What would be the easiest and the best topic for the ITGS extended essay for an IB (International Baccalaureate)?

Been answering a bunch of questions on Quora and decided to copy those questions and answers here. Some are relevant to writing, some aren’t. Here’s today’s question (above, the title of this post) and answer (below):

Unfortunately there is no one answer to this question for several good reasons:

1. The topic should be about something you like because you’re going to spend a lot of time on it. Different people, different topics.

2. It should be a topic that is included in the IB studies curriculum because that topic will be familiar to those who will guide you through the process and, later, grade the essay.

3. It should relate to your future because the knowledge you’ll learn from the process will help you later in life and will be seen by your adviser as an appropriate topic for you.

4. It should be broad enough that you can write 4,000 words about it and specific enough that there could be more written if you wanted to broaden the scope of your essay.

Of these reasons, the first is the most important because if you like what you are writing about, that liking will show through in your writing and, not only will the whole process be easier, your emotional input will be clear to whomever is grading your essay and just might improve your grade. So it’s not so much about what topic is easiest, it’s about which is easiest and most enjoyable for you personally. So what’s your favorite topic? Your favorite subject? Your favorite anything that falls within the scope of the IB curriculum?

Hope this helps.


The huge storm that had us filling buckets of water and getting portable heaters for when we lost power didn’t live up to expectations. Thank goodness.

Though everywhere around us was hit hard, we just got a normal winter storm that left a few inches of ice-covered snow.

This is what the surrounding area looks like:nwff-twitter-and-blog-pic-temporary


Not too long ago I talked about writer’s block and how I had it though it’s not normally a problem with me.

That time with writer’s block taught me something. That sometimes there’s a reason your mind refuses to go further and your imagination stops working.

When I finally decided I couldn’t continue with the story as I’d outlined it and looked for another way around the block, everything became easy and the writing just flowed.

Maybe because the way I’d originally seen the story was wrong and the new, different way was the way it should have been all along.

So maybe when writer’s block strikes we should stop fretting and pay attention. Because maybe — just maybe — it’s trying to tell us something and we should listen.


I looked at the thermometer this morning and considered going into a song and dance routine. Because it was thirty-two degrees. It was up to freezing. This is important because two days ago it was minus thirty-four degrees. That’s cold. Very cold. So cold I didn’t attend church. Or go outside at all.

Two days was all it took to change from truly miserable cold (it was also windy, which makes going outside dangerous) to winter weather with beautiful white snow that’s perfect for making snow angels. Just two days.

Writing is like that. One day a writer can be in the depths of depression because inspiration won’t come and all that appears on the page is drivel.

But wait a while. Just wait an hour or so — or a day or two — and that can all change and that drivel can turn into inspiration. Or, put another way, minus thirty-four degrees can turn into a balmy and beautiful winter day.

So just wait. Inspiration will come.


I read a Quora question recently. It was first published a year or so ago, then updated recently.

The question was what every aspiring writer should know and I liked the best answer. The one up-voted to the top of the answers:

Here is the link:    If you don’t feel like following the link, I’ll paraphrase:

Put the seat of your pants in the seat of a chair for eight hours a day, five days a week. Do this in a quiet place where you can concentrate on writing and only writing. Because being a writer is a job and, just like any other job, requires a commitment of time and energy and the ability to focus on what you are doing.

When you are a professional writer and no longer an aspiring one, then you can write  however you wish, whenever you wish, in whatever way you wish. Until then, follow the rules.


I’ve gone back to writing short fiction because I love it and, more to the point, because there seems to actually still be a market out there for short fiction.

However —  just in case I’m wrong about that market existing — I’m also thinking ahead about putting those short stories together in an anthology and selling them in book form.

There’s always a way for a writer to get his/her work out there!


Chris the Story Reading Ape 


Ah hah! I now know that Christ, the story-reading ape is male. I’ve always wondered whether ‘Chris’ was short for Christopher or Christine. Or simply Chris, whether male or female.

I once spoke with a novel marketing person who suggested that I come up with a pen name that could be either male or female because what I write is more often written by men than women. Then she further suggested that the name should begin with a letter in the first half of the alphabet and be short and simple with connotations that are positive. It was a marketing thing, she said.

I spent a lot of agonizing time trying to come up with a name that fit all of her criteria. And, eventually, gave up. So I’m still Florence Witkop.