Explain Less, Write More


When you write, the temptation is to explain everything because you want to make sure your reader understands your story. You don’t want to leave any stone unturned, especially if it has any connection at all to the story you want to tell.

You try to explain your characters’ backgrounds because you know that provides your characters’ motivation, why they behave in certain ways or say things the way they do or even just say whatever it is you make them say. As you do that, you talk about their upbringing, their family and friends, their family history. You try to develop a whole character report, including what could pass for a decent psychological evaluation. You include birth dates, places, schools, past jobs—a complete dossier on each character.

You try to explain the setting because you believe the readers need to see your characters’ environment, the environment of the story, where it is happening and where it all began. You present no less than an historical treatment of the village, town, city, or country your characters move around in. You describe every room, house, street, and building in detail because you don’t want your reader to miss anything.

All that work and you still haven’t started telling your story! All that preparation and the first thing your editor does is chop it all out. All those painstaking details and it gets thrown away. Really, I have seen psychological evaluations that run as long as forty pages. And all for just a single person. And that doesn’t even include a comprehensive background or family history. You argue and agonize and complain and try to sneak the material back in, maybe even dump your editor and find a new one because you think your writing was brilliant and detailed.

It doesn’t matter how meticulous or brilliant any writing is that went into background because that is all it is—background. Any time you try to explain things to prepare the reader for what will happen merely takes away from how much time and space you have to show the reader what is happening—the true action of the story. How do you avoid this common pitfall?

When I teach fiction writing, I encourage students to imagine they are in their character’s shoes—whichever character’s point of view it is—and provide descriptions for anything as the character encounters it. For instance, don’t describe a house until your character sees it, from approach to entry. That way, your reader sees the house from the character’s perspective. Refrain from describing anything inside the house until the character has opened the door and looked in. Don’t describe the upstairs rooms if the character is moving around in the kitchen—unless your character is thinking of the upstairs rooms. If your character never sees the basement, there’s no need to describe it. Unless you have another character who’s thinking of the basement or is in the basement. It’s the same thing with characters encountering other characters. If the character knows nothing about another character and you’re setting them up to meet, don’t describe the second character until your first character sees him or her. That way, your reader also sees others through your character’s eyes. That way, you can introduce action and dialogue from the very start of your story instead of providing details that the reader is likely to forget as the story progresses.

It’s somewhat different with novels, of course, but it also depends on the type of novel you are writing. If you can carry on a brilliant dissertation on the creation and evolution of an island over a thousand years before it becomes populated with people the way Michener did, then, by all means, go right ahead. Otherwise, cut it short. After all, not everyone is a huge fan of Michener.

To Be A Writer, Know Yourself


Writing is a continuous journey that never ends and writers learn constantly from their writing. No one writer can claim to be such if they think they already know everything about writing, everything about what and how to write. If you know anyone who claims that, that person is a total sham.

In reality, writers need to dig deep inside themselves to write. They need to find out how long they can sit at a desk or wherever they like to write. If they can’t sit for an hour at a time and devote that single hour to pure writing, they won’t be able to sit for days on end, writing the stories that haunt their dreams in their sleep or their thoughts when they are awake. They need to know what motivates them to write. If they don’t know why they want to write—nay, if they don’t know what they need to write, they won’t be motivated to finish anything. They need to understand what makes them want to live, because that could be the reason their characters want to live. They need to know what makes others live, because that will be what motivates other characters. They need to know what moves them to act, to do things, to behave in certain and specific ways, because that knowledge is what will move their characters as well.

Imagine how boring and limited a writer’s works would be if they only knew one person. All their characters would think, feel, act, and react like that person. Imagine how egotistic that character would be if the writer thought he or she knew everything. Every story you write is based on something you learn about yourself, about people. Your story started long before you were born and will, most likely, continue long after you die. Your job, as a writer, is to understand the minutest details of your story, how it evolved and unfolded throughout the generations that resulted in everything your are, which means you need to understand everything and everyone involved in your story. Your writing will continue at least (hopefully) until you shed your corporeal being, thus you need to keep up with your life, with everything that evolves and unfolds inside and around you until the words no longer flow from you, because that will keep your stories going.

Every story you write is based on something you learn about yourself, about people. Your story started long before you were born and will, most likely, continue long after you die. Your job, as a writer, is to understand the minutest details of your story, how it evolved and unfolded throughout the generations that resulted in everything your are, which means you need to understand everything and everyone involved in your story. Your writing will continue at least (hopefully) until you shed your corporeal being, thus you need to keep up with your life, with everything that evolves and unfolds inside and around you until the words no longer flow from you, because that will keep your stories going.

10 Tips to Dynamic Dialogue


Sure, you find yourself talking to your characters. That’s not a bad thing at all, really. In the first place, you can use your dialogue with your characters in your stories. The downside is, you have to be about a dozen different people for each novel–a lot less for shorter fiction. If anyone accuses you of being schizophrenic or having a multiple personalitydisorder, tell them you’re an author. They’ll understand.

Here’s another big downside to creating dialogue and pretending to be different characters in your book: they start sounding like you. Yup. Every single one of them. Same pauses, same expressions, same intonation, same vocabulary, same expletives.  You might get your main characters right and give them a couple of unique identities with unique dialogue, but the rest of your characters could be a whole cast of mini-yous. That could be a real complication if you want to create spin-offs or create a sequel or worse, a series. The other major complication is when your dialogue is just a conversation that doesn’t really go anywhere, pretty much like your daily conversations about what you had for breakfast/dinner/supper, how your day went, what’s on TV, what you’re reading, what’s on the news, etc. This kind of dialogue is mundane and can just drag on forever, boring you readers, and getting your story nowhere.

The big question is: How do you get great dialogue and avoid the pitfalls? Here are 10 tips to improving dialogue in your stories.
1. Model your dialogue on different people. If your character is a cop, go watch a cop and listen to him speak. If he’s a detective, he’ll speak differently from a beat cop. If your character is a doctor, observe how doctors speak. Find a doctor to listen to so your character sounds like a real doctor.
2. Consult experts to test read your dialogue. If your character is in a highly specialized field such as law, consult a lawyer to make sure your dialogue sounds like a lawyer is speaking, especially in workplace scenarios, i.e., courtroom dramas.
3. Watch a lot of good TV or movies. It’s the next best thing to finding a real live expert to follow, model your characters after, and check your writing for authenticity.
4. Drop all the expletives, especially if they’re your favorite bad words. You can convey ideas effectively with accurate, precise language without having to pepper your writing with cursing. In the first place, it’s distasteful. In the second place, it’s weak, especially if you use it all the time. In the third place, it makes for difficult reading. Finally, it’s really pointless. It doesn’t do anything except make your characters a little more colorful, but if you need to resort to expletives to liven up your writing, then you simply are not a good writer.
5. Drop the foul language. As in real life, foul language is a major turn-off. Even if you have a character with the tendency to speak foul language because they never got their mouths washed out with soap, it doesn’t mean you have to fill your story with the same language. There are milder, more socially acceptable alternatives for all expressions, no matter how crude or foul. There are also more creative words that can be just as effective. Of course there are advocates of stark realism who will insist that it is part of the character. Challenge your vocabulary and skill by learning how to suggest or imply the foul or crude language. That way, each reader can supply their favorite bad words according to their tolerance or culture levels. Furthermore, see #5.
6. Drop all the filler words such as er, hm, mm, um, uh, unless they accurately represent what the character is saying at the moment. If you happen to have a character who stammers, it’s enough to show the stammer in a single conversational line and limit it to the occasional word spoken nervously. In some cases, punctuation is effective enough–or more effective. Use ellipses, hyphens, and dashes to indicate pauses or breaks in speech, or use a dialogue tag.
7. Drop word mannerisms such as now, so, like, well, and, and whatever other word mannerisms you find appearing at the start or end of most sentences. This works not only for dialogue but for the rest of your writing as well.
8. Drop the small talk. Unless it is extremely necessary to show small talk, skip it and go straight to the meat of the matter. In the first place, it distracts the reader. In the second place, it often digresses from the important topics. In the third place, it wastes time and ruins the pace of your story.
9. Drop the pleasantries. This is also small talk. You don’t need to talk about the weather or ask how everyone else is before getting to the point. Just get straight to the point. In the same way, you can dispense with long drawn-out goodbyes unless you’re trying to make a point or that’s what the story is about or it’s an important part of the story. In most cases, it probably won’t be.
10. Limit some word use. Dedicate a few words or phrases to specific characters. This usually becomes a character’s signature phrase. However, don’t have your character saying that signature phrase all the time. You don’t need to remind your readers that’s what a particular character says all the time, all the time.

Show, not Tell, with Dialogue


Many of my writing students avoid dialogue because they struggle with it, and rightly so. Creating convincing, concise dialogue is a challenge that compounds writing stories. What they do not realize is that dialogue helps writers show rather than tell.

Consider the effect, for instance, of writing:

She wore an attractive, brightly-colored dress.

This is you, the author via your narrator, telling your reader what she wore.

Compare that to the effect achieved by the following:

“Do you like my dress?” Darlene said as she twirled in a full circle, flouncing the skirt as she did. “I think yellow looks good on me,” she smiled.

In the first example, your writing presents the reader with adjectives for a dress, but does not provide any action. The reader will either gloss over the sentence or, if imaginative, create an image of “she” in the dress, which could be yellow, orange, red, yellow-green, or some other bright color or a mixture of colors. Neither does the reader have the vaguest idea what the dress looks like. Is it long or short? Loose or fitting? Straight or flouncy? Unless you elaborate on that sentence by adding more descriptions, there will always be a lot of room for interpretation—sometimes more than you want.

In the second example, we know who “she” is—Darlene. We know she’s wearing a dress and it has a skirt that flounces as she twirls. We know the dress is yellow. More than that, we know Darlene likes the yellow dress and is light-hearted, expressive, and in a good mood. How can we tell? Because someone in a bad mood wouldn’t care much about wearing a bright, cheerful yellow; a more serious person would not be caught twirling to show off a dress; nor would an introverted or shy girl twirl, show-off a dress, and more than that, think aloud that they looked good in anything.

While the color or style of a character’s outfit might not always be relevant, sometimes we need to include more vivid descriptions because they provide readers with a clearer picture of your story. The trick is not to weigh down your story with bulky descriptions that can be made more memorable and effective with dialogue.

We Bloody Murderous Writers


Many times, we worry about how to make characters as realistic as possible. There is a great deal of advice out there, including some tips I’ve shared with students and readers. Because we are writers, however, we will forever be plagued with doubts about convincing our characters are, among other details. How can you tell your characters are real enough? What are some sure signs they’re alive and kicking–on the page, that is?

You know your character is as real as they come when:

1. You hear their voices in your head. They never stop talking. Sometimes they talk to you, sometimes they talk among themselves. Sometimes they even talk to themselves, but make sure you hear them! It’s so bad you begin to think you are schizophrenic.

2. You carry on conversations with them. You’ll start answering them in your head, but soon enough, you’ll find yourself talking aloud to them. If anyone asks you, you can always claim it’s your imaginary friend or enemy or frenemy. Or you can pretend to be talking into your bluetooth device. Your choice.

3. They argue back. At this point, your characters are becoming more aggressive. They enjoy debating with you. The worst part is that they’re almost as good as you at arguing!

4. They have a mind of their own. They think they’re really smart and can solve their own problems. The problem is, they also create their own problems.

5. They do what they want. Just when you think you’ve got everything wrapped tightly, they’ll go ahead and do something totally unexpected. Sometimes you think they just want to spite you. Of course, they could just be teasing. But you have to remember they do have a mind of their own, so you can’t always control them.

6. They control your story. That’s right. Because you can’t always control them, they often end up controlling your story. They’ll literally pick up that figurative ball and run with it. No kidding. Of course they’ll get into trouble, then you’ll have to fix it for them.

7. They wake you up in the middle of the night. That’s right. It’s not enough that they keep you up late, they’ll wake you up in the middle of the night for the most trivial matter. Naturally, they’ll make sure you have to get up and hunt for that notebook or pad that should have been on your nightstand, but because they always wake you up, you’ve probably taken that pad somewhere else where you could argue with them in private, assuming you still share your bed with someone else.

8. They demand to be written. It’s not enough for them to just exist in your head. They’ll nag you until you write them into a story. Mind you, remember #6.

9. They want to live forever. It’s not enough that you write a story about them. They want you to write more and more stories also about them. This is called the serial temptation, when they haunt you and keep on coming up with all sorts of outrageous situations for you to write them into. Then they force you to solve their problems.

10. You value their opinions. If your characters are truly trustworthy and full of integrity, they might just be able to solve their problems on their own, in which case you are off the hook and all you need to do is let them control your fingers and do the typing or writing.

11. You talk about them as if they were real people. When you find yourself talking with other people about your characters as if they were realy people, then your characters are certifiably real! At this point, other people might even ask you how your characters are, what they’re doing next, what they think of certain things, and so on and so forth.

At a certain point, your characters will permeate your life so much it won’t feel right being without them. On the other hand, they could be taking over your life, in which case you might be drawn to murderous intent. There will always come a time to kill your darlings and we are all guilty, we bloody, murderous tribe of writers!

A character by any other name is not as sweet


Are you one of those writers who actively model characters on real people? Come on, admit it! You’ve probably endowed one or more of your protagonists with the traits of some real live hero you’ve met or read about. It could be a personal hero, like your grandpa, grandma, dad, mom, or a favorite uncle or aunt, or even an admired teacher or the school’s hottest athlete or cheerleader. You’ve also probably imbued some of your antagonists with the traits of your annoying kid sibling or cousin, a school bully, or your parents at their worst moments. As a fiction writer, you need to protect the identities of your models, whether positive or negative. Here are some ways you can do that.

1. Use a baby name book. There are all kinds of baby name books, from traditional baby names like Robert, William, Mary, and Anne, to unorthodox baby names like Rainbow, Amber, Opal, and Strawberry.
2. Use first names of famous people and mix up their surnames, like Hillary Regan or Scrooge McTrump.
3. Use foreign names like Liam, Cohen, Vladimir, or Rajesh.
4. Use a phone book and pick random surnames to match your invented first names.
5. Use names of real people you know, but don’t use their names on the characters they’re like. That way, people can’t say, “Hey, that’s what’s-his/her-name!” Throw them off by using their names on characters totally unlike them.
6. Change their gender. If there’s a guy you really hate, turn him into a despicable female character.
7. Change their age. You can safely make a character younger or older than the model by up to 10 years. The older your model, the easier to change the age. On the other hand, you could also turn them all into kids, which shouldn’t be too hard if they’re really very childish in real life.
8. Change their professions. Put them in a profession or job that’s very different from what they do in real life.
9. Invent new names with new spellings, depending on their age in your story. Take your cues from real life. For instance, Chyna, Asya, Justynne, Cayden.
10. Look up the most popular names for a particular year to match the year your character was born.
11. Use symbolic or meaningful names, for instance, Frank, Chastity, Hope, Gallant, Rush. Is the name “Scout Finch” symbolic? Or Robinson Crusoe?
12. Unless you are writing about life in earlier centuries or an alternative futuristic society where names are assigned as a way to identify social or economic status or an allegorical story, you might want to avoid using surnames that identify profession–unless it’s a fictional historical name attached to a family that carries on the same profession. Unfortunately, that could run really close to being tacky, campy, forced, or tongue-in-cheek, so be very careful or be very convincing.
13. Of course, if you’re writing science fiction or fantasy, there’s no limit to the kinds of names you can invent. And if you need to use numbers to name your characters–if that’s what your story really is about–go for it.

How you name your characters is as important as how children are names. You need to consider: will your characters live up to their names? Will the names become as memorable as Jay Gatsby or Sherlock Holmes or Scarlet O’Hara? Do the names suggest anything about the characters? If the characters were real, how would they feel about their names? Remember, your characters are your babies. Name them well!

Authors Rule! (Mwah-ha-ha!)


There is so much more to writing than the physical challenges. The immense strain we subject our bodies to when we choose to be writers, however, comes with a huge benefit that will satisfy even the most extreme megalomaniac among us. That benefit is becoming the supreme rulers of whatever worlds we create.

Exercise your imagination and indulge yourself. Have you always wanted to rule an island paradise? You can create one—or as many as you want! Do you want to be the ruler of the most powerful country in the world? Or perhaps, you want to elevate your humble nation or town into the most powerful government you can think of. It’s not only nations you can control. You can control worlds, galaxies, and multiverses.

And you’ll never be lonely. You can people your worlds with anyone you want. Bring all the kith and kin you want. There will be as much room for them as you declare. You can set up your leaders, heroes, and citizens and give them everything they desire—jobs, wealth, power, knowledge—whatever suits your fancy.

Of course, you can’t have a world without villains because that would be boring. This is your chance to take anyone and everyone you hate or has done you wrong in some way or another and show the rest of the world just how evil they are. The best part is you can give them the exact punishment they deserve! They can lose an eye, hand, foot, or any other body part you wish. They can be crippled. They can be as ugly and horrible and unfortunate as you wish them to be. Above all, you can subject them to the worst forms of humiliation, suffering, and torture and, in the end, you can kill them or condemn them to eternal damnation. At this point, you are allowed to hunch your shoulders, rub your hands together, and emit the most demonic laugh you can come up with!

If all that doesn’t fulfill your delusions of grandeur, then you’re really a megalomaniac and need to see a psychiatrist!

The Physical Challenge of Writing


Many have dreamed of becoming a writer, being published, becoming famous, seeing their names in print, yet not very many succeed. For some, it is enough to see their name on a single book, which keeps vanity presses alive. For others, it is a lifelong passion, not infrequently an obsession, and while many labor long and hard at their writing, few rise above the sea of literature to be noticed, read, and accorded with accolades. This brings about the timeless question: What does it take to be a writer?

Above all things, you should like to write. Nay, you should want to write. But willingness and desire are not the only things that make a writer. There is a great physical challenge to writing as well.

Every bone in your body is poised and ready to remain in a single, stationary position for several hours each days, most days of the week, several week after week for months, every month of the year, regardless of the time, weather, or season. You exercise your fingers more than any other part of your body and you suspect your bottom has grown calloused, certain the thickening is from constant pressure against your seat, which, no matter how cushioned you make it, feels like a rock after some time. Depending on your writing implement, your wrists might get some exercise, although you are highly susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome because your wrists are constantly subjected to the same abnormally twisted position hour after hour. Your neck and shoulders often feels stiff because your head is bent at the same angle from staring at sheet after sheet of paper, whether on a pad, in a typewriter (What ancient machine is that you speak of?), or on your computer screen. Your legs lose definition and strength, often numbing from being in the same sitting position day in and day out. Your eyes squint from dryness and strain because you forget to look up from the page to stare at something green 20 feet away every 20 minutes. It isn’t long before you need to squint at everything you look at. If you don’t wear eyeglasses yet, you soon will. Guaranteed. After a few years of practice, you acquire a writerly pallor in your skin from lack of sunlight and fresh air, moreso if you spend more time writing at night or indulge in burning natural aromatic substances to stimulate the imagination. Additionally, you may develop acid reflux from a steady diet of snacks or ulcers from the absence of regular sustenance.

If you are willing and ready to accept these stringent physical demands, you are one step closer to being a writer!

Summer Hot? Write Poetry!


So far, the summer has been mild, although in some parts of Canada and the US, the heat has become unbearable. Here on PEI, the heat hasn’t been too bad because of the occasional summer squalls. When it’s too hot to go out, or if it’s raining and you can’t hit the beaches or the parks, you know it’s the perfect time to write. Fill up that extra-large double-walled tumbler with your favorite iced drink, turn on your favorite mood music–or keep it quiet if that’s how you like writing, open a blank page, and write.

In the way nature and the seasons inspire poets, let me quote The Great Gatsby to give you a bit of summer writing inspiration:

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let this summer be the start of something new to write, whether it’s a new chapter in a book you’re working on, a new story, a new angle to an old story, or a new poem. If you want to try something more challenging than free verse, try using rhyme and rhythm. Play with words and try simple rhyming patterns. You can end all your lines in a single stanza with rhyming words, or you can work with a simple pattern–the most common are ABAB, AABB, or ABBA. If you don’t remember these letter patterns, each letter simply represents a sound ending each line in your poem. You don’t need to have four lines in each stanza, although it helps build rhythm and it’s a simple way to practice writing in rhymes. You can start with couplets, or line pairs that rhyme, which is what Joyce Kilmer did in his famous poem, “Trees”:


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Notice that each couplet has a different rhyme from the previous one, and the first and final couplets share the same rhyme. This makes it easier to find rhymes. Note as well, the rhythm he uses. Each line has the same number of syllables (measure) and the syllables are stressed in the same pattern in each line (meter). Each combination of short (unstressed) and long (stressed) syllables (a foot or iamb) is repeated–in this case, four times, hence iambic tetrameter. Shakespeare used iambic pentameter quite frequently. The rhythm changes depending on the way words are combined and this gives poems that delightful lilting quality that rolls off your tongue when read aloud–as all poems are meant to be.

It’s All About Weather


Without a doubt, the weather is probably the most common and most frequently used conversation starter in the world, and certainly on Prince Edward Island. Consider how often the weather is used in a greeting: “Nice day!” “Lovely weather we’re having!” “Lovely day for a walk!” “How’s the weather up there?” “Hello, sunshine!” “Enough rain for you?” In most parts of the world, the weather might be fairly constant. In the Philippines, for instance, there are only two seasons: wet and dry. The dry season is hot and—you guessed it—dry! Wet weather, on the other hand, can be anything from a drizzle to a downpour to an honest-to-goodness typhoon, which occurs approximately 20 times between June and December. As a result, the weather really isn’t a common conversational starter unless it’s to ask during a storm how many inches of water your house went under.

One of the first things I learned when I arrived on PEI is how changeable the weather is. Especially on a bad-weather day, I have heard time and again that if you don’t like the weather, you only have to wait 15 minutes and the weather is likely to change. In reality, it doesn’t always happen that way. I have seen gloriously sunny days stretch on forever and I have seen winter storms trapping people at home for nearly a week.

The one constant, which is probably responsible for the frequent changes in weather, is the wind. In winter and spring, it can be wild and wicked, taking scarves, whipping your coat about, pushing you ahead or knocking you down. For someone with long hair like me, it doesn’t make sense to brush it in this weather because the wind constantly blows it into my face and tosses it in every direction. The good thing about that is, on a dreary day, it also blows the storm clouds away. Unless a downpour is promised, there isn’t any point to carrying an umbrella about because a light drizzle from a blanket of gray clouds quickly disappears as the wind sweeps clouds away and clears the sky. In summer and autumn, the wind is a gentle whisper, cooling down any burning the sun might bring, keeping you fresh whether at the beach enjoying the sun and surf, hiking through a natural park or the confederation trail, reading a book on a city park bench, or traipsing in and out of shops in the city. It’s one of the perks of living on a small island in a temperate climate sheltered within a cove.

Another fairly constant feature of PEI weather is the sunshine. We have lots of sunshine all year round, except on those cloudy days when a storm is brewing and the sky is pelting down precipitation in various forms. Even then, it never stays dark and dreary for days on end and by spring and all throughout summer and fall, we enjoy sunlight anywhere from as little as 8-10 hours a day to as much as 14 hours through the June and July. What can beat that? No wonder people like to talk about the weather so much, half the time, it has to do with trying to guess what the day will bring.

On another note, May is when spring comes into full bloom with temperatures staying above zero and more often hitting double digits at the hottest time of the day. We’ve had our first day of 26 degrees, which was warm and muggy because of the rains, but I don’t hear any complaints because we’ve also had several wonderful sunshiney days, even if the temperature remains at single digits. It’s getting there for sure. While it’s nice and sunny, it might be a little too cool for some people to spend at the beach or out walking, especially if you’re a sedentary writer who prefers to stay indoors and write or read. That and the fact that spring is the prettiest and dressiest season certainly contribute to its being (possibly) the most written-about season of the year in poetry. I imagine spring inspires a lot of positive emotions, hope, light-heartedness, and, of course, love and romance, hence the outpouring of such emotions in poetry throughout the centuries. And because the weather in spring can be as changeable as a young heart’s fancies, it should elicit a more spontaneous outpouring of poesy in writers. So, if you are feeling somewhat uninspired and looking for something to write about, don’t underestimate the weather. Thousands of poems have been written about it and thousands of more will be written. If you can say a great deal about the weather, you certainly will have a lot to write about it as well!