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A Heaping Helping Of Clichés

by John Caruso I enjoy considering clichés. Of course I understand the certain death they bring to a piece of writing. However, in and of themselves they can be quite interesting. Consider that at some point, a cliché was good writing. It was an original thought. As a matter of fact, it was SO good that it was used ad nauseam. Nouveau clichés (sounds a bit like an exotic fan dancer’s name,... read more

I Brought My Balance Beam to Show & Tell

by John Caruso Sooner or later, writing columns trot out the old chestnut, “Show, don’t tell.” I figured we’d get it out of the way right now. As aphorisms go, it has it’s merits. It’s short, pithy, and conveys a good message. As a cast-iron rule, however, it fails. Indeed, “showing” makes compelling fiction, and I am not advocating the elimination of... read more

The Elemental

by John Caruso The ancient alchemists sought to change base metals into gold, explain life, and discover the secrets of immortality. Alchemists worked with one foot planted in science and the other in the quasi-religious. This sounds suspiciously like writing. Substitute “writers” for “alchemists” and “words” for “metals,” and I’d say you have a pretty... read more

Brainstorming, clustering and listing

Oh my! Ways to expand on ideas and thoughts by Robbi Hess You’ve narrowed it down. You are going to write about (drum roll, please) butterflies or, possibly, vampires. Thank goodness! Finally you have an idea with possibility… ideas that will (excuse the pun) – fly. Whether fiction or non, these ideas, while appealing, are much too broad in scope. They need to be cut back, pared down, and their focus... read more

Do I really have to Write What I Know?

by Robbi Hess The oft-stated adage from experienced writers, and how-to books is to “write what you know.” In theory it’s not a bad idea because you bring authenticity to your writing. But, I believe if you can imagine and feel, and more importantly, make your reader imagine and feel, you can research what you don’t have intimate knowledge of. Well, I know a lot about some things. I have a smattering of... read more