Occasionally, we grammar enthusiasts need to take a step back and lighten up a little bit. While there are some grammar rules that are hard and fast (I’m looking at you, comma splice), sometimes there is wiggle room (like the controversial claim that you can split infinitives). Today, we’re tackling another wiggly rule: is ending a sentence with a preposition okay?
Well, guess what? I’m here to liberate your pens and tell you that it’s okay for your protagonist to ask her cheating boyfriend who he was just with.
It’s President’s Day! I have the day off and will be celebrating by going to brunch and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which has the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. I am also celebrating by drafting some President’s Day-inspired writing prompts.
Foreshadowing is a task writers have to approach with the same careful precision they use when threading a needle. It’s not always easy, but when done right, you’re in business. Hinting at a future revelation is necessary for authors of mystery novels, for example, but it’s useful for all writers looking to include a killer twist—no pun intended.
There is a book inside you. There has to be. Why else are you reading a post about writing a book?
Getting that book out, of course, is the extremely difficult part. The words don’t come out as we imagine. The time to write shrinks as life gets busier. And so many questions vex us — so many lies that we tell ourselves to avoid the challenge ahead.
But you have to write your book. It’s one of the greatest driving forces in your life. Here are the lies that might be holding you back, and the truths you need to overcome them.
Pretend you are an interviewer for a newspaper, a secret agent, or a novelist, and you are interviewing, or interrogating, a character for your story. Imagine the character is sitting in front of you, you have a new fifty sheet yellow writing pad and your favorite pencil your cat chewed, and you are about to ask them a list of questions.
Create a character by conducting an interview. Interview your character before you start writing so you can immerse yourself completely in who they are and what they stand for. Interview them and find out who they are.
We think of authors as loners. Locked in dark caves with nothing but their type-writers and a candles, they painstakingly pound out one word after another, bleeding on the page to create a story they hope the world will accept. This image couldn’t be further from the truth.
As John Donne wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” One way you can feel more like part of the main is by utilizing the tool of crowdsourcing.
I often hear practicing writers ask, “What if I can’t think of anything to write about?” Sometimes they even have notebooks full of observations, but they feel like none of them are good enough for a story.
I’ve felt the same way, but there are more opportunities or seeds for ideas in our notebooks than we think. It might be an image, a snippet of a conversation we overheard at lunch, or a social issue that grates against us. Once we have the seeds, how do we take those seeds and develop them into stories?
A lot of you have just finished participating in The Write Practice’s 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge. You’re pumped, inspired, enthused. You feel good about establishing a writing habit. Now what?
Now you write a short story and submit it.
This post is the first in a four-part series that will walk you through the process of planning, writing, and submitting a short story. At the end of the series, you’ll have a short story ready for submittal!
Here’s a secret: I’ve never been explicitly taught not to split infinitives (or to not split infinitives?). Surprise!
If that statement’s a shocking pronouncement, or if it makes no sense at all, never fear. Let’s take a step back and look at the long, illustrious history of split infinitives.
I have a friend who is both a writer and a visual artist. One day she entered a painting contest and won third place! All of the award-winning entries were put on display. And then, during the exhibition, she overheard some people talking about her piece, unaware that she was the artist.
They said she hadn’t followed all the rules.
And I’d argue that’s actually a good thing, because sometimes, rules are made to be broken.