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What I Learned About Writing Blog Posts from Great Fiction

Everything I know about writing great blog posts I learned from devouring probably a literal ton of novels—and dissecting how they keep me turning pages.

I know, it seems really far-fetched. But hey, I just thought of something they both have in common: Great novels and great blog posts both hold on to your attention from the beginning to the end, and they never let up. So what are the best practices we can apply from novel to blog post?

I looked at three different elements of both novels and blog posts, and looked for three different novels that I think illustrate these really well. And I’ll show you the ways some great bloggers I read have applied these same techniques to their own posts.

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Margaret Atwood

What I Learned About Writing From Reading Margaret Atwood

There are many authors who have one or two books that I can count among my favorites. Margaret Atwood is not one of those authors.

To me, and many others, everything that she’s written is fascinating and worthy of a spot on my list of favorite books.

As a teenager, her gripping plots, masterful storytelling, and relatable characters had me pulling all the Atwood novels that I could carry off the library shelves. I’ve read everything that she’s written since then with equal gusto.

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Behind the Screen: What You Can Learn About Writing From Reading Scripts

It’s safe to say that I’ve always been a fan of television and movies. According to my mom, I had The Wizard of Oz on repeat when I was a child. When I got older and smarter (and a lot more devious), I would sneak out after bedtime to catch as much of The Sopranos as I could before my parents caught me.

It’s no surprise that two decades later, I’m living in the movie and television capital of the world, attending one of its top film schools, and working my butt off to write movies and television that measure up to those that inspired me as a child.

When Sarah Ramsey published her article on how watching television can make you a better writer, I beat myself up over not thinking of the idea first. And damn, she wrote a good article.

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reading James Joyce

What I Learned About Writing From Reading James Joyce

There are few writers who are touted by pretentious readers more than James Joyce. Maybe David Foster Wallace? Or William Shakespeare?

But when I first came across Joyce in my high school senior year English class while reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I had no idea that reading this guy’s work was considered pretentious. I didn’t even know who he was, what else he had written, or why anyone studied him at all.

Heck, the very first line of that book is “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo ….”

How could pretentious people get behind a guy who writes the word “moocow” or about a “baby tuckoo” (whatever that is)?

Isn’t that essentially gibberish?

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