STEM Tuesday — Reptiles — Writing Tips & Resources


Opening movie scene.

Fade in.

Cue the David Attenborough or Morgan Freeman narrator voice:


For some reason, the title was the first thing that popped into my head when I sat down to draft this post. I have no reason why. But, what the heck? I felt obligated to the STEM creative muse to run with it.

Great reptiles in history!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Green_turtle_in_Kona_2008-1024x823.jpg

Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Man alive, there sure are a lot of reptiles. How do you even start to make a list of the greatest ones when they’re all pretty dang awesome?

You start by making a fully-loaded, everything-you-can-think-of list. Just as in writing the first draft of a manuscript, the thing you wish to make won’t be a real thing, a thing full of possibility, until you put it to paper first. 

Nothing can be finished until it is started.

So make your list. Write that first word. And follow it with another. And another. And another. Make it real by making it a real thing.

Make that !@#$% first draft. (That has to be in Morgan Freeman’s narrator voice because David Attenborough’s narrator voice doesn’t seem appropriate saying, “!@#$%”)

Writing and Great Reptile Lists. Great Reptile Lists and writing.

Gadow, Hans, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The important bit in creating something is to first make it happen. Once you make something happen, it exists. If it exists, you can make it better. You can eliminate all the really, really good reptiles from the list to make a better, more meaningful list for someone interested in discovering Great Reptiles in History. With writing, you can cut everything from the !@#$% first draft that doesn’t belong in the story thread to make a more meaningful narrative for the reader.

Once the work exists, it can also be shared with others to mine the expertise and skill of a trusted network. With my now pared-down list of great reptiles, I can share it with other herpetology fans/experts to get their revision ideas, criticism, and advice on which reptiles belong on the list and which don’t. The writer can benefit from critique partners, writing groups, and beta readers to identify what works and what doesn’t. By sharing your work, your work can improve your writing. 

Creating better work. Isn’t that our ultimate goal?

Whether it’s the ultimate list of great reptiles in history, your first manuscript, or your 20th manuscript, get the words down.

Make them real.

Make them better.

Make them available.

Make them shine.

Cue the David Attenborough or Morgan Freeman narrator voice:





Fade to black.


Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal opportunity sports enthusiast, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night, he blogs about sports/training-related topics at and writer stuff at  www.mikehaysbooks.comTwo of his science essays, The Science of Jurassic Park and Zombie Microbiology 101,  are included in the Putting the Science in Fiction collection from Writer’s Digest Books. He can be found roaming around the Twitter-sphere under the guise of @coachhays64.

The O.O.L.F Files

This month’s Out Of Left Field (O.O.L.F.) Files slither into the glorious world of reptiles. By land, by sea, and by air, here are some links to make the herpetologist in all of us a tad bit happier.

STEM Tuesday
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  1. Great STEM posts in History (definitely with Morgan Freeman’s voice)! Love the OOLFs!

    • Thanks, Sue! I always love putting together the O.O.L.F. Files but getting the chance to do a reptile version was next-level fun. STEM for the win!