Who’s the “hero” of The Lord of the Rings?
Is it Frodo? Aragorn? Gandalf? Even Sam?
You could make an argument for each of those characters, I think. And they all have a lot of traits in common.
Last year, a blog called Writing is Hard Work broke down Tolkien’s 5 tips for writing complex heroes.
Here they are: Read more
If you get these jokes, you’re a true English major.
I think my personal favorite is #6: “The bar was walked into by the passive voice.”
Grammar jokes…they get me every time. If you haven’t seen Weird Al Yankovic’s amazing parody, “Word Crimes,” then take a few minute to watch that today too. Read more
I used to edit a lot more than I do these days. Thankfully, better editors were hired for the job and I was allowed to focus on what I enjoy more—writing.
But I still know just enough about editing to be dangerous. And I also know just enough to have an opinion about some of the more annoying grammatical errors that pop up all over the place these days, especially on social media.
So here’s my take on some of the worst recurring grammatical errors. Read more
You’ve heard them. I’ve heard them. We’ve all probably heard them at some point. They’re old myths and bad information on what it’s like, or what you need, to be a writer.
The life of a writer is portrayed one way. But, for most everyday writers, it’s pretty far removed from that portrayal.
I hope I can add some limited clarity to what it’s like being a writer, and why these are indeed myths.
So here are 7 myths about being a writer.
If you ever write a book, I hope you’ll be able to say this when you’re finished.
Here’s what Kurt Vonnegut said about finishing Slaughterhouse Five. Read more
This is a copy of the style sheet Ernest Hemingway used while working at The Kansas City Star early in his career as a writer.
It’s a little difficult to read. But if you can read it, there’s still a lot of good, relevant advice in there–especially considering he used it in 1917.
Hemingway said he was heavily influenced by this style sheet throughout his career.
Take a look at the PDF.
Notice the first few sentences in the top left of the page: “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English.”
Yeah, that’s definitely Hemingway.
Some other excerpts:
Yes, grammatically, the title of this post should be “Whom do you write like?”
I thought this little widget is interesting, though I have no idea how accurate it is.
Copy a couple of paragraphs from your writing, paste them into the text box on this page, and the “I Write Like” site will tell you what famous author you write like.
According to these guys, I write like Cory Doctorow. I don’t know what to think about that, as I’ve never read his work. I do know I wasn’t a big fan of his dad’s novel, Ragtime.
So, hooray, Cory Doctorow.
Anyway, who do you write like?
Sometimes, I highlight a passage and then get all wordy about how awesome it is and how beautiful the writing is and how the author must be an angel of the pen.
Today, though, I won’t do that, even though I just kind of did.
Today, I present to you a passage from Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep–a passage completely out of context, completely foreign if you’ve never read the book. But, obviously, the passage provoked strong emotions in me or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you.
Here’s the passage: