8 Ways to Avoid Clichéd Writing

Once upon a time…let’s scratch that right there. Clichés are easy to spot, but for some of us, they’re so hard to resist writing. It’s what we think is fresh and exciting because in many of the books we’ve read, they were fresh and exciting to us as new readers. However, now, as writers, we need to learn to put these clichés and stereotypes aside and concoct something no one has ever seen before. 1. Be Realistic Think about the…

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I Wanna Write Like That…

Have you ever read a story or novel and wished you were the one who had written it? We love our favorite authors because we like how they work—we enjoy the characters they write, the plots they’ve constructed, and the style in which they write. It’s easy to want to emulate these writers, but in order to avoid plagiarism, you have to learn to match this writing without imitating it. If it’s writing style you want to replicate, try taking…

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Don’t Make These Grammar Errors!

Although we may feel like we are kings and queens of the “small stuff,” also known as punctuation and grammar, these types of errors are the most common we make. At the writing center I have worked at for the past year, we developed a guide to help writers try to realize these mistakes. Here are the most common errors we see in writing (not necessarily in order): 1. Comma in a Compound Sentence John planned on writing a book…

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Writing is Rewriting

Writing is rewriting. My high school creative writing teacher told us this every day in class and I’m sure all of our favorite professional writers would tell us the same. The feeling of finishing a novel is the greatest feeling in the world, but if you plan to get the story published, there are several more steps you must take. Treat your rewriting phase like a pyramid: start with the entire piece of writing, then move to each chapter, each…

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Author Advice: Stephen King

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay?” –Stephen King

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You’re a Poet and You Didn’t Even Know It!

One of the longest poems in the English language, John Lydgate’s Fall of Princes, comes in at 36,365 lines, while the shortest poems are just a couple of words. The possibilities are endless. Poetry is one of the most ambiguous types of writing in that there are seemingly no rules at all in what a writer wants to accomplish. Most novels and short stories have at least a semi-rigid shell, but writing poetry is almost like writing in your journal—you…

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9 Reasons to Write While You’re Young

We may be young, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start our dreams of being writers right now. Here are a few reasons to get out there and start writing while you’re still young, hungry, and kicking! 1. Practice Makes Perfect You’ve heard it a billion times, but it is definitely true. The sooner you start working at a skill, the sooner you’ll improve. If your first novel doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to, start on another or work…

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Personas Gratas: Building the Perfect Character

If you were given just the description of a famous character, would you be able to guess them? A puritan mother who provides for her young daughter despite being scorned by her entire town and branded with an A for adultery… The answer is Hester Prynne! How about another one? A brave, young, black-haired wizard whose goal is to protect his friends and his world while avenging the murder of his parents…. It’s Harry Potter! The key to creating memorable…

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Potent Quotables: How to Write Dialogue

“How do you write good dialogue?” the writers asked, pondering the thought. “It is not as easy as it seems,” Alissa said. “The trick is making it sound like you didn’t write it.” Dialogue. Most fiction stories have it, and many times the dialogue makes a story more believable than even its plot or characters. When characters speak to one another, it helps a writer show the audience feelings and personality rather than simply telling the reader. Dialogue also helps…

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