Those $2,000 stimulus checks were a load of bull. Surprise!

Ol’ Joe Biden sure loves austerity. After all, excessive government spending is something Democrats have always rallied against.

Wait… That’s not true!

Limiting government spending is a GOP platitude. They’re never serious about it — and they’re only ever appalled over how loose the government’s wallet is whenever a democrat becomes president — but that didn’t stop Joe from gobbling up their bait.

To be fair, Biden is little more than a useful idiot. He either naively believes that reaching across the aisle is still viable or he’s so deep in the pockets of credit card companies and Big Pharma that he just doesn’t care. …


Strong beginning beget strong middles and so forth

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Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

A few months ago, I wrote about five pitfalls to avoid making in the early chapters of your novel.

Fiction writing tends to have millions of guidelines yet very few “rules.” However, agents, publishers, and even readers tend to evaluate the early parts of a book with a higher level of scrutiny. As a stalwart writer, you never want to look at industry professionals or potential fans as one-and-done collaborators. The easiest route to success lies in creating long-term relationships.

The mistakes, tropes, and other questionable choices I highlighted in the previous article are no greater or less than the examples listed below. Because, let’s face it, a lot can go wrong during the many stages of writing your manuscript. With that being said, please keep in mind that you need not to avoid these choices completely. If used in a clever or innovative way, any novel beginning has the ability to shine. …


Nobody asked for this. What are you even doing here?

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Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

Anatomy of a blue bird

Twitter — like most of social media — is at its heart, a promotional medium. Whether you have a physical product, a concept, or something as general as a vibe, we’re all out there trying to sell something.

Despite the bad reputation it’s developed over the past half-decade, I still enjoy the platform. Twitter is a convenient medium for chatting with friends, having a few laughs, or selling a unit or two of your product, all in 280 characters or fewer — along with images, articles, and GIFs.

But for every person like myself, who uses the app in a semi-positive way, there are at least ninety bad actors with a predilection toward chaos. Nobody knows where these people come from or why they act in such a way. Some believe they are robots created by Russian President, Vladimir Putin to create worldwide dissidence, while others believe they’re just lonely, pathetic incels with too much time on their hands. …


Our current political system has transitioned from policies to damage control

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(Photo by Keri liwi on Unsplash)

When did solutions stop mattering in politics?

After weeks of chaos and nonsense, it’s really starting to look like President Trump will finally drift away in January, alongside the cold weather. Even though a lot of people are looking forward to this development, only a fraction know what they want from the new administration.

While plenty of Americans will bask in the quiet created by a more reserved president, Biden will take advantage of the calm by enacting policies that appease his donors despite them not aligning with the will of the people. But even these half-measures will be hindered by a Republican-heavy Congress.

This is where chanting “Blue, No Matter Who” for half a decade gets you. …


Just because she’s a Supreme Court Justice doesn’t mean she can’t also be a job creator

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Photo by Victoria Pickering via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Newly minted Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett is extremely cognizant of the high unemployment numbers brought on by the pandemic. However, unlike her notoriously lax predecessor, this legit legal lady is interested in getting Americans back to work.

And just like how her mentor, President Trump, brought dying jobs such as coal miner and wind turbine deconstructionist back from the abyss, Justice Barrett will also revive long forgotten vocations. Here are just some of the jobs she — and her mighty 6–3 majority — plans to resuscitate for the betterment of our country.

Back-alley abortionist

This niche medical position has been all but defunct since the 1960s. But demand for back alley surgeons have increased over the past few decades as legislation in the south and Midwest has become more stringent. However, these jobs won’t become a necessity until after Barrett repeals Roe v. …


Shame on the New Yorker. Yes, the New Yorker.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A New Yorker staffer recently had a “wardrobe malfunction” on a Zoom call that included members of the senior staff and other hand-picked insiders. To be fair, that array of decorated guests was ensconced in a witty sojourn of election play-acting when reporter Jeffery Toobin whipped out his junk. But that’s hardly a reason to overlook a prime example of the type of subversive satire that has become the cornerstone of their august publication.

Everyone on the virtual conference call had a part to play that fateful afternoon. Evan Osnos played the stalwart Joe Biden while Russian reporter Masha Gessen took on the boisterous Donald Trump (a little on the nose, sure). Other staff members were assigned abstract roles such as the military, democrats, republicans, and the politically charged far right and left. …


You only get so many beta readers; use them wisely

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Betta fish photo by Liza Lagman Sperl on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A vital resource in your writing journey

Your manuscript is important to you — as it should be. It’s a project you’ve devoted your free time and effort to in hopes that it will one day become a book capable of touching the lives of many. Because of this, the overall quality of your work should be your greatest concern. There are multiple, often time-consuming, steps in the editing process, but one of the earliest and most significant involves getting your semi-polished manuscript into the hands of several beta readers.

The first draft and beyond

First drafts are often written with a pinpoint focus on the five big picture elements of a story: Character, Plot, Setting, Theme, and Conflict. On the first go around, an author may focus on certain elements over others while doing what they must to give life to a story they’re desperate to tell. The first draft is how an author fulfills the promise of plucking the narrative from their head and releasing it onto many blank pages before inspiration wanes. …


News Alterations

Correcting the news of the world, one story at a time

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Photo by Irina Vinichenko on Unsplash

The story that didn’t happen (1)

Hasbro recalls Trolls Doll because it promotes grooming children for sexual abuse and trafficking.

Concerned parents discovered a non-advertised button on Hasbro’s “Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy” doll. Unlike the button on her stomach that makes her talk, this hidden button is located beneath her skirt, right where a human’s private parts would be.

A Change.org petition — which has surpassed 300,000 signatures — claims the sick and twisted button, which causes Poppy to gasp when pressed, is an attempt by Hasbro and/or Hollywood to normalize paedophilia, grooming, and child trafficking.

The story that actually happened (1)

You had me up to the petition. I agree that the manufacturers screwed up, and the doll should never have been designed with a depressible button under her skirt. It’s perplexing to even wonder how this got through the design stage and quality control. …


Shakespeare was into lust and teen angst centuries before everyone else

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I want to talk about Romeo & Juliet. Nobody asked for it, but I feel it’s an interesting enough topic to explore hundreds of years after the fact. Did you know that the full title of Shakespeare’s play is, An Excellent Conceited Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet? Think about that word conceited for a moment. Why would Shakespeare use it to describe his most famous romantic tragedy? Maybe it wasn’t a romantic story in the first place.

Many an English or drama teacher will insist this play is a love story. But if a world full of professors won’t convince you, look no further than the 1996 Baz Luhrmann movie, Romeo + Juliet. You know; the one with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the titular heroes. They really juiced up the romance angle in that stylized color palette of a film. …

About

Gregory A. Austin

An editor, writer, journalist, and foppish socialite obsessed with creating and helping others tell their best stories. Co-founder of www.writinglodge.com.

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