January 19




The title says it all, what to write about. I’m somewhat out of ideas so I thought I might as well help out people who are stuck. I remember a year ago I got really depressed and nothing seemed worth anything. A friend of mine suggested to write down whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what it is, just write it down! So I did. I started off writing typical one word descriptions of how I felt, like worthless, sad, anger, and I don’t exactly remember what else. I started getting off topic and writing down simple sentences, and whatnot. Some of the words were pointless, but in the end, it made me feel a lot better. Great, so what am I getting at? Just write whatever comes to your mind! It doesn’t matter whether it’s stupid single words that won’t be relevant later, just write whatever comes to mind.


It could even be done like a workout. You set a time that you start, and you just let your thoughts go on paper. You could also set days of the week you can do this. Also, in the creative writing class I am writing this for, we have a book that has a bunch of short prompts you can write about. It’s a good book for when you’re stuck. It does have some adult topics, so be mindful of that. There are some other books too that should help with writer’s block.


Even though you can’t avoid writer’s block, there are definitely ways around it! Books are a great way to help it, especially books meant to stop writer’s block and get your mind to generate ideas. If you don’t feel like going to Barnes and Noble or spending money on a book, then write whatever comes to mind! If you feel that there are other ways around it that I am forgetting, please feel free to leave a comment below.

January 19

Inspirational Quotes


By.Ralph Accornero

One thing I really like to read and look up are inspirational quotes. Simple yet so powerful it can make your horrible day into something spectacular. Particularly I like quotes that are from famous racing drivers and famous people with a love for the automobile. Some of my favorite quotes come from legends in racing such as Niki Lauda(“Rebels, lunatics, dreamers. People who are that desperate to make a mark, and are prepared to die trying”),, Dale Earnhardt(“You can’t let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones),,Don Garlits( “Everything was fine until I left and then I ran out of talent!”),Jeremy Clarkson(“Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.” ), and many more. In a lot of the quotes I have read you can literally feel the passion and love these great men and woman had and have for their sport , and it gives me a sense drive to make myself the best possible person I can be, Just like they made themselves the best drivers they could be.Plus its something that you can do when your either stuck and dont know what to read or even write about,or it can be just soemthing you do when your bored.That’s why I really enjoy reading inspirational quotes.

January 19


By: Brandon

      To create a whole new world is no easy feat. There is a lot the author must consider to make a world believable by the reader. The physics and reality of the world we live in today is what people see as normal. Therefore, if an author tries to deviate from that set image of what is the standard, the reader starts to question his motives.. The biggest question I try to answer when making my setting for stories is “could I see this happening”. There is some optimism and imagination required if you are creating new laws of physics or time travel but the key point is to make it believable. Explain how the world got this divine power. I try to make my stories follow the laws of physics that we know in the real world today. However, “magic” has become a popular and accepted new addition to what is believable in stories. Using some kind of outside force to give characters or creatures unnatural abilities is a nice edition if you’re going for that kind of fiction story.

      When I start to build my worlds I seek out inspiration. I play a video game, google search keywords, look through a comic or book with images (personally I love using Dungeons & Dragons books because most of my stories are medieval/fantasy themed) . This usually sparks some kind of grand plan in my head and I then start to describe the places I see in writing using bullet points. However, if an immediate spark doesn’t occur, I try another technique. Picture yourself standing in a blank, white, eternal space. Now picture how you want the character to feel, what you want to see with their eyes, or just let your brain start building. Often times if you put yourself in a blank room with the intention of creating a physical world, your brain can’t help but put something together. Now that you have a very basic, or maybe even a vivid image of a starting point, build, build, build. What is your character’s first task or scene? Try to picture where you would be or where you would go if you had to do what this character did. Once you have your starting point it should come much easier after. However, if you get stuck, just look back at the resources I mentioned to get the train moving again. After some time you’ll have a growing world that’s easy to expand for your characters to explore.

January 19

My Process

By: Sophisticated

Have you ever had such a hard time writing that it makes you physically upset? Like kicking, punching your bed, almost in tears frustrated. The kind of frustrated I can only assume babies go through when they are too young to communicate something they need. And sometimes thats how writers block makes me feel. Like a baby that cant communicate correctly. I know what I want to happen, I know how I want it to happen, but I have no idea how to write it down.


Recently Ive been working on a piece called “Awake”, it is about two girls i a college psychology class performing an experiment on controlling dreams. Something called Lucid Dreaming. The goal of this would be to allow people to solve problems in their sleep, maybe giving people more time to solve world problems. But Im having a hard time setting this up. I know I would like to have a specific twist somewhere… but where? How do I start it? I have to go through my whole process forty times before Im happy with how Ive laid out the story. And even then, I change it fifty more times because Ive made changes down the road.


So heres my process. What would I like the story to be? Once I have that figured out, I can create a start to the story. So, for my “Awake” piece, I would like the story to be a cautionary tale about how you should not mess with the subconscious mind. So the start to my story has to be able to explain the experiment and foreshadow what is to come. Next I make characters. WHat does Addie look like? What does Cassie look like? To make characters, I really just start imagining somebody. Nobody specific, but i like to add in strange details like Cassie having an Oswego sweatshirt even though nobody in her family has ever been to Oswego, Id love to be able to give this profound reason as to why I like doing this, but I don’t have one. I think it just makes the characters more relatable, and makes the inner monologue of the speaker more in depth.


At this point, I just have to write. I have to keep writing, because once I start, details start to fill in on their own for me. The problem is I cant stop once I have started, or I will lose the momentum and forget what I was trying to get at. Once I find a place I am happy to stop, i look for feedback. In this piece, I was told that there are similarities to the movie Inception, which is something I would like to avoid. This sparked me re-planning my entire piece from beginning to end. But in the end, I think my changes made the story much better. Peer review can sometimes really open your mind up. I have my story linked here if you would like to read it. This is only what I have so far.


Thank you, comments would be appreciated.

January 19

Vivliopolis – The Nation of Writers

By Thracius

This blog’s primary topic is “literary citizenship”, as in, being part of a greater community of writers. This got me thinking: what would a nation of writers look like? As in, a place where one could literally be a citizen – a nation where every single person is, to some extent, a writer. (Note that this is just a hypothetical thought experiment, for fun. Not a serious proposal.)

Firstly, the name. Let’s call it Vivliopolis, or “book city”, because I have an affection for the Greek. (I suspect the Vivliopolitans would, too.) The name would affirm their commitment to traditional books over other mediums, and also show their affection for the classics.


Secondly, the constitution. I think it’s fair to say that writing would be upheld as one of the primary principles of Vivliopolis. (If this seems far-fetched, consider that the Italian Regency of Carnaro upheld music as one of its fundamental principles.) Writers, being a naturally opinionated and individualistic bunch, would probably select a liberal, democratic republic (similar to what we have in the USA) as their form of government. I won’t go into a huge amount of detail about their political system, because then this would become a manifesto, and those tend to be dry and boring. (The plan for this post is to have some fun and be descriptive, rather than prescriptive.)


In Vivliopolis, it’s hard to imagine that the public wouldn’t be far more educated than our own. Debates over the issues in society would be far more intellectual, without so much need, necessarily, to oversimplify issues. They would also be much longer and more verbose, and less interesting to the average person. But then again, the average person in Vivliopolis wouldn’t be the average person here – maybe debate, in written or spoken form, would be encouraged rather than viewed as divisive.


Another important thing to note about Vivliopolis is that the people, as writers and readers, would carry with them the knowledge of the ancients – Plato, Aristotle, Burke, Locke, etc. Students would likely be educated in the classics, and learn Latin or Greek. (Or both.) Like the ancient Greek “liberal arts”, the goal of education would be to cultivate virtue and ensure a person was a well-rounded human being, rather than just preparing them for a job.


Onto politics, the divisive issue. I don’t have numbers to back this up, but I would suspect that writers are, as a whole, a left-leaning bunch, with eminent authors like Hunter Thompson, Al Franken, and George Orwell. (Although there are a disproportionately large number of far-right authors, like Ezra Pound, William Luther Pierce and Julius Evola, too.) However, I think that most extremist beliefs would be tempered by the collective wisdom of a society educated by the classics. While Vivliopolis might be majority left-wing, it would differ from contemporary left-wing politics in its embrace, rather than denial, of atavistic traditions and the wisdom of past generations.


One of the key concepts to modern political theory is Edmund Burke’s interpretation of social contract theory. Here’s a quote from his key work, Reflections on the Revolution in France:

“Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure—but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primæval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.”


Sorry if the quote is wordy and esoteric – it was written in 1790, not long after our own country forged its own way through fire and blood. At the same time, the French revolution was taking a turn far worse than our own, with the Reign of Terror occurring under the totalitarian “Committee of Public Safety”. Essentially, Burke is saying that the social contract is not a normal contract that can be broken or thrown to the wind, but that the social contract – between government and society – is a permanent contract. Government, then, is a partnership including those living, those dead, and those yet to be born. (This was very important since the American and French revolutions were both led by radical Whigs, or liberals, and Burke was a more moderate Whig, who opposed the overhaul of society.)


You might be wondering how this bit of obscure political theory is relevant to Vivliopolis. Since every citizen would be a writer by necessity, each individual would leave a body of written work behind. Each generation and each individual would have their morals, beliefs, practices and hopes for the future laid out in stories and books, allowing them to give their knowledge to the next generation, and so on, in an uninterrupted and permanently evolving transfer of wisdom. (Whether or not the Vivliopolitans would be inclined to actually care about their ancestors isn’t so certain, but a people reared on the classics would hopefully care more than most.)


Another important aspect of Vivliopolis is aesthetics. This is another area where Vivliopolitans would depart from modern left-wing politics. Where the modern left tends towards a relative view (i.e. beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there is no such thing as objective beauty), writers, as artists, would be more inclined to believe in beauty for its own sake, and that objective beauty existed in the first place. This would almost certainly carry over to architecture. Gone would be ugly, brutalist bureaucracies. Instead, Vivliopolis’ landscape would be dotted with elegant, artistic, and – yes – beautiful buildings.


Speaking of the landscape, it would probably be very well preserved and protected. It’s hard to be inspired when you live in an area constantly clouded with industrial smog.


There are a lot of obvious logical flaws with this general outline. How would they force everyone to be a writer? (By exiling everyone else to Cinematopia, obviously.) Who would grow food? Wouldn’t their productivity be extremely low?

I don’t know. Stop taking this so seriously.


Now that this long-winded post is (finally) at an end, let me know what you think. Would you live in Vivliopolis? Do you have any criticisms to make? I’d love to hear them.

January 19

The Eight Deadly Words

by: Charlotte


It is the bane of flat characters and bland stories everywhere. It is the statement that makes a creator seize in fear, afraid to have it applied to their beloved brainchildren. It is the phrase that all writers, intentionally or not, try to steer away from at all costs.


Eight deadly words. “I don’t care what happens to these people.”


A phrase originally coined by sci-fi author Dorothy J Heydt, what is referred to as the ‘eight deadly words’ is the framework for what basically amounts to the antithesis of what a writer should amount to when trying to create and write their characters. While it is a simple phrase, the meaning behind it is huge: it states that, despite everything that may be present in a given character, a person does not give a hoot in heck about what that character is doing and what will happen to them at all, regardless if they go onto the save the day, or magically have a bridge drop on them.


However, that’s not to say that a good character is always likeable. Not at all. Villains can make complex and interesting characters that have an impact on the audience, and they may have next to nothing in the way of ‘goodness.’ Characters can intentionally be made unsympathetic to create a desire in the reader for them to have their comeuppance. And that’s the issue present in the eight deadly words. It’s not that a person hates the character, it’s that they simply do not care enough about them to even desire to have them experience a comeuppance or misfortune. At that point, a character is no longer ‘good’ or ‘evil’ they are something too bland in between that is inconsequential to the reader regardless of what they say or do and is incapable of vesting interest in the observer.


The original usage of the phrase was to describe volume two of the book ‘The Wheel of Time’ by James Oliver Rigney, Jr., but it is not limited to print. Its usage is largely subject to interpretation, but has been used by various critics on various different qualities of media, from the 200+ million-dollar budget flick Battleship to your average everyday novice fanfiction. It is not so much the quality of the context or the money that went into a production; no amount of CGI or special effects can make terrible writing not terrible. The characters are a fundamental cornerstone of the story. They are generally what drives the plot, and are a part of the web of details that make up a story. All the aspects of a story depend on one another to form a cohesive and enjoyable whole.
By that logic, if you don’t care about the characters, then what is there to care about?

December 13

The importance of a Good, Flawed Character

by: Charlotte


Ah, characters. A wide array of figures and features, flaws and triumphs, all packed neatly into a fleshy human package ready to play their part of a story. If implemented correctly, even a minor character will have a memorable impact on the story as it progresses.

You are their god, in a manner of speaking. The writer controls the destinies and ends of the characters, to the delight or horror of their fans depending on the sort of writer you are.

Much as how a story cannot operate without a setting, there is no story if there are no characters in it. Regardless of a character being a protagonist, antagonist, flat character, dynamic, or a one-scene side character, everyone should contribute to the progression of a plot. Even if their contribution is minor, a character must have an effect on the plot.

Both in and out of story, a character plays a particular role in the overall story. Anyone familiar with media is certainly familiar with the archetypes. The protagonist. The rival. The antagonist. The love interest. The mentor. The composition of characters can vary based on the story, and can vary greatly in terms of numbers (in fact, a few stories, such as the movie All Is Lost, get away with only really using one character)

Every good story has a driving force, and that is most commonly delivered through the protagonist, the central character. The protagonist does not necessarily need to be the story’s hero, morals may not necessarily play into the character (and in fact, may even be a villain), but a protagonist needs to be the central character. The story’s conflict would not necessarily be related to them, but it does impact them and their actions, such as the typical knight going on a journey to slay a dragon for fame, or money, or women, or what have you.

Within the basic archetypes of characters, there are massive variations in what such a character can be like, as long as they contribute their role. Personalities and flaws can range from innocently docile and guiltless, to quirky and empty-minded, to brutish and malicious. The limit is only on the creator. Often times, the more strange and unusual a character is, the more people are drawn to it. Nowadays, people feel less likely to enjoy the chivalrous knights and damsels of the past, preferring a more complex character with more varied thoughts, feelings, and interests.

A major facet of every character, as important as their personality, is their flaws. In the real world, you will never meet a person that is not flawed in some way. This is a trait that carries over to fiction. This is a subject I am personally very vehement about. Your character, no matter the role, must be flawed in some significant way. There is almost nothing more boring than a character who lacks any sort of fault and can handle any situation thrown at them without issue. Almost equally as irritating is a character introduced with irrelevant flaws only noted as an argument that the character isn’t perfect. In the apocalypse with people struggling for survival, being bad at dancing or math isn’t a serious problem. Things like narcissism would lead a character to argue over leadership with their fellow survivors, or a fear of darkness would lead to poor actions out of their fear. When boiled down, flaws lead to bad choices. Choices are what bring the plot along, and a character cannot make the right decision every time. Overcoming character flaws throughout a narrative serves as a way of developing your characters, and also making them more interesting in how they manage to overcome said flaws.

On the other end of the spectrum, a character should not be completely useless, nor be immensely overpowered. As mentioned before, every character needs to have a purpose. Even comic relief characters serve a purpose in providing humor (and many times also supply a more human aspect to a story). Simply put, if a character does nothing of use and provides nothing, they do not deserve to exist. In the same vein, if a character is too powerful, then no other characters need to exist. This is why incredibly overpowered characters are so maligned. If a character is capable of overcoming every scenario singlehandedly, there is no need for other characters to assist in the conflict. In addition, if a character begins in the story already at the height of their skill, there is no place for them to grow or develop through the narrative, leaving them static and bland for the entirety of the story, and thus uninteresting.

There is no ‘perfect’ way to write a character. If there was, everyone would basically be the same. That’s not how the world is. There are merely guidelines, and even they can be lenient if implemented in a unique or interesting way. A character needs to able able to grow over time though, physically, psychologically, or both. And regardless of what happens through the story, nobody can ever be perfect.

December 13

“Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke and a story’s just a story.”

by Thracius

“Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke and a story’s just a story.”

So says Stephen King, author of 55 books and almost 200 short stories. Surely he knows something about the craft that most people don’t. And he seems to realize something here that many people, including many English teachers, don’t understand: not all stories have an underlying meaning to them.

That’s not to say that all stories are just stories. A lot of stories, including ones by the really great authors, really tell another story beneath the surface – whether you have to dig for it or whether it lies just beneath the surface.

However, I am saying that people over-analyze books. Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle is the story of a bunch of people with dragons. It’s not a holocaust allegory. (Harry Potter, though, definitely is.) And the Inheritance Cycle is an okay series. It’s pretty good considering its author wrote his first book in high school. More than that, it’s a commercial success. Clearly the people don’t mind stories without underlying tales.

Another example, from Stephen King himself, is Dreamcatcher. I read the book when I was younger, and it’s a really thick book, but I don’t think there was an allegory there. I don’t think there was another story being told. I’m pretty sure it really is just a bizarre horror story involving an alien parasite killing people, and someone being controlled by grey aliens, and the military, and… did I mention King wrote the book while he was on oxycontin?

But then, a lot of books are allegories and they’re better for it. Animal Farm is an allegory for communism (especially the Russian Revolution). Lord of The Rings has a lot of allegorically Catholic aspects, relating to JRR Tolkien’s faith. The Chronicles of Narnia, too, has Christian allegories. Fahrenheit 451 is a story about a firefighter, on the surface, but the message is that the TV will lead society to shun books. (It’s not about censorship at all: Bradbury once left a lecture because the students kept insisting he was wrong about his own book.)

So, plenty of classic books have underlying meanings behind them. And English teachers love to over-analyze everything and pretend everything has a deeper meaning. Here’s my advice: when you write, write a story. Don’t write a deeper meaning beneath it; just write a good story. When you try to write an allegory intentionally, it’s more likely to be forced and contrived. If your story is good (and not totally original), there’s bound to be some sort of deeper meaning or allegory, intentional or not. What writers don’t intend is as important as what they do.

December 13


By: Brandon

“How can you listen to this trash.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard this statement I would be rich. Music is one of the most important things in my life. However, like most, I have a style of music that I enjoy and I have styles of music that I would never listen to by choice. In my case, metal-core is my choice when creating a playlist to jam to. However, I also enjoy certain types of rap and pop. Regardless, no matter what kind of music you listen to, most of them have lyrics. Whether it’s one line repeated over and over, a story in the form of a melody, rap lyrics, or even lyrics screamed at the top of the vocalists lungs, they’re still words that have some sort of significant meaning to that vocalist or group.  Three lines that are very different but still are meaningful include, “We’re at war with the ones who protect and serveBlue Wall, Issues. “God, I’m asking you to come change me. Into the man I want to be.The Man I Want To Be, Chris Young. “It’s funny how someone else’s success brings pain.Say Something, Timbaland ft. Drake. All three of these lyrics come from three very different genres and all can be meaningful to anyone who reads them. However, some people may not stick around long enough to listen to the message behind the song just from what genre the music comes from. I will admit, as I said, I would not play country by choice as something to jam to. However, if someone played it and I happened to be around, I wouldn’t tell them to turn it off or get out of range of the music just because it was country. I try and listen to the lyrics and see what the artist what the artist was feeling and the message behind the song.

If there is a song with significant meaning to the artist or listener, just try to feel the way the artist did when writing it and see how you feel about the song after that. You can even look up the lyrics and read them as the song plays. I found that this is a big help when trying to find the meaning of a song. It may help you find a new understanding of the song, listener, artist, or even the entire genre.

December 13

Why I HATE happy endings

By: Sophisticated

I despise stories that have a overly happy ending. Fairy tales and children’s stories, any Nicholas Sparks novel. I can’t read them. My reasoning is simple: they are unoriginal, and not true to life. Every single story is almost completely foreshadowed in the first few chapters of the story. And always with the happy endings. When really, I love stories that don’t have happy endings. I feel that I can relate to these stories much more than the ones with happy endings. For example, in my honest opinion, I think the Grimm’s fairy tales should be the more widely accepted versions.

Modern day Cinderella, an unfortunate girl is made into a slave by the evil step mother until she goes to the ball, and loses a glass slipper. Weirdly enough, every part of Cinderella’s outfit disappears after the clock strikes 12 EXCEPT for the shoe the Prince is to find. And after he finds it, he finds Cinderella, places the shoe on her foot and finds that she is the love of his life, they live happily ever after, whatever. Boring. But the Grimm’s stories seem to have more to do with teaching lessons. For example, in the Grimm’s tales, the Prince places the slipper on both the step sisters, who have both cut off their heel and their big toe in order to fit their feet into the glass shoe. A bird is what rats them out, and the sisters are shamed forever. This would teach children not to lie, they will always be caught, and they will not be well liked after they are caught. Unfortunately, scaring your children into submission is unacceptable parenting.

I think happy endings can more negatively affect children than they do any good. As a child, I never feared a monster under my bed, and I never read fairy tales like Cinderella until I was 8 years old. I grew up knowing who the real monsters were in life. I grew up not having unrealistic expectations of love, and most importantly, I learned that in my life, things could go wrong. And that these things may never change. I learned about consequences for lying, or stealing, or even the consequences of bullying somebody. I think it is important for young readers to know the true horror of their actions, even if it scares them. I think young readers should learn that their life will not be a fairy tale. Maybe if readers knew this, they would work more on making themselves happy rather than waiting for it to happen.