4/22/15

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

“The New York Times reported that adjusting for the size and age of the U.S. population, the death rate from cancer dropped just 5% between 1950 and 2005. Deaths by heart disease, by contract, fell 64% over the same period. With such an intractable diagnosis as cancer, doctors must use an all-hands-on-deck approach. Including disease-sniffing dogs in that strategy is not just a smart choice, but also the only logical one.”

By contract?

http://mic.com/articles/115450/urine-sniffing-dogs-are-the-next-and-possibly-best-line-of-defense-in-cancer-screening

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4/13/15

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

” Not all officers are racist, bad people, and not people who get got shot or Tased or arrested by officers are innocent victims”

Not sure if this is an error in writing or if it’s directly a quote from Will Stack, the subject of the article, but “get got shot” doesn’t really make any sense.

REFERENCE

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/8-ways-to-write-better-characters

This is a nice, detailed article about the importance of developing character and how to do so.

WRITING THAT SPEAKS TO ME

“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn’t create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”

– Ram Dass

4-1-2015

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

“If graduates don’t want to go into debt, the thinking goes, then they should only go to schools they can afford, or only major in studies that will boost their career prospects in fields that will allow them to pay off that debt.”

This sentence is fine grammatically but I would rewrite it to make it less complicated.

“The thinking goes that if graduates don’t want to go into debt they should only go to schools they can afford or only major in studies that will boost their career prospects in fields that pay well.”

From “Happy College Acceptance Day! You’re going to be in debt forever” by Scott Bixby

http://mic.com/articles/114208/happy-college-acceptance-day-you-re-going-to-be-in-debt-forever

WRITING THAT SPEAKS TO ME

I’m going to be really vain this week and post my own writing. This is an advice column that I had to write for class, and I’m posting it because it was very personal and it made me feel good to see some of what I’ve learned (the hard way) over the last few years come together in one piece of writing.

Dear Freshmen,

I am not good at school. If you’re looking for advice on how to get all A’s, make the Dean’s List, or cram for finals this is not the place to look. The advice I do have to offer, however, I hope will help you not only in college but throughout your life afterwards.

First thing’s first: practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the art of keeping yourself in the present moment and not thinking about anything that does not exist directly in front of you or around you. It’s about being aware of your surroundings and nothing else. It’s really easy to get overwhelmed when you think about the amount of studying and homework you have to do in college, and when add a job on top of that and then friends and family on top of that, too, it can seem like a heavy burden. What you need to remember is that what you actually carry on your shoulders is nothing. Look around: there is nothing but air. Even if your aspirations are to cure cancer or win the Nobel Prize you need to give yourself a moment every now and then to be free of your own expectations. When you’re sitting on the bus or driving your car, you are traveling, nothing else. When you’re sitting in your bio class, don’t think about your math class, because you’re not there. Taking one thing at a time is not something you just say, it’s something you have to actually learn to do. Remember, “All you are, in this moment, is enough.”

Maya Angelou once said that “People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” It’s hard to know how you come across to other people sometimes, but it’s important because people take things really personally. It’s easy to get caught up in our own stuff and we might take for granted that if we seem mad one day, other people will just assume that it’s because our mom shrunk our favorite t-shirt in the wash or our boyfriend borrowed our car and used all the gas. They don’t know any of these things and they will assume you are mad at them and they won’t understand why. And it does matter what other people think of you. You can be one of those people who goes around saying they don’t care what people think as a way of justifying your behavior, but people remember all the things you don’t want them to, so remember: smile and be kind.

Respect your body, don’t drink too much coffee. This might seem counterintuitive because coffee is supposed to help us get things done, but after a certain point it can actually hinder you. Coffee raises your levels of cortisol, increasing stress and anxiety. Anxiety is exhausting. Next time you think you’re so tired you absolutely cannot function without a fourth cup of coffee, think about the fact that you’re probably just tired from being so stressed out. And then take a minute to be mindful. And girls: STOP DIETING. NOW. If you are on a diet, STOP. You are spending too much of your energy thinking about what you eat and what you look like. You have so much more to offer the world than your body, and you are so much more important than what you put in your mouth. You are not fat, lazy, weak, or worthless. You are beautiful and you are alive, so live.

The most technical advice I have to offer is to remember the value of the first draft. Don’t be a perfectionist. Allow yourself to make mistakes, you can always go back later and revise things. Form should always come before detail. And believe me, I know how easy it is to get bogged down in the details. I cannot count the number of projects I’ve given up on because it didn’t come out absolutely perfect from the start. Think about all the things you’ve had to learn to do in your life. How many of those things did you get right the first time? When you were little you couldn’t even pour your own cereal. You must do a thing over and over again until it becomes a reflex. Writing a great essay or painting a great picture might seem different because you feel that your intellect should make up for your lack of muscle memory, but it doesn’t. Keep trying.

My last bit of advice is simple: Always make sure you get enough sleep. Everything else can wait.

REFERENCE

http://terribleminds.com/

I already posted an article on horror writing from this website, but now I’m just promoting the whole website because there is a lot of valuable information on it. The articles are diverse and interesting and I’ve learned a lot just from reading a few of them.

3/24/15

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

“Lately, that examination is something he’s delved into even more.”

I believe the comma after ‘lately’ is unnecessary.

http://mic.com/articles/113606/this-brilliant-young-rapper-is-tearing-down-the-stereotypes-of-who-can-rap

WRITING THAT SPEAKS TO ME’

“But the actual touch of her lingered, inside his heart. That remained. In all the years of his life ahead, the long years without her, with never seeing her or hearing from her or knowing anything about her, if she was alive or happy or dead or what, that touch stayed locked within him, sealed in himself, and never went away. That one touch of her hand.”

Phillip K. Dick “A Scanner Darkly”

This passage speaks to me because Phillip K. Dick is a sci-fi author, and sci-fi is not a genre known for its closeness to reality. Dick, however, breathes so much humanity into his fiction that sometimes you forget that what you’re reading is science fiction. His fiction speaks to me more than many other novels and stories I have read that do exist in the “real” world.

REFERENCE

http://www.amazon.com/On-Writing-Stephen-King/dp/0340820462

This is a link to the book “On Writing” by Stephen King. I chose this book for this week because I have just begun reading it. I’ve heard so many good things about it that I’m very excited to see what it’s actually like.

3/9/15

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

“How culpable was mephedrone likely to have been in Mann’s case, and did it really tip him over the edge? He was a long-term drug user and had been sent to the Priory rehab center and a kibbutz in Israel in an attempt to get wean him off a problematic use of mephedrone, cannabis, and alcohol. So it wasn’t as if he was taking it for the first time.”

‘In an attempt to get wean him off’

This is a very interesting article which also happens to contain several typos.

http://www.vice.com/read/haywards-heath-mephedrone-dick-chop-284

3/3/2015

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

“But regardless of how close e-readers are to the grave, there’s no doubt that they’re headed the wrong direction — to the benefit of traditional hardback and paperback books.”

There should be “in” between ‘headed’ and ‘the’.

From “There’s Bad News For E-Readers – And Great News For People Who Still Love Actual Books

http://mic.com/articles/111684/bad-news-for-e-readers-is-great-news-for-book-lovers

REFERENCE

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/10/11/25-things-you-should-know-about-writing-horror/

This article “25 Things You Should Know About Writing Horror” by Chuck Wendig was very helpful to me. I am currently writing my thesis, a horror novella, and was struggling with finding a way to structure the supernatural/horror aspect in a way that was scary or unsettling, while still moving the plot along. I went through each of the 25 items and thought about how they applied to my story and by the time I was done reading the article, my story was beginning to look VERY different from how I had originally envisioned it. This is a good thing, however, because before I did this exercise my story was stagnating and it was not relatable. The article helped me redesign my story into something that, while it may not be terrifying the way I want it to be, at least has a sound plot structure and strong characters.

2/23/15

BLOOPER OF THE WEEK

 “It was embarrassing, it was humiliating. and here we are, new parents trying to protect her,” Jami said.”

Either there should be a comma after ‘humiliating’ or ‘and’ should be capitalized.

http://mic.com/articles/110956/a-doctor-refused-to-treat-a-6-day-old-baby-with-two-moms-and-it-s-totally-legal

REFERENCE

For my reference this week I want to spotlight Robert McKee’s book “Story”. It’s a long book and the basis for seminars that he gives. His focus is screenwriting, but the lessons in the book, especially those concerning story structure and characterization, have helped me in many other forms of writing as well. Seriously, this book is basically my bible. I reread it every time I’m developing a new idea and I always learn something new.

http://mckeestory.com/

WRITING THAT SPEAKS TO ME

Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
– Mark Twain