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    Writing Advice from my former professors largely paraphrased If a point can be delivered with a pinprick, avoid substituting a sledgehammer unless the situation really calls for a sledgehammer. In that case, illustrate the fallout from said sledgehammer. There are good writers, and there are popular writers; rarely are the two the same, but overtime, they may become viewed as the same. CoughcoughSHAKESPEAREcough. If your narration has to include “somehow,” you’ve probably got a plothole. Get a shovel and fill the damned thing. Books aren’t gardens – take it easy on the flowery prose or your readers may start sneezing. Hook them in the first sentence or you’ll have to fight to reel them in; land them in the first paragraph, or all you’ll have is a fish story. Know your audience and choose your vocabulary accordingly; learned middle age Brits may know what it means to dandle a baby but teenagers will assume you’re a sex offender. Dickinson never said anyways. Austen never used the word orbs. Orwell didn’t write bugged eyes. If you’re going to emulate someone, pick someone who knows what they’re doing, not a teenager who just discovered twilight and writes in emojis. Mark Twain. You either love him or you hate him, and if you love him, chances are, you also kinda hate him a little bit. Avoid the monologue – your characters need to breathe! They need to process things! They aren’t standing alone on a stage bitching at a bleached human skull, let them be interrupted! Adverbs. Know when they contribute to the story, and slaughter them when they don’t. It’s okay to gate-keep parts of speech. Sheep is already plural, you bloat-brained mindless self-important turnips. Pluralizing plural words will earn you a failing grade and a sound brain-dusting. Keep a hard copy of common references handy while writing, especially a decent dictionary. It takes a minute to flip through pages; checking online leads you to Facebook which leads you to Twitter, then your favorite blog, then five or six click-bait articles, then next thing you know, it’s one and your assignment was due at midnight. English is bullshit. Next question. We’re taught that Paragraphs need to be 4-6 sentences, but guess what? Paragraphs aren’t prescriptions. Sometimes they need to be smaller. Sometimes, larger. Always, they’re prescribed for one speaker at a time except in extenuating circumstances. Start a new one for each new condition and each new patient, or you’ll never break down the text walls. You can’t apply the same rules and fixes to every single situation. Learn what to apply and when, otherwise you’ll just confuse yourself. Vary your fucking sentence structure and length, you filthy rotten philistines. Don’t line the entire page with rows of naked uncut spaghetti noodles and olives and expect the reader to call it delicious! Syntax! Variety! Don’t leave your readers lost and hungry! Do! Your! Fecking! Research! You! Lazy! Impudent! Brats! Don’t write about high wind warnings on planets with no atmosphere or gravity or you’ll look like an out of this world idiot.