and strengths. He listens to my teachings and even comes with me once when I go to save a child. That one ended up refusing me, though. That doesn’t happen often, but enough to make me question everything I do. Continue reading →
I can’t take it anymore. I need it to end. Please.
I sit up in bed, the cry from two towns over echoing in my dreams. It’s a young boy, about nine years old, sitting on the floor of his tiny bedroom. He’s crying and bleeding, listening to screaming in the next room. Usually, I would wait a week and assess the situation and get my current children prepared before leaving, but today is different. If I don’t save this child, he will take matters into his own hands. I can feel it. Continue reading →
My throat burns and my cheeks are wet. With blood? With sweat? With tears? I close my eyes and push my hands against my face, shaking my head quickly so the strands of dirty hair fly wildly. I want to scream again but I can’t take a breath and without air, there’s not much you can do. I want to run but without space, there’s not very many places you can go.
I want it all to end but with so much love, you can’t justify ending anything at all.
The other day my class had the honor of hosting for a visiting writer, Domingo Martinez. We had the pleasure of listening to him talk, give us advice, and answer any questions we could throw his way. I haven’t read all of his book yet but I have flown through a couple of chapters and let me tell you, this guys has lived quite the life.
Or, as he puts it, he’s taken the crooked path.
First off, I do suggest his books to anyone interested in memoirs. I can tell he’s spent years honing his voice and perfecting his craft, so now his novels have a unique tone and language. He’s worked hard over the years and never let his past or struggles stop him from being heard. Continue reading →
In order to continue discovering how other writers see our crazy writing world, I’ve talked with a long time writer peer of mine, Jack Kardiac.
This interview was another over email. I met Jack online (goodreads.com). We met when I posted a need for a beta reader for my short story collection, Perspectives, and he responded with a proposal: I’ll read yours if you read mine. Therefore, I read his second short story collection, Squint, to be available for purchase soon. We worked really well together and have continued to ever sense. I look forward to working with J more in the future. Below is a short biography about Jack and a blurb for his available book, Squint.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 →
First and Foremost I must give credit to the idea of “chain smoking” to Austin Kleon in his book Show Your Work. In the book he discusses the importance of chain smoking (in relation to writing) and gives examples of writers who practice it. Now that’s out of the way, I’m going to Steal Like an Artistand write like the idea were my own.
Chain smokers go through multiple packs of cigarettes a day. As of 2013, the average adult aged smoker went through almost 22 cigarettes each day. In order to continually be smoking without a break, they often will light one cigarette with the butt of another.
Can we, as writers, identify ourselves as chain smokers? Not in the (albeit unhealthy and honestly gross) habitual way of literally inhaling the smoke of cigarettes, but in how we write. Are we going through multiple pages a day? How many writing hours are we averaging a day? Do you light the beginning of one story with the end of another? I believe we should all strive to be chain smoking writers. I know I do. And In no way am I saying writers have to write 22 pages every day, but continuing forward without a writing hiatus is more beneficial than we may give it credit. Continue reading →
The first thing she ever said to me was a lie. Lying was her oxygen. It’s how she survived every day. It’s how she took breath and ate her food and walked down the street and drove her car. It’s the only thing that made her feel safe. Putting up a wall the rest of the world couldn’t climb. Pretending to be something she wasn’t. Lying. I understood, I guess. But I needed to know who she really was. I needed to get inside that head of hers. I needed to be a part of her life. But she didn’t have people in her life. She had passing faces and passing names that she probably won’t remember in two days time. But I needed to be there. So I came up with a plan. I wanted to know who she really was. I wanted to know what was the real face behind that mask. I wanted to know if she was even wearing a mask. I want to know why she was running and what or whom she was running from. Continue reading →