No Tempest in Our Teapot

Someone asked me the other day, “Don’t you and AJ ever fight?”

Well, no, if by “fight” you mean yelling and screaming and maybe a couple of mild punches. We do, however, have disagreements, though infrequently. Neither one of us wants to be unhappy, nor do we hold grudges. If something’s bugging us, we bring it out in the open, look at it wriggling around on the floor for a few minutes, discuss briefly but thoroughly until understanding or an agreement is reached, and then kick it out the window.

Life is too short to get bent out of shape over crap that doesn’t matter except in the moment.

Say it, deal with it, move the fuck on.


Yesterday, someone asked on Writers Writing Badly Part 2 what books I recommended for learning to write, and I said reading and writing were the best ways to learn. 

I’m gonna to add to that by telling you to read both blogs I wrote on editing and here’s why: everything that drives me up a wall and is the hallmark of an amateur is in those two columns.

If you want to write better as quickly as possible, don’t make any of those mistakes. If you do that and can string a sentence together nicely, there is no reason in the world why you can’t get published.

There will never be a perfect writer, but you can certainly keep from making a writer’s worst mistakes by following my advice. While I’m no expert, I am one hell of a good writer and as an editor, I recognize shit when I see it.

There’s a lot of bad writing out there. Please don’t add to it. Write beautifully, simply, and effectively, tell a compelling story, and you’re there.

–Hey, don’t relax yet. You’ve only reached the point where you aren’t making the really dumb mistakes anymore. Keep refining your style. Never stop learning, as I’ve said before.

A gorgeous sentence makes your heart beat faster. This is one of my favorites:

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. (Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1)

Isn’t that amazing? It rolls off the tongue, it gives me chills, it makes me look over my shoulder in trepidation. Now that’s a sentence.


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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10 Responses to No Tempest in Our Teapot

  1. Lindsaysf says:

    I just finished Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and was grinning in delight at a number of his sentences. It was a surprise – I don’t remember such from other books of his I’ve read. It reminds me why I’m a reader and not a writer.

  2. HBIC says:

    When I got married, everyone gave us the “don’t go to bed mad” advice, but my husband quickly learned to let me sleep off disagreements; somehow things get worked out in my head while I’m sleeping and then we can deal with them better. A few of my friends prefer to shout it out. Everyone’s different, so it’s great when you’re with someone with a similar style of working things out as yourself.

    • Good point. My parents didn’t shout, so neither do I. I guess if screaming runs in your family, you learn to scream and it’s okay. That would scare me, though. I don’t like screaming. ;/

  3. diannegray says:

    I love this line from Macbeth – it’s such a classic. I don’t know if you’ve ever read an Salmon Rushdie, but he has a magical (and very humorous) grasp on the English language and many classic lines as well 😉

  4. W. Lotus says:

    T and I do not fight, either. We disagree, discuss it, and move on. That is quite a relief, after the kind of “disagreeing” I had modeled to me.

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