The Well

I know a lot of random information, and I have the blessing-curse combo of being able to see every side of a problem. I figured I could put all this to good use. So I’ve introduced “the Well,” my contribution of knowledge to the world. Ask me anything—advice on a relationship problem, how to make your own jewelry, what book you should read next, how to properly use punctuation, whether the moon is made of cheese, etc. The world is your oyster, and I want nothing more than to help you harvest the pearl. So ask away! (more…)

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To Draft or Not to Draft?

Not sure how many drafts you should write before sending your work to beta readers or asking for feedback? Here's your answer.

How many drafts should you write before you get feedback from someone? Should you write the first, rough draft and let people read it or should you try to edit it first and then send it off?

— Jaime

That really depends on what you want from your readers.

It also depends on how polished your drafts are. Personally, I can’t just word vomit, so my first drafts are as edited as some people’s second and third drafts, and I’m usually okay sending off a first draft for feedback. But I know people who just spit out everything that comes to mind and like to edit a few times before they let anyone read whatever they’re working on. (more…)

Hey Christians! Stop Ruining Young Writers!

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Recently, in an attempt to advertise a site that I no longer write for, I joined a couple of Christian writers groups on Facebook. After I quit the site, I was too lazy to unsubscribe from them (and managing Facebook notifications makes me want to punch a wall), so I still see the new posts. I also follow a lot of Christian blogs, usually by people who claim to be fiction writers.

And a lot of what I see is deeply disturbing to me, both as a Christian and a writer. (more…)

How to Critique Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Guide for Readers

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One of the biggest problems I see facing young writers is a lack of constructive criticism. Bad books get self-published because friends and family didn’t want to be mean. People are delusional that they’re good writers because no one has ever told them otherwise.

And it’s hard, giving negative feedback. But it’s necessary. It’s so, so necessary. (more…)

12 Books to Read by Age 12

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that’s all about, you guessed it, top ten bookish lists. This week’s prompt is ten books that you’d want your future children to read, but I’ve decided, for the sake of a catchy title, to be more ambitious than that. So here’s a list of twelve books that all children should read or have read to them before they’re twelve, by someone whose only qualifications are a love of literature, a college degree in it, and strong opinions about what makes for good books.

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An Excerpt from My Current NaNoWriMo Project

The words roll themselves around in my mind, bouncing off the places where I’m pretty sure there’s supposed to be the pythagorean theorem and some emotions or something. But it just feels like empty metal walls, the kind that bouncy balls deflect off of with just a bunch of dull thuds, scattering everywhere so you inevitably lose one. Or six. The balls come to a rolling, stuttering stop as my middle finger—a deliberate choice, mind you—holds down the backspace key. When Dr. Kellerman asked for us to keep a journal this semester, I don’t think he meant for us to get that deep. Even if he did say to write wherever the muse takes us. Though, to be fair, I don’t think it’s necessarily my muse steering me toward Graham. Unless of course my muse has some kind of muse mental disorder and never freaking leaves me alone. Seriously, who’s ever heard of a clingy muse? I’ve never been that lucky. I honestly think I used up all my luck winning a rabbit at the county fair when I was six by throwing a ping pong ball into the properly colored floating glass bowl. I’m not kidding. I haven’t won a raffle or game of chance since. (more…)

12 Gifts for the Book Lover in Your Life

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The holidays are coming up quick, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already started Christmas shopping. (End of season sales, man. That’s where it’s at.) But some people are just hard to shop for. Either they buy everything they want or need, or they have simple tastes and don’t like clutter, or you’ve just somehow missed with every present you’ve ever gotten them. I love shopping for gifts, but those people just frustrate me. And since I hate giving out gift cards or buying directly from a list, I’ve had to get creative.

So, for all of you who, like me, have reached your wits’ end with certain friends or family members, here are a few ideas for your favorite bookworm. (more…)

Six Tips for Better Editing

What’s your process for editing a story after you’ve written and keeping interested in said story enough to edit it?

—Jaime

First, thanks a billion for your question, Jaime. Seriously. A billion.

I’m honestly still working on the process, unless you’re asking about physically how I do it, in which case I have the original draft up on one screen, the draft I’m working on up on another, and a bunch of notes scattered in front of me. As for the actual writing process, I only have one full-length novel draft so far, and I haven’t yet found the willpower to edit it again, though I have a lot of ideas for it. Even my poems are turning out harder than I thought to edit. I just can’t look at my own work objectively enough to know if the changes I’m making are better or worse. But I’ve found a few tricks that have worked for me on shorter stories, so I’ll list those out. (more…)