Blame some of this on yeah write contributing editor @kdwald and a little on yeah write contributing editor @floodg, and maybe mostly on those who forced the yeah write challenge grid into summer hiatus, but I loved this 25 Bad Writer Behaviors (or, how not to act like a rabid penmonkey in public) by Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.
Can we all agree that writing a post for the yeah write grid is a little different than writing a post for your general audience unless, of course, your general audience is made up of all kinds of awesome? We’ve made it a point to highlight two separate pages for writing the yeah write way: the FAQ page and the guide for writing a winning yeah write post and, bringing to mind the 20/80 principle (20% of the people do 80% of the work), I’m loving on the 20% of you who’ve read them thoroughly.
[pullquote_left] Submission guidelines — be they for a literary magazine, a blog, an agent or a publisher — exist for a reason. They’re not arbitrary…It’s making somebody’s difficult job just a wee bit easier. Guidelines aren’t suggestions. Follow them. —Chuck Wendig[/pullquote_left]
We’re not trying to change the way you write. When you’re not writing for the grid, you are free to do whatever you want. I entered a writing contest a few months ago and the prize was something I really wanted: a ticket to the sold-out Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in Ohio. The main submission guideline was to write a humor piece in the voice of Erma Bombeck. Well, I loves me some Erma Bombeck. I read all of her books when I was a kid and I can still recite some of my favorite stories of hers by heart. But I don’t write anything like Erma Bombeck. My humor is darker, it’s not for everyone, it centers around the underbelly of life, a place Erma never took her readers. So I decided I would enter the contest on my own terms, and the judges were gonna like it. My plan was to wow them by not following a single one of the given instructions and, long disappointing story short, my entry was rejected.
The thing is: I’ll never know if it was rejected on merit—were there that many entries better than mine—or if it was rejected because I took the rules and threw them back in their faces. A kind of “Take this, panel. You don’t own me.”
And that’s how the yeah write readers and judges felt sometimes when the grid was open submissions. Please, we would say, keep your entries to 1,000 words at the maximum because we have 50 entries to read in a compressed amount of time. And we’d get 3,500-word novellas. Please tell us a story with a beginning, middle and end, and we’d get some sort of dream sequence with flying monkeys because flying monkeys are cool and awesomely nonsensical. Please have a reason for telling the story or sharing the essay/fiction/creative non-fiction/photos, and we’d get flying monkeys on acid with no coherent sentence in sight. [pullquote_right] When you’re not writing for the yeah write grid, you are free to do whatever you want. [/pullquote_right]
Flying monkeys are cool when your target audience is demanding them. Flying monkeys are not so cool when your audience is specifically asking you to do away with them one post a week. I even wrote a post called something like: flying monkeys need not apply, and people were all like who are you to turn away my flying monkeys and you suck and I’ll fly monkeys onto the grid anytime I goshdarn please. They did not, in fact, use the word goshdarn, and I shall spare you the venom.
Like Wendig, I’m talking lit mag, blog, agent or publisher: if the guidelines are too specific or just not your style, then it’s important for you to reconsider submitting in the very first place. If you do submit and it’s not a good fit, so your piece is rejected? I can almost guarantee if your flying monkeys are as awesome as you say they are, you will find a place for them somewhere. If you can’t fit your target audience, find an audience that’s a good fit for you.
Voting on the grid is back
Those of you who’ve been faithfully participating in the summer writer’s series will be way ahead of those submitting blindly to the challenge grid once it opens during yeah write #71. Woo-hoo.
Each week, fewer and fewer submissions are getting published to the grid on the first attempt. Take your time writing, make clear the point of your story/personal essay/fiction/creative non-fiction—avoid hiding it behind cloudy innuendo, then ease into a relevant conclusion without just tacking one on. There’s no such thing as rushing to the grid anymore. You have time to perfect before submitting. Raise your hand in comments if you’ve read this.
We’re back on the challenge grid schedule of the grid opening on Tuesday, closing on Wednesday at 9 pm (or at 50 blogs, whichever happens first) and the voting starting immediately and ending Thursday at 9 pm US eastern time. The winners’ post will publish on Friday.
yeah write #68 badges
[image width="225" height="225" align="left" lightbox="true" caption="You can grab this one. Click to embiggen. Then right-click and select save this image." title=""]http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/yw_wwb_bww.png [/image]
- Click in the upper right corner of this page on the plus symbol and the hidden widget containing the button badge codes will drop
- Copy the code of your favorite badge, then paste that code into the HTML view of the post you’re planning to submit to the grid
- If you’re having problems accessing those, feel free to grab the one in this post. Your backlink will be yeahwrite.me/68-open-summer or yeahwrite.me/68-open-hangout
[header_box_1 title="yeah write #68 writing prompts"]
all your story are belong to you
- Read the summer FAQ page for other details: the grid is being moderated and if you’re missing an element outlined in the summer FAQ, your post will not be published on the grid
- Let the prompt lead you, but do not include the prompt in any way in your post, not at the beginning as an intro, not at the end as a footnote. If you reference the prompt in your post, your post will not be published on the grid
- Remember: no more than 500 words. If your post exceeds 500 words, yup, you guessed it—no publish for you
- If the prompt takes you from thunderstorms to watching TV at your grandma’s house to how much you love Pat Sajak to the oldest person you’ve ever kissed, we want that story the furthest away in your imagination from the original prompt. Let your imagination loose
- Keep your writing style! Do you tell stories with humor? Prose? Verse? Photos? Illustrations? Keep doing that. We’ll read Shakespearean drama on our own time
- Cut away at everything unnecessary to your story
- Don’t forget to badge your post
- The grid now opens on Tuesdays
[divider_header_h3] This week’s prompts [courtesy of Tom Slatin] [/divider_header_h3]
- Well, who says you can’t judge a book by its cover?
- Describe a time you felt alone.
- List your bad habits and/or addictions and how you have tried to rid yourself of them.
If you’re just here to hangout, click here for the yeah write #68 hangout grid. The yeah write #68 summer challenge grid is open…