Last week, hundreds of writers submitted their stories to the Fall Writing Contest. Right now, our panel of judges is reading through each story, looking for the ones that will make it to the winners’ circle. And while they’re hard at work, I have an invitation for you, too.
I’m inviting you to step over to the judges’ side of the submission table. I’m inviting you to try reading like an editor and decide which story you would choose as the winner of the Fall Writing Contest.
A few months ago, I posted an article about avoiding clichés here on The Write Practice. The (bland) title I proposed was “How to Avoid Clichés.” The published title read: “How to Avoid Clichés (Like the Plague).” I grinned when I read it and said another thank you to a quiet hero of the publishing world: our editor.
She amped up the title with a clever twist that sounded just like me with my penchant for parentheses. Editors are invisible heroes in the publishing world, and knowing what they do can help you through every stage of your journey.
In the writing world, flash fiction is like an appetizer. These “short short” stories may be small and end quickly, but they can be so satisfying. The trick isn’t to treat them like a short version of a longer work, but rather as an art form all its own. That’s not to say it isn’t challenging to write, because it is, but there are several strategies you can use to help you perfect your work.
Every great novel has great characters. Great characterization includes a background, flaws, habits, tics, and redeeming qualities. The characters have a life.
There are plenty of ways to get inside your character’s head. You can journal from their point of view, write a character study, or fill out questionnaires about your character. Those methods are awesome but can seem impersonal or just plain tedious at times.
If you need a quicker, more succinct way of getting inside your character’s head, you might consider writing their eulogy.
You invest a lot of yourself in your writing, and putting your creative work in front of others is scary. Your mind floods with questions like, What if they don’t like it? What if they think I’m dumb? What if I’m no good at this?
No doubt about it, folks. Publishing is a courageous act. When you send out submissions, you set yourself up for rejection from publishers. When you share your story in a writers’ group, you open yourself to peer feedback that may be negative.
Makes you want to don a suit of armor, doesn’t it? But what if, instead of avoiding the criticism, you could actually put it to work for you? Make it friend, rather than foe?
Are you writing a book? If so, you might be surprised by some of the things you’re thinking and feeling. Writing a book can be an strange, emotional experience! You might even wonder if some of the things you’re thinking and feeling are normal.
Today, I want to give you an inside view of my thoughts and emotions as I write a book so that you can see that even after being a professional writer for years and writing seven books, I still struggle with insecurity and self-criticism. Plus, I’ll share how I deal with negative feelings without getting derailed by them.
In July, we hosted the Summer Writing Contest in partnership with Short Fiction Break literary magazine. Entering this writing contest was a huge accomplishment for all our writers, and we want to celebrate the winners here on The Write Practice.
Do you ever want to give up on writing? The impulse to quit can strike at any moment. In the beginning, when you’re trying to start writing but can’t. In the middle, when a story just won’t do what you tell it to. Or even at the end, when you’ve written something amazing but can’t find anyone to share it with.
Writing isn’t just artistically difficult. It’s spiritually challenging.
But you have to overcome the temptation to quit. You have to believe that each failure will pass and lead to success.
And most importantly, you have to believe that you write stories not because of some accident or mistake in the cosmic order of things. You write because you were meant to write.
You are fulfilling a calling.
Sometimes the best stories come to us when we are challenged to leave our comfort zone and write something we wouldn’t usually try. In that spirit, to give our writing a boost, let’s make a game out of using a writing prompt.
You want to write, but when you sit down to get started, you realize you don’t have a book idea. Or perhaps you have so many ideas, you’re having a hard time choosing the best one. Or maybe, you already have an idea, but you just aren’t sure if it’s any good.
That’s what we’re here for. In this article are ten questions to help you get started finding your book idea. Use them as writing prompts or as a way to make your current idea better.
Don’t let the blank page win. Get started writing your book today with these book ideas!
Writer’s anxiety is often caused by a belief that I MUST BE WRITING ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME. It simply isn’t true. Even those who write full time recognize that there are seasons to writing, just as there are seasons of life.
How do you stay disciplined? You’re ready to commit and focus on your writing (or refocus). Where do you start?
That’s where our 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge comes in!
Halloween is right around the corner and I know a lot of you will be writing some spine-chilling stories to celebrate. What’s the best part of a creepy story? A monster.
When writing monsters, you could rely on the tried-and-true vampires, zombies, and giant, man-killing spiders. There’s nothing wrong with adding to the monster canon, but it does get a little boring after a while. It’s often better to make up your own monster. But how?
Decades have been spent honing the standard wants and abilities of vampires and zombies. How can you make a monster just as good in a much shorter time frame?
Nearly every story you care to name has bits and pieces or elements from other stories. It’s unavoidable, since we’ve been telling stories from the dawn of human existence. Most of your story ideas are going to resemble existing stories in some way.
So, how do you take the seed of a story that feels too much like it’s already been done, and make it your own?
“The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed. For luck, you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit’s foot in your right pocket.” —Ernest Hemingway
Polishing a screenplay, or doing a polish on a script, is a part of the screenwriting process that few screenwriters ever go into detail about when asked. Even when plied with liquor. Sure, we’ve all heard writers and producers use terms like “tighten it up” or “give it some polish” or “tweak it for production,” but what do any of those terms really mean?
Let’s break “the script polish” process down into two general goals a screenwriter needs to focus on when sitting down to polish her script. Those two general goals are maximizing impact and minimizing risk.
Writing books is a ton of work. And when you’re done, you probably want to share it with the world, and make a profit on all of your labor. But the sales don’t come like you’d expect — except from your supportive family, of course. If only you knew how to sell books to someone other than your mom!
Sometimes, all you need to give your writing a boost is an inspiring writing prompt. And when it comes to writing prompts, we’ve got you covered.
The weather’s cooling off, students are returning to school, and here at The Write Practice, we’re gearing up for our Fall Writing Contest. Because there’s no better way to welcome the changing seasons than by writing some amazing stories!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty about something related to writing. (My hand can’t get any higher.) Whether you feel that you aren’t writing enough or feel terrible about neglecting chores while finishing your novel, writer’s guilt is real.
Here are a few ideas for abandoning writer’s guilt to get your work done.