Cliches, the very things that strike fear into the hearts of writers. “Oh, look, you’ve used a...cliche!” *gasps from everyone reading your manuscript. The world that you have built is unravelling word by word...* Okay, we get the point, cliches are bad. But must they always be the villain when it comes to writing? If used correctly, I believe that they can, in fact, become a powerful writing tool.
What is a cliche? It’s one of those “you know it when you see it” concepts (hey, a cliche!). The actual definition from Dictionary.com is “a trite, streotyped 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 of cliches that you’ve probably heard of:
And here’s a list of 681 cliches to avoid when writing.
Be wary about cliches popping up into your writing, but don’t feel like you can never use a cliche. Cliches are powerful because of their notoriety and, as a good writer, you want to be original. So make a cliche an original piece of writing by changing them slightly. The infamy of these phrases will allow you to subvert the expectations of the reader and surprise them. Check out these examples:
Each of these cliches has been changed slightly, emphasising the point being made and drawing the reader’s eye.
I caution excessive use of this technique to keep it fresh and original in your writing. As long as you use it sparingly, your writing will instantly become more witty. So give it a try!
You’ve probably heard of and played apps such as Candy Crush and Pokemon Go. You probably use Facebook and Twitter to obsessively check your social media accounts. And, I guess, you probably use your phone to call and text. Well my fellow writers, take a break from crushing candy because I’m going to tell you that your smartphones and tablets can go beyond simple entertainment and communication. They can become a tool to improve your writing. Below, I have listed writing apps that I believe every writer should have on their smartphone or tablet:
Imagine as a writer that your friend gives you their manuscript and you’re expected to offer feedback, i.e. to criticise it. For many of you, you don’t have to imagine this cause it’s already happened. You don’t want to hurt their feelings but you also have a duty to help improve their work. Now, how to go about writing a critique letter without totally demolishing the moral of the author? Let's be honest, any kind of criticisms you give will hurt, even just a little bit. The best thing you can do is lessen the impact and here’s how.
The very first thing your critique letter should have is a summary of the manuscript. A general summary should suffice. Why? As the person who wrote it shouldn’t they know what it’s about? Not only does a summary show that you’ve read their manuscript, but what you understood and took away from the author’s story. From your summary alone, the author can pinpoint some of their strongest scenes and determine if the story they want to get across is actually being conveyed.
If you’re a Buzz fanatic then you’ve probably read Melinda Harris’ post, “Three Reasons Writers Might Want A Blog” about the importance of keeping a blog. Here’s a recap in case you haven’t: a blog “keeps you writing,” “builds a readership,” and helps to develop an online “community.”
Sounds rather nice, right?
So we’ve established why having a blog is an awesome tool for any writer. Now it’s time to get technical. You want a blog, but what website builder should you be using?
I’ve provided a list of pros and cons for three popular and free website builders that anyone can use which are WordPress.com, Weebly.com, and Wix.com. I built my own unpublished blogging websites using these three builders so I could personally give you an account of what makes each different.
Before delving into the differences of these builders, let me mention a few features that they all have in common. All three builders are easy to learn, customizable, have search engine optimization (SEO), can be edited from mobile devices, and allow you customize your blog posts using HTML. When used correctly, each of these features will help you build and maintain a stellar blog.
So, without further ado, let me introduce my findings:
Most likely if you’ve ever looked into building a blog or you follow a blog, you’ve come across WordPress and there’s a reason for that. Not only does WordPress power 25% of the web, but it was built with blogging in mind!
Weebly allows you to build beautiful and simple websites with pre-made themes ranging from business to blogging. This builder has a unique drag and drop features that simplifies any website building. For those who aren’t tech savvy, Weebly allows you to contact support via emails regardless of if you’re using a free account or an upgraded one.
Wix is an amazing builder for those who love a little extra glam for their websites. Not only are their themes fun and interesting, but, without having to upgrade to a paid website, you can upload video clips to use as your background. Plus, they have animation features that will bring to life any piece of content you write.
These are, in my opinion, the best of the free website builders that you can use for your blog. Wordpress would be your best bet if you want a no frills website that is devoted to blogging and building a blogging community. Weebly is a wonderful option for both those who are and are not tech savvy due to the ability to customize templates with code and their customer support. Wix is a must for bloggers who really want to stick out by using their amazing video and animation features. Weebly’s and Wix’s easily enabled e-commerce options make them great options for anyone who wants to mix business with blogging. If you’re still not sure which builder to use, create websites using all three and publish your favorite one!
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