Unintelligible Babbling

writing tips that may or may not make sense

How To Not Forget About Things (A Guide Even Us Bloggers Desperately Need) — September 14, 2018

How To Not Forget About Things (A Guide Even Us Bloggers Desperately Need)

Hello. Been a while, hasn’t it? I wish our disappearance was due to something excusable, like busy schedules or some sort of school starting or something ridiculous like that—but no! It turns out it’s just us bloggers being forgetful (and unmotivated, but that’s beside the point). But I was bored and wanted to write something without actually working on a story because I like to procrastinate, and this seemed like the most obvious option. So your favorite clam (that’s me) has reappeared to tell you why this is very bad and how to not do it and just generally be hypocritical.  Continue reading

On Writing About Zombies — June 13, 2018

On Writing About Zombies

Clearly these entries are getting more specific, and this one is–specifically–about zombies. Yes, your run-of-the-mill flesh-and-brain-craving best buds. (Or maybe not.) See, writing about zombies can go many different directions–so many I can’t even imagine every single way. However, the majority of zombie stories have so many things in common that I cringe when attempting to read them.

If you are trying to write about zombies, consider the following questions: Continue reading

Another Story That I’m Sure You Don’t Care About, But Hey It Could Be Helpful — June 8, 2018

Another Story That I’m Sure You Don’t Care About, But Hey It Could Be Helpful

Hello again, fellow writers. In the past few weeks I’ve been itching to write something but lacking the inspiration to do it, so here I am instead, telling you another tale of my writing experience that I’m sure you’re not interested in. But whatever.

As I have previously mentioned, I started writing a book at the ripe young age of eight. Yes, I was that kid. The over-achieving thinks-she-knows-everything kid. (Honestly, not much has changed.) Needless to say, it was trash. But it marked that day as the first time I’d ever tried to write a real story. No, not the cutsie voice recordings of me explaining a story plot to my mother—I mean a real, has-chapters-and-maybe-slightly-interesting-characters story. Also the first time I wrote anything other than “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” on a computer, but that’s beside the point.  Continue reading

Brain Drain — June 1, 2018

Brain Drain

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog has been silent for a while. Between being out of town and having packed schedules, Ceilidh and I haven’t had all the time in the world to post on here. Well, that and the lack of things to talk about.

So here I am once again, babbling about something that may or may not be very useful to every one of you. And along with it comes a bit of an uninteresting story (yayyyy).  Continue reading

What Is A Chapter? — May 11, 2018

What Is A Chapter?

I recently had one of the beginning writers I know ask me this question: What is a chapter? She went on to ask how long a chapter should be, where she should end it, what needed to be included, and many other similar questions. My vague reply was along the lines of A chapter is whatever the author decides. Predictably, she was not enamored with that answer.

So, what is a chapter? Continue reading

Intense Tense — May 8, 2018

Intense Tense

Tense.

What is tense?

No, it’s not when something or someone is rigid or stiff–although that is correct, just not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the past/present/future writing decision every writer must choose when starting a new project. It’s always the first decision anyone makes, and it will determine the feel, characters, and structure of your story. Yes, I know it sounds like I’m weighing too much into tense, but you’d be surprised how much it actually changes things. The difference between these three is simple:  Continue reading

Outlines; Why We Need Them — April 24, 2018

Outlines; Why We Need Them

Whether you’re writing a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or doing homework, it’s important to know what it is that you’re writing about. Many have the problem of starting stories with an objective and losing it halfway through, or, if you’re like me, starting a bunch of stories willy-nilly without having any plotline. But when I did start a story with plot in mind, I had a direction. And that’s important–sometimes more than you realize. And so, this time, I’m going to be helping you keep that plot in mind while writing, so you can keep yourself from deriving too much, or worse, forgetting where you were going (eek).  Continue reading

What To Do With Writing Prompts — April 20, 2018

What To Do With Writing Prompts

If you’ve been writing for any significant amount of time, it’s quite likely you’ve run into writing prompts. Whether it’s a sentence, dialogue, or merely a imaginative concept, they seem full of possibility. Prompts of any sort are lots of fun–especially challenging ones that force you to expand your writing capabilities–but there are some downsides to them. It’s possible to get addicted to merely reading them; I know I’ve spent many an afternoon browsing oodles of prompts and not writing a single word. You can also become too dependent on them, and find yourself looking up prompts every time you feel like your ideas are starting to falter. Continue reading

Things You DON’T Need To Know In Order To Write — April 13, 2018

Things You DON’T Need To Know In Order To Write

When you’re just starting out on your writing journey, it seems a daunting path. Your shining goal–whether it’s a book, short story, or other linguistic endeavor–seems far out of reach, and all the things you don’t know pile up into what can appear to be an insurmountable blockage. Perhaps you think you know how to get around it. Perhaps you do. But once you run into dead ends, or things you don’t have any clue how to surmount, it becomes quite tempting to simply give up.
Which is what I did, for two years. It was, needless to say, a very unproductive time in my writing career. When I resumed writing last September, I realized that the many things that I’d seen as obstacles to my writing were actually not so difficult as I’d made them in my head. Also, I had been under the mistaken assumption that I needed to do some sort of “study” to “improve my skills” before I could even begin to attempt writing anything. This is blatantly untrue.

Thus, the following is my erroneous to-do list of things I absolutely needed to know–or be able to do: Continue reading

Contractions and Natural Speaking — April 9, 2018

Contractions and Natural Speaking

When writing anything, from fantastical short stories to letters to grandparents, it’s important to know when to use contractions and when it’s not appropriate. I have seen too many stories with too little contractions in speaking, which makes the character sound like a robot. That’s what I’m talking about today; how to write dialog versus how to write description.  Continue reading

I/He/She/They Said — April 8, 2018

I/He/She/They Said

Okay, time for a lesson in punctuation.

All too often, I’ve seen beginning writers use the wrong punctuation. Most of the time, I can excuse a missing comma or a double space. That’s an accident. But when something is consistently wrong, I must put a stop to it. That is what I am doing now. The first issue I am fixing on this blog is periods-and-quotation-marks.  Continue reading

Reasons to Write a Character-Driven Story — April 7, 2018

Reasons to Write a Character-Driven Story

When you hear “character driven story,” the first thing that comes to mind is probably a piece of classic literature by someone like Louisa May Alcott or one of the Brontë sisters. Perhaps you are a fan of those stories, and it kindles a convivial flame in your bosom. Or perhaps you are, like me, a person who tends to run in the opposite direction in distaste. It’s not that they aren’t good books; in fact, I quite enjoyed The Secret Garden, so they’re obviously not all hateful in my sight. It’s just that I like a complex but quickly paced plot with adventure, humor, and a few plot twists to spice things up. Continue reading