3 Brilliant Writing Tips I Learned From a Genius

3 Brilliant Writing Tips I Learned From a Genius

Currently I’m reading a collection of essays by the National Book Award winner and genius grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates. Many people view Coates, a writer for The Atlantic, as political, but I’ve heard him speak, and he repeatedly emphasizes that he is a writer above all else. He is an observer and he shares his observations with the world, and we can draw valuable writing tips from his work.

Coates’s book We Were Eight Years in Power consists of articles he wrote during the Obama years, each of which are preceded by Coates’s retrospective reflections on those essays. As a fellow writer, I was enthralled by those reflections. Here was an anointed “genius” expressing his doubts and self-critiques. There’s something fascinating about watching a successful writer still cringe at the very works that gave him that success.

Given all that, I had to share some of my takeaways, writing tips drawn from Coates’s self-reflections.

5 Writing Tips from Colson Whitehead

5 Writing Tips from Colson Whitehead

A couple weeks ago, I attended an author talk with Colson Whitehead at Politics & Prose in D.C.

The author has been writing novels for 18 years, but recently he’s been getting a lot of attention because his new book, The Underground Railroad, was inducted into Oprah’s coveted Book Club. The book is about the escape from slavery to freedom in the antebellum south, but it also has fantastical elements—a literal underground railroad that exposes the protagonist to different worlds at each station.

Here are five tips I gleaned from his talk.

Fall Back Into Writing With These 5 Fall Writing Prompts

Fall Back Into Writing With These 5 Fall Writing Prompts

It’s fall! Students are back at school, football is on, and if you’re a Northeasterner like me, the weather is perfectly cool and sunny.

I don’t know about you, but I love this season. It feels like a writer’s season. It’s time bring a blanket and computer to your balcony, porch, or favorite coffee shop and just write. Recharge. Begin a new and productive period.

As always, at The Write Practice, we love to give you opportunities to jump into writing again. Use the fall-inspired writing prompts to get you going.

Show Don’t Tell: How to “Tell” When You Can’t “Show”

Show Don’t Tell: How to “Tell” When You Can’t “Show”

The standard rule is this: “show, don’t tell.” Instead of telling your reader that Jane is “sad,” show the reader by describing Jane’s demeanor, her tears, etc. You’re supposed to allow the reader to experience Jane’s sadness with her.

But in a 80,000 word manuscript, chances are you’ll do at least some telling. The temptation to “tell” usually arises when you need to share background information, summarize events, or provide context for what’s happening.