They love to connect your ideas

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Why do we fear the semicolon?

Perhaps it’s because it looks like the lovechild of a colon and a comma. Perhaps it’s because it mimics an amalgamation of both parent punctuation’s uses. Or perhaps because it doesn’t reliably substitute for either. Whatever the reason, writers tend to avoid the semicolon—hereby referred to as “Semmy”—as much as they do decaf coffee.

Poor Semmy. He just wants some well-deserved love.

What even IS a semicolon?

Semmy looks like a colon and a comma smacked together for a reason. Just like a comma, he divides clauses without a full stop; then, like a colon, he introduces the next…

How to decide if your outdated techniques are helpful or harmful

Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash

The last thing you heard about writing was wrong. In fact, I have an article that disproves the thing before that, too. And here, take this craft book—read enough of these and, by golly, you’ll eventually find a counterpoint to every lesson you’ve ever learned.

It’s not a conspiracy or a catastrophe, it’s just art. Try grabbing ten writers, shoving them into a cafe, and watching how they shift and shuffle while they create. By the hour’s end, one will be surrounded by empty coffee cups, one will be hunched over a tablet, one will be staring into the distance…

Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay

Those mountains,
oh, those mountains,
can’t wait

Hey, how are you,
ready for a road trip?
The mountains,
they’re so pretty,
can’t wait

They’re so pretty
How are you?

Those mountains,
we’ll be there before you know
How are you?
Good, tell me more, tell me
how are you, how’s the kids,
how’s your family, how’s the dog,
how’s your husband, how’s your addiction
to prescription
meds sorry
just caught in the rhythm,
forget it

Those mountains,
we’re almost there
So pretty
How are you
feeling? Ready
for a hike? …

Learning to resuscitate the joy that high school strangled

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Halfway through our English degrees, a friend confessed to me that he hadn’t read a non-assigned book since elementary. He was planning to reignite his passion for reading.

“Might as well start from the beginning,” he said, “and work my way up.”

About two weeks later, I found a copy of Beowulf—the one and only “premium” edition, according to its cover—hidden under a couple of Dairy Queen coupons and a coffee-stained coaster. Inside was a brand-new wooden bookmark with my friend’s initials etched into the protruding end.

It separated pages 4 and 5.

My friend never did finish Beowulf, but…

Don’t let overthinking kill your story

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

Editing is like peeling dead skin. It’s satisfying, it gets the job done… but sometimes it hurts. Sometimes, you bleed.

A few months ago, I went from beefing up my novel by 1000+ words a day to sitting on the same paragraph — the same sentence, even — for a week and a half. By the end, it hurt to blink. My eyes were dry as toast, my neck’s tendons quivered like guitar strings, and my temples palpitated. I’d been staring at the same words for so long that my own body was rejecting the story.

It wasn’t the mysterious…

Photo by Alexandru-Bogdan Ghita on Unsplash

There’s no reason to ever buy a prebuilt gaming computer. At least, that’s the answer you’ll get if you ask around on a PC forum. Dedicated hobbyists are prone to discouraging and belittling those who suggest taking the easy route when it comes to purchasing a new gaming rig, and they can often provide a persuasive argument. Building your own PC (for gaming or otherwise) allows you to choose your own parts, focus your budget on that which you need most, reuse old components, make use of individual warranties, and etcetera. Some services even allow you to order custom-built computers…

Vincent Potter

Prose editor at FreeFall literary magazine and full-time writer.

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