One of the hardest parts of writing fiction is to figure out how much detail to put into a scene. Too much, and your reader gets bored and starts skimming until they get to the action-y parts. Too little, and your reader can’t adequately picture what’s going on. You gotta be Goldilocks and get it…

Read More

You’ve probably heard the advice to “write what you know,” and if this whole idea confused you, you’re not alone. If you can only write “what you know,” then how does John Green write so convincingly and beautifully about dying from cancer? He’s still alive and well, and I don’t think he’s had cancer. Or,…

Read More

“HONY? What the heck is that?” You might be asking. HONY stands for Humans of New York, and it is (in my mind) one of the greatest blogs EVER. This past week, a student wrote a great poem about how we, as humans, often base our judgments of others on appearances. The poem reminded me…

Read More

Great descriptive writing combines all of the senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. It transports your readers to a place where they can feel the place and see the characters. The key to doing this, and doing it well, is to combine a variety of sensory imagery in your writing. Generally, we’re pretty good…

Read More

Imitation is a great strategy to begin playing with different styles, syntax, sentence length and complexity because it forces you to immediately adapt and stretch your writing skills. For example, look at the following selection “Hairs” from House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. She combines both short and longer sentences and uses repetition effectively to…

Read More

Before starting to write any piece, it’s important to consider the point of view, or POV, you will use. Will you write from first-person? Completely inside one characters head? Or maybe you want to focus on more than one character, in which case you might choose a third person POV. Before you decide, try this…

Read More

One of my favorite poets is William Carlos Williams. Through focusing on specific details in the everyday world around him, he creates snapshot images of life. One of his most famous poems is called “The Red Wheelbarrow.” You can find more of his poems here. The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams so much dependsupon…

Read More