What will these 6 robots say about your writing?

The year 2016 gave us our first feature film written by Artificial Intelligence, and it was…ridiculous.

While AI clearly isn’t ready to join writers behind the big screen or on the library shelf, the bots are capable of extracting insight from pre-written content. In fact, you can learn a lot about your writing by subjecting it to computer analysis. 

Each of these six bots has something to say about your writing. And the best part? They’re all free and easy to use!Read More »

Les Miserables: Do You Talk to Yourself?

Two days ago, I decided to tackle Les Miserables’ 2435 pages of, well, misery.

I had avoided the book before, thinking it was strictly a right of passage for theater kids, but when I realized it was written by Victor Hugo (author of one of my favorite books, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), my opinion changed.

There are many reasons to love Victor Hugo’s writing, but my favorite element of his books is his philosophy, peppered across his story. Hugo doesn’t just preach big ideas, he presents an elegant view of subjects that other writers simply glance over.Read More »


Why Does the South Get Its Own Genre?

I didn’t just grow up in the south.

I grew up on southern fiction,moving up from children’s books like Because of Winn Dixie and Bud, Not Buddy to the more intense Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry! and To Kill a Mockingbird and finally to the truly haunting The Color Purple and Absalom, Absalom!

The fact that one branch of regional literature could support me all the way from baby bookworm to analytical adult is remarkable–as is the fact that “southern fiction” is one of the only regional genres identified by Amazon’s publishing platform.

What is it about the south that keeps drawing readers (and writers) back for more?Read More »


5 Weird Things That Change When You Learn a New Language


Before I moved to Brazil, I taught ESL to a group of refugee students from all over the world.

I taught at an intermediate level, and I remember being surprised by my students’ insistence that they didn’t feel fluent, that their English was inadequate. Of course, I recognized that they had a lot to learn, but in all of our conversations, we were able to convey essential information back and forth–so I was both inspired and puzzled by their dedication to learning more English.

Living in Brazil (with only a low-intermediate understanding of Portuguese), has given me a new perspective on the importance of inessential communication. I’ve come to realize that, in many cases, its the detail and tone which makes a conversation lively, not the essential information that’s being conveyed.Read More »

6 Sickening Moments in Classic Literature

If you’ve ever taken a course in creative writing, you’ll know that being on this list is a compliment!

A writer’s main goal is to manipulate his reader’s emotions. The writers on this list manipulated my emotions so effectively that they bypassed all secondary and tertiary emotions and tapped into one of my primary emotions, an emotion so visceral that it seeps out of the realm of psychology, into the realm of physiology. That emotion? Disgust.

These are the moments when a book made me cringe or grit my teeth or feel nauseous…they were, quite frankly, traumatic. That’s why I still remember them to this day. Read More »


Harry Potter and the Power of the Heptalogy

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books claim 7 of the slots in the top 10 bestselling books of all times. That’s a stupefying statistic if I’ve ever heard one!

Rowling’s writing is enchanting by its own right. If she had stopped at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the book still would have fared well with children. If she had wrapped Harry’s adventures up as a trilogy, she probably would have had a classic series on her hands. But to conjure up the empire that Harry Potter is today, Rowling had to call on a much greater and rarer power: the power of the heptalogy.Read More »