How the Oxford Comma is Rotting Your Brain

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and again the Oxford Comma discussion pops up in my Twitter feed.

And every now and again, I admit to having no love for the optional serial comma that precedes the word “and” in a list of three or more objects. This promptly outs me to the rest of the writing world as some sort of heathen alien impostor bent on tearing apart the very fabric of reality with confusing serial lists that defy logic, like some sort of evil nega-android who can melt human brains through confusion.

body snatchers

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Writing Kids: Try NOT Making Them Into Horrific Hellspawn

mei totoro

I’m continually flabbergasted by the way writers portray children, particularly on TV and in movies, particularly if they are teenagers, particularly particularly if they are teenage girls. It’s like these people have no idea what it was like to be a tinier, dumber version of themselves and so just opt for “most annoying creature I can devise” as a strategy for writing young people.

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Brand-Building Sucks — Just Talk to People

owen jedi

Friend and colleague Phil R. Owen sold a column to gaming site Kotaku earlier this week, and was I was talking to him about the project, he said that advice I had given him had helped in the sale. Namely, that advice was that he should write articles and sell them, rather than rely on pitches of abstract ideas. I’m taking that as an endorsement of the list of tips I posted a while back, which you can find here.

Meanwhile, Phil’s story seems to have really touched a nerve, because the Kotaku story (here) got a fair amount of attention and a lot of positive response from readers.

Phil called me to tell me how excited he was about the story’s success, as he’s lately been trying the route of straight freelance rather than working for a specific games outlet. Getting published on Kotaku, especially with the article he sold (it discusses issues of mental health, namely depression), is a big win in that regard, and he seems to be getting his feet under him, which is great.

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Forcing the Ending: Finishing a Screenplay a Year Later

writing

A while back, I participated in Script Frenzy, a writing project/contest that encourages writers to finish a 100-page screenplay within a single month.

I hit the goal, and actually exceeded it, but the project was actually not “completed” when I completed the contest. I finished the contest, but I never wrapped up the story of the script. And then So You Created a Wormhole happened, with everything that entailed, and I had to leave the screenplay in a metaphorical drawer somewhere while other things took precedence.

Almost a year later, I’ve finally come back to the untitled project. It remains without a conclusion, although most of the pieces are there. I just need to figure out how to wrap it up in a satisfactory way.

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Preparation is Key: 5 Things to Do Before Writing

writing

It’s always tempting — you come up with a good idea. A cool character. An awesome death scene. A villain who’s not only creepy, but a bad-ass mf’er who also happens to be completely empathetic from his point of view. And you want to just start writing, before you lose that inspiration.

Here’s the thing about that: that high is fleeting. That “inspiration” isn’t actually doing you any favors. Sure, you might get a lightning strike, sit down and hammer out something great.

But then what?

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