Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Shag, Marry, Kill (Literary Edition)

I grew up on game shows. Jeopardy. Wheel of Fortune. Family Feud. The Dating Game. My favorites were the celebrity editions where we, Jane and John Does, sitting on our couches across America got to see famous people unscripted. To laugh alongside them like we were all a bunch of friends having pizza and soda […]

How to Nurture Your Fan Base

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Fans are one of the greatest rewards of being a writer. It wouldn’t take much, since there’s so little money in publishing, but still. A loyal […]

Writing… Will You Be My Valentine?

For this day of love, I invited other Writer Unboxed contributors to join me in writing words of love about writing: a sentiment that could fit inside a greeting card, on a school valentine, or even on a candy heart. The instructions were simple: “Write a love note to writing. It can be sweet, bitter, funny, serious, […]

Story Lessons from South Park

Wait, what? Yes, I’m serious. My post today is about the storytelling lessons we can learn from possibly the most tasteless and offensive TV show of all time: South Park. Full disclosure: I haven’t actually watched an episode of South Park in quite a long time. But I’ve seen many episodes over the years, and I […]

Editing, Uhh! What Is It Good For?

  I’m closing in on finishing a book about how to see as a writer [note: wear glasses], and there’s a little section on editing in there, from which some of this is excerpted and massaged. (Porter, I feel the gorge rise: the horror! Another book about writing! But no, no, this one’s different: For […]

Forthwringing Tonguishness

A client recently asked me why English is so bizarre.  She was trying to explain its quirks to a precocious, bi-lingual eight-year-old, and not doing very well.  Not that I did much better – English is a genuinely freaky language, with random spelling rules, no particular sentence structure, and far more words than any reasonable […]

The Hacks for Hacks Guide to Writing Awards

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Let’s talk literary awards. Specifically, your tragic lack thereof. It happens. Vonnegut never won a Nebula. Nabokov got snubbed so many times he had to create […]

Tolerating Uncertainty (and Inefficiency)

I love having a plan, a detailed goal that I can accomplish based on my own timeline. When I was seven, for example, I made a list of things I wanted to purchase. 1. Olivia Newton John record 2. Red clogs 3. Beaded moccasins 4. Mrs. Grossman stickers. I included the cost of each item, as well as when, based […]

Becoming a Stand-Up Writer

Welcome to 2015! For many of us, today is the first real workday of the new year. I always enjoy the “clean slate” feeling of starting a new year, and I’m usually eager to make some tweaks and changes to how I operate. Some of those changes are simply about breaking some bad habits (e.g., no […]

Happy New Year

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How to Schedule Your Holiday Writing Schedule

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. I heard you’re taking some time off to celebrate Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanza / Winter Solstice / Festivus. You might think it’s time to recharge […]

The Lonely Writer

I feel lucky. I love being a writer and part of why I do is because it allows me to work alone, be alone. It’s not exactly that I don’t like being around other people (I do, kind of). But when I worked in corporate America, I couldn’t get away from people, couldn’t find time […]