[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Hey, y’all. Time for another edition of Rowan Talks Srs Writer Stuff(tm). Suffer through it, and I’ll get you to the vote results.

I haven’t been ready, for a variety of reasons, to talk about the mess that is this year’s Hugo Awards. But it’s worth talking about. It’s worth discussing. And it’s something that you as a writer should be aware of.

The Hugos, of course, have so many voters that they don’t have the luxury of monitoring closely for cheating, targeted votes, self-votes and campaigning in the way that a smaller community like ours is able to. But the basic issue is still the same: are we casting votes for the story, or because we like or dislike the author? Are you really reading carefully and selecting the work on the grid that you think is the overall best, regardless of whether the theme is personally appealing to you? Or are you selecting a story whose moral or author you like, and overlooking sentence structure or the strength of the essay because you want that person or idea to do well?

We hope that you’re voting for the best work, reading critically and giving thought to each piece before casting your vote. As editors, we are careful to make sure that our personal preferences for story theme or style don’t override a vote for a higher-quality work that we personally disagree with. Of course, that doesn’t mean that good work isn’t work that you agree with, or that an essay that resonates deeply with you isn’t the best one on the grid. But it’s something to keep in mind. When a popular vote becomes a popularity vote, your award becomes less meaningful. You’ll never know if you received the crowd favorite because you’re a good writer, or because someone put you on a list somewhere – as happened to several of the Hugo nominees.

We want you to be proud of your successes, and to help you improve as writers. Making sure that you vote for the best posts on each grid helps keep our community strong and gives you more to be proud of when you win.

Whew.

Thanks for sticking with me. Just like I promised, it’s time to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here! Beyond the popular vote, we also have 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 just plain style. 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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Yeah write #210 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

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(chemistry) water by meg

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So often authors feel they need over-the-top plot lines and quirky characters to capture their readers’ attentions. Meg’s entry proves that all the hubbub isn’t necessary. Most life-changing revelations, in fact, happen quietly. In her daily routine, Colleen realizes how fragile life is: how drowning is just a matter of chemistry, how the act of swimming is all one needs to appreciate living. And then, tangled into those ideas are gorgeous and colliding images of cellos and tadpoles, choirs and tortoises, lake water and rocket fuel. I gasped along with Colleen at the end of that last sentence and then I had to dive right back in to the swirling world Meg created. 
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Yeah write #210 weekly writing challenge staff note: microstories

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Have you noticed that often it’s the same people who place at the top of the pack in the popular vote? We certainly have. And we love those people, but we love the rest of you, too. If you’re consistently ending up below the top three, take a moment to think about that. Why are you here? Are you here to write and get comments? Maybe you’re happy in the middle of the pack week after week. That’s awesome. But maybe you’re hungry to improve, to move up the grid, to come home with that top three, crowd fave or editor’s pick badge. If that sounds like you, take a look at the winners, and especially at the people who win consistently, and see what they’re doing that you’re not. Maybe you don’t write exactly like them; that’s okay! You should have your own voice. But they’re definitely using techniques and devices that you can incorporate into your own work. So the next time you read a really great microstory, don’t just think “darn, that’s better than mine.” Think “what’s she doing that’s different, and what would happen if I tried it?”
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]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.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Weekend moonshine grid opens today at 6 p.m. eastern time

Not sure if you’re fiction or nonfiction? We don’t care. Round about 6:00 tonight, Natalie will open the doors to the coolest bar with the hottest performers on the web. Bring your tiny car, your big dog, your imaginary friend and your posts from 1988. Just leave the commercial posts and paint thinner home. They make the bouncer nervous for some reason.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

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