“Sometimes I wonder if I’m a character being written,” Marilyn Manson has said. Personally, I doubt it; few writers would have the imagination to invent him. But the truth is a gold mine for writers, as our nonfiction grid showed this week. You took us from the panicky halls of elementary school, marked with the lingering scent of cheap food and the pocked sound of a teacher’s footsteps behind you, to the bus stop after school where a child questioned the tenets of her faith, to a mother’s nighttime reflections, disturbed by accusations of faithlessness to herself and her family.
And then, like every week, we wrenched ourselves back to our own realities and voted, dissecting those stories not just for heart but for structural merit. The results of that popular vote are way down at the bottom of this post, along with the results for the fiction|poetry grid and the microstories grid.
But it’s not just about the popular vote, folks. We also have our editorial staff picks to hand out. Every week our editors comb through your submissions looking for their favorites. Picks are based on writing quality, how successful the author is in conveying information, and artistic merit. If you got a staff pick this week, grab your badge from the sidebar and wear it with pride!
Once you’re done reading through the staff picks (and congratulating the winners in the comments), keep scrolling down to check out who won the popular vote on all three grids.
…but I never win!
The winners’ post isn’t just about the bragging rights. It’s a chance for everyone to re-read the best of the best posts this week and analyze them. Instead of asking why your post didn’t win, try asking why that post did. You might get some ideas for how to make your writing better. If you’re consistently at or near the bottom, maybe it’s time to change it up a little bit. Try one of our poetry slams, or try a new style of writing for your regular grid. Head over to the coffeehouse on Sunday for Nate’s weekly double shot of espresso, where he analyzes our best posts and gives you a few tips on how to use the techniques in those posts in your own writing. Take some risks. What have you got to lose?
[quote]What is striking about Jennifer’s cento is the way she combines disparate lines in a way that creates such unified, evocative imagery. We hear so many sounds in this compilation, from “hissing” to a “tick-tock,” from “warning whispers” to “songs of misery,” telling a very auditory story–an apt use of the optional prompt. The chosen lines’ pacing works particularly well together, creating a piece that not only catches the ear, but flows nicely; a difficult challenge when combining works from different authors.[/quote]
[ed’s note: Jennifer, like several other authors on the fiction|poetry grid this week, was taking part in our January poetry slam. The poetry form of the month is the cento, a poem made by cobbling together lines of other poems. If this intrigues you, stop by the coffeehouse for a fuller analysis of the form and the rules for participation!]
[quote]Within the first few words, the reader knows something is definitely wrong between the two characters. The narrator yells; the tension builds. Then, like a slap in the face, the lights turn off and the narrator finds herself literally without power. I would call it a twist, but the hints are firmly planted: how she hears David’s anger in the rattling of the plates and the indication that he’s up to something himself, how the narrator waits to finish her makeup before confronting the situation. The rest of the scene is left off the page. We readers have to imagine what happens next, and Laura has definitely led us into some gruesome territory.[/quote]
Congratulations to this week’s winners! If you earned the highest number of votes in either challenge, you are this week’s crowd favorite. If you came in first, second or third, you get “top three” honors. Grab your badge from our sidebar!
Looking for your badge? The fiction|poetry, nonfiction and microstories challenges all have the same winner, staff pick, and top three badges. It doesn’t clutter up our sidebar, and they’ll still look pretty on yours!
Everybody: before you go, please take some time to leave your favorites a little love in the comments.
Weekend moonshine grid opens today at 6 p.m. eastern time
It’s the place where everybody knows your name… because it’s in the URL. At 6:00 every Friday, Natalie opens the doors to the least anonymous little gin joint on these internets. Slide on down and join her for some weekend fun. Just leave the commercial posts at home- they always leave peanut shells on the floor anyway.