Rules for Writing: Sentence Echoes

An important rule for good writing: always end a sentence with the most important word. The last word in a sentence lingers in the reader's mind. Think of it as having a resonance, or an echo. The sound holds long after the rest of the sentence has died, and it plays a significant role in the shaping of the sentence's tone. For example: "... and they're unprepared for the world of finance, specifically." The word…

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Remember That You’re in Control

I was talking to a Praxis participant today about the upheaval of moving, and the stress of getting settled in a new city. Finding a place to live, coordinating logistics, and working on a tight timeline for all of the above can be incredibly overwhelming. As someone who's getting ready to move for the fifth time in the past 15 months, I understand the stress a lack of certainty can bring. Multiple moves have been…

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Life is Better the More It’s Your Fault

"God said, take what you want and pay for it." -- Ayn Rand (or, a Spanish proverb) The above is one of my favorite quotes. It embodies two of my favorite principles in life: freedom and responsibility. Freedom, to take the things you want -- blatantly, liberally, unabashedly. Responsibility, to bear the consequences of those actions -- competently, evenly, calculatedly. Everything in life has a cost. We don't always know what it is, and sometimes…

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Imprecise Metaphors and Their Benefit for Your Thinking

David Perell wrote a fantastic blog post on the importance (or lack thereof) in the accuracy of maps. Side note -- if you don't follow David Perell, you should. In a similar vein, I want to talk about the importance (or lack thereof) in the precision of one's metaphors. This is not an argument against being precise. It is not permission for ceasing to care about choosing the right metaphor. This IS an argument that…

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Notes on the Style of “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller

Disclaimer: do not read if you don't like spoilers. This blog post is built of them. I've been meaning to read The Song of Achilles for some time. I'd heard good things about the author and the writing, and I'm partial to the stories of the Greek and Roman heroes, even in retold form (The Love Artist, a story about Ovid, is a phenomenal novel and comes highly recommended). The novel did not disappoint. In…

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as it Pertains to Fiction

Alternate title: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, as it relates to fiction -- because it does. It has a direct correlation to the interestingness of the stories you tell. Just as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs dictates the things in life we find most compelling (or that carry the most emotional weight), so too does it dictate the things we find most fascinating in stories -- because fiction imitates reality. The farther up the hierarchy the elements…

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