The Daily Port of Call: June 9, 2014

Photo by Alexander Lvov/

Photo by Alexander Lvov/

In today’s Daily Port of Call, you’ll find out how literary devices can deepen your fiction, what character agency is, and what you can learn from mixed reviews.

Discover these five literary devices that will deepen your fiction.

Bad sentence structure makes your writing sound weird. Here are tips to avoid it.

What is character agency? “Characters without agency tend to be like little paper boats bobbing down a river of your own making. They cannot steer. They cannot change the course of the river. The river is an external force that carries them along —meaning, the plot sticks its hand up the character’s cavernous bottom-hole and makes the character do things and say things in service to the plot.”

What can you learn from a mixed review? “Criticism is essential to our evolution as writers, and there is no truer pool of it than readers on review sites who are not your mother, sibling, spouse, or Aunt Mabel.”

Break free from your training: “Whether it’s our own inner hang-ups, cultural expectations, or bad things that have happened in the past, we tend to operate in the same tiny little patch of life, never imagining it’s possible to move further, let alone that we have it in us to do so.”

Watch out for these common occupational hazards of writers and take note of suggestions to avoid them.

Bill Watterson has been up to something good.