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Situational Irony: 3 Steps to Surprise Your Readers With Ironic Twists

Situational Irony: 3 Steps to Surprise Your Readers With Ironic Twists

So, you’ve figured out how to write a story that works. You know you need a character, in a setting, with a problem. You know you need a series of try/fail cycles, followed by a climactic scene and the resolution. The structure is simple, but it’s not always easy.

In particular, it can be challenging to sustain and escalate the story’s momentum through those try/fail cycles. And it would be nice to have something that could give your story a delicious ribbon of flavor, instilling brilliance and meaning.

Here’s the good news—there is such a technique. It’s called situational irony, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at what it’s made of and how to construct it in your own work.

The Magic of Atmosphere: Literary Definition and Genre Examples

The Magic of Atmosphere: Literary Definition and Genre Examples

Atmosphere matters. People will pay a premium to eat at a restaurant with a certain ambience or buy a house in a setting that supports a particular feeling. In like manner, your reader won’t remember every word you wrote, but if you infuse the story with atmosphere, they will remember the way it made them feel. And readers read in order to feel something.

3 Ways to Use the Rule of Three in Writing to Satisfy Readers

3 Ways to Use the Rule of Three in Writing to Satisfy Readers

As writers, we want to capture our readers’ attention, rivet them to the page, and leave them clamoring for more. We want to create something that moves people, deepens their understanding, and keeps them thinking about our story long after they’ve devoured the last word.

You may have noticed how I used sets of three in my opening paragraph, and if you didn’t consciously register it, your subconscious mind certainly did. Using the Rule of Three in your writing is one way to meet reader expectations and engage reader interest.

First Draft, Second Draft, or Editing: How to Know What Draft You’re On

First Draft, Second Draft, or Editing: How to Know What Draft You’re On

Have you ever wondered which draft you are working on? Many people wonder if they are writing their first draft or editing their story. You may be halfway through your book and decide to start all over from the beginning. Or you may have written the entire manuscript, but now be starting all over again.

Does that mean it is a first draft or a second draft, or editing, or what? What does “first draft” mean—or “second draft,” for that matter?

Grammarly vs Ginger: Which Grammar Checker Is Best for You?

Grammarly vs Ginger: Which Grammar Checker Is Best for You?

As a writer, I’m sure you know the importance of a good grammar checker. Sure, the old Word spellcheck feature is great for a tenth-grade English paper, but for professional writers, you’ll want something with more power—especially if you’re publishing a book.

Two popular options are Grammarly and Ginger. Each of these grammar checking tools has some unique and useful features that can help you write with confidence and catch and correct errors along the way.

Is Grammarly or Ginger right for you? Read on to find out.

Maybe vs. May Be: The Simple Trick to Always Keep Them Straight

Maybe vs. May Be: The Simple Trick to Always Keep Them Straight

Happy back-from-Labor-Day Day! I had the good fortune to spend the long weekend in Houston with my best friend from college. We ate, we drank, we had a slight Netflix binge, and we were very merry. She’s finishing up her PhD in neuroscience at UT-Houston, and she accepted a postdoc at Vanderbilt, so she’ll be moving to Nashville in a couple of months. She may be one of the smartest people I know.

I know this because she knows the difference between may be and maybe.

Semicolon: The 2 Ways to Use a ;

Semicolon: The 2 Ways to Use a ;

If the semicolon was just a little less top-heavy, then it would be a comma, and rightfully used and appreciated. Sadly, many writers have a confused relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use semicolons in their lovely sentences.

Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.

5 Ways to Ruin Your Creative Writing

5 Ways to Ruin Your Creative Writing

Consider this: as writers, we employ words. We harness their power and send them out to do a job. So, just like any productive employer, we must choose our operatives effectively and manage them well. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways words can fail and how to avoid that.

The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell

The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell

You’ve heard the classic writing rule, “Show. Don’t Tell.” Every writing blog ever has talked about it, and for good reason. Showing, for some reason, is really difficult.

Telling is one of the hardest habits to eradicate from your style. I still struggle with it regularly. However, writing that shows is so much more interesting than writing that tells that it’s worth doing the work.

And the good news is that it’s pretty easy to show if you just learn this one trick.

What Is Plot? The 5 Elements of Plot and How to Use Them

What Is Plot? The 5 Elements of Plot and How to Use Them

Plot has a specific structure. It follows a format that sucks readers in; introduces characters and character development at a pace guaranteed to create fans; and compels readers to keep reading in order to satisfy conflict and answer questions.

Do you want readers to love your story? (Who doesn’t, am I right?) Then you need to understand plot.

A Writer’s Cheatsheet to Plot and Structure

A Writer’s Cheatsheet to Plot and Structure

Plot and structure are like gravity. You can work with them or you can fight against them, but either way they’re as real as a the keyboard at your fingertips.

Getting a solid grasp on the foundations of plot and structure, and learning to work in harmony with these principles, will take your stories to the next level.

How Are You? Good vs. Well

How Are You? Good vs. Well

When someone asks you, “How are you?” how should you respond? Should you say, “I’m good,” or, “I’m well?” Which is correct grammatically: good or well.

Since “how are you?” became a standard greeting, the use of good vs. well has been hotly disputed. Let’s straighten this confusion out.

Into vs. In To: The Simple Guide to Keeping Them Straight

Into vs. In To: The Simple Guide to Keeping Them Straight

Stuck on the distinction between “in to” and “into”? You’re not alone! Don’t worry, though, I’ve got you covered. Here’s the quick version:

Use “into” to describe where something is: going inside something else.
Use “in to” based on the verb that comes before it. It can have many meanings, but here’s a quick tip that covers some of them: if you can replace it with “in order to,” use “in to.”

Read on for the longer explanation, plus examples of into vs. in to.

Parentheses: How to Use ( ) Correctly

Parentheses: How to Use ( ) Correctly

People ask me all the time (and by all the time, I mean never), “Liz, what is your favorite grammatical/punctuational structure?” It’s hard to narrow it down to just one (although you’re probably already aware of my love for the Oxford comma), but if I happened to be in a life-or-death of language situation, it would probably be the parenthetical statement.

I bet you already figured that out.

How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor Correctly

How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor Correctly

My mother seems to appreciate having a grammar lover in the family. For Christmas one year, she bought me the book I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar. (By the way, it is equally correct to say “bad grammar.”) Last week, my mother emailed to ask if she was using the word “nor” correctly, which brings me to today’s post: the use of either, neither, and the connecting words that go with them.

How to Write a Hook by Shocking Your Reader With Surprise

How to Write a Hook by Shocking Your Reader With Surprise

Surprise! In real life, some folks love surprises and others hate them. But one thing is certain—in fiction, you need them. If you want your reader to be captivated by your story, unable to put it down, you need to learn how to write a hook that will draw him through. Grab your reader with something totally unexpected, and you harness his attention to the story you’re telling. At least for that moment.

When to Use Ensure vs. Insure

When to Use Ensure vs. Insure

Here’s a problem I’ve encountered a lot: the confusion of ensure vs. insure. But wait, those two words are the same, right? Well . . . kind of, but not exactly.

Let’s un-muddle them, shall we?

Every time I hear the word “ensure,” I think of the high-protein flavored beverage that I will never drink. But we’re going to use this ingestible product to help you remember how to use ensure. Win-win (kind of).

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