Running explained

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RUNNING WAS INVENTED 4,600,000 years ago by our human ancestors, Australopithecus. In the 34th Century BCE, ancient Sumerians called this activity Naputu—a verb meaning “to not get yourself eaten by wild animals.”

Four thousand years ago, religious festivals led to the popularization of running as sport. Even before the first Olympic Games, human beings were running in honour of the gods—in particular, Muffinius (god of love handles), Wardrobius (god of things languishing in your closet) and Januarius (god of the three-month GoodLife membership).

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My Grade 11 English Teacher, Mrs. Joyce, Marks Christmas Carols

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Jingle Bells

Obviously the bells jingle: that’s what they are made to do. Try “bells, bells all the way.” (See Strunk and White, “Omit needless words.”) Also, does the protagonist have some sort of objection to a multi-horse and/or closed sleigh? If so, explain; if not, cut. C-

Let it Snow

Do you really mean to say that the weather outside is filled with fright? If so, this is a pathetic fallacy. And who exactly is going to “let it snow”? Who could stop it snowing? Use the indicative mood to invigorate your prose. C

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

What is the significance of the chestnuts? You open the scene with them but don’t do much else. Remember: if there is a gun on the mantle in act one, it must be fired by act four. Perhaps the roasted chestnuts could explode and disfigure Jack Frost, or the reindeer could eat them and lose their powers of flight. This would create an interesting narrative problem for Santa to resolve. “Yuletide carols being sung by a choir” should be “a choir sings Yuletide carols.” Avoid passive voice. D+

Little Drummer Boy

What on earth is a pa rum pum pum pum? Does the drummer boy suffer from some kind of compulsive tick? Is he trying to communicate an important message. Is the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum akin to the “ou-boum” of E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India? Explore. D-

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

If the nose is said to glow, then it is implicitly very bright. Show, don’t tell. D

Silent night

Silent? With the quaking shepherds and the streaming glories and the singing hosts. Do you know how many people are in a host? And they’re singing. Try editing this one with a view to making it about a rowdy night. C

O Christmas Tree

Twenty-four lines to establish that it’s a nice tree, because it has green and sparkly branches? Remember: brevity is the soul of wit. D-

Winter Wonderland

Too much going on here. First there are bells, then glistening snow. Why has the bluebird gone? And what is the significance of this “new bird”? Why even bring birds into it? Clearly this story is about a couple who are so eager to marry that they’ll let a snowman “do the job,” as you so vulgarly put it. The rest is just confusing. Cut. C-

Away in a Manger

The baby is either away, or else in the manger. I don’t understand how the protagonist can be in the barn, and then looking down from the sky—all within a few lines. This is fine if you are writing in a genre, such as science fiction, that allows for teleportation. Perhaps you could re-write this as an extra-terrestrial carol about futuristic travel. C

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Reasons you should start a blog. And me destroying them.

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I GOT CURIOUS about my odds. The biggest lottery in Canada? I have about a one-in-15-million shot at that. Weirdly enough, there are smaller lotteries in this country where my odds are only half that, or one-in-twenty-eight-million. It’s far more likely that I’ll be abducted by extra-terrestrial thespian sharks. I’m glad that’s the case, because there’s nothing more terrifying in this universe than the menace of shark power combined with the narcissistic bitterness of actors.

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1/2 of self-published authors earn under $500: I’ve figured out how not to be one of them

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WELCOME to Christmas, the time of year when people dress up like serious adults, to go to staff parties where they act like drunken toddlers.

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Please help me name my masterpiece

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THE OTHER DAY I was teaching my son Photoshop, and the result was my master work, above. Indeed, quite possibly one of the greatest works of our generation, when you realize that 92% of culture today is pictures of cats hasing cheezburgers and staring through ceiling holes and LOLing. There is even a website of cats that look like Hitler, although that is not so much culture as it is a reason to use the word kitler and to give Czechoslovakia a heads-up.

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Why This Writer Sucks at Marketing

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HERE AT waynekspear.com, I lift the curtain from time to time to disclose my thoughts on the writing life as they apply to this website. As with any public undertaking, there’s much going on behind the scenes at this word factory of mine. Today I’m considering the marketing of a writer, and how poor I am at – and why I think I continue, as a matter of principle, to be poor at it.

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