Stories of “imagination tend to upset those without one.”
—Terry Pratchett

Use this One and “Only” Hack and Never Confuse Your Readers Again

Both/and, either/or: Use This One and "Only" Hack and Never Confuse Your Readers Again

I’m pretty confident most of you know how to write a decent sentence: subject–predicate, noun–verb. However, when it comes to getting fancy, ambiguity can happen. And you can confuse your readers to boot.

Let’s take “only,” “both . . . and,” and “either . . . or,” for example. Where do you put them? And why does it matter?

7 Easy Ways to Connect with Readers

Audience Engagement: 7 Easy Ways to Connect with Readers

Why do readers suddenly have the attention spans of gnats?

It’s easy to blame writers and suggest their quality of work has declined, but I contend there’s a growing evil sucking attention away from the page. This villain takes many forms.

I hold responsible the brilliant innovators, creators and storytellers of our generation for producing the most competitive market place for readers’ attention that the world’s ever seen. Fewer and fewer people can make it through an entire page before departing and plugging back into their easy-to-consume content outlets.

This new reality means you must write smarter than ever to seize attention and audience engagement. You must be calculated in how you connect with readers.

Here’s What Writers Really Do

Whenever someone asks me what I do, I always say the same thing: “I’m a writer.” It’s what we all say.

It’s a simple statement, the typical one-word description of who we are and what we do. But for me, the word “writer,” by itself, just doesn’t do it justice. The dictionary definition of a writer is “A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.” True? Yes. Basically, to the rest of the world, what we do? Yes.

But that definition still isn’t complete. The truth is, we’re much more than writers.

What to Do When Your Writing Process Fails You

Writing Process: When Writing Is the Worst Thing in the World

When Joe Bunting invited me to contribute a guest blog post to The Write Practice, I was thrilled. After all, this is a thriving community of dedicated writers hungry for craft discussion. It’s a writing coach’s dream come true. What is not a dream, however, what is in fact a writer’s worst nightmare, is when your creativity fails to flow, when despite your best efforts the words fail to come.

When your tried-and-true writing process fails you.

What do we do when our writing practice unexpectedly goes off the rails? When writing feels like the worst thing in the world?

Spring Contest Winner: Run

Run: Writing Contest Winner

We’re very proud to publish this story by Maia Thomlinson, which won the grand prize of $300 in the 2016 Spring Writing Contest with wordhaus literary magazine.

Run. Run. Run.

As light bleeds into this endless plane, I run towards the rising sun.

I run from destruction, from my own pounding heart. Gun shots fire. Still, I run.

Pressed tight up against my chest, my baby brother whimpers. The tall grass grabs for his tiny, bare feet, and I clutch him tighter still. This precious cargo is all I have left; no more family, no village, no home.

3 Devious Steps to Write an Antagonist You Hate

3 Devious Steps to Write an Antagonist You Hate

In any good book there is conflict. Often, that conflict is between the characters. No matter how many characters you create, it all boils down to two: The Protagonist and the Antagonist. The stars of the show.

We write a lot about the protagonist, the one who really is the actual “star.” But I’ve noticed that not as much attention is devoted to the antagonist. In my own writing, I find it much more difficult to write about him then the protagonist. At times, I find it nearly impossible to relate to him and his beliefs, to be able to step into his shoes as I do with every other character.

Today, I’m sharing how to write a great antagonist, even if you can’t stand him.

How Writing Habits Make Writing Easier

How Writing Habits Can Make Your Writing Easier

As all athletes know, whether you’re getting ready for a basketball game or a short jog, you need to loosen up. But for elite athletes, just like writers, loosening up isn’t just about warming up the physical body; it’s also about preparing yourself mentally for what is to come.

If you’ve ever seen basketball star LeBron James’ pregame “chalk toss” ritual, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You may not toss chalk before you write, but you can develop writing habits that will make your writing easier.

How to Study Subtitles to Write Better Dialogue

How to Study Subtitles to Write Better Dialogue

A vast majority of writers struggle with dialogue. We wonder how to make it real, make it believable, and make it stand out.

What if I told you that you can become a better writer and watch your favorite shows and movies at the same time—and all you have to do is turn on the subtitles?

How to Write Spoken Word

How to Write Spoken Word

Do you have feelings?

Do you wish you could let them go out, terrorize the neighborhood for a bit, and then come home to you without doing any damage (the kind that costs you money)?

Got a pen?

Get ready to write spoken word.

How to Think Like a Great Writer

How to Think Like a Great Writer

Attitude is everything. You’ve heard it a thousand times. You’ve probably even said it yourself. And yet, sometimes a bad attitude still gets the best of us. Sometimes we hate our writing. Sometimes we hate our agents. And sometimes, maybe, we even hate ourselves.

Over time, these kinds of thoughts can turn into a constant stream of negative self-talk that saps our creative energy and leads us to self-doubt. So how do we fix our bad attitudes and start thinking like a great writer?