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.
You left your USB flash drive in the library computer and i had to go through your files to figure out who you are and i ended up reading the entirety of this book you’re working on and wow you’re actually really good???? AU
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
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
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?
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
Abusing Complex Sentences. A complex sentence contains both an independent and dependent clause. It looks like this:
Before you can do this, do that.
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:
The simple sentence is great and concise.
The compound sentence is also great, for it is more versatile.
The complex sentence can be great if it isn’t overused.
To take it to the next level, the compound-complex sentence is great, for it is most versatile.
Writing gerunds is easy.
Incorporating participial phrases, the writer differentiated between the two.
Raw participles can also be functioning adjectives by themselves.
Writers having combined noun and participle, they produced absolute phrases as another option.
My eyes sore having exhausted this construction, pupils constricted
with rage, eyebrows furrowed, shotgun aimed; I advise using absolute
Appositives, a device that renames the noun, are terrific.
To write an infinitive is to boldy write with structural diversity.
Summative modifiers are cool, a device that concludes.
Resumptive modifiers are also cool, cool and repetitive.
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
Independent clause trailing off…. New independent clause.
Lacking Word Variety and Abusing Words. This is a common mistake I have to correct.
I went to the park. The dog went to the toilet. (Overuse of words.)
He had a chagrin expression. The chagrin I felt was overwhelming. (Avoid pet words.)
I was seven years old when it happened. It was the worst time of my life. (Avoid words lining up.)
“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.
“This is dialogue.”
I said, “This is dialogue.”
“This is dialogue,” I said.
“This,” I said, “is dialogue.”
“This is dialogue,” I said. “This is also dialogue.”
“This is dialogue,” I said, adding, “This is also dialogue.”
“This is dialogue,” I said, and added, “This is also dialogue.”
I paused and said, “This is dialogue.”
Pausing, I said, “This is dialogue.”
“This is dialogue,” I said, pausing.
“This is dialogue.” I paused. “This is also dialogue.”
“This is–” I paused, “–dialogue.”
“This is…” I hesitated, “…dialogue.”
“This is”–I paused–“dialogue.”
“This is”…I hesitated…”dialogue.”
I said: “This is dialogue.”
I said, “This is dialogue and spoke several sentences, leaving the
closing quotation mark until my rant was over. “Finally, my rant was
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.
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?
What is your character’s opinion on scars? >Does your character think they make a person ugly? Rugged? Sexy? Hideous? >>Does it depend on the type of scar? (Not just surgical vs. injury, but also hypertrophic vs. keloid vs. atrophic vs. stretch marks.)
I did’t know my car was a transformer until I brought it to you to fix it up, you seem to know more about transformers than I do so we should get together more to work on this whole situation because I don’t think my car/transformer likes me.