The extraordinary in the ordinary
I grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. I have a writer friend who is very accomplished, published several books through big-name publishing houses, and he urges me to write about my childhood, which I immediately translate in my head as “he’s just saying that because he likes me.” Because how could life in the suburbs possibly be interesting?
Life is interesting. Period.
What makes my suburban experience different from another’s is the detail. I doubt, for example, that many suburban streets were filled with kids riding unicycles. Ours was. But more than this, the suburban experience reveals commonalities, allowing us to connect with many readers. One of my favorite books by Margaret Atwood is Cat’s Eye. Even though this novel is set in Canada in a time before I was born, the friendships and conflicts could have been placed in my small suburb.
Don’t assume that your experiences have to be extraordinary to be interesting. I bet thousands of people learned to slice the ends of dandelion stems, then dunked them in water and watched, amazed, as they transformed into hard curlicues like some kind of Rococo decoration. One of them will read your story and find themselves back in the sun-filled suburban yard, joyfully peeling the ends of dandelions.
Who’s on fourth?
Nonfiction theme of the month:
There are more ways to make your story boring than just having no content. The most interesting story in the world will make a reader’s eyes glaze over if you make every sentence and paragraph the same. Learn to avoid this common mistake with this month’s technique.
This week’s ultimate question:
Who’s on your team?
This optional prompt, which also serves as the ultimate question for the microstory challenge opening Wednesday, is here to serve as your inspiration for your nonfiction submission. Already have your own story thought up? No problem! The prompt is only there if you need it.
Want more info?
If you’ve never taken the time to read them, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. The rules are a little different for each of our challenges and we’d hate to have to send back great writing on a technicality.
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Submit to the yeah write #259 nonfiction challenge
The yeah write #259 weekly writing challenge is now open for nonfiction: personal essays, creative opinion, mostly true stories based on actual events. You can check out the submission guidelines and join us with your essay using the link below.