Showing posts from November, 2016

Should You Give Life to Inanimate Objects in Your Writing?

What do you notice about the following phrases? the door whispered shut the sigh of the wind moisture fled my body screamed the fragrance assaulted me tears threatened These are examples of personification, animating something that is inanimate. Another term for this literary device is a pathetic fallacy. What is a Pathetic Fallacy (PF)? I recently attended a short story workshop where the instructor called these pathetic fallacies. He told me not to use them. The comment surprised me. I like them. defines pathetic fallacies: A fallacy is a type of mistake, especially an illogical one. The word pathetic can refer to things that involve emotion. The pathetic fallacy is the illogical act of saying that something inhuman has emotions. Although the pathetic fallacy is a kind of flawed logic, that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Poets use pathetic fallacy all the time in phrases like “the wise moon” or “the generous sun.” My instructor pointed me

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week, all across this great country, we will gather with family and friends to celebrate our heritage. Certain weeks are not meant for blogging but for taking the time to be present in the moment, so I will be brief and leave you with the wish of a wonderful week. If you're celebrating Thanksgiving, may your turkey be moist and tender and your table sag under the cornucopia of good food.  If you're not celebrating (many people in other countries read this blog) may your week provide you joy, fellowship with good people, and good food. My family, many years ago sharing good times. Based on the clothes, it wasn't Thanksgiving. I'm the blur on the back left corner. .

Avoiding Cliches: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Cliches don't work in creative or business writing.  You might not know what a cliche is, but most people use them. Depending on the culture you live in, you might use them a lot. I put one in the title of this post, a day late and a dollar short, to show you how useless they are. You probably have no idea why I chose that particular cliche, so let me explain. This post is a day late. I should have posted yesterday. It's as helpful to you as the photograph I've added to this week's post. I did have a reason for choosing this picture, but I doubt you can guess it. What are cliches? A cliche is a saying that conveys an idea in a cute or whimsical way. According to, the definition of a cliche is:  a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse .  Here are a few examples: A bird in the hand i

Why You Should Vote

Today, the American people choose their next President. We have the choice to vote or not to vote. I was raised by civic-minded parents who never considered not voting. They expressed confusion over why people would choose to not exercise this right. Like so many of their other beliefs and values, I inherited this belief. Today, I will vote. If you're reading this and questioning whether you should vote, please remember that we live in a country where I can write what I think and not be penalized. We can express our views on social media and not get arrested for them...although your friends might unfriend you if they don't like what you say. What rights do you have that people in other parts of the world don't have? (See Bill of Rights) If you want to keep your rights, you should vote. If you appreciate your rights, you should vote. If you take your rights for granted, stop doing so and vote. Don't abstain because you don't like the choice. That mean