I dare you to write about a ceremony taking place around a fire

Be creative! What is the fire’s significance in the ceremony? Is it the symbol of a god, a symbol of life and vitality, or is it simply light for a ceremony that, conversely, requires the darkness of night? Is the ceremony religions, political, coming-of-age, or some mixture of the three? 

Think outside the box! 

If you’re brave enough to post, don’t forget to tag I dare you to write and indicate whether or not concrit is welcome.

Diversity makes life interesting; the same is true of writing.


When I first started doing this full time, it was difficult to know where to start. What is good writing, anyway? This is a question I’ve dedicated a lifetime to answering.

For example, why is it that I spend so much time double-checking hyphenation rules, comparing prepositions, and sweating over coordinating conjunctions? For VS to… if VS whether… into VS in to… Hell, there’s also issues of parallel structure to consider.

These nuances transpire before your fingers even hit the keys. Then, good writing is nothing more than an absence of bad writing, right? Essentially, grammar is like presentation, which I’ll demonstrate with a crude analogy.

A waiter brings two bowls to your table. One bowl contains delicately prepared spaghetti, a sprig of parsley garnishing the top like a crown; the other bowl is the exact same meal but all slopped together. Which meal do you prefer?

Your story can therefore be of mundane quality but be preferred purely due to aesthetics, i.e., your writing is grammatically sound. I can’t tell you what good writing is but I can tell you what it is not. And good writing isn’t predictable!

Abusing Complex Sentences. A complex sentence contains both an independent and dependent clause. It looks like this:

  1. Before you can do this, do that.
  2. I also went here when I went there.

In other words — see what I did there?—a complex sentence begins with an introductory phrase that has a subordinator or interrupter. Apparently, writers really like this structure. Breaking this habit, a better writer you will make. You see, it kind of gets annoying, yeah.

Lacking Structural Variety. In expansion of the previous point, and by now it should be registering, kindly alternate your structure. Here are a few common ones:

  1. The simple sentence is great and concise.
  2. The compound sentence is also great, for it is more versatile.
  3. The complex sentence can be great if it isn’t overused.
  4. To take it to the next level, the compound-complex sentence is great, for it is most versatile.
  5. Writing gerunds is easy.
  6. Incorporating participial phrases, the writer differentiated between the two.
  7. Raw participles can also be functioning adjectives by themselves.
  8. Writers having combined noun and participle, they produced absolute phrases as another option.
  9. My eyes sore having exhausted this construction, pupils constricted with rage, eyebrows furrowed, shotgun aimed; I advise using absolute phrases sparingly.
  10. Appositives, a device that renames the noun, are terrific.
  11. To write an infinitive is to boldy write with structural diversity.
  12. Summative modifiers are cool, a device that concludes.
  13. Resumptive modifiers are also cool, cool and repetitive.
  14. Interjections, you see, can help break it up.

Learning sentence structure is best accomplished by memorizing the parts of speech at the word level.

Lacking Punctuation Variety. There are many more punctuation marks than the comma. Most of these structures can be reversed, and in some cases combined, for even more combinations.

  1. Independent clause; independent clause.
  2. Independent clause; adverbial conjunction, independent clause.
  3. List A, description; List B, description; and List C, description.
  4. Independent clause: Independent clause. Related independent clause.
  5. Independent clause: independent clause. Unrelated independent clause.
  6. Independent clause: list A, B, and C.
  7. Independent clause: single emphatic word or phrase.
  8. Independent clause: “Quotation.”
  9. Command or warning: instruction or caution.
  10. Independent clause opening — interrupter — independent clause closing.
  11. Independent clause — independent clause.
  12. Independent clause — list A, B, and C.
  13. Independent clause — single emphatic word or phrase.
  14. Independent clause (dependent clause).
  15. (Independent clause.)
  16. Independent  clause opening… independent clause closing.
  17. Independent clause trailing off…. New independent clause.

Lacking Word Variety and Abusing Words. This is a common mistake I have to correct.

  1. I went to the park. The dog went to the toilet. (Overuse of words.)
  2. He had a chagrin expression. The chagrin I felt was overwhelming. (Avoid pet words.)
  3. I was seven years old when it happened.
    It was the worst time of my life. (Avoid words lining up.)
  4. “You’re beautiful,” she said with a coy smile. “I know,” I replied with a mischievous laugh. (Alternate dialogue structure.)

Lacking Dialogue Variety. I can always tell if a project is going to be the bane of my life as soon as I notice lack-luster dialogue. Just as you can alternate sentence and punctuation structure, you can diversify your dialogue.

  1. “This is dialogue.”
  2. I said, “This is dialogue.”
  3. “This is dialogue,” I said.
  4. “This,” I said, “is dialogue.”
  5. “This is dialogue,” I said. “This is also dialogue.”
  6. “This is dialogue,” I said, adding, “This is also dialogue.”
  7. “This is dialogue,” I said, and added, “This is also dialogue.”
  8. I paused and said, “This is dialogue.”
  9. Pausing, I said, “This is dialogue.”
  10. “This is dialogue,” I said, pausing.
  11. “This is dialogue.” I paused. “This is also dialogue.”
  12. “This is–” I paused, “–dialogue.”
  13. “This is…” I hesitated, “…dialogue.”
  14. “This is”–I paused–“dialogue.”
  15. “This is”…I hesitated…”dialogue.”
  16. I said: “This is dialogue.”
  17. I said, “This is dialogue and spoke several sentences, leaving the closing quotation mark until my rant was over.
    “Finally, my rant was over.”
  18. Trying to think of an example, I said, “Sometimes dialogue can be embedded in sentences,” while I scratched my head, deep in thought.

Using Poor Phrasing. My final dialogue example was also an example of poor phrasing. Sentences like those need to be rewritten. You can sometimes improve comma-rich sentences with dashes or semi-colons.

  1. I said, “Sometimes dialogue can be embedded in sentences,” and I scratched my head — deep in thought — trying to think of an example.

Final Thoughts. The most common mistakes I fix in manuscripts aren’t just replacing commas. Predictable, overused writing might be grammatically correct, but it’s boring. There are so many different ways to say what you want to say — so for god’s sake, alternate your structure.

Write about a hacker who needs the assistance of somebody else. What are they trying to hack, and why is it important? What is the relationship between the two people? Is the other person also a hacker, or do they have to perform a special duty? Do they get away with their mission?

Prompt inspired by a submission from mirikiku.

anonymous asked:

Also 44 with Cal lol

you had drifted apart, to say the least. 

you didn’t mean to, you shouldn’t have, god damn it, you shouldn’t have. 

it was supposed to be a relationship, relationships were supposed to be together. 

together was the one thing you just weren’t. 

maybe it was because you weren’t ready, because you just didn’t have the time or the mindset to run a relationship with him. 

but you always found yourself crying after being with him, sinking along the inside of your door with silent tears running down your cheeks. 

shitty relationship.

and calum would soon find out and he wouldn’t know what to do because he loved you, god he loved you so much but he was so bad at showing it. 

and he found himself at your door, knocking on it while on the other side you sat silently. 

he turned his back and sank down on the door the other side, tears on his cheek. 

“please, just let me in.”

ok no more please n thank