writing tip: hacks…


Toon: Henneke, the rest as noted.

writing tip: the lie…

university of waterloo

If you ask me, the real reason people choose to show rather than tell is that it’s so much easier to write “the big brown torn vinyl couch” than it is to describe internal emotional states without resorting to canned and sentimental language. You will never be told you’re cheesy if you describe a couch, but you might very well be told you’re cheesy if you try to describe loneliness. The phrase “Show, don’t tell,” then, provides cover for writers who don’t want to do what’s hardest (but most crucial) in fiction.

Besides, the distinction between showing and telling breaks down in the end. “She was nervous” is, I suppose, telling, whereas “She bit her fingernail” is, I suppose, showing. But is there any meaningful distinction between the two? Neither of them is a particularly good sentence, though if I had to choose I’d probably go with “She was nervous,” since “She bit her fingernail” is such a generic gesture of anxiety it seems lazy on the writer’s part—insufficiently imagined.

Making sense: Joshua Henkin, Why “Show, Don’t Tell” is the Great Lie of Writing Workshops, (Essay on Writer’s Workshop June 19, 2012)
Image: University of Waterloo

Inky: I’m struggling with a passage in my manuscript that reminded me of the essay I read a couple of years ago in a section of writer’s workshop called ‘There Are No Rules.’ Revisiting it hasn’t eased the struggle, yet.  But it will.

– Crickets chirping –

Man, that last bit sounded so twee.

Doing: laughing…

writing tip: the right word…


The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter, ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

Wit & Wisdom: Mark Twain
Image: Shutterstock

writing prompt: 17.7.9

“don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?  Kylie, it’s your book bag, your locker, your school stuff inside, how can you not know?  Explain!”

The sixteen year old sighed then leaned forward, “Look, I have no idea how that craggy rock got into my book bag or that the new boy would be so allergic. Get off my case would you? Sheesh you’d think this was a cartoon or something.”

writing tip: no story central…


Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.

Good advice:  Stephen King
Artwork: darkmagic814 found at deviantart

why I write…


Toon: Grant Snider

Inky:  It’s the end of week two of h.e.l.l.  My house is part of that equation, but not the biggest.  The biggest by far is the day job.   Over zealous expectations,  unreasonable deadlines, and sandbox politics have been rampant these last two weeks.  Then there is the serving of three masters to add, all with differing goals, visions, and expectations. Exhausting.

I have returned to the place I’m staying every evening and asked the cosmos, ‘what is it? If this is not what, or where you want me to be then show me, tell me what it is you wish me to be doing?’   So far, no reply.

Chucking the day job is the dream, but there is the need to eat, my adventures, gas for Emily (my car), and of course right now construction costs.  So the dream lives for the moment.

Writing is my solace.  It always has been through the years.   It lets me leave it all behind and live in the world of my own creation.   It is my escape.  You could say, I write to save what little sanity I have left.   It would be the truth.

writing tip: because it’s hard…

huffington post

Running a close second [as a writing lesson] was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.

Colorful tip: Stephen King
Image: Huffington Post

the true…

redditThe true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.

lyrical fella: William Gass
digital drawing: rodg-art, on reddit

Doing:  alchemy…

writing tip: persistence…


You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.

Sound Advice: Isaac Asimov
Comic: Charles Schultz

Doing: So it’s like this, evidently my shower was installed wrong, and I will now need a new bathroom.  Seriously.

So I’m moving out for the next two weeks while our contractor completely revamps my lovely old bathroom.   <sighs>

Mood:  Annoyed, Sad.  Packing, and muttering, muttering and packing….

so this is for us…

imagefave com“This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know because the beauty is in the act of doing it. Not what it can lead to.

This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing and no one is around and they will never know but I will forever remember and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have, and this is for you who write or play or read or sing by yourself with the light off and door closed when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned and maybe no one will ever hear it or read your words or know your thoughts but it doesn’t make it less glorious. It makes it ethereal. Mysterious. Infinite. For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in and only you can decide how much it meant and means and will forever mean and other people will experience it too through you.

Through your spirit. Through the way you talk. Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care and I never meant to write this long but what I want to say is: Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.

Let your very identity be your book. Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.

So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain where no one will ever hear and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar. Make your life be your art and you will never be forgotten.”

best advice ever: Charlotte Eriksson
photo: Imagefave.com