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The Importance of Sentence Structure


Spending time on the mechanics of sentence structure can make a huge difference in your writing.  Sentence structure is important, and as much as I don’t like writing blog posts on grammar, this is something all writers should know.  Learning how to vary sentence structure is a great skill to have and will save you frustration in the long run.

Here are a few ways to improve and vary sentence structure in your novel:

Vary sentence length

Do you see a problem with this paragraph? “Amy was tired. She stepped outside. There was a rabbit. It looked up at her. It ran away.” It’s pretty boring, isn’t it? (and awful). This paragraph is full of short, simple sentences, so it’s not very compelling writing. Maybe try this instead; “Amy was tired. As she stepped outside, she noticed the rabbit near the bushes. It looked up at her for a moment before running away.” Combining long and short sentences is crucial to building interesting scenes. Use sentence length to focus attention on something in a paragraph. You can make a sentence pop by keeping it short.

Learn about complex and compound sentences

A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses joined by conjunctions like ‘and,’ ‘but,’ and ‘or’, or they can be joined by adjectives like ‘however’ or ‘therefore. For example, “Amy wanted to go outside, but it was raining.” Combining two sentences instead of splitting them up is a helpful tool to keep your writing flowing.  

A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. For example, “Amy returned the computer after she noticed it was damaged.”

Understanding these types of sentences will help you improve your sentence structure and vary your sentence length. Learn how to effectively use words like ‘but’, ‘and’, and ‘or’ to combine two sentences that don’t need to be separated OR learn how to construct complex sentences that get your point across.

Cut the clutter

Avoid adding phrases that add nothing to your sentence and learn when to cut the clutter. If your sentences are too wordy, try to figure out what you can cut out. Learning how to tighten up your sentences is important. To do this, focus on what words you can use to say the same thing. Never say in a paragraph what you can say in a sentence. Try to cut filler words like this from your writing: just, very, really, maybe, perhaps, etc. They’re usually not necessary and they will help improve your sentences.

For example: “Amy was at the end of line” can be very simply changed to “Amy was last.”

Read it out loud

The best way to determine whether your writing sounds awkward or not is to read your writing out loud. If a sentence doesn’t look right, you need to hear if it sounds right. If you read out loud, you’ll be able to focus on sentence structure and whether or not you’re varying sentence lengths or using unnecessary words. Try it out!

-Kris Noel

Describing Feelings


How can I describe my characters feelings? - Anonymous

Since your characters aren’t exactly real people your readers can talk to and get to know in real-life manners, their feelings and emotions and thoughts are what lets your readers connect with them. These things are what make your characters as real as possible, what gives them depth, which will determine whether your readers will root for them or hope for them to fail. Therefore, this is something you shouldn’t neglect. Below, you’ll find some tips on how to display your characters’ feelings and emotions in your writing.

  • Show Don’t Tell. Biological Responses. One way of letting your readers know about how your characters are feeling is by using biological responses we have all felt. For instance, if you mention that your character’s heart rate increased after seeing or hearing something, your readers will understand your character is afraid of something. There are other ways of using this method to show your characters’ feelings, but by using biological responses to certain emotions you are using the readers’ past experience with their own emotions to connect and relate to your characters. Here, you’ll learn about the role biology plays in our emotions. However, if we’re describing a character we have no “inside information” on - a character whose biological responses we don’t know -, we refer to their physical displays of emotion. People are likely to clench their teeth in anger, open their mouths in astonishment, etc. 
  • Use different words. There are many different words you can use to depict your character’s state of mind. If you keep using the same ones, you risk them losing their meaning or going weak. If all your characters are described as “happy” when something happens, your reader will lose sense of the different levels of importance different events have for your characters. Therefore, if you are going to refer to single words in order to display emotions/feelings, do so using different words. You can find a list of words to use when describing feelings here
  • Dialogue. People will speak differently depending on how they are feeling. When you’re really excited about something, you’re likely to speak in a fast manner, skipping some words, repeating others… whereas when you’re worried or afraid you’re likely to have an incoherent speech, stop yourself mid-sentence, speak with little “hmms” and pauses…
  • Your characters’ actions. The things we do say a lot about what we’re feeling. If your character is angry while walking into a room, he’s likely to slam the door shut; if he’s happy when he gets home, he’s more likely to go and greet everyone than to go hide in his room. 
  • Create habits for your characters. We all have different habits and while some things we do might not mean much to people on the outside, those who know us can often tell how we’re feeling by what we are doing or the way we do it. Some people only smoke when they’re stressed, and if you introduce your character to your reader as someone like this, they’ll be able to assume, when your character lights up a cigarette, that he’s stressed. Make sure your readers know about these habits before you having to use them, or else it will be less effective. (For instance, if your character only smokes when he’s stressed, have another character offer him a cigarette and then have him decline it with the explanation that he only smokes when he’s stressed). This is something that can really work, specially if the first time this habit is introduced is done in a subtle, but effective way.

Below, you’ll find some articles on the matter that might help you:

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A List of Words to Use Instead of Said


Not that there’s anything wrong with using ‘said’, but it helps to switch it up a bit if you’re afraid of overusing it. Using ‘said’ doesn’t really explain anything to your readers besides telling us that a character has spoken. If you want to put more emotion into your writing, try using some of these words:

  • Accepted, Accused, Acknowledged, Added, Admitted, Advertised, Affirmed, Agonized, Agreed, Alleged, Announced, Answered, Appealed, Argued, Arranged, Articulated, Asked, Asserted, Assumed, Assured, Avowed
  • Barked, Bawled, Beamed, Beckoned, Began, Begged, Bellowed,  Bet, Beseeched, Bleated Blubbered, Blurted, Bossed, Bragged, Breathed, Broadcasted, Bugged
  • Called, Cautioned, Censured, Chatted, Chattered, Chimed in, Choked, Chortled, Chuckled, Claimed, Comforted, Commanded, Complained, Conceded, Concurred, Condemned, Confessed, Confided, Confirmed, Consoled, Contended, Continued, Cried out, Criticized, Croaked, Crooned, Crowed
  • Dared, Decided, Declared, Defended, Demanded, Denied, Described, Discounted, Doubted
  • Emitted, Empathized, Encouraged, Ended, Entreated, Exacted, Exclaimed, Explained, Exposed
  • Faltered, Finished, Fretted, Fumed
  • Gasped, Giggled, Greeted, Groaned, Growled, Grumbled, Guessed, Gulped
  • Hesitated, Hinted, Hissed, Howled
  • Implied, Implored, Inclined, Indicated, Informed, Inquired, Insisted, Interjected, Interrupted, Invited
  • Jeered, Jested, Joked, Justified
  • Laughed, Lied, Lisped
  • Maintained, Marked, Mimicked, Moaned, Mocked, Mourned, Murmured, Mused, Muttered
  • Nagged, Nodded, Noted
  • Objected, Observed, Offered, Ordered
  • Panted, Pleaded, Preached, Presented, Presumed, Proclaimed, Prodded, Professed, Promised, Proposed, Protested, Provoked, Publicized, Published
  • Quavered, Queried, Questioned, Quoted
  • Reassured, Raged, Ranted, Reasoned, Rejoiced, Rejoined, Released, Remarked, Repeated, Replied, Reprimanded, Requested, Required, Retorted, Revealed, Roared
  • Sang, Scoffed, Scolded, Seethed, Settled, Shared, Shouted, Shrieked, Shrugged, Shuddered, Snarled , Sobbed, Specified, Spluttered, Spread, Stammered, Stated, Stuttered, Stressed, Suggested, Supposed, Swore
  • Taunted, Teased, Tempted, Tested, Theorized, Thought, Told
  • Urged, Uttered
  • Voiced, Vowed
  • Wailed, Warned, Wept, Whimpered, Whined, Whispered, Wondered, Worried
  • Yawned, Yelled

There are plenty more, so feel free to add to the list. Thanks!

-Kris Noel

myths & urban legends masterpost


i really love hearing about ghost stories, folklore and the like, and im sure there people out there who can relate, so i decided to throw together a masterpost. this collection is the result of a half hours’ worth of googling around. i apologize if there are any broken links - if you catch one, please fix it. additionally, if you know any good links that arent listed here, feel free to add them!

browse carefully - some of these are pretty creepy. lots of violence and swearing scattered around, etc.


Snopes: (warning: some popups! snopes is sometimes an unreliable source, so i suggest taking its articles with a grain of salt, but theyre still a pretty good read.)


  • 136 creepy wikipedia articles (not all urban legends, but still a really excellent masterpost!)
  • American Folklore (havent delved too deep into this website but it has a lot of content - check the links across the top in the red bar)
  • Creepypasta Index - Highest Rated (again, havent read all of these but theres some classics on here i recognize)
  • All-Lies (has some irritating ads, but theres a lot of stuff on here. take note of the sweet ’90s flames on the bottom of the page)
  • DisneyLies - (sister site to the previous link. im not sure why there are so many creepy myths surrounding disney, but these are pretty good. also has some pretty rad flames)

Hello! Loving your blog. I'm writing a story that one day i hope to get published. However, I haven't written in a while, I'm a bit rusty. Do you have any exercises that could help me or any tips?


One way to get into the swing of things it to try writing prompts and free writing. There’s a lot of tumblrs out there that you can follow for them!

You can also experiment with different types of writing - poetry, songwriting, etc - to stretch your writing muscles a bit. Joining a writing group or taking part in writing exercises can help a lot too! You can find writing exercises at:

Other ideas: create a daily notebook, free write for fifteen minutes a day, try writing about your favorite characters, pick an object in your room and detail its history, etc. Pretty much anything can flex your writing muscles, as long as you try it!



Link 1  <Personal & Body Care

Link 2 <Emotional & Psychological Closeness

Link 3 <Sleeping & Other Spacial Closeness

Link 4 <Life Arrangements

Link 5  <Urgent Situations

More examples include:

  • Being asked to open someone else’s mail
  • Having someone’s mail forwarded to your house
  • Being listed as someone’s emergency contact
  • Accompanying someone to the doctor/ therapist
  • Helping someone apply makeup (You’re given permission to touch their face and neck, especially the delicate area around the eyes, and to alter their presented identity.)
  • Reading to someone
  • Drawing someone (long periods of intense scrutiny)
  • Folding someone’s clothes