Author Archives: Steve Aedy

The 7 Secrets of Magnificent Narrative Writing

narrative writing

Navigating your way through the various options when it comes to essay writing can feel like you’re going through a minefield. Narrative, Descriptive, Expository, Persuasive … they can all seem like different ways of saying the same thing. In fact, some essay styles are very similar but each one has its own quirks and style rules which can help writers communicate with their audience and, once you understand them, they can even help you to craft the best piece possible.

1. Understand What a Narrative Essay Entails

Simply put, a narrative essay uses the act of story-telling in order to convey a message, teach a lesson, provide insight or educate the audience. Many times these stories are taken from a writer’s own personal experience, which can make starting the essay easier than writing other types of papers. Take full advantage of this when writing your rough draft. But a narrative paper also needs to involve the reader, so descriptions become especially important.

2. Let Your Rough Draft be Raw

The power of any personal story lies in how raw it is. When writing the rough draft, don’t hold anything back. If your story is a particularly powerful one, let yourself write the rough draft without restricting your language or descriptions. While you won’t want to leave your final draft scattered with F-bombs, including them in your rough draft will give you the creative wiggle room you need to tell your story in your own way and retain its powerful message. Cleaning up the language and tightening the writing can be done in the revision stages.

3. Make it Personal, But Keep it Professional

Although a narrative essay is built upon personal experience, the final result still needs to be polished and professional. A narrative essay isn’t an open letter, it still needs to build towards a specific conclusion, insight or position on a topic. When needed, include research data, anecdotal evidence and other forms of outside research in order to give greater weight to your main point. This also gives you the chance to leave your own story for a moment, capitalize on outside research, and then bring the readers back to your personal story in the conclusion.

4. Craft Descriptions With the Audience in Mind

Your readers won’t be coming into this paper with the same background knowledge you have on the subject. Be sure your descriptions are vivid and well written. Avoid using adverbs like very, almost, nearly or quite too often. Instead swap out phrases which use these adverbs with better descriptions. A house isn’t ‘quite old’, it’s seasoned, decrepit or ancient. Using more vivid language brings your words to life and makes the audience feel more involved.

5. Jump Into the Deep End

Beginning your essay with a bit of back story ay seem like a good idea, but getting right to the action will engage your readers from the first sentence. Begin your essay with a powerful statement or by jumping into your story just as the action is happening. You can backtrack and give the background information once you begin the body of your paper.

6. Know Where You’re Going

Using a personal story to write an essay makes you vulnerable to getting off track easily. Before you begin relating your own story, be sure you’ve hammered out the rough draft for both your introduction and conclusion ahead of time. This way you’ll always know what you want your final point to be. If you get lost on a tangent halfway through, you can refer back to your rough drafts to get back on track.

7. Know How to Cite

A narrative essay may be built upon a personal story, but citing other works can still play a major role. In many other essay types, it’s normal to cite as you go, including small references to papers, books or other resources as a part of the text. For a narrative essay, however, keep all citations until the end and include them in a Works Cited page at the end as opposed to including them within the main text. This will help your audience to follow your story easily without any disruption.

25 Inspiring Quotes about Writing

quotes about writing

Writing may be one of the most rewarding – and most frustrating – activities in the history of mankind. Few other callings result in as much crumpled paper, snapped pencils, frayed nerves and all-nighters. Writing has also given us some of the most inspirational quotes imaginable. Here, we’ve collected 25 quotes to give you the motivation and inspiration you need to finish your project, even if it takes all night.

Getting Started

Every writer has dealt with writer’s block and new writers can find the process of simply starting to be difficult. Since beginning can be difficult for even seasoned writers, much advice has been given on how to take the plunge and begin telling your story.

  • “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” (Ernest Hemingway)
  • “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” (Stephen King)
  • “The first draft of anything is shit.” (Ernest Hemingway)
  • “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” (Mark Twain)
  • “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll)
  • “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” (Les Brown)

As we can see, the best authors in the world understand that beginning to write is as simple as it is difficult – one must simply begin.

Choosing the Right Words

Another common theme in writing is the eternal struggle to find just the right words and phrases. Many times writers throw around a number of words, searching for the one that fits like a missing puzzle piece. Rough drafts were made to be reworked and this is where a writer’s vocabulary and talent really come into play. Writing a scene requires the same dexterity and skilled hand as paining a picture, creating a sculpture or any other creative endeavor.

  • “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” (Mark Twain)
  • “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” (Jack Kerouac)
  • “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” (Anton Chekhov)
  • “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” (Aldous Huxley)
  • “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” (Elmore Leonard)
  • “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” (Justice Brandeis)

On Inspiration

Creative inspiration is perhaps one of the most ephemeral things in the world. Inspiration can come from anywhere and creativity is, at best, a fickle mistress. This interest in creativity and the creative process has been with man since the earliest times. The ancient Greeks had dozens of Muses dedicated to various forms of the arts and science. The Muses are goddesses representing different arts and sciences in Greek mythology. They are the daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus.

  • Kalliope – the muse of epic poetry
  • Euterpe – the muse of music and lyric poetry
  • Erato – the muse of lyric/love poetry
  • Melpomene – the muse of tragedy
  • Thalia – the muse of comedy

Although established Muses of the past are rarely referred to now, their spirit lives on. Today, the creative process may be seen differently, but the inspiration and frustration remain the same.

  • “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” (Saul Bellow)
  • “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” (Scott Adams)
  • “Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.” (Pyotr Tchaikovsky)
  • “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.” (Leonard Bernstein)
  • “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” (William Wordsworth)
  • “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” (Ray Bradbury)
  • “I don’t know where my ideas come from, but I know where they come to. They come to my desk, and if I’m not there, they go away again.” (Philip Pullman)

On the Writing Life

It’s often said that artists are a special breed, and writers are no different. The writing life isn’t for everyone and, for those who feel the calling, taking the journey is sometimes difficult. Writers have discussed their methods, their inspirations and their styles, but here we get a glimpse into what truly drives them to follow the writer’s life.

  • “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” (Ray Bradbury)
  • “I know some people might think it odd – unworthy even – for me to have written a cookbook, but I make no apologies. The U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins thought I had demeaned myself by writing poetry for Hallmark Cards, but I am the people’s poet so I write for the people.” (Maya Angelou)
  • “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” (Ernest Hemingway)
  • “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” (Isaac Asimov)
  • “You fail only if you stop writing.” (Ray Bradbury)

How to Write Faster and More Effectively

write better faster
Learning how to write effectively typically means slowing down to take your time, do the research and choose your words carefully. Although writing clearly and effectively is the goal for any writer, learning how to write faster can also be valuable skill. Here we’ll take a look at 10 tips to help speed up your writing and make it more effective overall.

1. Write What You Know

The best way to be able to write more quickly is to write on a topic you are already familiar with. Although this isn’t always an option, seize the opportunity whenever it comes up. Even if your assignment is on something you know nothing about, conduct some initial research to see if you do have a connection to the subject somewhere. For example, if your assignment is writing about the origins of the civil rights movement, use your own experience with discrimination or the experiences of friends and family as a basis to draw parallels to the early days of the civil rights movement with current issues of today. An essay on the impact of team sports can easily be connected to the summer you spent playing ping-pong or your own elementary school T-Ball team.

2. Dictate When Possible

There are a number of software packages that allow users to dictate directly into a word processing program. These programs can take some time to master and they adapt to your pattern of speech as you use them, so don’t expect perfect results your first time out. Instead of cracking it open as you’re beginning your big essay project for the mid-term exams, use it for a few weeks on other projects or just for fun in order to find out how to make it work more effectively. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can use it to crank out essays, term papers and even your thesis in no time flat.

3. Don’t Worry About Mistakes on the Rough Draft

As you begin to write the rough draft, don’t worry about proper word choices, grammatical tense agreement or whether or not to use a semi-colon. Instead, simply get the thoughts, ideas and concepts on paper. Ignore that inner critic hissing on your shoulder and keep your hands moving. Try to keep up with the narrative you have in your mind. You can go back to clean things up and tweak verbiage later – getting the ideas you have onto paper will help your paper to develop more quickly.

4. Develop an Outline System That Works For You

Traditional outlines simply don’t work for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that outlines are worthless. Find a system that achieves the same goal but which fits your own writing or creative style. Writing a few sentences and using lists for each paragraph may be the best method for you, or simply jotting down ideas you can rearrange may be more your style. Find what works for you and use it.

5. Watch Your Adverbs

Using adverbs may bulk up your essay, but it also makes your paper less effective. A person isn’t very poor, they’re impoverished. Concentration camps weren’t very bad, they were horrific. The sun isn’t very hot, it’s scorching. Find better descriptions for common adverbs of degree in order to polish your writing.

6. Set a Timer

According to several studies, people work best with focused concentration for about 25 minutes at a time. Gab a kitchen timer, wind it to the 25 minute mark and GO. Write your heart out and don’t stop typing for the full 25 minutes. If you get stumped or hit a wall, move on to another section of the paper or write ‘What I really want to say is…’ and then finish that sentence. Even if you end up scraping half of what you’ve written, this type of focused creativity will not only get you farther into your essay, it can even result in some surprising gems of inspiration.

7. Focus on Writing Alone

When you write, do it alone. Don’t try writing while your friends are over, or while you’re watching a movie with someone. Make the time to sit alone and focus on your writing. Keeping clear of distractions will help you to focus more effectively and, in the end, getting it done will give you more free time.

8. Conduct Timed Research

Research can be the downfall of many students when it’s time to sit down and write. They may start with the best intentions but when conducting research online, it’s easy to click from one page to the next and suddenly find yourself playing a Super Mario emulator. Set a timer for your research, separate from writing time, and stick to it. If you find yourself still gravitating towards pages of distraction, set up a list of blocked websites through parental control software or time management tools such as LeechBlock or Cold Turkey.

9. Set Small Goals

Chopping your writing assignment up into smaller pieces can help boost productivity and speeds along the writing process. Dying for another cup of coffee? Finish this paragraph first. Want to get up and stretch your legs? Just pound out the rest of this outline so you know where to start when the break is over. Thinking of your assignment as a series of smaller milestones will help make it easier – and quicker – to finish.

10. Rewrite As You Edit

Combine your rewriting and editing step into one and clean up your spelling and grammar as you revise your writing. The best way to do this is to read your essay out loud, as if you were simply trying to educate or persuade a friend. Combining this final revision step can easily shave time off your total writing time and reading the essay out loud also ensures everything flows seamlessly.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays may seem like they’re made to be nothing more than combative – and not a great way to win over the heart and mind of your teacher. However, writing a good argumentative essay has less to do with being combative and more to do with playing to your audience. In fact, with a bit of planning and little grunt work you can easily turn an argumentative essay assignment into your opportunity to become your teacher’s favorite student.

Know Your Audience

If you’ve been lucky enough to get to choose your topic for the essay, choose one you know your teacher feels passionately about. Check out their Facebook profile for starters. Even if they have it set to be pretty restricted from Public view, you should still be able to get a few bit of information. Maybe they show their favorite books, bands or TV shows. Look for patterns in the things they enjoy, the books or movies they mention in class and times when they talk openly abut their own perspective. In other words, simply pay attention to your teacher. Check out the bumper stickers on their car as this is one way many people often express themselves more honestly, even if they tend to be more guarded on their social media pages or within the classroom.

Once you have a topic in mind, don’t automatically assume you’ll need to be on the same side as your teacher. After all, an educator will be able to spot pandering a mile away, so don’t go overboard or the whole thing could backfire on you. Instead, adopt the position your research leads to. An argumentative essay requires writers to do a lot of detailed research in order to fully explain a problem, consider possible solutions, alternatives or positions and then make a definitive statement about it. Your teacher may appreciate the fact that you are in agreement, but unless you’ve done the work to back it up, he or she will see it as brown-nosing which could easily affect your grade.

Do the Work

A well written argumentative essay should have these key characteristics:

A definitive thesis in the first paragraph. Your thesis should explain why the topic is important, how it can affect the larger world and why readers should be interested enough to develop their own opinion. The introduction and thesis of your essay should be outlined or roughly written before you begin the body of your essay, but it is fine to go back and tweak or revise both the thesis and the introduction as you get further into your research and your essay develops more fully.

Well written transitions between paragraphs. Every essay has three basic sections – the introduction, the body and the conclusion. Transitioning between these sections gives you a chance to show off your true writing skills. Transitioning between these sections is often difficult for students but if you can tweak these areas, they can offer the perfect way to showcase your writing skills. Ultimately, teachers want their students to be able to communicate effectively and showcasing these kinds of skills scores big points when it comes to grading.

Evidence, support and a lack of bias. A well written argumentative essay draws conclusions based on evidence, not emotion. Keep your writing calm, cool and collected so that the evidence can speak pretty much for itself. Sticking to this also takes a lot of the pressure off your shoulders as you can simply use studies, anecdotes, research and historical articles in order to build your case. Some research will speak well enough for itself, so be careful not to over-state a point.

A conclusion that offers something new. The conclusion of your essay shouldn’t simply be a rehashing of your introduction. When reviewing your conclusion, compare it to your original thesis. While the spirit should be the same, your conclusion should be a reflection of both the core issue and the evidence reviewed throughout the essay.

Writing an argumentative essay doesn’t have to mean drawing battle lines in your class – or with your instructor. Choosing a topic you know your teacher cares about can give you a leg up in terms of scoring a few extra points, but you’ll still need to do the work to back it up. Ultimately, becoming a teacher’s favorite student is about addressing them on a personal level and showing that you’re able to tackle difficult subjects, complicated research and historical records with a keen eye for observation and a fresh perspective.

10 Causes of Procrastination that Can Be Easily Avoided

Procrastination

The cases of procrastination are many, but the most common ones can be avoided. In this post we point them out in a no-holds-barred way so you can identify and then get past them. Let’s dig in.

Cause #1: You’re In Way Over Your Head

Maybe you just bit off more than you can chew? They don’t say the road to Hades is paved with good intentions for nothing. If you’re passionate and driven but find yourself stuck, this could be one of the likely culprits. Take another look at what you’ve set out to do and see if you can minimize and simplify so you know exactly which (smaller) step to take next.

Cause #2: Fear of Illusory Outcomes

Whether it’s the fear of success or failure, outcomes aren’t real until you get to the outcome itself. And, 90% of the time things work out differently than we expect. If fear of success or failure is causing you to get held up in a rut, then step back and just take in the moment at hand. When you do that the fear melts away because you’ve given your mind a more immediate concern.

Cause #3: Your Goal isn’t Compelling Enough

If you don’t create a goal or vision of the future that’s compelling enough to get you excited and engaged, then chances are you’ll procrastinate. You’ll put things off because there isn’t enough importance to go around. Make your goals so utterly fantastic that there is no other choice but to make a move and get things done. The process becomes a joyous journey rather than the chore.

Cause #4: Inert Complexity

This is like cause #1, but rather than size we’re talking more about complexity. When something is too big and too close, you can’t really see it. Likewise, when things are too complex procrastination is really the only option. Are you procrastinating because what you want to do makes no sense? Admit that fact, and then re-focus. Find an entry point that does make sense, no matter how simple, and work your way systematically from there.

Cause #5: Unsure Ground at the Start Point

When you first begin, you might be hesitating because you’re unsure of how exactly to start. Maybe outcomes aren’t even in the mix yet because you can’t see beyond the first step. This is probably the easiest cause to avoid. All you do is just take the first step. Just do it. Once it’s done, it’s done. You can adjust and prepare until your hair turns grey, but nothing is going to happen either way until you get started.

Cause #6: Unrealistic Perfectionism

Yes, by all means be proud of what you’re doing. But, there’s a point where perfectionism starts getting in the way. Once you begin to backpedal, your desire to reach the ideal is now working against you. As soon as you realize that, you’ll probably procrastinate because no one wants to keep digging the hole deeper. Get started.

Cause #7: Spiteful Immaturity

Maybe you’re staying put to shove it to the man? Maybe you’re sabotaging your own future in spite of authority? Great; brilliant way to declare to the world you haven’t grown up yet. There are those rare and strategic cases where procrastination plays a role in success. Many of the world’s greats throughout history have been self-declared procrastinators But, they almost never do so out of spite.

Cause #8: You’re in it for The Wrong Reasons

Hey, listen you can project whatever and say whatever you want to the world around you. You can put on whatever front floats your boat. You can put on whatever show it takes for you to feel comfortable on your stage. But, you CANNOT fool yourself. If you’re not in it for the right reasons, you’ll self-destruct and procrastinate. Once you sense yourself losing interest, either get back in the game to win or play something else.

Cause #9: No Entertainment Value

Human beings need entertainment. It comes in countless forms, and it must be there to keep our interest. If that means you create your own entertainment to keep yourself from getting bored, that’s awesome! Do whatever it takes, but make sure there’s a steady stream of reward and entertainment. Without it procrastination will become a powerful enemy.

Cause #10: Lack of Physical Fitness

Fitness plays a role in everything we do, in the same way thought and breathing do. If you’ve let yourself go, you’re morbidly obese or you can’t even beat a snail in the rat race, it’s time to train. Physical training and conditioning is a great motivator and it makes the brain work at a more optimum level. Get off the couch and into the gym.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the holy grail of causes for procrastination. With that said, what kinds of personal and unique things do you do to stay on your game and focused when it’s so easy to sluff off?

Male vs. Female Writers [Infographic]

top male vs female infographic

Just like J.K. Rowling, many other female writers still choose to be published under fake male names, and here comes the question: “Does this really help to make it to the top?” Or, “Is there a gender bias in the publishing world?”

According to the gender identifying tool, it’s very easy to spot a female writer. Sadly, this difference has nothing to do with what the reader really wants. Blind readings and bestselling male pseudonyms can’t be wrong! Inequality is all about prejudice.

Here’s our handy infographic that can dispel some myths.

Pin it, share it…enjoy it!


Male vs female writers


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7 Fabulous Ways to Improve Your Writing Style

While writing style is ultimately crafted through time and experience, this post focuses on the 7 most fabulous of fabulous ways you can improve your writing in a more focused and productive direction rather than through mountains of trial and error.

writing style

1. Create Your Writer’s Asset List

Regardless of how long you’ve been writing, from one day to one lifetime, sit down and compile a list of all your assets as a writer. The exercise is about providing perspective that oftentimes is lost to those who don’t approach these things systematically.

Here are some questions to get you started.

  • What kinds of essays/papers have you written before? Keep it simple, but do give yourself a visual representation of everything you’ve accomplished.
  • How fast are you?
  • What are your grammatical strengths?
  • What are the defining characteristics of your writing style presently?
  • What are you the best at writing?

2. Cut, Clip Shave and Destroy

It’s called “killing your darlings” and the practice is valuable beyond words. You start to see how much of your writing is fluff and filler. You begin to see how to write more directly, rather than being overly descriptive or beating around the bush because you’re unsure of yourself.

Write a paragraph about something, anything will do.

Then, go through it word by word and get rid of EVERYTHING that isn’t absolutely necessary to make the point and keep the sentences cohesive. Once you find the core, then you can sprinkle your own twists on things that reveal your style.

3. Take Any Focus off of Yourself

Are you writing for yourself? That’s like an educational speakers speaking to hear themselves talk. It doesn’t resonate well and sends many of the wrong signals. Who are you writing for? What’s the point? What’s the end-goal? Your writing style is expressed most naturally when you aren’t trying, right? Take the focus off yourself and put it elsewhere, thereby allowing your style free reign.

4. Regard the General Intonation of Your Writing

Rather than trying to look at style in a compartmentalized fashion, pay attention to the overall vibe or intonation of your writing. Remember, the vast majority of human communication is through intonation, or how we say things, not what we actually say. Most of the time when we talk about writing “style” we’re really referring to your intonation. Address is from that angle to streamline the process.

5. Study Writers

Try studying writers outside your comfort bubble. Keep in mind that these authors are processed goods. That paperback is the commercial literature equivalent to a Twinkie. They’ve been heavily edited and proofread by people that make insane amounts of money. Their personality is like iron.

Go for someone, anyone, above your age with TONS of personality. Want an example? Ok, try Russel Brand, or perhaps Matt Taibbi. You can’t expand style without new, foreign and alien input. Pay special attention to any genre that makes you uncomfortable, because there’s likely gold in there for you.

6. Actually Study the Science of Creativity

If you study the science of creativity you’ll see that you probably have far more of it than you might think. If your style seems stagnate, you need to sit down and take a look at how creativity really works. #5 touched on it, but you can take it much further than that.

Creativity comes from quasi-random “mutations” (if you will) when two really unrelated or oddly paired things meet. Put yourself and your mind in places you’re unfamiliar with on a constant basis and then absorb tiny bits of info. This will shape a truly fabulous writing style.

7. Make Rephrasing a State of Mind

Isn’t style the ability to take a dry sentence and turn it into something more engaging? Isn’t the ability to take a dry sentence and inject your own personality into it? With that being said you should make it a constant background practice for your mind to rephrase and reword things you read in passing or directly.

If you devour a post that blows your mind because of the style, then rewrite it in your own words. If you read an advertisement that impresses you, then rewrite it. The more you practice taking things and molding/shaping them in your own voice, the more your own style will reveal itself and evolve.

What about you? What writing tools are you willing to share? There are so many different takes on this subject, probably as many as there are students. Some tools and tips work better than other, so out with it! What are your top 3?

8 Persuasive Writing Techniques to Make the Story Appealing

Whether the story is fictional or not, there are less well-known persuasive writing techniques you can use to make it more appealing. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminding and boom, just like that new ideas come on like cerebral wildfire. In this article we’ll look at eight reliable methods you can use to compel your readers into deeper personal involvement.

persuasive Writing Technique

#1: Almighty Propaganda

Not to get dark or anything, but look at how well certain governments and corporate bodies throughout modern history have used propaganda to persuade the masses do any number of oddball things.

  • Are you adequately repeating the theme of the story in different ways?
  • Are you creating characters that deepen the story by reinforcing your point, or pull it apart?
  • If you need the reader to feel or imaginatively see something, then it bears repeating.

Listen, the facts are in ladies and gentlemen: if you repeat a theme, a moral or even a marketing slogan to someone through a story about ten times over a short period you’ll imprint it within their minds. Say the same thing, show the same scene, or make the same impression in a series of different ways like creative and subtle propaganda.

#2: Provide Reasons – Anything Will Do

Give the readers good reason they should continue on with the next paragraph, buy the product, get involved with the character or even take you seriously as a writer. One of the most powerful words in your reason-arsenal is “because.”

Why because? Who because? When because? What because? Everything needs to have because after it in one way or another for readers to buy into whatever story you’re selling. And here’s the key, your reasons don’t technically need to make sense.

Of course in non-fiction this is situational, but for sales copy and fiction writing in general the reasons just need to be good enough to persuade, right? Since most human beings are persuaded emotionally, there’s a big grey area in the reasoning department.

#3: Consistent Upward Climbs

Rollercoasters are awesome, but they’re also mentally exhausting. If you want to drive readers nuts and have them begging for a CTA (call to action), then build your story with steady unchanging upwards momentum. Think about it from a psychological perspective.

How much of human society is based on consistency? The power grid, entertainment, the work force etc. We’re mentally programmed not to come across as inconsistent. So, consistency needs to be woven into the fabric of your persuasive writing.

#4: Lavish Readers with Social Proof

Social proof is about tapping into another engrained trait – need for acceptance. Whether we want to admit it or not, we like to do what everyone else is doing. A simple example is, pretend you have a choice between two items of equal price and quality. One has customer testimonials extolling its virtues while the other does not.

Which one do you think roughly 8 out of 10 people go with? Now, those testimonials could be completely false. It doesn’t occur to us to check their validity. Once you learn to recognize social proofing you begin to see it in all of the most powerful writing, regardless of genre.

#5: Parables, Allegories, Metaphors & Similes

You could throw Myths in that list as well. This is the stuff that drives the human mind into frenzy. The trick, and the challenging part, is to make them original. How many creative, funny and ironic comparisons (simile) can you make between a mouse and a man?

Metaphors get complex ideas across in a digestible way, through story. They make direct connections in indirect ways. Allegories are tough. Try making one of those up. Think about Plato’s timeless “Allegory of the Cave”.

There is perhaps nothing more powerful than the proper and effective use of these tools. You can dramatically sweep minds right off their feet and into your arms (see what I just did there?). Study them and whenever you can, use them.

#6: Appeal to the Human Animal

Objectively, human beings are beings just like any others, at least in a physical sense. We’re governed to certain degrees, by instincts. These instincts go back hundreds of thousands of years. Jealousy, envy, acceptance into the tribe etc. When you really want to grab someone, grab them tribally. We all intimately understand the concept of “tribe.” Modern tribes are everywhere!

#7: Unrestrained and yet Structured Insanity

Go crazy. Do the unexpected and throw a few proverbial BIC lighters into the fire when no one’s looking. Upset the tribe. The key is to only allow true chaos to reign momentarily. If you sustain it too long the writing will thin out and all connection might be lost. Structure the insanity.

#8: Get Psychological

Last but not least, when your writing needs to evolve go psychological. It’s all psychological regardless really. Become the captain of that ship rather than the guy up in the crow’s nest. As the writer, you’re in control of the rudder of your story, not the audience. Use their minds as your persuasive sails.

Have you created your own story? Do you have any tips for writing with persuasion?

Who Invented Writing and What It’s Becoming

If you want the super-detailed high-brow answer to who invented writing equipped with links to volumes of collegiate historical data, then by all means visit the Wikipedia entry. Otherwise, this article is designed to provide a more concise view and then get straight to the modern conceptions of writing.

who invented writing

We’ll begin by defining “writing” as symbols (letters/words) that are used to convey something. With that said it becomes clear we could go all the way back to the first cave dweller to draw on the cave wall, or in the mud.

How did it happen? Was it the protein in our diets, ancient astronauts, cold Darwinian evolution or benevolent Gods? Let’s try not to get lost in abstraction too soon. Writing happened because over a really long period of time humans developed a more and more complex way to communicate with one another.

We developed writing systems so that more people could talk to each other in an easier to understand and efficient way. Writing began as utility.

What Writing Is Transforming Into

Now, here we are in the very early 21st century technological era. First graders today have a completely unique view of what writing and human communication is.

  • Books have become eBooks.
  • Reading is now synonymous with browsing, web surfing and eReading.
  • An increasing portion of all global communication happens in a digital realm.
  • Facebook updates can change lives or begin careers, while Tweets can start or stop social revolutions.

Most human beings are bombarded by advertising and marketing signals over a hundred times a day in tons of different forms. The first thing many millennial folks imagine when the subject of writing is brought up is the blogosphere.

We’re headed towards a near future where one single search engine company commands and acts as the gatekeeper to the brunt of human knowledge. Where the first place the new generations turn to for answers?

How People Become Writers Today

Think back just 10 short years ago, maybe even less and consider what it was like to become an officially recognized, published and professional writer.

  • Right now, if you wanted to you could open up a word processor, jot out page after page of nonsense, slap a snazzy cover image on it and self-publish it on Amazon as an ebook. Then, you could call yourself an ebook writer.
  • You could set up a blog, start blogging and call yourself a blogger. The titles was recently used in the halls of the US Senate and White House.
  • You could sign up for free to any of the online freelancing websites and call yourself a copywriter.
  • You could hop online and study endlessly on how to be a writer for absolutely no cost from your bedroom, or on a beach somewhere using a laptop and a wireless connection. Ivy league college now offer advanced “open-source” writing classes.

Is traditional or conventional education even required anymore to be considered a writer? Are writing classes even necessary? You could call yourself a social media writer and compose updates, tweets and blog comments for people and businesses.

What a writer is now and is becoming is a completely new and unique thing from any other time in human history. You could publish something online, that should it go viral, would possibly be read by people across the globe within minutes, or hours.

The Emergence of Viral Writing

To get an inside perspective of where modern writing is headed, we need only look at it from the standpoint of professional web writers. A new profession really, that’s only just begun to spread. However, already the demand for folks that write specifically for web-audiences is prolific.

  • They don’t need to have any classical writing education whatsoever. In fact, these days it’s uncommon for celebrated web writers to mention their educations at all.
  • The primary goals of their writing is to sell, inform and entertain but many of the conventional rules of writing no longer apply.
    Standard web articles are meant to be easy to scan, and present comparatively bite-size chunks of data.
  • Non-fiction is shrinking at a rapid rate. The majority of people who buy non-fiction online get them in small packages roughly 10-25,000 words which not long ago would have been the average length of a single chapter.

The history of writing and where it’s going is an incredibly complex subject. Right now there’s an extreme lack of attention being given to how writing is transforming. And, along with it, us. What will people think of writing in 2020?

What will it mean to be one at that time? With video and mobile technology advancing so quickly, will there come a time when the written, or textual word is irrelevant?

How to Write a Story Plot that Doesn’t Suck

No matter what kind of writer you are or want to be, mastering the plot can seem like an uphill battle. Life is a plot. Everything is a plot, but don’t let the complexities confound you. The formula of plots can be broken down into smaller more bite-size chunks of information that are easier to digest.

In this post we’re going to go over a list of traits that you’ll find in every truly noteworthy plot. These help to provide some structure. Then, the second half of this post lays out 6 steps in sequence that while brief, pretty much provide the bullet-point perspective of plot writing.

Writing a story plot

Specific Authority Signals of a Good Plot

This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means but it covers the bases. These 8 thinks are common to all memorable and engaging plot.

  • Niche: Every piece of prolific writing was written for specific type of person, or for niche of people. Plots shouldn’t be designed to try and please everyone. Plots don’t have a one size fits all formula. Each genre presents its own set of rules, codes and expectations that must be met for general approval.
  • Theme: Likewise, all great writing revolves closely or loosely around a theme. Like a dog on a chain. No matter how far the chain stretches, the dog is always fixed into a certain environment and cannot leave. You could even call it a background theme if you want, but don’t confuse it with the setting.
  • Structured Chaos: One of the most impressive plots to hit the contemporary world would have to be The Matrix trilogy. Each of the three can stand alone. They all have every base covered and there’s tons of structure, but the sense of reality is constantly blurred. Find the niche, tether them to a relevant theme, and then add some chaos into the world they inhabit.
  • Conflict: This is plot writing 101. Nearly all of the celebrated plots involve conflict.
  • The Onion Influence: Let the plot unfold one layer at a time. With each peel the tension, conflict, emotional involved and investment should increase. Furthermore, try to influence their bodies the way peeling or cutting a fresh onion can (tears!).
  • Characters: Characters need to be specific, memorable and possess their own unique quirks. Never ever short change characters, but don’t bog down the plot with too much character development either. Think of it as a tiny step beyond a “need to know” basis.
  • Setting: A third of the plot is dictated by where it takes place, regardless of how many different locations are visited.
  • Presence: If the plot were to magically transform into a human being, what kind of presence would they project? Strange question right? Seriously, what kind of vibe is being created by the plot, and is it under your control?

6 Practical Steps to Composing a Righteous Plot

Now, let’s move on to the six step process of putting together a solid plot outline that you can use to craft a great piece of sales copy or perhaps a work of fiction.

  1. Purpose & Desire: What is the inherent desire of the plot, and what is the purpose you have in mind for the reader? Now, every viable plot either solves a problem, answers a question or attains some kind of goal. Coming to terms with the overall goal of your plot is the first step. Each events leads towards it. Every word is a step towards that goal.
  2. Destination & Consequence: If the goal is clearly in focus you should be able to know what the conclusion is going to be before you write the first word. The conclusion is the destination; the culmination. This is your second step. Something to keep always in the background of your mind is, what will be the overall consequences of this plot?
  3. Requirements: What needs to happen to get you from the beginning to the ending without getting lost along the way? What are the requirements to meeting your goal and reaching the conclusion? Drafting these out and thoroughly understanding their place in the plot is your next step.
  4. Intermittent Forewarnings: The next step is to strategically think of forewarnings you can place throughout the story that either subtly or obtrusively warns the reader that the conclusion, or climax is coming. In a way, you could imagine these forewarnings as consequences as well. They are the direct result of the journey reaching close to its end. They don’t have to be either good, or bad just indicative.
  5. Sacrifice: The last step is coming to terms with the price/prices that must be paid for reaching the goal. Sacrifices must be made. Powerful plots draw readers in and involve them. Goals must be obtained. Answers uncovered. Problems solved, but everything comes with a price in life.

This should help, but ultimately it comes down to thorough planning and organizing your plot as you hash it out on paper, or on screen.