#YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen Part 5


This is the fifth collection of my best Tweets under the hashtag #YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen. Click here to catch up on the first part. These were inspired by @KMWeiland. Her blog is an excellent resource for writers looking to become authors.

These come at the special request of Jessica West (@Wes1Jess on Twitter). Be sure to thank her if you get some amusement out of these.

Menacing Grin

  • your characters live in a world free of brand names and they sing a copyright-free alternative to Happy Birthday
  • you wonder what your life expectancy would be if you were trapped inside your harsh fictional universe
  • you realize your last paragraph was just a poem that wasn’t written in stanza format
  • your unnamed characters make your story look like a mad lib waiting to be filled in
  • you spend all night looking for an onomatopoeia to replace the word “clatter”

Ghost Motivation

  • blank slate, Joe Everyman, characters with no personality don’t do it for you like characters with swagger do.
  • you give your villains free reign to express themselves, only to realize you like them more than your stoic hero
  • you realize telling a straight story is less expected than resorting to a twist
  • you can read a blog entry that’s longer than 500 words and feel satisfied by its conclusion
  • you stay up late and give yourself a writing hangover

Hunt Ghosts

  • you can acknowledge that most people only read 60% of a post before moving on, yet you keep writing for the other 40%
  • your work-in-progress forks off from a story into a poem, a song lyric, a blog entry and a standup routine
  • you have trouble killing characters with the same names as your friends, especially if they’re on social media
  • you find that your notes are detailed enough to copy & paste directly into your story
  • you’re constantly trying to come up with an excuse for poor cellphone reception in your stories

Jump Scare

  • typing a summary feels like telling a lie of omission
  • you betray your reader’s expectations on purpose, to give them the story they didn’t know they wanted.
  • you know that nothing will date your material more than a reference to twerking, might as well write about planking
  • you personify writer’s block & cast it as a villain in your story
  • you try to predict the outcome of an ongoing news story as if you caught something an author was trying to setup for later


  • you wrote a short story a decade ago that predicted a piece of present day tech
  • you hope there’s a mock trail based on the aftermath of one of your stories
  • you discover your 1st childhood story scrawled in crayon and wonder if you could punch it up to work today
  • you hope they test the plot device your story hinges on on MythBusters
  • you populate your stories with theme restaurants you wish existed in the real world

new ideas

  • you realize you have to turn the shower off because you’ve been typing with it on and you haven’t gotten in
  • you see the terrible flaws in your own work but still get offended when someone else points them out to you
  • an eventful paragraph feels more rewarding than a drawn out page
  • you can pace a room and berate yourself at the same time
  • you go on an exhaustive search for an object’s actual name only to realize that you’ve been calling it that the entire time


  • you can write through an earthquake, then on other days you get stuck when someone simply sits next to you
  • you repeat an unwritten line of prose in your head, avoiding conversation, until you can get it on the page
  • you hate it when people use profanity as stop gaps or as ways to punctuate sentences. It devalues the impact of the words
  • You feel pride, not guilt, when your ass falls asleep
  • You see your own shadow and know it will be six more chapters before it’s safe to go back outside


  • You face palm at a line you thought was clever a week ago
  • You correct the grammar of something written on the wall next to a public toilet
  • You want to start a Kickstarter campaign for a book on how to defraud Kickstarter
  • You dismiss or promote a piece based on the early reactions of the person reading it
  • a commenter admittedly disagrees with a rhetorical statement at the beginning of your piece because they failed to read to the conclusion

Plant your novel

  • You troll the NSA to grow your readership
  • You have enough prose to carpet your floor with
  • You’re always looking for a way to reinvent the phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night.”
  • You’ve written something popular enough to doubt your own integrity
  • You can hold your bladder for chapters at a time


  • When you don’t need alcohol to write, but writing gives you a great excuse to drink
  • You had no idea that it even rained today
  • bad weather suits the tone of your story
  • A rainy day is a good excuse to be productive
  • You plot heists every day like it ain’t no thing


  • You sneak a Terms of Service agreement into your books so that readers won’t hold you accountable for the ending
  • You’re always looking for a new way to describe leaves
  • You plant copies of your novel on coffee shop bookshelves
  • Your barista says, “I think you’ve had enough”
  • Your notes make you question your literacy

Twilight Zone

  • You’ve got carpal tunnel at the age of 30
  • You’ve written over 100 articles & your top 10 list of the funniest episodes of The X-Files is still the most popular
  • Your search history gets you on all the right lists
  • You wear headphones just to hear yourself think
  • You write the NSA agent assigned to spy on you into your story & totally blow his mind


  • You know that daydreaming is not a drawback but a skill set
  • You have to choose between two clever one-liners
  • you’re unable to ignore the couple arguing in the booth beside you and begin transcribing
  • you allow your characters to say & do something vulgar for the sake of the story, never mind how it makes you look
  • You type a complicated paragraph full of sensory metaphors to avoid writing, “A chill ran up his spine”
  • You scour the net for the technical name of a specific object, but decide to go with what you’d first come up with instead

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