Monday, October 26, 2015

Reads of the Week: Oct 19-25 + Interesting Articles Part 11

This past week, I only got around to reading three books, all of which were written by Charlaine Harris. I finished the Sookie Stackhouse Series (Southern Vampire Series). Sigh. More on that in the micro-reviews. Be sure to check out the interesting articles at the bottom of this post!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Writing Basics: Plot v. Structure

photo cred: © Rasmus Landgreen – Unsplash

A few weeks ago, someone on Google+ kindly pointed out that my post on the six stages of plot was completely wrong. She then went on to explain to me, in detail, why I was wrong (from telling me about the mistakes I made at a "fundamental level" to placing me in her English Composition class).

Now, let me be clear: I LOVE criticism. In any given scenario, I would be more appreciative of genuine, constructive criticism than I would be of empty praise. Would I be happy about being criticized in any situation? No, but that does not mean I would not appreciate and even apply the criticisms.

I say all of the above to get to this point: this post is not meant to be a rant against that specific Google+ user. I found some of her comments very helpful, and am going to purchase some of the resource books she suggested. However, this post IS meant to be an explanation of my understanding of plot and structure.

Before we go any further, let me issue a disclaimer: I AM NOT A WRITING GURU/FAIRY GODMOTHER. Anything I say on this blog, in its entirety, is an amalgamation of my opinion and my experiences. I have stated multiple times that some of these blog posts, especially the ones on the Writing Basics series, are my thoughts and opinions on a particular topic as I consider it in the framework of my own writing.

Expounding upon my disclaimer of not being a writing guru/fairy godmother: I do not have some magical bodily orifice out of which I pull the content for my blog posts. I do research. I consult my university notes. I think back on my experiences and condense my knowledge into small paragraphs and phrases. I review other blogs on writing that have covered similar topics. I scour my resource books (and look at the Google samples of books I don't own yet) to check, double-check, and triple-check that what I am putting into a blog post is true. But doing none of these things makes me infallible; I can still be incorrect. Doing all of these things does mean that I have put forth the effort behind crafting a good post, even if that post only skims the surface of an issue/topic.

And all of this is to say: Criticize me. Point out where my explanations may be weak or where I could put in an example. Call me wrong and explain that wrongness to me. Print out my blog posts, burn them, and dance on their ashes. Do all of these things, but do not presume to call me uneducated, simple, or lazy.

Now, on to the actual post :)
* * *
Basic Differences Between Plot and Structure

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Writing Basics: Resource Books on Writing

photo cred: © Glen Noble – Unsplash

Unless you are in a writing program or already have a close network of friends who just so happen to be writers/editors/professors, chances are you are striking out on your writing journey alone. If you are lucky, you may even some background experience with fiction/literature.

The best guide on the lonely road to writing success is a good resource book.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Reads of the Week: Oct 12-18

I haven't done a book review in a long time, so I thought I would start giving "quicky" reviews on what I read the previous week.


Keep in mind that I also keep a running list of everything I read (Reading List 2015), and suggest that you do the same. Why? One: You can look back at your list on Dec. 31st and feel accomplished. Two: Keeping track of what you read is a great way to notice trends in your own reading habits and see areas in which you may want to expand your knowledge next year (yes, it may be time to pick up Jane Austen again).

I also used to keep a "Reading Journal" in which I would reflect on everything that I read, but that got old after a while and I quit keeping up with it in February of 2014.

So, with no further ado, here are the books I read from Oct. 12th - 18th (p.s. the author's names link back to their websites)!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Writing Basics: What Is 'Purple Prose'?

Perhaps you have seen authors or writing experts use the phrase "purple prose" to describe superfluous writing, or writing that is too excessive or ornate. Almost every how-to writing book or guide suggests writers avoid purple prose like the proverbial plague, but I am kind of on the fence on this one.

meme credit © Lynette Noni -- lynettenoni.com

Before we focus on my personal feelings about purple prose, let's first look at the concept in depth and see why some of the best writers in the world say purple prose ruins writing.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Writing Basics: Types of External Conflict

Following up on my post from yesterday featuring the awesome conflict infographic* by Grant Snider, below are the various types of external conflict explained (look out for a later post on internal conflict, i.e. "man vs. self").

*Okay, okay. It is more of a comic than an infographic, but the term still applies.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Writing Basics: Conflict Infographic

Hey, all!

Hope to get back to the posting schedule soon. For now, enjoy this infographic on types of conflict by Grant Snider!


I am planning on the next post being a breakdown of the types of conflicts shown here.

Is there one type of conflict, in particular, on which you would like an extended explanation?
If so, leave a comment below!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Basics of Poetry

photo cred: © Fred Viljoen – Unsplash

I had a special request from +Adil Vp about doing a post on poetry. So, here we go!

The rules for poetry are a lot different than the rules for fiction (which I have been covering in my Writing Basics posts). Unlike fiction, poems do not need a clear beginning, middle, and end; well-crafted characters; or elaborately written sentences. However, like fiction, poems need to be constructed using carefully chosen words.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Writing Basics: What Should Be in Your Exposition?

If you are the planning type of person, you probably had your major plot points and six stages of plot drafted out before you even began writing. If that is who you are, awesome! However, many of us (including me) do not fall into the category of the well-prepared writer. Put in different terms, some of us are architects and some of us are gardeners when it comes to writing.

Whichever camp you fall into, you are going to need to start your story with an exposition.


What is an exposition, and what should you include in it?