How do you feel about Mr. Oxford Comma?



Our Dapper Oxie

I settle back on a red leather chaise and self-consciously adjust my glasses. The shrink sits across from me, hunched over the clip board that rests on his knees. His loafers press together, like the dot to his question mark. After a little hemming and hawing, he finally looks up and asks:

“How do you feel about this old friend you’ve told me about? This Oxford Comma?”

I knew the question was coming, but I panic a little anyway. To control my nerves, I pull my glasses off and clutch them, pressing my hands against my stomach. I consider how much he looks like a question mark, now that his form has blobbed into an indistinct curve. Continue reading

Friday Reflections: Generous Networking


I believe that Roberts is referring to Stephen King’s advice from “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” which I would highly recommend.

With the advent of social media, creatives can link directly to their audiences, creating informational immediacy, revolutionizing professional relationships, and necessitating business savvy. See the articles below to discover the best advice from the online world of writing and freelance:

The Stephen King Drawer Method for Writing Better Copy” – Stacey Roberts addresses her fellow writers and bloggers, encouraging them to improve their work with one simple hint: give space. Though it’s tempting to press ‘publish’ right after typing a blog post, maybe you should try out Stephen King’s drawer method.

The Network Effect: How Joining Forces with Fellow Freelancers can Jumpstart Your Career” – Ritika Puri offers advice that all creatives can benefit from: don’t stiff-arm the competition. In her article at The Freelance Strategist, she encourages freelancers to network, connect, and collaborate. Since Puri focuses mostly on freelancers, her article serves as a great launch point for next week’s StoryForge article on artistic collaboration.

7 Things I learned from the World’s Best Marketers” – As an artist, you might think that you can leave the business stuff to the business people. Incorrect! Especially with the immediacy of social media, marketing skills are necessary to make your way in the world. Learn from Tiana Warner, as she guest blogs for Jane Friedman.

From the Forge: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd


Writing today from StoryForge Productions:

Last week, the Club discussed The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. The classic whodunit is light on its toes—the perfect read to offset the longer, heavier texts that we have chosen lately. The only element lacking from our evening of laughter, wine and murder was a round of Clue…

Read more at the Forge!

The Key to Finding a Writer’s Strengths – What’s Your Learning Style?

DSC00302I have been asking my writing friends all week: what is your learning style? Some say they are distinctly kinesthetic. They hoard memories creating their own sign language to accompany a poem. Or they are auditory, and learn best by listening to lectures.

Personally, I am very visual. I remember names best after seeing them spelled out. In my university classes, I was a notorious doodler. I live my life in accumulated moments and my understanding of history is grounded in webbed associations between art, books, and stiff portraits of important figures.

Your learning style affects your writing style. Continue reading

Friday Reflections: Enjoying Spring, Building a Future


Since my rose bushes are blooming, I’m quite ready to follow Lindsay’s advice! I clipped one of my pretty yellow and orange roses to brighten my reading corner.

Spring has come and flowers are blooming, so here’s a happy reminder to take it easy this weekend! Hard work is necessary for a successful career, but so is balancing yourself with mindful downtime, methodical progress and preparation for the future:

 “11 Small, easy ways to be more mindful this spring” – A refreshing reminder from the Freelancers Union’s Lindsay Van Theon on the first day of spring!

“How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals” – According to James Clear, being mindful for a few moments isn’t enough; “But if you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different. It’s their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.”

“It’s Okay To Prepare For Your Dreams” – Though risking the path less traveled is a popular move, Sean Chalmers validates conservative career choices in his article for Under30CEO. Take your time, grow at your own pace and maybe smell some roses along the way.

From the Forge: How Emotional Honesty Empowers Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises

I’m writing from StoryForge Productions today! Here’s a snippet from my last Month-a-Zaki article:

Throughout his career, Hayao Miyazaki changed the realm of storytelling. He had a fruitful “ten years in the sun,” and brought it to a close with one last masterpiece. The Wind Rises is his beautiful farewell to animation, leaving his audiences with the bittersweet tang of achieved dreams.

Differing greatly from Miyazaki’s previous films, The Wind Rises engages silence and sound with increasingly emotive effects. The protagonists, Jiro and Naoko, are older than many of Miyazaki’s characters, such as Sophie, Chihiro, Ponyo and Kiki. With their age comes weightier themes, such as chasing perfection and embracing love, whatever pain each may bring. (Read more at the Forge, and see the fantastic art!)

Why I Love Editing

Sarah L. Yoon's High School Attempts at Editing

My high school attempts at editing – an incredibly messy training ground.

When I was ten, I discovered the joy of a well crafted sentence. I wrote a three paragraph narrative about a squirrel and its acorn–after raising my hand in class asking how to spell the word squirrel–and I can still feel the magic of storytelling.

Though I’ve always thought that event launched my love for writing, only recently have I realized that it also launched my love of editing. Writing is only the beginning of the process. It’s messy, raw and free. After everything is scribbled and typed, editing sweeps the scenes and the sentences into place.  The prose moves out of an awkward, gargling stage into mature, lyrical prose. While many people dread the editing process–it is scary sometimes, I’ll admit–the feeling of everything coming together is worth the work. 

What launched your love of art and all the hard work that comes with it?

From the Forge: “Interview with Artist Allison Oh”

I’m writing at StoryForge Productions for today! Here’s a snippet: Rabbit copy

Allison Oh is a multifaceted artist, whose interest in all mediums has drawn her into the StoryForge team. Her inspiring work pushes the boundaries of creative expression and paves the way for her fellow storytellers. Find @AllisonAerie on Twitter, or see her Tumblr and Pinterest for more!

 What launched your artistic journey and how have you grown from then until now?

My mom would joke that my artistic journey was launched during my 100-day ceremony. It’s a Korean tradition that on the 100th day after your baby is born, you dress her up and sit her in front of a table full of symbolic items that predict what your child will do with her life. I apparently went straight for the color pencils and have been crafting and creating in a multitude of mediums ever since… (Read more at StoryForge Productions)

5 Insights on Writing about Children from My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro is yet another example of Miyazaki’s unusual plots arcs, but this one veers away from the rollercoaster-like style of Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. Instead, the plot is driven by childlike wonder, joy and grief. The story digs deep into the characters’ psychology and brings out moments that melt viewers into a puddle of fond recognition. Miyazaki reawakes our childlike dreams without condescension. He never looks down on his young characters as childish; he understands their intensity, purity and complexity.

When writing about children, you can…Read More at StoryForge Productions (and see the fantastic art that accompanies!)

The Business of Art: Staying in Love with your Craft

Sometimes I critique books as I read. Though some prose surprises me with its artistry and rhetoric, other styles snag. My mind has been trained to edit and critique, so nit-picking has become involuntary and even burdensome. When I pick the book up again, I rebel against my education and force my brain to shut down. The gears slow; I can finally enjoy the story.

I’m not the only one with this problem, I know. Recently a friend’s child announced that she wanted to be a chocolate taster when she grew up. One wise adult quickly discouraged her… Read More at StoryForge Productions…