Tag Archives: how to

Three Creative Writing How–to Books that Actually Help

What goes into a story, beyond the platitudes of “there must be a beginning, middle, and end,” or “there must be a protagonist with a goal and obstacles to overcome”? How do I revise without going in circles? And, most importantly, how do I improve as a writer? 

If you want to know the answers to these questions, read a how-to book. Most how-to books are trash, but a few are very helpful. They won’t make you a genius, but they will help you develop a level of basic competency in your work. In other words, they’ll ensure that you don’t spend all your time flailing around in confusion and frustration, relying more on luck than anything else.

This post introduces you to my favorite three “craft texts” (in no particular order), plus a bunch of honorable mentions (some of which I’ve read and some of which I haven’t). This is not a complete list. Nor do I pretend to be an expert. Anyone who knows me knows it’s a bit rich that I’m giving out writing advice. But, at the risk of coming off as a braggart, I thought I’d share my ~tiny grains of knowledge~.

Unofficial Orientation Series 2016: Drop/Add Tips and Tricks

This is an updated repost of Merry‘s 2014 post.

frustrated student at computer

This is part of our 2016 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

Disclaimer: While the tips introduced in this post can be applied universally, you should remember that your odds of getting into a class depend primarily not on your effort, but on the professor’s policies and how popular the class is. It’s pretty much impossible to convince a professor of an extremely popular class who simply won’t go over the limit to accept you into their class, even if you do everything right. But, trying can’t hurt, right?

Today’s installment of the Unofficial Orientation Series is mainly about the devil that is known as Drop/Add. If you don’t know what that is, the folks at the registrar’s office have provided this overview. During this period, students are able to add or drop pretty much any class to their schedule, regardless of the limits posed by pre-reg, such as class year distribution. I also highly recommend you check out this FAQ, also kindly prepared by the registrar’s office, as a way to get the basics down before proceeding. This post will not be doing much explaining of Drop/Add itself. It will, however, try to warn you, frosh, about the reality of this brutal race and offer some insights (read: randomly gathered knowledge that may have been the results of embarrassing behaviors of the author herself).