Academic Writing .vs. Creative Writing

academic vs creative writing

Wow! I am two weeks into college and it has been quite an experience so far.

In case I haven’t mentioned it on here yet, I went back to school! I’m taking Early Childhood Education and so far I’m really enjoying it.

Getting back into the swing of being in a school setting has been both interesting and fun. I definitely feel like I’m in a much better place at this time in my life than I was when I tried the whole university thing a few years ago.

All my classes have been great (expect for the fact that three of them start at 8am. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?) I’m also taking an ASL course which is great and I signed up for a spin class which is really fun, but wow exercise hurts.

I think the biggest transition so far has probably been getting back into the mode of formal writing.

Seriously, I’m used to writing fanfics and blog posts and working on my book. All of which have structure, but it’s a loose structure.

It’s been a challenge returning to using ‘it is’ instead of ‘it’s’ or ‘cannot’ instead of ‘can’t’.

Like honestly, I’ve gotten so into this informal, type like you talk thing cause I don’t want these posts to sound like an essay. I want it to sound like I’m sitting in front of you talking.

However, I also don’t want my school essay to sound like my blog posts. Apparently, it’s not acceptable for formal school essays to be separated into single sentence paragraphs and statements.

So, after that long winded intro (which would not be acceptable in a school essay) and a brief life update, here are the primary differences between academic writing and blog writing.

 

Academic

Blog

Formality is required in every aspect Can be as formal or informal as you want, it all depends on what your purpose is
Structured layout and clear Should also be clear, but layout is your choice
Typically five paragraphs As long or short as you want it to be
Topic is usually chosen for you Topic choice is yours and usually based on something that interests you
Must use words like ‘it is’, ‘cannot’, or ‘would not’ Can use ‘it’s’, ‘wouldn’t’, ‘can’t’, and whatever other contractions you want
Feedback is formal and (hopefully) constructive Feedback (if any) hopefully gets a conversation going
Deadlines are set for you and typically set in stone You set your own deadlines and then feel guilty when you miss them

 

I could probably go on and one with this list, but I don’t want to bore you guys. I’m sure most of you can figure out how different the semantics are between writing on here and writing a paper for school.

In conclusion, we can clearly see – I’m kidding. Sort of. That is all I have to say about the differences between college papers and blog posts. For now anyway, I’m sure as time goes on I’ll come back to the topic of school and the different writing methods and techniques that go with it.

Now it’s your turn!

Were there any major differences you found between creating and school writing? Let me know down below!

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*Once again, picture at start is not mine. Found on Google through searching “writing”*

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Writing Playlist

Writing Playlist - Music Notes.jpg

Journey. Beethoven. Sinatra. The Avenue Q Soundtrack.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to music options in 2018. Which is good because everyone has different taste and different things they enjoy.

And for writers, we all have different things we like listening to when we work.

Now, I work in a music store so I’m literally surrounded by music pretty much all day, every day to the point that I can’t work in silence. I’m listening to Louden Swain’s, Sky Alive, album as I write this.

I’m also a big movie watcher and the way music affects a scene and the mood of the story is something that has always interested me.

For this reason, it’s always super important for me to have music on while I’m writing.

Now, I have different playlists for each of my projects. I used to listen to the same things for everything I was working on (usually film scores), but found this really didn’t help as all it did was make me want to watch the film.

By having different playlists, I can pick the music I listen to for each project and the songs on each of these playlists really helps me get in the right mindset for what I’m working on.

When I’m working on Brave Young Boys I listen to a lot of songs about war and loss. Carrie Underwood’s, “Just a Dream”; Dean Brody’s, “Brothers”; and Rise Against’s, “Hero of War” are just a few.

It’s not the most cheery thing to listen to, but it definitely gets me in the perfect mindset for working.

Kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a different writing project that involves two people going on a road trip. This playlist consists of (mostly) happy, fun songs.

“Beat This Summer” by Brad Paisley; “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers”’ and “mmmbop” by Hanson are three songs I listen to a lot when working on this particular story.

However, not every song directly relates to a theme of the novel.

In some cases a song will remind me of a character. Or I’ll hear a song and go “oh my god that’s perfect.”

Two instances where this has happened are with “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and “Lost Boy” by Ruth B (for two very different writing endeavors).

Everyone likes music. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t like music. It’s a universal thing, something that, even if you don’t speak the language in the song, you can still bob your head to the beat.

As a writer, different types of music inspire both my work and myself. I find it helps keep the story moving, gives me ideas for different things, and gives me a connection to my characters. It’s a language that transcends the usual barriers of most other languages.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you listen to music when writing? Is there a particular style of music you prefer to listen to, whether in life or when working?

Let me know down below and also let me know if you want to talk more about writing playlists!

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*Image at start of post does not belong to me, it was found on Google*

Banned Books Week 2015

banned

It’s that time of year again. A time for all writers and readers to celebrate the most controversial books. Yes, September 21-28 is Banned Books Week.

I love Banned Books Week. Everyone knows that feeling that when you’re told not to do something you only want to do it more. You tell someone who loves books that they can’t read it because it’s “too controversial”? Pfft, now I definitely want to read it.

I’m not going to go over all the details about Banned Books Week and what it is, I did that last year and you can find that post here.

What I didn’t talk about last year though is the freedom aspect of Banned Books Week. It’s not all about bringing awareness to books that have been banned/censored or bringing awareness to censorship in general. BBW is a celebration of the freedom to read.

Can you imagine a world without books? I sure can’t. But that’s basically what the world would be if we banned every book that had something in we didn’t like. Not everyone is going to like the same thing in books, that’s why there’s so many of them! There’s something for everyone. But just because you don’t like something in a book or something is considered offensive that isn’t a reason to ban it!

This should be considered in most things in life.

Imagine if Harry Potter had been permanently banned! These novels have had so much influence I can’t picture a world without them. Or how about a world without On the Road? This novel defined an entire generation and it continues to be an inspiration for many.

Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, Frankenstein, The Grapes of Wrath, Green Eggs and Ham! All these books have at one point or another been banned in various places! Looking at all these books it’s impossible to picture not seeing them on bookshelves and in stores.

These books (and more that have been banned) play huge parts in people’s lives. I don’t know any kid who hasn’t read Green Eggs and Ham at some point in their life. I know several people who would tell you one of those other books is their favourite to read and several people (myself included) who have had to read at least one of those books for school.

Banned Books Week isn’t just about bringing attention to these poor, censored books, it’s about celebrating being able to read them and all books! Being able to walk into a shop or a library and have any number of books at my finger tips is amazing and Banned Books Week always reminds me of that.

So this week go out and find a book that’s been banned! Read it, buy it, give it hug (it needs it). Enjoy your freedom to read!

What are you reading this Banned Books Week? Do you have a favourite banned book?

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#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Last week writers all over the internet took to Twitter to share their hardships as writers by using the hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter. These are 24 of those tweets that perfectly sum up things you shouldn’t say to a writer.

Anne Theriault“Have you been published in real life or like just on the internet?” – @anne_theriault

Bill Corbett“We can’t pay you but the exposure might be good.” – @BillCorbett

Butterfly

“Do you actually make money doing that, or do you also have a real job?” – @jesskristie

Cassandra Carr

“I downloaded your books from one of those torrent sites. Those sites are great, you never have to pay for a book.” – @Cassandra_Carr

Colleen Hoover

“‘You’re a writer? Oh, I have a GREAT book idea!’ (And then proceed to tell us your entire life story.) – @colleenhoover

Cristela Alonzo

“You’re a writer? But I’ve never heard of you…” – @cristela9

Daniel Parsons

“‘Can you help me with this? It’s not like you’re doing anything important.’ Yea, I’m not WORKING or anything…” – @dkparsonswriter

Dean Gloster

“‘That’s nice. But some of us have to work for a living.'” – @deangloster

Donalyn Miller

“You’re still working on _______? Shouldn’t you be done by now? – @donalynbooks

Dream Traveler

“‘I want to be a writer. Can you suggest a plot for my story?'” – @IamAlytoony

Esther RobardsForbes

“Oh, you’re not published? So, you’re not a real writer.” – @hungryjourno

Hugh Fraser

“Would you mind if I borrowed your laptop?” – @realhughfraser

Jacqui B

“You write for children? Is that because you aren’t smart enough to write for adults?” – @Jacquibwriter

Jarrid Wilson

“I just read a book really similar to yours…” – @JarridWilson

Jen Savran Kelly

“Person: So, where can I read your work?
Me: It hasn’t been published yet.
Person: Oh you’re THAT kind of writer.”
@savranly

Joanne Harris

“It must be lovely working from home. You can combine your writing with housework and childcare.” – @Joannechocolat

John Scalzi

“I’m worried you’ll die before your series gets finished.” – @scalzi

Lauren DeStefano

“You’re lucky you don’t have to work.” – @LaurenDeStefano

Lauren O'Neil

“A journalist? Wow. You don’t look like a journalist.” – @laurenonizzle

Laurie Boris

“You aren’t one of those ‘self-published’ authors, are you?” – @LaurieBoris

Madeline Ashby

“They pay you money for that?” – @MadelineAshby

Rachel Kennedy

“Poetry books don’t exactly become national best sellers.” – @RachelKennedy88

S.E. Hinton

“I thought you were dead.” – @se4realhinton

Sarah Dessen

“Told a teen I write YA. She hadn’t heard of me. Said, ‘It would have been so cool if you were Suzanne Collins!'” – @sarahdessen

These are only 24 of the amazing tweets in this tag. I highly recommend going and checking it out, especially if you’re a writer. It’s definitely one of the most relatable things I’ve read online.

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Creating Characters: Hobbies

fictional characters

Hobbies is both a fun and a frustrating part of creating characters. Honestly, trying to come up with hobbies for my characters made me feel really stupid because I just kept coming up with the same ones over and over.

Obviously you don’t want all your characters to have the same hobbies and traits because that would be boring. Not to mention incredibly unbelievable. You’ve got six characters who are all avid readers and all love to play volleyball. Unless they were all related and came from a reading/volleyball playing family, this doesn’t seem very likely does it?

Now, I wish I had some super sage advice on how to come up with unique hobbies, but I don’t. Use the internet, that’s all I can say. That’s how I come up with hobbies for my characters. I’ve included the PDF file for the Go Teen Writers Hobbies/Skills list, which is one that I use frequently, on the bottom of the post. It’s a great list and I recommend checking it out if you need help coming up with ideas.

The advice I do have though is to make your character’s hobbies diverse. You can have the stereotypical nerd kid whose hobbies include reading, doing homework, going to conventions and that’s fine (personally, I don’t have an issue with stereotypes, but that’s a post for another time). But! There’s nothing wrong with breaking stereotypes too.

Your stereotypical nerd kid could be an avid soccer player or they could love to knit or they could collect shot glasses or something like that. That’s the part of hobbies that I really enjoy, giving the characters kind of strange, unique things.

As frustrating as it can be to think of things, how awesome is it once you’ve got this character who actually has things they like doing. When those things can be incorporated into the story in various ways. It makes them seem a lot more real doesn’t it?

I’ve got a character who is really into certain types of art and whenever I see a piece of art like that I think of that character. It’s weird that something like that can make me think of a fictional character I created, but that’s just how it works and, as weird as it is, it’s a pretty cool feeling. If I feel like that then maybe one day others will too.

Imagine your character really liked black and white photography. Now imagine that your character is someone’s favourite character. Whenever this person sees black and white photography they think of your character. Maybe they even get into black and white photography themselves because of your character. How cool is that?

Hobbies are significantly harder to talk about than I thought they would be. I guess this shouldn’t really be a surprise given how difficult it was for me to come up with hobbies for my own characters, writing about it probably wouldn’t be a walk in the park.

Nonetheless, I hope you maybe found this post helpful. If not, then thanks for sticking with it anyway long enough to reach this point.

How do you come up with hobbies your characters? Do all your characters share a certain feature?

Character-Hobbies-and-Skills-Brainstorming-List

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They’re .vs. Their .vs. There

there

Now you probably looked at the title of this post and thought, “Really? They’re, Their, and There? I learned that in grade school.” Yes, I did too. Yet so often (not typically on here) I see people using the wrong kind of ‘there’.

They’re
A contraction of two words ‘They’ and ‘Are’
Typically, if you’re not sure if you’re using the right form of ‘They’re’ then see if you can change it to ‘They Are’. If it still works you’re probably okay.
Ex. They’re going on vacation; They are going on vacation

Their
Pronoun
Shows possession
Ex. It is their home
There are many definitions and forms of ‘Their’ and they can be found here

There
Adverb
Usually in reference to a place or person, pointing it/them out in some way
Ex. I went there last month
There are many definitions and forms of ‘There’ and they can be found here

Short and simple post today, but honestly, for writers, knowing the three forms of ‘There’ is so vital and so helpful. Are there any words like this that you often find yourself confusing? For me it tends to be ‘Accept’ and ‘Except’. I know they mean different things, but I tend to struggle with the context a little bit.

Do you have words like this?

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Fanfiction: How Can it Help You?

Fanfiction-For-Dummies-feature-image2Last month I made a post talking about my six years on fanfiction and I realized just how much fanfiction has helped me in my writing. So today that’s what I’m going to talk about.

How can fanfiction help your writing?

Now, before I go any further, I just want to say that the word “fanfiction” shows up an obnoxious amount in the post and I also cannot guarantee 100% that this post will actually be any help at all, despite the title sounding like a self-help flyer.

Fanfiction is a lot of things. It’s a way to develop your writing skills, learn how to write different characters, it introduces new environments and situations that maybe you wouldn’t deal with in your own writing.

A lot of people have a negative perception of fanfiction. Why is this? I have no idea. I know some people think all fanfiction is like 50 Shades of Grey (it’s not), but whatever the reason, fanfiction seems to have gotten a bad rep with some people.

But it actually is a good thing! I swear!

Writing fanfiction has given me the chance to do so many things. Writing characters from various countries, time periods, and even planets isn’t something I normally would have done. But through fanfiction I’ve done exactly that.

It’s not just taking someone’s work and copying it. People are so creative in heir fanfics!

College AUs, Werewolf AUs, Alpha/Omega Elements, Kid!fics, Sick!fics, and so much more. Don’t know what some of these are? That’s how creative fanfiction is! There’s this whole world people don’t know about. Fanfiction writers have their own language to help them know what a story is (AU, Slash, Drabble, Lemon, OC, OOC, OTP, PWP, R&R, RPF, etc.).

You can do whatever you want with the characters and the universe to make it your own. Now, obviously this is exactly what writing your own stuff is, except then it actually is yours. So why bother with fanfiction?

Do you ever get those days where the creativity just isn’t flowing right and you’re stuck on your story. You could try writing a short story or poem to get that creativity back OR you could let your brain relax a bit. Take some characters that have already been created and have fun with it

Because yes, fanfiction is a lot of work; no, it’s not all like 50 Shades; and yes, it is fun!

I love writing my own stuff, but fanfiction is something I love and something that has helped me so much and I think it could really benefit all writers to try it.

Go check out fanfiction.net! There’s so many stories there, you’re bound to find something you like! And if not, check out the numerous other fanfiction websites!

Do you write fanfiction? Do you find it helps your writing?

 

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