You don’t have to be the first one to the finish line to be the winner.
The length of time it takes you to produce your work doesn’t necessarily affect when a reader will enjoy it. For example, I was definitely the last of my friends to see the new Ghostbusters, but the first to watch the first episode of the new season of Ash v. Evil Dead (and I had Season 3 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries before my local crew too, thanks to my Australian frands!). The point is, though, that when I watched had nothing to do with production time. Sometimes I wait a few extra months or even years for a video game, but I’d rather wait than have a product I’m excited about in my hands with dozens of bugs and errors.
The same thing, of course, goes for your writing. As one of our writers found out this week (you know who you are!) it can pay to write something, take a break, let it sit, and come back to it. It’s easier to see the clumsy places with fresh eyes. Sometimes that means letting a post sit in your drafts folder for longer than you normally would, or taking what looks on the outside like “a break” – only to come back fresher than ever and ready to win the grid!
Taking the time to not only write well but revise thoroughly can take your essay, story or poem from “well, that’s a thing you wrote” to the top of the popular vote each week. But it’s not all about the popular vote at yeah write, folks. We also have our editorial staff picks to hand out. See, while there’s a popular vote winner every week, we don’t always give out a staff pick. Picks are based on writing quality, how successful the author is in conveying information, and just plain style. Some weeks, the editors will comb through the grids and nothing really stands out for us. Maybe the best stories had a bunch of typos or the grammatically perfect ones didn’t have much there there. You’ve really got to nail the details of both elements – structure and storytelling – to earn a staff pick. The great part is that we don’t have a finite number of picks to hand out. That means that if two, three, five, or even all the works on one grid are fantastic, we can give them all kudos.
On weeks when the grids are unmoderated, you can check out the Roundup, where I try to identify trends and troubles that show up for more than one writer on the grid. If you’re curious why there’s no pick, there’s usually a clue in the Roundup why that post you liked didn’t make the cut. Then keep scrolling down to check out who won the popular vote on both grids. 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? Our challenges share the same winner, staff pick, and top three badges. It doesn’t clutter up our sidebar, and they’ll still look pretty on yours!
Rowan’s roundup: yeah write weekly writing challenge #285
One of the hardest things in conversation is to talk to someone you disagree strongly with while remaining coherent. When you care a lot about a topic, sometimes your ability to form coherent sentences goes out the window. And that’s actually just fine – if the person you’re talking to chooses to address the tone, rather than the substance, of your argument, as far as I’m concerned that’s a concession that you’re right and they can’t handle you. Tone-policing is the backstop of cowards and weak arguments. But when you’re writing an essay, rather than having a conversation in person or on social media, it’s hard to convey how much you care about a topic and still remain persuasive. In an extremely passionate American election year, several writers took on the challenge this week of trying to write with both passion and persuasion. Skim back through their essays as a critical reader: don’t look at what the arguments were, look at how successful or unsuccessful they were in conveying both the substance of the argument and the reasons they think a reader should care as much as they do. This kind of critical reading will help you make persuasive arguments in your own writing later!
Hold onto your hats, kids: today we’re gonna talk dialect.
Changing the way a narrator, author, or character puts words together can dramatically alter the way a reader interacts with a story. For example, certain linguistic structures tell one with a certain immediacy that one is about to become engrossed in a quaint story with Victorian trimmings. Or else, listen up, y’might be readin’ a Western with a certain amount o the sorta stuff Westerns is knowed for: if ya mind cussin’ this is a good time to stop.
Dialect is a great tone signal for your story, so long as you strike the right balance. That is, the Western sentence up there was fun to read but it would quickly become overwhelming if a whole novel was written in that style. Conversely, if only one of your characters speaks in a dialect that signals low education or class status, you should keep an eye on that and make sure what you’re doing isn’t “here’s the Black guy, let’s have him speaking in AAVE to really make sure the reader knows he’s not like anyone else.” It’s the linguistic equivalent of forcing Latinx actors to speak with a heavy accent in movies, even if the actor themself doesn’t have anything more than a few California nasal vowels in their ordinary speech.
That’s it for this week, so let’s move on to the popular vote results. If you’re lost in the middle of the grid and wondering how you can get a little more feedback on your posts, check out our membership perks!
Everybody: before you go, please take some time to leave your favorites a little love in the comments, and don’t forget, our weekend grid opens tonight at 6pm Eastern US Time!
Congratulations to the crowd favorites at yeah write #285
The thumbnails are now sorted in order of most votes to fewest. Ties in the overall number of votes are broken by number of editor votes.
Congratulations if you’re at or near the top! Writing well is hard work, and we’re honored you’ve chosen us this week to showcase your entry.
If you’re at or near the bottom, don’t be discouraged. You’re in the right community for learning and growing as a writer, and we are always available with resources for those who ask nicely.
To our readers and voters: thank you! See you next week.