No, actually, I’ve been saved today from having to talk about the election (I already wrote about it once this week and doubtless will again) by the fact that it’s Veterans’ Day here. So I’m going to talk about that instead.
The election has everyone tense and on edge. We’re a hot mess right now and people are ready to snap. So for Pete’s sake, God’s sake and your very own sake, if you see a service member or veteran out roaming the streets today and you feel the overwhelming urge to thank them for being in the military so you don’t have to be? ASK BEFORE YOU TOUCH.
Yeah, that’s a thing people do. They come up and they grab people who have absolutely been trained to kill with their bare hands and very likely have some form of trauma and/or PTSD. By the shoulder to get their attention, from behind. Even from the front, startling someone with a touch is incredibly confrontational (and is actually assault, did you know that? yes, no matter what state you live in).
But also, can you just not? Be kind, be respectful. Smile and say thanks if you must. Don’t demand that veterans acknowledge you or appreciate your gesture. Many of them feel pretty awkward – especially the ones who came home when their friends didn’t. You can stir up a whole lot of feels with your well-meaning gesture, so “read the room” and be courteous.
Another thing you can read this week is right on down at the bottom of the post: this week’s popular vote results. But it’s not all about winning 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![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Rowan’s roundup: yeah write weekly writing challenge #291
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[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Ever say to yourself “Whoa. I have some THOUGHTS about that thing.” and then decide to write them down? Sure. I mean, we’re writers. But this week I want to talk about the difference between journaling and writing for an audience. When you’re journaling, you put in the details you want to remember. Stuff tends to come out in chronological order, and you record the feelings you had about the thing so that you can go back in later and re-experience them. On the other hand, when you write for an audience you’re telling a story so you need to be selective with the details: put the ones in that make your story complete, but not more than that. And as one writing instructor put it recently: “nobody wants an aside of you just saying feelings verbs about yourself.”
TL;dr: reminders of the way you felt and little crisp and very-well-described details but not scene-setting or plot arc = journaling; telling a complete story with enough detail to put the reader in your shoes for the span of the story but letting them have their own feelings about it = writing for an audience.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”29344″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Let’s talk about great lines. This week I was really attached to a word pair in my echo poem. Other pieces on the grid had some incredible passages: “And she hadn’t seen the rocks there bleaching in the sun/And she hadn’t laughed at my memories/And we had not made a new memory of that place/Except as the backdrop to a really very lucid exhortation/Against the concept of Christ as everyman” and the title “Echo from the End of the World” as well as “Making love for the first time on a blanket under a pin oak tree, sticks stabbing first his back, then mine.”
The trick, though, is making sure that great passage that you fell in love with as you were writing isn’t the best or the worst thing in your work. If you get too attached to it, you can end up making a hack job of the piece around it, trying to preserve it. I know you’ve heard kill your darlings but let me suggest an alternative: put your darlings in a medically induced coma. Take that perfect sentence out of your story or poem and edit without it there staring plaintively at you. Then, when you’re done, you’ll be ready to take another look at the phrase you saved. Does it still fit? Is it a mismatch stylistically now that you’ve made your edits? Or is it still as diamond-clear perfect as it was when you fell in love with it the first time? Don’t be afraid to commit a little gentle surgery; the patient will survive.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”29345″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][vc_column_text]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![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Congratulations to the crowd favorites at yeah write #291
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.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]