Writing Advice

  • Very few writers really know what they are doing until they've done it (pg. 22).
  • Let what [the characters] say or do reveal who they are, and be involved in their lives, and keep asking yourself, Now what happens? The development of relationship creates plot (pg. 54-55).
  • But you have to believe in your position, or nothing will be driving your work. If you don't believe in what you are saying, there is no point in your saying it (pg. 106).
  • Remember that you should be able to identify each character by what he or she says. If you can get their speech mannerisms rights, you will know what they're wearing and driving and maybe thinking, and how they were raised, and what they feel (pg. 66).
  • Dialogue is more like a movie than it is like real life, since it should be more dramatic (pg. 65).

School Lunches

I piled everything on it: cheese, rice, beans, beef, and salsa. It was all going in a giant taco bowl (the big, crunchy edible kind). I sat down at my lunch table and there was always the health-freak friend who told me how gross my meal looked. But I didn't care because I was starving. In middle school, our lunch was scheduled at 1:30 pm. I know there are a lot of lunch periods in a big public school but 1:30pm? Sheesh, I might as well have been eating home. The lines were definitely the most agonizing part. I just wanted to cut everyone so that I could be the first one to get the fresh chicken fingers coming out of the oven. The milk was always the grossest part; they were almost always either frozen or expired. The water was probably the best part though. My school had flavored Tropicana juices and flavored waters that I got everyday. Those were the good ole days when grams of sugar and calories didn't matter.


If I could make anyone I know into a character, I would choose my dad when he was emigrating to the United States. He came alone with only thirty dollars. That's all that he was allowed to take. He was a twenty five year old, 6 ft, skinny newlywed entering a foreign country without his wife or new born son. My dad is the most determined person you will ever meet in your entire life. He started a new life in the United States to create a life of more opportunities for my brothers and I. My dad is successful because in everything he does, there is a goal already set in his mind. He made the move to study at the University of Louisville for his MD degree as an international student. His story is truly unique and inspirational.


"She's not wearing her wedding rigs anymore but she doesn't act any different. I mean did you see that thing? It is gigantic!"

"No, no, that is too dark and purple to be blood."

"Well Red Bull has been shown to damage your blood vessels."

A-B-D-C-E Formula

Action, background, development, Climax, Ending

I kept tugging at the tooth but it wouldn't come out. I just have to get this tooth out tonight because I need that quarter from the tooth fairy for my book fair tomorrow! Urgh, such a stubborn tooth! My mom saw me frustrated and brought out a piece of string. I was confused for a second but she tied it to my tooth and walked over to the door. Bam! The door slammed shut and I felt a hole in my mouth. Yes! I don't care that it is 6 in the evening, I am going to bed right now!


Tree house- A tree house is the place where kids usually imagine wild adventures and other worlds existing. Tree houses always serve as the source of ideas which lead characters to " live" in imaginary worlds.


A school cafeteria would also be a good setting because it is the place where all the gossip spreads and kids sit together. When drama escalates, there is sometimes a food fight or fist fight. School cafeterias are always an issue for some kids because they don't know where to sit if they don't fit in with the others. It is a place where students show how cruel they can really be by telling someone "there isn't a space for you here."

House on Lock Down

A house on lock down would be an interesting setting because no one can leave and there would be a dominating figure trapping the family in the house. A book with this setting could express the thoughts and fears that the kids have. It could also contain scenes of how the dominating figure leads by physically abusing his family. It would be an intense and suspenseful story.


Dear Coach Willenborg,

My dad was the first one to receive your e-mail about me playing for the Johns Hopkins University Tennis Team. I was in China at the time and I was ecstatic after receiving the phone call from my dad about your e-mail. I was so nervous about meeting you, but you were so welcoming! Thank you so much for putting me on your team! I will have finally achieved something that will make my parents proud of me. It makes me feel as if all the mistakes I've made along the way in tennis and high school don't matter anymore. I can finally release and forget all of my regrets. You have brought happiness again to my distressed family. You have restored my parents relationship with me and taken away anything they've had to worry about. I am ready to start my new life and I cannot wait to have you in it. I can already imagine you serving as a second father to me. I am very excited to compete with the other teammates under your guidance. I cannot thank you enough for accepting and believing in me!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -                                                                                                                                                                          - Emily Dong


Time to Write

I am setting a goal to put time aside every Friday night for at least 30 minutes to just reflect on the week. A lot goes on during the week for me and sometimes I can get really emotional due to stress so writing at the end of the week may be a good way to relieve the stress. Often times, I am traveling to a tournament on a Friday night and therefore would have time to write while I sit in the car. It could also be a time period where I can write my goals for the weekend and what I would like to accomplish in those next two days.