The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

Category: Creativity (Page 1 of 3)

Discover how to write sarcasm.

How to Write Sarcasm

Ignore what they say—sarcasm isn’t the lowest form of wit. It’s also not the highest form of intelligence (sorry). But it is fun. It doesn’t always translate well into writing, though.

My characters use sarcasm A LOT. Why? Because they take after my friends and I. Some of us use it occasionally while others use it hourly.

And, since we’re millennials, most of our communication is done digitally. That means that understanding when the person is being sarcastic and when they’re being sincere is crucial. Some of this comes from being friends and having known each other a long time, but not always.

In the digital age emojis can make it easier to get the right tone across, but how do you write sarcasm that comes across as sarcasm and not you being an arse without using emojis?

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How to get into the Writing Zone

Life is stressful. It’s even more stressful when you have to come home from a tough day at work then sit down and write. How do you shake off the day’s stresses and focus on your fiction? (Or nonfiction or poetry?) How do you give your characters the attention they deserve?

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Are Creative Writing Classes Worth it?

Ever considered taking a creative writing class but then wondered if it’s worth the time and money?

Ever thought that you could just learn everything you need about writing from a book?

Ever wondered just what creative writing classes teach anyway?

While I can’t speak for every writer or every creative writing class, I’ve studied my far share of writing. I’ve got a BA and an MA in creative writing, and regularly take part in classes at the local writers’ studio.

With writing, there’s always more to learn, and the best way to do this is by engaging with other writers.

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Don’t Myth Out on Writing Competitions!

There are hundreds of writing competitions held every year, often with tempting prizes, yet many writers don’t enter.

There might be good reasons for this in some cases, but I’ve heard many that simply don’t hold water.

I’ve won 25 writing competitions and literary awards, and part of the reason why is that I’ve ignored some of the myths that prevent writers from entering and winning. I’ve also judged both poetry and prose competitions, so I know what not to do!

Give yourself the best chance by not falling for these common myths:

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6 Writing Myths That Are Holding You Back

We’ve all dreamt of creating a world as well-respected and worshipped as J.K.Rowling’s Wizarding World. We’d be lying if we said that we didn’t. Unfortunately, this just isn’t possible for most of us. It’s sad, but true. While it’s important to aim big, it’s also important to be realistic in what we can achieve as writers. The truth is, no matter what path we choose, fewer and fewer writers each year make a living from what they write, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, or even journalism.

Here are 6 writing myths and the realities behind them.

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7 Simple Ways to Find Your Writing Voice

As writers, it’s our writing voice that keeps our readers coming back. It’s what makes us stand out from other writers, what connects us to our readers, and how we express to our readers what we’re all about.

The best writing voices make it seem effortless, like they’re sat across from you drinking coffee. Their voices are clear, concise, and friendly.

Whether you’re writing fiction or creative nonfiction (including blogs, copy, and even some newspaper articles), you shouldn’t try to sound too academic or verbose. While these traits are fine in corporate or academic writings, they’re the opposite of what your average reader is looking for.

The average attention span these days is just eight seconds, so if you want people to keep coming back, they need to be able to digest your writing quickly and easily.

But how do you get to that point?

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How to Write About Depression

Depression. We’ve all heard of it. We all think we know what it is. But do we?

Depression isn’t just about feeling down, nor is it about what goes on in our heads, but what happens in our bodies, too.

Studies show that as many as 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives. That means you know someone—probably several someones—with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder or something else. It’s therefore important that when we write about these things we do so accurately, sensitively, and honestly.

I’ve written in the past how to write about psychopathy, sociopathy, and panic attacks. Now it’s time to find out more about depression, and how to write about it…

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How to Kick-Start Your Creativity, Whatever Your Mood

It doesn’t matter what our word count per day, we all hit creative roadblocks sometimes.

But you know what?

You can be more creative.

And you can write more.

Here’s how.

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The Trouble with Writing Groups

Writing groups—sometimes called critique groups—have a baaaad rep. As a member of a close-knit (and very tough-love) one, this bugs me.

Different writing groups operate in different ways. Different people want different things out of them. It’s unfair to dismiss them all based on one or two that you’ve been a part of (or worse, that someone you know has been a part of).

Workshopping was a huge part of my university life, both during my BA and MA. Not having critique groups to discuss things with for a while was disorientating, and it wasn’t until last year that I found another one I liked. Good writing groups don’t come to those who wait, though: they come to those who seek them out, or that create them.

If you want to be a part of a writing group—or start one up—here’s some things to consider:

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Why You Won’t Love Everything You Write, and That’s OK

Towards the end of working on What Happens in New York, I really, really hated it.

I couldn’t stand to look at those bloody pink tights.

Whenever someone asked me about it, my back stiffened.

I hated it.

I really and truly hated it.

But I had a deadline, and I had to reach it.

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