Writing Tips

The challenge, should you choose to accept it, you must include at least one of the words on this Buzzfeed list of “old-timey” words in your next conversation. Does that sound like a bunch of stultiloquence to you? Well, whoever said a little tommyrot was ever bad for you? So get your monkeyshine on and become an old-timey blatherskite!

— Ginnis

When I was taking grammar classes and they were destroying me as a person (AS A PERSON!), I used a variety of online resources to keep up with the class. I am not a natural grammarian. I am not a natural rules-follower. I am, in fact, a natural thumbnoser. But increasing your knowledge of grammar is worth your time. Ugh, grammar. I know. Trust me on this, if on nothing else, studying grammar will make you a better and more confident writer. So let’s do this.

  1. Grammar Girl: Why, of all the grammar bloggers and vloggers, did I rely on her? Not sure, to be honest. But she seemed like cool. Grammar Girl is about quick tips and short explanations. No drills or deep explorations of thorny topics in grammar here — just straight answers.
  2. Grammar Bytes: Drills, glorious drills! This site has a number of grammar excises that you can do in your browser, as many times as you’d like. Test coming up? This is what you need. The exercises are low on pressure, high on content and tips.
  3. Guide to Grammar and Writing: Quizes, explanations, terminology! When studying grammar, you quickly realize that there are approximately one million terms that include variations on the words phrase and verb. (Phrasal verb, verb phrase, verbal phrase… .)
  4. Wikipedia: Whut? Yes, really. Wikipedia offers concise and cogent explanations of even the most complicated of grammatical concepts.

— Megan

On Writing

Is the novel outdated? No, says the New Yorker. The novel, argues Adelle Waldman, is more than a historically convenient, story-delivery system. It has particular characteristics and capabilities and they are worth preserving.

There are altogether so many ways to abuse plot that we tend to forget what plot is at bottom—and what is lost when it is dispensed with entirely. Plot dramatizes incident and moves characters through time. In good novels, these functions combine to approximate not only the reality of life, which is of course linear and time-bound, but also, crucially, life’s tendency to defy abstraction and deflate our pretentions—to make fools of us.

Games have plot too, but games don’t provide quite the same interaction of plot, character, and idea that novels do — isn’t every kind of art special? Why do we keep trying to do away with them?

— Megan