for March, 2014

Technology can make writers lazy.

March 31, 2014

So, the other day, I was snapping a picture of my dogs with my iPhone. My iPhone, a device smaller than my husband’s wallet, is more powerful than the first computers that sent man into space. My iPhone can take more sophisticated photographs than the first true manual cameras ever could. My iPhone functions as a reader, as a computer, and as a camera–among about a gazillion other things. I, in theory, could write an entire book on my phone. It struck me a while back how much we take for granted today, how much easier we have it than writers of the past. Like, seriously. Think about it. Shakespeare hand wrote every single one of his plays. In fact, almost all writers did so until the development of the first typewriter in the 1860s. That’s a lot of time to spend writing things the “old fashioned way.” And then, the typewriter’s relatively quick evolution into the modern computer we […]


6 different kinds of beta readers.

March 30, 2014

A few weeks back I wrote a blog about what qualities to look for in a beta reader. I covered a bit of the qualities that are important to focus on, but the whole ordeal is more complicated than that. There are a few different kinds of beta readers you should look for–readers who can give you feedback on different elements of the story. Now, I’m not saying you need to have all the different kinds of beta readers. This, of course, depends on who you know, who you’re comfortable sharing the manuscript with, and what kind of feedback you’re looking for specifically. It also depends on your timeline–the more beta readers you’re waiting on, the longer it will take you to get from the draft to the revisions. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the different kinds of beta readers out there, but it’s a pretty solid start for writers who aren’t sure where to go next. The […]

Online Tools for Writers

Great online tools for writers.

March 29, 2014

I had a friend ask me a while back what some of the best online resources were if he was looking to improve as a writer. That got me thinking about the websites I use on a daily basis to help me work, whether to learn and improve, research, read, and explore. Poets & Writers Poets & Writers is one of the best places for writers to explore. Not only does P&W discuss what’s currently going on in the writing world, it features interviews with agents, offers insights on writing education, lists upcoming writing competitions, and gives writers a place to connect to other writers. There are prompts and magazines, forums and directories. I have the P&W newsletter sent to my email inbox for easy access. I highly suggest checking this site out. Narrative One of my creative writing professors introduced me to Narrative, which is not only a website but a literary magazine. Narrative is great because it gives […]


4 writing faux pas.

March 28, 2014

There aren’t a whole lot of writing “techniques” people do that drive me absolutely bonkers, but these four are just unacceptable. Combining sentence-ending punctuation. It’s something we’ve all done in at least one of the writing stages–the dreaded exclamation point question mark combo. Or worse: the ellipses that ends in a question mark. I’ve even seen an ellipses end with an exclamation point, and I just don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean. Seriously. What emotion are we trying to get across when we end a sentence with…!(?) Wow. That got convoluted pretty quickly. Here’s the gist of the thing: trying to emphasize two emotions by using more than one kind of punctuation symbol says two things about the writer: one, they haven’t been writing long enough to realize this is a faux paw; two, they’re a bit lazy. If you have a complex emotion to give your readers, you should spend more time writing it in the prose […]

In The Dog Ring

In the Ring.

March 27, 2014

This is a chapter out of the book I worked on for NaNo. I needed a break from the typical article writing, so this is what you get. Anyway, this piece is one of my favorites in the book. First, it’s in the first half of the novel, which is by far the better written part. Second, it explores two of my favorite characters. Additionally, it touches on events that happen in the prologue of the book. You can read that here. Cheers, –MC The basement was overwhelmed by the musky odor of dog piss, sweat, and blood. The wide, unfinished walls were packed with human bodies, drunkenly rubbing up against one another as they fought for the best view. There was a pit dug into the center of the room, two feet deep by ten wide. The rim of the hole was lined in rusted, blood encrusted chain link fence. People jeered and booed as a dead dog was […]

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