Shanan Haislip reports:
"[T]here will always be people telling you how to do what you do, but this way. Their way. Should you always listen? Good question...What if what you know is kind of boring? Does that mean you’re a pretentious try-hard for wanting to do more than that? Should you feel underqualified? No. Writing what you don’t know means you’ll have to do some research, so be sure to put yourself in a teachable frame of mind. Get ready to learn. But, please, for the benefit of modern literature, feel free to write about that which you don’t know...[Y]ou need not have been to college to understand how a semicolon works and second[ly], sometimes, nothing else will do when you want to tie two corresponding-yet-complete thoughts together...The most common (non-listing) way to use a semicolon is to bind two independent clauses (word-blobs with complete subject-and-predicate structures) together. Turn a deaf ear to any and all writing advice that tries to take tools out of your writing toolbox and tries to tell you that it’s for your own good...At one point, I was a holier-than-thou writing tutor, and I had one commandment. Never, ever, under any circumstances, end a sentence with a word like to, for, from, in[,] or with. I would always make my students bury these words further down in earlier parts of the sentence, confident that I was properly apprenticing them in the art of wordsmithing. Too bad I didn’t realize that the prepositions rule included other, longer words like between, beyond, upon, and about. I’m sure we can all think of beautiful, perfectly literary ways to use these words to end sentences...Before you crucify me, let me say that 99% of the time, 'Show, don’t tell,' is a perfectly necessary piece of advice that all writers, particularly those new to the craft, need to heed religiously. Too much telling is almost invariably boring. New writers think that telling feels to the reader like the training montage from Rocky; actually, it usually feels like having to sit through a story that usually ends with, 'Guess you had to be there.'...It’s fine to use telling as the connective tissue that binds your scenes together and provides crucial information. You can waste half a page of context clues for the reader to guess Mama’s age, or you could tell us she’s 37. It’s up to you, and sometimes, it’s better not to waste the space. Conclusion? Tell—sometimes."
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