Here’s a few HackCollege posts I wrote:
Plenty of people have praised meditation as a great way to relieve stress. But now we have the evidence to back up that claim. A recent academic article found that meditation “attenuates anxiety through mechanisms involved in the regulation of self-referential thought processes.” In other words, by calming yourself with meditation, you can beat your anxiety. Meditation is a great tool that everyone should figure out, especially college students trying to handle one of the most stressful tasks around: finding a career. Your heartbeat skipped just reading that, didn’t it?
Here’s how to get started on improving your well-being.
Pixar’s Andrew Stanton once said “If you want someone’s attention, whisper.” He means that the tiny details count. To succeed professionally after graduation, you need to stand out from the crowd. And nobody’s perfect, which means that in order to stand out, you need to have a few perfect touches that everyone else misses.
There are plenty of sources of information on the big things – resumes, connections, interview etiquette – but there are also plenty of more obscure details that need to be perfect, and are seldom mentioned by anyone. Here are a few of those tiny things that you need to keep professional:
My thoughts on settings vs. story.
And here’s part of an interesting post I found on a subreddit. It explains one of the reasons why I dislike high fantasy (stories set in completely different fantasy worlds) — they very often focus on their uninteresting settings rather than give me an engaging story. I only like world-building if the world is inherently cool. Elves and dwarves were cool once.
One of the main complaints in genre fiction today is the amount of information the reader receives. It’s easy to set a scene that a reader is familiar with. But a new world, or galaxy, filled with strange sentient life? That’s an awful lot of information to throw at a reader. It was an awful lot of information for you as the writer to come up with, too. It’s a big accomplishment, without doubt. But all that effort means nothing if there’s no story to tell within it.
But what constitutes a setting? Most people answer with ‘the time and place a story takes place in’. So one answer could be Victorian Paris. Another could be in an arm of a distant galaxy. But the place isn’t the only thing that creates the setting. The general populace creates it too, and their cultures. Languages. All those things that go into your worldbuilding, before you even decide who the protagonist is.
Which is the problem, right there. To write about the struggle between two cultures isn’t a story. Broad stroke generalizations about the deep-set hatred between dwarves and elves is setting, even if you have one dwarven and one elven character that are forced to team up. It shouldn’t be a situation where you throw two characters together and they espouse for page after page about why their point of view is correct. Or go into the nuances of the conflict every time they open their mouths.
What is your central conflict?