How-To’s

How to Write a Story

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A purpose or message is usually meant to be conveyed in any grouping of words that work together to purposefully mar the blank nothingness of the medium upon which they are placed. Often, however, the collection is not quite arranged in a cohesive manner. If you struggle with this common hardship–that is, the proper conveyance of meaning through written form–I am sorry. To tell the truth, I am no expert on the subject either. In fact, my word arrangements often lose their points when presented to their intended audiences, but my ineptitude has never before stopped me from telling others how to do things.

First of all, and perhaps most obviously, the author must connect the story with his or her reader. This object is most often reached through the use of characters and other plot devices that are commonly recognized. Like magic rings or mad scientists. The characters must be relatable in some way. Humorous people, confused people, blonde people, puppies, kittens, and Pop Tarts are all great objects to use. For creativity points, try combining some or all of those: a humorous, confused blonde puppy who likes Pop Tarts.  

Emotion (for some strange reason) is a powerful tool to use when writing. The goal of most authors is to make the characters’ actions believable. The story of a happy boy and his puppy will invoke pleasant feelings unless you’re a emo cat person, while the tale of an evil undead cat with an owner who murders his wife will probably disturb people. I’m looking at you, Poe.

Depending on the length of the story, background can be quite useful. A lengthy tale that contains many complex characters is much more difficult to write, but when properly executed, the end result is fantastic. Requirements: Capacity to think deeply on many levels, strong imagination, good fashion sense, and an eventful childhood in an 19th or 20th century European country.

Finally, a plot is often quite useful in the writing of a story. Whilst words can be collected and grouped without any real advancement of meaning or evolution of purpose, the abstract is generally left to lesser-known or simply crazy authors. Like me.   

So that is how you write a story; let me demonstrate with a short example:

Once upon a time, a kitten and a puppy were sitting in a field. The field is awash with all sorts of beautiful colors and wonderful things, for the scene is set inside of a portrait. As the portrait is being completed, the painter decides to add some more interesting elements. She is at a bit of a loss, but she soon resolves her dilemma.

The kitten and puppy were soon joined by a happy boy who was clad in bright colors and joyous expressions. Alongside of him ran a girl who was wearing a sun dress and a quaint hat. Everyone is eating Pop Tarts. The kitten is very fuzzy.
The End

If that didn’t make you smile, you should go see a therapist.

Cheers!
~XK

How to Use Proper Grammar

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Sike! I bet you thought this was going to be a post full of fairly useful tips on how to properly make use of grammar, complimented by sarcastic remarks. Nope! Just Chuck Testa. I considered writing a post of a similar nature, ranting about the lack of proper grammar by those who Facebook, Tweet, write blogs, and do whatever else people do on the internet. Then I realized the monumental task that I would be putting myself to, and I decided to reduce the condescension levels that means I’ll be nicer and, instead, write about the importance of grammar. 

Of course, I make my share of mistakes in this blog. You can probably even find errors in this post. Every now and then I leave out word, misspell a synonim, or forget to insert a words punctuation. See what I did there? No man is infallible, aside from Jesus and Chuck Norris, but I don’t think either of them blog. Jesus did write a pretty good book, though. You should totally read it. Aside from the students in the English Review classes at my college, I try not to be overly critical of others’ writing. I’m an English tutor, in case you’re wondering. I’ll let slide a few pronouns who are missing their antecedents. I don’t mind the occasional comma splice or wrongly inserted semicolon, and I try to overlook the stray confused homophone. 

The Canadians have spies everywhere…

That brings us to the somewhat main point of this post. Yes, it has a point. Strict enforcement of grammar is not as important as a clear conveyance of the message intended. Sometimes, it is raining outside. I must admit, while possessing some sense of grammar has the effect of enhancing one’s communication skills, this skill has its defects. Grammar can be restrictive of style. Conjunctions are not free to reside at the head of sentences, and who made up the rules for the proper usage of dashes? I don’t want to be a perfect grammarian; I just want my readers to understand the message. In this case, I want them  to understand that I value grammar, and I believe they should as well. Translation: learn how to write. 

Writing may not be your forté, but you should do the best that you can. If you don’t, who knows what will happen; maybe I’ll troll you, or maybe you’ll write something that will offend the Grammarian Association of Newfoundland. The members will become so incensed with your lack of grammatical correctness that they will hire someone to do something bad to you. They’d hire mercenaries because grammarians aren’t very powerful people. The members–since they’re Canadian–will most likely hire Eskimos to engage you in an existential conversation on the ethicality of Canadian bacon in a society with public health care. This will be followed by a taunting of the value of the American dollar. The public shame and humiliation that will result could be devastating to your appetite.

So, the next time you are tempted to misuse “their/there/they’re” or needlessly insert a comma, remember the Canadians. They’re watching you… eh.  

A Guide to Facebook Users

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If you haven’t noticed by now, I really like to classify things, and people, and… yeah, pretty much everything. So, today, on this very most wonderfullest of days, it’s a Saturday, I present to you, my lovely reader, a guide for the classification of the users of the internet site known as Facebook.

  • The Normal User — We’ll use this person as the baseline. This good fellow logs onto Facebook, checks to see see if any of his friends have posted anything “like-worthy,” and posts a relevant status that is of some interest to those whom he has friended. “Got my first car today! I’m so excited!” Perhaps he occasionally shares a funny video or link. Hey, have you seen that guide to Facebook users? *links*
  • The Storytellers — These are your friends who have decided that their lives should be broadcast in prose form. Not content with a simple “Ouch. I stubbed my toe in the backyard,” these long-winded narrators must post a blow-by-blow replay of the events leading up to and following the event. “So… I was walking out to the barn today because I had to feed my pet antelope when I realized that I need to go back inside and get my hat. So, I headed back into the house and when I did I tripped over a rock that sitting in the way. Now my toe hurts and I had to find the medicine. Now my toe is black and blue. lol”
  • The Addict — The books written by the storyteller are surpassed in volume and word count by only one other: the addict. The Facebook addict is one who has advanced in the evolutionary cycle to the point at which he no longer has a need for the “log out” button. Although he may occasionally post interesting statuses, not many events during the course of the day escape the waiting keyboard of the addict. Honestly sir, nobody cares if you just went out to get the mail; people are only slightly intrigued by the fact that you ate an entire pizza tonight, and really, how did you even post that status to let us know that your internet is down and your cell phone is dead…?
  • The Obsessive Compulsive Reposters (OCRs) — Even the good people who run Facebook  have been impressed by the amount of users that repost items, hence they added the “share” feature. Occasionally sharing a link or video, like an awesome blog post, is acceptable. Problems begin to arise, however, when the ratio of shares to minutes exceeds 3.2. That’s data from an actual scientific test.
  • The Stalkers — Granted, if the information is posted to one’s profile, it was posted at the peril of the owner; however, it’s not cool to “like” every single photo, status, link, and action that someone posts. Stalking your friends on Facebook is perfectly acceptable, it’s just generally a good idea to be discreet. Jack: “Hey Sally, this is such a great picture of you!” Sally: “That’s my mom… and I posted that 2 years ago… and… why did you like all of my posts between 2007 and now? Stalker.”
  • The Spammer Vigilante — Dissimilar from the OCRs in the area of intention, these friends like to act out the rule of justice on those who have offended them. Using many ctrl-c and subsequent ctrl-v keystrokes, these people will soon fill the victim’s/perpetrator’s feed with far too many notifications than is healthy.
  • The Relational Lotteries — Fairly certain that this guy really is the one, she changes her relationship status–for the twelfth time this week. ‘nough said.
  • The Grammatically Challenged — I know that many of you who read this are guilty. Don’t get mad; I don’t hate you. I just really hate your writing. Sure, everyone has his own grammatical idiosyncrasies… I really love using ellipses, but do you really not remember how to use the “shift” key, commas, or apostrophes? No, following the status up with txt speak does not alleviate the problem. “if you dont go to school to morrow your stupid. lol ♥ ♥” (Hearts added for emphasis.)
  • The Txt Speakers — Closely related to the friends above, these people seem to have forgotten that English is the primary language spoken amongst English speakers. “lol im soooo brd smbdy txt me pls lol If you’re really that bored, do your homework; Comp 1 might not be a bad place to start.
  • The Grammar Nazis — While it is exceedingly annoying for the grammatically inclined to interact with the written expressions of the grammatically declined see what I did there?, it is quite the common occurrence on Facebook. Obviously, the misused “yours” and fatally mutilated contractions cannot be allowed to roam the web forever and freely, but some restraint must be shown when correcting others. Here’s a quick test: “Whats you’re favorite colour?” If you can responded to that question with a color, you’re doing alright. If not, loosen up a bit, or only friend people that can pass an English proficiency test. It’s your choice (sic).
  • The Gamers — No, not the real gamers. I’m talking about the Facebook gamers. The people that, as soon as you accepted their friend request, posted on your wall to ask for a pig. Politely declining and informing them that you do not own any of the unclean creatures, you blocked Farmville. Good move. Unfortunately, your friends also play about 97 thousand other games; hence, it becomes a competition to see who will overcome whom. Will they eventually bury your wall in under a pile of requests to pick their digital tomatoes, or will you succeed in blocking every game request that is hurled your way? “Dude, check out my farm. I mean, it’s not a real farm. It’s actually fake, but dude, I spent real money on it! And Dude! I got a pink tractor!”

This list is by no means comprehensive, and it certainly doesn’t cover all of the details of each category; indeed, it may even be subjective. Perhaps, however, it will bring entertainment to someone, and hopefuly, it will not spam too many users’ walls. Just kidding, you should totally share this with everyone you know. Just use the Facebook button below.

Happy Social Networking!
~XK