Satire Saturday 1: CNN Starts Fake News Section

Due to a disagreement between the editors at The Breeze, the multiple satires I wrote will never be published in their paper. However, I realized that I have a website that can distribute them just as effectively. So, the topics may be dated by a few weeks, but they are (sadly) no less relevant.


CNN Starts Fake News Section

Rising to the challenge of Fox News’s “Fair and Balanced” tagline, CNN has committed to equally reporting both real and false news stories. The newly added Fake News tab on the network’s website features compelling headlines such as “Pipeline spills found to increase health,” “DNC planning ‘Real Housewives’ reunion with Bernie Sanders on Bravo” and “CBO finds that less healthcare coverage for elderly boosts funeral industry.”

The news agency made their pushback against the conservative Fox News clear, modifying the channel’s byline for their new section: “They Report, You Decide.”

Satire more!

Writing for the Masses 8: Finding Test Readers

You’ve spent months on this manuscript, discovering your characters and putting their personalities on the page. Just one issue: you forgot to introduce one character in the first chapter.

After all the time invested, we often lose the ability to objectively evaluate and inspect our writing. Any gaps in information are automatically filled in by our mind, which has all the backstories and plot-points catalogued. That’s all well and good if you plan on only writing for yourself, but most of us want to see a return on our investment.

Enter the reader. Our unpublished comrades may not have writing expertise, but their populist perspective will help you gauge how the public may react to your book. More importantly, test readers are great for pointing out errors and slow moments. For that, they’re worth their weight in gold.

Keep finding!

Writing for the Masses 7: Know Writing When You See It

“Keep writing” seems like some obvious advice for anyone with creative writing ambitions, no matter how large or small. There really isn’t much else to writing other than to do it, and continue until you can do it well. You can read fiction, read publishing advice books, read writing websites (like this one!), but at the end of the day, practice is the only way to hone your voice.

I throw the “others have said this much better, but it bears repeating” disclaimer about here in the post. I’m not pretending to have some significant insight, just the experiences of my undergraduate career that I think others could learn from.

First, comrades, we must discuss the idea that we are writing all the time. Many of you will no doubt protest: “But I set aside special time for my fiction/poetry/satire. How can you tell me I’m always writing it?”

Know more!

Creedence Clearwater (and my) Revival

I know what you’re thinking:

Yes, he’s back again. Yet another post about how he had to go off and live his life, but now he’s going to be good to all his readers and followers and never leave us hanging again.

Well, no, actually. If you’re a longtime reader of this website, and I know there are at least a few of you out there, then you’ll know the “I’m back for good” posts are kind of a running gag on this site. Each summer, I write a post asking for forgiveness after school and work wrested my efforts away from writing, and then I promise to keep a consistent stream of content from here on out. After which, I promptly relapse into inactivity.

But I’m not going to do that this time. I won’t make any promises; I’m going to show you, my faithful readers (that haven’t yet found the “Unsubscribe” button), that The Future Writers of America lives on.

Revive more!

Writing for the Masses #6 (Inspiration)

We all know the feeling. You are sitting at your desk, compelled to write but not driven by any of your current ideas. Sure, you could write that mystery, but all you have is one cool scene in your head and a generic villain to drive the plot. Don’t get me wrong, the scene is probably awesome, but one scene is not the makings of a novel. It’s one singular idea.

The purpose of this post is not to bash anyone who starts with an idea and expands the writing from there. I used to do it all the time when I was first starting out and trying not to blatantly knock off better executed stories and movies I had encountered. Problem was, after I finished writing out the scene in my head, I had nowhere to go. If I forced myself to keep fleshing out the story that didn’t yet exist, I went like a sailing ship with no wind. There was potential in each failed novel I produced (and there were many, believe me), but they lacked the spark.

Every once in a while, however, I stumbled on a gem. Something that got my creative forces working in unison. I could see the first scene of the book, and the next, and the next. Almost always, the story involves something I already love: the ocean, seabirds, Loch Ness, history (WWII in particular), the paranormal. These also happened to be things I already knew a good deal about, and the inspiration combined to make something not just exciting in my head (as the first writing expeditions were), but real. Tangible. Concrete.
Continue reading

The Blog Lives!

I know, with a title like that, I better have a good explanation for where I’ve been all these months. Well, the truth is what you loyal readers have become accustomed to at this point: life got in the way. I know, it happens to the best of us. First, it was my job as a student journalist eating up my spare time, then the end of the semester. And then my laptop died.

At first, I thought that was the death knell of the blog. Only after it had happened, hindsight informed me that I had never actually thought to write down the password to my WordPress account on anything but the piece of paper that I first came up with the idea for TFWOA on. Of course, the paper vanished the moment I scrambled to find it. For a couple weeks, I didn’t even have a computer to write on. After the browsing data was lost with the old machine, I thought that was the end of my one and a half year writing odyssey.

At this point in the dry spell, some of you were breathing sighs of relief, I’m sure. “That crazy Leftist and animal fiction writer finally got picked up by the State Department.” Sorry to disappoint, but I’m still a rogue on the Internet, and now I have my microphone back.
Continue reading

Writing for the Masses #5 (Savoring the Small Victories)

Let’s be honest. I founded this article series on the belief that I could incite a populist movement to bring enlightenment and success to the downtrodden masses of starting writers, combined with a dash of charming Marxist rhetoric. Debatable as the likelihoods of that hope are, if you are a follower of the revolution, then we’ll all find ourselves at this point.

Define success however you like: a print publication; the first time you hear “Hey, that was pretty good”; a large blog following; or the completed novel you’ve been pounding away at for months. The reason we hold these dreams as such far off, climactic culminations is because we understand there’s going to be a good deal of work between now and that day, whenever it may come. We’re all going to have to deal with a lot of blood, sweat, and a few tears in our future. But with that struggle will come small victories, sign posts that say we’re growing closer to that high-vaulted goal.

 Savoring the Small Victories

Anyone can (and should) learn this skill. Even if you’ve already hit the big time, a published novel, unless you plan on retiring and pursuing nothing ever again, there’ll be many more projects in your future. And for us at the bottom, my fellow revolutionaries and writers, we’re just beginning the long path to victory. By taking a moment to pat ourselves on the back every now and again, we can make the journey that much easier on ourselves, and that much more meaningful.
Continue reading