Pen and Paper: More Reasons to Embrace Writing Longhand

Writing things down, with your actual hands, is just plain better at getting you to remember and execute good ideas.

So begins “The Pen is Mightier Than the Phone: a Case for Writing Things Out” by Kevin Purdy. He goes on to list key reasons that writing things out the old-fashioned way might be your best choice, such as its association with better learning and memory, therapeutic uses, and the fact that writing longhand creates a “smoother path from brain to the printed word.”


Photo by lrargerich on Flickr Creative Commons

What more do you need? You now have permission to indulge in a new pen. Purely for therapeutic purposes :).

Florida Keys: The Writing/Researching Life

If you’re interested in where I’ve been the past few weeks, my report on the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) tour of the Florida Keys appears today in The Miami Planet. If you write about science topics for children–fiction or nonfiction–I highly recommend checking out the SEJ conference. I don’t know anywhere else where I would have collected so much information on setting, science, and location-specific topics as I did on this trip. I don’t know anywhere else where I would have experienced so many different people, places, and adventures in such a short period of time.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, if nature, science, or the environment feature prominently in your work, you need to check out this organization.



The Bad Boy: Girls Really DO Like Them Best

The “bad boy” has a long-standing place in YA literature. He’s mysterious, alluring, dangerous, sexy—and it’s deliciously thrilling to experience the vicarious thrill of a heroine falling for him, whether it’s a good idea or not.


*Photo credit

But I’ve always thought that, in real life, women wouldn’t find the “bad boy” image quite as appealing. It turns out I’m wrong.

A new study from the University of British Columbia suggests that women find happy guys less sexually attractive than either moody or arrogant men. From the press release:

In a series of studies, more than 1,000 adult participants rated the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of images of the opposite sex engaged in universal displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) and shame (lowered heads, averted eyes).

The study found that women were least attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed. In contrast, male participants were most sexually attracted to women who looked happy, and least attracted to women who appeared proud and confident.

I’ve wrestled with creation of two different “bad boy” characters in my writing. In one case, I wanted him to be a smooth-talker who wins the girl, but is a jerk underneath; in the other, I wanted the guy to seem street-smart and untrustworthy, but be gradually revealed as a sweetheart. I want to create characters who are romantic—maybe even a little dangerous—but also real. I DON’T want to glamorize a stereotype, when real life bad boys aren’t necessary good relationship material…but reading about them can be fun.

What do you think? Do you write about the bad boy character? Is “bad boy” a veneer or a true-to-the-core description of your character?