7 writing lessons learned from my kitten

Last time, I went over the most overused piece of writing advice out there: kill your darlings.

I received some criticism that I pointed out a flaw without offering any advice of my own, which just shows me people don’t read to the end of my posts, because I clearly offered up some ways of phrasing it different so it worked better.

Still, It’s only fair that I do my part to help out other aspiring (or even established) writers out there. And I was able to get some inspiration from my kitten, Tiberius. Continue reading

3 reasons writers need to stop giving the advice “Kill Your Darlings”

I enjoy writing. In addition to this blog, I’ve written stories for friends (all unrequested, I assure you), long-winded emails to coworkers, and several short stories. I’ve been working on various novels off and on since I was a child, none of which have made it very far.

But I enjoy it a lot, and I’m always looking to improve. As such, I read a lot of writing manuals and advice columns, blog posts and interviews. So while I don’t have much experience being paid to be a published writer, I have lots of experience studying writing.

It’s this extensive experience that gives me three reasons why I’m asking everyone to stop giving the overused advice “Kill your darlings.” Continue reading

How to deal with sudden success

Sometimes you work at a small endeavor–perhaps it’s just a hobby–that is not widely seen or known. Then sometimes, that blows up and makes you hugely successful.

Dealing with that sudden success can be a difficult process. This how-to guide (which is based on widely acknowledged principles and not at all to my own initial reactions to this blog suddenly reaching a wider audience) will teach you to handle that new-found success.

For the purposes of this exercise, let’s pick a random scenario that could lead to this kind of guide being necessary. Let’s say you write for a little-known blog with a very small audience that’s been growing quite modestly, and yesterday it gets featured on Freshly Pressed, where editors of your blog’s platform promote posts they like, which causes your readership to grow by leaps and bounds.

I know, it’s a far-fetched idea that would likely never happen, but let’s go with it. Continue reading

The Simple Joy of Pushing a Hoop with a Stick

The Federal Trade Commission recently levied a $35.2 million fine against Apple, following complaints that the company didn’t do enough to warn parents about the potential problems with some of their apps.

Most notably, when their child was playing a game, a parent would enter a password to let their kid buy something in the game, but were not told that password would remain valid for 15 minutes, allowing the child to make continuous in-game purchases for that entire time. According to one of the complaints filed, a kid playing the game Pet Hotel ran up a bill of $2,600 before those 15 minutes expired. Continue reading

Learning Your Place

A recent study shows another way that attractive Americans receive extra attention and benefits: from their teachers. Attractive students are perceived to be more intelligent, and they actually earn higher grades and are more likely to graduate college. The extra attention helps them learn, and they may get increased scores where grades are more subjective.

Maybe that was Sloth's problem. Not enough teacher attention.

Maybe that was Sloth’s problem. Not enough teacher attention.

This is disheartening for a lot of people. Those people are obviously ugly. Continue reading

Be Resolute

Happy New Year’s from everyone here at Soft-Core Sophist! [Ed. note: Hi! SCS’s regular editor is on vacation for the holiday, so they brought me on a temporary basis and allowed me to provide my comments.]

Chances are that as part of the new year, you made some resolutions. Chances are, those resolutions are terrible. You’ve probably already given up on most of them, or decided you’ll actually start it tomorrow, which is pretty much the same as giving up on it.

So let’s work on making new resolutions. Resolutions to make you better. Not some vague nonsense like “exercise more” or “join a gym” which require long commitments you’ll never keep as you fall into your familiar ruts. Let’s eliminate the fears you have. Continue reading