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Currently Browsing: Columns

The Happy Accident

by John Caruso We’ve all experienced the moment when we curse in aggravation but before the last of four letters burst forth, we have an epiphany. We think we’ve made a horrendous mistake only to realize some unseen hand has slipped a genius-Mickey in our frustration cocktail. In other words, we’ve run smack dab into the happy accident. We write. We make a mistake. But, voilà, the mistake is BETTER than... read more

To Verb

by John Caruso When I’m feeling a bit playful-or when I’m feeling stuck-I like to pull out my notebook and jot down a dozen or so nouns. These have to be “hard” nouns, not words that can work as nouns or verbs such as “paint,” “race,” “touch,” or “table.” (This in itself is an interesting exercise because it’s not quite as easy as it seems.) A sampling from a recent list included: pumpkin, cabinet,... read more

Nomenclature A Go-Go

by John Caruso Even though “that which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet,” it is difficult to deny a name can carry it’s own significance. You have an idea for a character. This character has certain traits, has his own resonance. If you give him a name that doesn’t fit that resonance, you will create dissonance. Of course, dissonance may be just what... read more

The Ironic Life of Adverbs and Adjectives

by John Caruso Adverbs and adjectives intoxicate with their promise of description and clarity. But beware! Overuse leads to laziness and vague writing. A dependence on modifiers can leave you with a group of words that don’t say much at all. Would you rather have a character that “drinks quickly,” or one who “gulps”? Would you rather have a character that has ”... read more

That’s Nice

by John Caruso Think about the simple phrase, “that’s nice.” At first, these two words seem direct. They don’t appear to harbor any confusion at all. However, without context, this phrase has no definite meaning. It could be affectionate. It could be condescending or dismissive. It could be a sarcastic retort or a distracted non sequitur. Without context, a reader has no clue as to... read more
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