Writing Tips

The Art of Bickering

By Erica German

If you are compelled to spout off about something, at least learn how to be classy about it. Haven’t you heard someone “go off” about something but you only took in a fraction of what they had said because you couldn’t get over the opposing arguments that kept running through your mind; if they would have just taken a breath, you might have been able to say something to rebut. But, what if the argument had been presented with a little more balance? Would listening to the rant have been more informative, less irritating?

I just finished reading an article that discussed media hype about a recent photograph of Hillary Rodem-Clinton, without her makeup on—gasp! What scandalous behavior from such a prominent woman; did she forget who she was, that she is expected to be “on” at ALL times? You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I know where this is going. It’s probably another pitch about how women don’t need makeup to be beautiful. And, by the way, why is THIS in the writing tip category?” Well, to answer your question, the article presented a balanced argument; it gave two possible perspectives, then dispelled each perspective by revealing self-contradictions in each claim. The writing tip part is when you click on the link below so that you can read this excellent argument for yourself. We learn by mimicking what we find interesting or useful. Check out the link below for an entertaining, insightful, and solid example to follow for the next time you’re feeling like “telling it like it is.”


Listen to Music

by Jasmine Sarwar

When silence is just silence and not the source of thoughts and inspiration, press play and listen. Music might just be in your toolbox as a writer. Why? When a musician creates, the notes paint an emotion. When a songwriter jots down, the words tell of a story. So when a writer listens, maybe a world is envisioned.

Some of you reading this would remark: “I thought silence was the writer’s tool. A writer must clear their mind; go Zen, become a monk.” Silence is a tool used consistently by many writers and for good reason; it allows you to hear only your thoughts that lie within each nook and cranny. But, sometimes, when all you hear is your impatient heart beating or envision the cobwebs collecting in the corners of your mind, you need a jolt.

Try it: put on an instrumental piece, a poetic song or a random mix. Feel the rhythm. Listen to the lyrics. Does the melody create an atmosphere? If so, where are you? Do the words pull your character’s heartstrings? Or make them shiver with disgust? Remember to ask yourself why this song evokes those thoughts so you can tap into them when your pen strikes the paper.

Having trouble getting into a routine?

Check out this link


Character Development

by Jessica Harrington

Most of the characters I create start out as a vague idea. Maybe a picture of what they look like, sound like- maybe a line I think of or a moment I envision create two people to facilitate those ideas. I cannot say for sure, but I can say it is a complicated process, creativity being broken up by long phases of nothing, no ideas, no forward movement in my story. I research when needed, read as much as possible to find inspiration, and spend countless hours starring at my computer screen. It’s late hours and a lot of self-doubt, a true labor of love. A love for the characters that come to life on my pages who help tell my story. My characters lives and personalities derive from my perceptions on people I have known, that I have researched, read about, admired and hated. Sometimes they are reflections of persons I have had very brief interactions with or observed; sometimes they are extensions of myself. Although I become close with my characters, sympathizing and laughing with them as if they were old friends, I never fully become them. However, last semester, I was assigned to do just that. It was a drama class, I was given a scene to perform with a partner and I had to write a personal biography for my character, from birth to the instant they were introduced into the scene, in first person perspective. Like the characters in my stories, the character I was to portray had a very vague background. A name, age-range, and the two short pages of dialogue were all I had. I read and re-read the script, each time gaining more insight into the woman I was to become. Her emotions, reactions, mannerisms became my own. Her story gushed from my brain, my soul, to my hands on the keyboard as if it were my own. Before I knew it, I had twelve pages. It was amazing. Never before had one of my characters manifested themselves in me to the point that the line between their life and my own became blurred. I know I am not the first person to have this insight or experience and I will not be the last, but I do know that it was an organically beautiful, moving, emotional process. It is an approach to character development I will continue to use during my future writing endeavors. If you have not done so already, try to become your character the next time you experience writers block during character development. Feel their emotions, share their reactions, and let their perspective engulf your own; you might be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Keep a journal

by Erica German

I keep a journal, always have, since fourth grade.  I don’t write daily, but usually I add something to it a couple days a week.  Sometimes, the entries are boring while other times they are charged with tantrums and fancy ideas.  But, what is the same about all of the entries is the value they are to me as a writer.  The journal is a safe place to practice breaking all the rules of writing, be it lazy or playful defiance.  I draw pictures, build outlines, scribble, forget punctuation, spell words incorrectly, retrace letters of words I especially like.  I won’t be graded on it and trust me when I say that those boring days and seemingly insignificant ideas have been a valuable reference source when I am experiencing writer’s block. My journal is a playground for the writer in me, strengthening my writing skills at the expense of free play, doing it all my way.  It’s like I am living in a writer’s Lord-of-the-Flies moment when I journal.


2 thoughts on “Writing Tips

  1. Erica- I really enjoyed your tip, it has inspired me to do more journaling and let my writing be free 🙂

    Posted by lilmissdynamiteJessica | January 7, 2012, 5:42 pm
    • Glad this tip was helpful. Keep checking back for more tips. I just posted a link to a tip on how to get into a daily writing routine–check it out when you have a few minutes.

      Posted by The Haberdasher | February 1, 2012, 3:18 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: