What a subpar fantasy novel taught me about plot

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I was listening to the podcast, Scriptnotes, the other day, in which the contributors were discussing the importance and “trap” of world building. The host stated something along the lines of, “there’s a magical world with intense battles, mythical people and cultures, far off lands and beauty….the problem is, it doesn’t exist.” He was referring to a friend of his who had been working on an epic fantasy novel where all of these aspects were true. Unfortunately for the friend, they’d become so enamored by the world they were building, the story never came to fruition.

As writers, most of…


5 facts about copywriting you need to know when starting out

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On my last copywriting blog, I saw a comment asking, “how can I get into copywriting without breaking the bank?” What a great question! When I first started my copywriting journey, I wasn’t entirely sure all of what copywriting entailed. But for starters, it’s copy-writing, not copy-righting. Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with copyright law. Here are 5 explanations for copywriting and how you can start today for free!

Anything with the goal of making a sale is copywriting

The answer for what copywriting is, isn’t complicated! Copywriting is written text that is used for the purpose of making a sale. It usually includes a product or service…


Breaking down T.S. Eliot’s secret rule for better emotional development

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While there is no hard and fast rule that will make you an instant success, there is one principle I’ve learned along my writing journey that’s changed my craft for the better. I’ve been a fan of T.S. Eliot for quite some time and continued to read his work past high school (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is still one of my favorite poems). Arguably the most prolific essayist and poet of the twentieth century, Eliot coined a specific theory which criticized the lack of emotional development in notable literary works.

In his essay titled, Hamlet and His…


Why your failed masterpieces are you secret weapons

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an aspiring writer, it’s that there are often more bad ideas than good. Whether it’s poor execution or a concept that just didn’t work, there are plenty of projects with subpar potential that are destined for the garbage before they even get off the ground. Like most artists, I agonize over a project until I feel its perfect. Sometimes I feel absolutely certain that whatever it is I’m working on at that point in time will be the “winner”, “the money maker”, the next “big thing.”

I’ll tell you a secret. 99% of…


If not for your writing, for your imagination and your soul

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C.S. Lewis said that it wasn’t until he was much older when he began to appreciate fairytales again. Just as well, his good friend Tolkien believed that the purpose of fantasy was pure enjoyment. As we get older, parts of our inner life slip away and we lose that little spark of imagination. Bills, politics, the abundance of general noise the world has to offer. These aspects steer our focus from the things of old; the simpler things that once brought us so much joy. Seeking time with our imagination is one of the purest forms of entertainment. …


How I found the time and inspiration to write and edit 3 drafts in 30 days

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It shouldn’t be a mystery that good ideas can pop up anytime from anything. In my case, it was as simple and sudden as a song. I was listening to Halsey’s latest album at my work desk when the tune of I Hate Everybody rang through my eardrums. The wedding dance like melody transported my mind to the black and white imagery of a circus. Although the message of the song isn’t exactly sentimental (more along the lines of bitter, in fact), the striking beats of the bells still sounded magical. This was only the start of my month long…


Why copywriting is your saving grace as a writer

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When I started building my blog in an effort to boost my side income, I didn’t realize how wrong I was in regards to making money writing online. Of course, having a blog is essential for showcasing your portfolio and building an audience, but it’s not the most practical way to make money. I want to share with you what does work and how I got into my writing side hustle.

Make your work standout

Back in August of 2020, I was recruited by a small, online marketing company in need of an additional staff writer. I had been researching how to make money…


Writing pointers from Pixar’s latest and most existential film

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Disney+ recently release Pixar’s latest film, Soul. The film follows a middle aged jazz musician still waiting for his big break. Once he finally attains his shot, he unexpectedly perishes and is thrown headfirst into the “great beyond.” This film is one of Pixar’s longest and most complex narratives we’ve seen in a long time. This makes it not only risky for the audience, but for the writer as well. That said, here are a few things it’s helped me ponder in the sense of authentic, unapologetic storytelling. Spoilers ahead!

A multi dimensional plot

The main narrative of Soul is of a washed up…


4 “new” poets you should consider reading to improve your craft

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Ray Bradbury said that to be a good writer, there are two things you need to do each day; read and write! But amidst the menial responsibilities of our everyday lives and endless nine to fives, it can be hard to find the time (and no, I didn’t mean for that to rhyme). The good news is, you don’t need to read a full fledged novel each week, or crank out two thousand words a day. Bradbury emphasized that simply reading a poem or two daily is enough. Poetry is a great way to improve your prose. By reading poetry…


An inside look at the stories I read as a kid

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It can often take a writer years to find his or her voice. Authors like Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), Avi (Crispin: The Cross of Lead), and Judy Blume wrote their masterpieces later on. Emily Dickenson claimed that her most satisfying year as a poet was when she was 31. My view on developing as a writer lies at opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s a fierce dichotomy, but one that I think is necessary to discuss. Because the truth is, the majority of our habits take shape well before adolescence. My hope is that by giving an inside…

A.M. Cal

Award winning producer. Master of Arts in film. Relentless poet, always in motion. Helping writers write. Full time fashion copywriter.

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