Subjecting Yourself to Subjunctive Mood

In the eleventh grade, I took AP English Language and Composition with Miss Voss. She was one of the coolest high school teachers at Silver Creek High School, if not the entire district, city, state, or country. She often started the class with a small grammar lesson, a component of the English language that high school curriculums often neglect. For example, we’d learn about things … Continue reading Subjecting Yourself to Subjunctive Mood

A Cello for Your Thoughts

Writing doesn’t come easily to me. Thinking about writing is a piece of pie, but when it comes to sitting down in front of the computer and trying to hash out my thoughts, I have a hard time. I get distracted first, and then I have trouble staying focus, and then I lose my direction and drive. My writing gets interrupted time and time again by sporadic thoughts, passing … Continue reading A Cello for Your Thoughts

How Do You Approach Getting Out of Writer’s Block?

We’ve all heard of the dreaded writer’s block: the figurative cement wall that blocks our ability to surround ourselves with creative and thoughtful ideas. And like a cement wall, it feels impossible to break through it when we see our mind as something much weaker than it. We groan, we curse, we become frustrated. “Why me?” Is the first question that comes to mind when … Continue reading How Do You Approach Getting Out of Writer’s Block?

“I Work Best Under Pressure” Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post where I wondered whether giving myself ample time to write an essay would result in better quality of my writing. Instead of my usual scramble to write my papers a few hours before the deadline, I would force myself to pace things out and take my sweet old time with my paper. Originally, I had planned … Continue reading “I Work Best Under Pressure” Part 2

Crossing the Bridge – How to Write Effective Transition Sentence

In comparison to the sentences of evidence, commentary, and analysis that make up the bulk of any academic essay, transition sentences make up a slim proportion. If an essay is five paragraphs long, then there may be as little as five transitory sentences overall. Because of their seemingly inconsequential role, these sentences are often regarded as unimportant and tend to be neglected throughout the writing … Continue reading Crossing the Bridge – How to Write Effective Transition Sentence

The Toxic Belief That Writing Well Is a ‘Natural Gift’

How do I become a better writer? Is becoming a great writer even possible? Why can’t I write as beautifully as others? These were some of the thoughts that went through my head almost everyday when it came to thinking about my writing ability. Throughout most of my life, I sincerely believed that writing—just like drawing—was an innate talent: you either have it or you … Continue reading The Toxic Belief That Writing Well Is a ‘Natural Gift’

Do you really, truly need that adverb?

Ever heard of Stephen King? He’s an author – a really good one. His memoir, On Writing, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Though On Writing is filled to the brim with hundreds of memorable quotes on writing, on the writing process, etc., one quote in particular happened to stand out to readers, eventually becoming the most well-known quote from the book … Continue reading Do you really, truly need that adverb?

The Power of Perspective: Understanding Point of View in Creative Writing

One of the first things you need to ask before writing a piece of fiction is: who is telling the story? Or, in other words, which point of view will you choose? The point of view in fiction determines whose eyes the reader experiences the story through. Thus, choosing the appropriate point of view for your story is crucial, since different points of view have different … Continue reading The Power of Perspective: Understanding Point of View in Creative Writing

Archives: The Art of Criticism

This post is an On Writing piece from our Archives. It was first published in 2014 and was written by one of our past counselors named Kanyin Ajayi. These are her words… “Tis hard to say, if greater Want of Skill Appear in Writing or in Judging ill,” – Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism” This post is a “How To” on literary (and largely, cultural) criticism. Many of us are thrown into mandatory … Continue reading Archives: The Art of Criticism

Advice From my Research Binge

Did you know that when Emily Brontë’s first novel, Wuthering Heights was published, it was often quoted as being written by Currer Bell, the pen name of Emily’s sister, Charlotte? The mistake is understandable. All of the Brontë sisters wrote under pseudonyms with Charlotte being the first sister to publish Jane Eyre as Currer Bell, and Emily and Anne to follow as Ellis and Acton … Continue reading Advice From my Research Binge

A Different Take on How to Approach Argumentative Papers

When I receive tips about how to write a strong English paper – or any argumentative paper – I usually get answers such as: Make sure that your thesis statement is the strongest part of your paper – think of it as the foundation. Have topic sentences that clearly outline what you want to talk about in each of your body paragraphs. Make sure to … Continue reading A Different Take on How to Approach Argumentative Papers

A Conversation With Your Character

When composing a work of creative fiction – whether it be a short story, a novella, or a full-fledged novel – remember that the protagonist, or the main character, usually guides the ebb and the flow of the story. Stephen King, author of over one hundred novels and short stories, recommends emphasizing your character’s development first, placing them in a situation, and then allowing the … Continue reading A Conversation With Your Character

Sending an Email to your Professor? Follow these five simple steps!

When emailing professors, I felt that I did not know how to address them, be professional, or make sure that my questions were clear…etc. I thought to myself that maybe others have felt the same way. Therefore, I decided to provide a guideline with five simple steps that will make this process easier. Step 1: Make sure to use the proper salutation with the right … Continue reading Sending an Email to your Professor? Follow these five simple steps!

A Glimpse into My Creative Process

Writing is a deeply personal affair. For some it comes naturally and easily, and for others, it is a time-consuming and distressing affair. Everyone writes in their own way, and I’d like to give you a glimpse into my writing process. If you asked someone to write you a story about a man who saves a dog, no person on earth would write the same … Continue reading A Glimpse into My Creative Process