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yeah write weekly writing challenge #209: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

yeah write weekly writing challenge #209: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

No matter what hemisphere you’re in, you’re trapped midway between summer and winter. These days have some of my favorite weather: warm enough to run around in comfortable t-shirts but cold enough to sleep under blankets at night still. On the other hand, as I was reminded today, picnic weather is coming. It’ll be time to pack blankets, food, drinks, and maybe even a computer or notebook to get some writing done under the trees instead of the ceiling. I’ve gone down the dark hole of recipes for tiny sandwiches on Pinterest and come out covered in twine and inspiration. What’s your favorite summer food?

Speaking of recipes, though, how about a recipe for success? You know that moment when you’re looking through the vote results (not yet! scroll back up! wait!) and you realize that while you’re not really getting love letters anymore, you’re not hitting the top of the grids regularly either? Yeah, there’s a big blank spot in the middle there and it can be really frustrating.

One way to get out of that hole is to find a writing friend. Someone who gives you honest – not flattering – feedback on your work and how you can take the next step. Another way is to pay attention to the comments. Jennifer K, for example, is terrific at making the rounds and pointing out what you’re doing well. If you haven’t heard from her yet, try writing for one of the grids she’s usually on. It’ll do you good to stretch your creative legs, and the feedback high is the best!

Yet another way (shameless plug coming here) is to become a member here at yeah write. For way, way less than I spend on coffee and bourbon, you get a whole lot back in terms of social media shoutouts… and you also get editorial consultations. That means you can have an editor take a look at your post before you submit it and tell you what we think still needs to be cleaned up. Or you can spend your consultations on post-vote analyses. While we never know for sure why a particular post did well or poorly, we’ve been doing this every week for four years now and we’ve got a pretty good feel for the general reasons you might not be getting votes and what you might need to improve.

Speaking of votes, though. Boy, was this a tough week! I love it when the grids look this good, but it makes voting really hard. So with that in mind, I’m going to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here!

But it’s not all 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 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.

Yeah write #209 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

nonfiction editor

[quote]Finding uniqueness in something ordinary is tough work, especially when the ordinary thing is common to almost all humans. Cyn takes us into her world through how she eats McDonald’s french fries and, specifically, how she and her coworker eat them differently. The key here is that it’s interesting. The reader cares about why Cyn eats her fries like she does and why she compares herself to this other person. The level of detail on something so many of us do coupled with the intense self-scrutiny Cyn provides makes for an excellent essay. [/quote]

[quote]There’s a moment in reading personal essays when everything goes quiet. I have to read in absolute stillness, as though I’m afraid I’ll scare the essay away by breathing too hard. Nancy’s piece this week is one of those. With a careful, delicate touch she builds layers of meaning like assembling baklava, each paper-thin sheet of phyllo brushed with butter, sprinkled with nuts and cinnamon, and then hidden by the next sheet until, covered in honey, the baklava is sliced open to reveal its strata. This essay, at its heart, is about freeing yourself from fear, embracing the things you love, being kind to yourself when you don’t succeed, and letting go of the things you only think you should be doing in favor of finding your happiness in what you are meant to do. But instead of saying all that and sounding preachy, Nancy shows, not tells, by teaching you how to find those lessons in something that is precious to her. Instead of insisting that the reader live their whole life according to dictated principles, she coaxes you into a world where you might learn about yourself while you think you’re learning how to cook.[/quote]

rowan

rowan

stacie

stacie

[quote]As a scientist, I know that everything huge is made up of infinitesimal particles. As a writer, I struggle to find a way to make connections between the big ideas and the small things that symbolize them in everyday life. But that’s exactly what AnaChips did this week. It’s not a story about a table, exactly. It’s a story about the stories the table is part of. A yearning toward place, anchored at either end by the table firmly set in its eventual home. Where the table is now a dumping ground, it – like AnaChips herself – was once a dumped object. By taking this tiny reflection – the stuff on the table; the table in the places – and growing it incrementally, AnaChips has anchored not only the piece but the reader in both the huge and the infinitesimal. [/quote]

Yeah write #209 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]No literary device gets my inner poetry fiend more excited than alliteration, and Tienne’s dróttkvætt trips along musically, as well as rhythmically. The skillful use of language not only paints a picture of the crisp Brittonic surroundings, but also gives it a more complete sensory feel of the whitecaps and the pines––after reading it, I almost wanted to wrap myself in a chunky sweater against the winds along the heath. I know she worked this piece with a writing buddy, and it definitely paid off. It just goes to show that when working with a challenging form, another set of eyes can be invaluable.[/quote]

natalie

natalie

Yeah write #209 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

microstories editor

[quote]With delicate, loving detail, Anusha sets up a scene full of warm, homey comfort – and then turns it on its head with five words: “How do I tell her?” There’s a longing in the last line that caught me completely unawares. It’s a nostalgia we’re all familiar with, coupled with an unwillingness to admit it lest we hurt someone. A simple story, beautifully crafted.[/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

Pack your picnic basket, BYOB, and head on down to the moonshine grid today at 6pm EDT. Natalie’s spreading out the blankets on the banks of the River Baranduin, and everyone’s welcome to come to our long-expected party… except commercial posts. Those guys and their creepy horses and tattered hoods can just stay away.

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yeah write weekly writing challenge #208: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

yeah write weekly writing challenge #208: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

208

two-oh-eight

two hundred eight

Fun fact: two hundred and eight, in US standard usage, means there’s a decimal in there. 200.8

But without the decimal, you have the number of consecutive weeks yeah write has been an active writing challenge. Some of you have been with us for years; others are just finding our little corner of the web. But we hope you’re having as much fun as we are, and finding that this community of ours fosters not just sharing but improvement in your writing. Over the past four years we’ve had yeah write alums find the voice and confidence to publish books, articles, and memoirs. Yeah writers have been Voices of the Year at BlogHer (stay tuned for an exciting announcement about that, by the way). The only thing yeah write won’t do for you is turn you away unchanged. From our comments to our love letters, we’re still striving, four year later, to nurture you all as writers, editors and critics of your own and other people’s writing.

But you’re not here to listen to me wax on about how awesome you are. You’re here for the winners’ post. So since it’s Friday, I’m going to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here!

But it’s not all about the popular vote, folks. We also have our editorial staff picks to hand out. Who remembers Kevin the Kiwi? Raise your hand. Well, Kevin may have retired, but every week our editors still 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.

Yeah write #208 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

rowan

rowan

[quote]”I wouldn’t know how to tie up loose ends if I tried.” That’s how Snapper ends this brief post. And yet, in only a handful of words, she manages better than most writers do in thousands. One of the things I see so often as submissions editor is that writers with a strong story forget to return to their central themes, to remind us throughout the post that what they’re talking about isn’t really their dog, or their car, or the way their shoe didn’t fit quite right, but is some larger, more universally human story that you can see in the shadows cast by their seemingly simple words. I’d tell you how to do it better, but as Snapper said, “[y]ou ask me for advice on tying up loose ends, and I tell you that I’m not sure I’ve ever in my whole life tied up a pair of loose ends, that my life is not tidy in that way.”[/quote]

Yeah write #208 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]Esther’s Visitor is a great example of melding research with literary devices to make a tight little scene. The leaded glass, the tied-up horse, the word choices of “pottery” and “basin”—these details succinctly establish the setting and time period in the first few paragraphs. Through carefully executed colloquialisms, we get a vivid sense of Esther’s strength and intelligence. Ruby’s choice to mention the slap of the British soldier and her husband’s murders left me wanting to look further into this incredible character’s story. [/quote]

nate

nate

Yeah write #208 weekly writing challenge special guest appearance: comment bob!

Hey, yeah writers! Remember Comment Bob, the penguin with the… did you know that very few words rhyme with penguin? Yeah. Well, unlike me, Comment Bob has been known to give a cheer or two. He’s popping back in for our anniversary and going home with a writer who’s really impressed us by making the rounds consistently every time she’s on the grid, reading and commenting on every single post. You may not think we’re paying attention, but Bob sits in his cubicle with a spreadsheet every week noting who’s actually taking the time to read and give thoughtful feedback. So when he asked to make a guest appearance for our birthday, who were we to say no? Take it away, Bob!

bob

combob208

[quote]That’s right. I never went away. The call is coming from inside the house. Before you die, you see the pompoms. And other horror movie quotes. Here’s the thing, though. Nothing’s more horrible than writing a post and putting it out there and… crickets. Consistent feedback doesn’t just help you grow as a writer, it feels really really good. So this week I’d like to talk briefly about a writer who really makes the rounds to make sure that everybody hears something back when they post an essay, story, or microstory: Kathy of The Giggling Trucker’s Wife Writes. Every time she enters, whether she makes it to the voting grid or not, she takes the time to read every post and give thoughtful comments. I know you’ve seen her, because I know she’s left you a comment too. Thanks, Kathy, for setting a great example of community spirit. Grab your picture of li’l ol’ me from the sidebar there, and know that even if I’m not in the winners’ post every week, I’m shaking my pompoms for you![/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

Natalie

Nat-a-leeeeee.

She was a thief, you got to belief, she stole my heart and my cat.

Betty, Judy, Josie and those hot Pussycats… they make me horny, on Saturday morny… girls of cartoo-ins will leave me in ruins…

I want to to be Betty’s Barney. Hey Jane… get me off this crazy thing… called love.

And into the weekend, where cartoo-ins run rampant and there’s no rules to the grid. Just leave the ads at home. Yes, even the ones for shrinkydinks and Legos. And if you can name the movie this little poemlet came from… I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but IMDB ain’t one.

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yeah write weekly writing challenge #207: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

yeah write weekly writing challenge #207: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

submit

No, this isn’t some 50 Shades of Ohmygod Can We Talk About How This Series Is Only “Romantic” Because It’s Fiction and How Creepy Would It Be If A Guy Did That To You In Real Life pun. It’s writing advice.

I love our little corner of the internet. It’s one of my favorite places to be, and I hope it’s one of yours. But just like all corners, it can be either a comfortable refuge or a hiding place. When was the last time you stretched your wings and tried something new?

We’ve got some opportunities to do just that coming next week- did you know it’s yeah write’s 4th birthday?- when we make some announcements over here, so stay tuned.

But in the meantime, think about what you’re writing, and how much. You probably have a fantastic 500-600 word essay nailed down right now, but how’s your 1,000 word writing? What about 100-200 words?

Think about the kinds of feedback you get when you submit to different places: here, you get your love letter. Have you tried submitting to a magazine, aggregation, or online publication like The Toast? Sure, your odds of getting into something like that might seem astronomical, but you never know, and the feedback you get is always valuable. What does a rejection from XOJane look like as opposed to a rejection from yeah write? It’s all a chance to learn about your writing.

And just in case you think I have no idea what I’m talking about, I got a mix of feedback from the NYC Midnight first round – some of it was wonderful and some of it pissed me off in that way that people telling you that they didn’t understand something you put effort into explaining pisses you off – and can’t wait for my second round feedback! Yeah write is wonderful not just in its own right, but because the feedback you get makes you more prepared to submit to ambitious places and do well in competitions.

But anyway, you’re not here to hear about other sites, you want the results from our site, right? Me too. So, just like every Friday, I’m going to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here!

But it’s not all 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 just plain style. If you got a staff pick this week, grab your badge from the sidebar and wear it with pride! Read your feedback carefully- this is one of the few chances we get to tell you what you’re doing right once you’re getting on the grids consistently. And if you didn’t get a staff pick this week, take the time to re-read the posts that did, keeping the editor’s blurb in mind. Do you think the post accomplishes what we said? Why or why not? Reading good writing critically is one of the best ways to improve your own work.

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.

Yeah write #207 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

nonfiction editor

[quote]I couldn’t do it. I just could not pick one this week. So my editor’s pick is a twofer: Lisa and Ana’s pieces mirror each other in a way that I couldn’t resist showing off; each features an object that is so much more than its construction.[/quote]

 

[quote]Lisa’s piece takes us through 16 years in a house, in a life. A baby, marriages, loss, a career shift, and more are all anchored by that house with a window and a history of trees. We learn a lot about Lisa through that window and we feel the weight of her essay. You have to read it more than once- not just because it’s so good, but because she masterfully takes so much information and condenses it without losing the heartbreaking and hopeful enormity of it.[/quote]

 

[quote]Conversely, Ana’s piece takes a small commonplace thing, her chair, and builds a lyrical essay around it. Everyone sits (and I assume most of us sit in chairs) but who among us sees our chair like Ana sees hers? Her chair becomes a force, or, as she says, a commitment. She takes us through her writing as a physical process, all of it supported by this one foundation, and then uses that same foundation as a subject to craft something utterly beautiful. She guides us gently to see something more in what we so often overlook.  She takes the ordinary and she makes it amazing and in doing so, we learn, this is about so much more than a chair.[/quote]

Yeah write #207 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]Shannon’s first stab at historical fiction did not leave my mind for days. The boundary between normal and extraordinary seems to dissolve in her story, pairing seemingly mundane details with the unsettling hints that lead up to a large-scale event. Tension mounts through this exchange, building to a heart-twisting moment when the reader understands the narrator’s maturity in the face of her youth; maturity that comes much too young. I could go on about the rhythmic ease of the dialogue and the deftness with which she creates the characters in this tableau, but the finishing touch is is the way she frames her story. However large the L.A. riots were, she never takes us from the narrator’s small world at home, where, though she seems safe, we know she is not–especially when the police come to visit.[/quote]

natalie

natalie

Yeah write #207 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

microstories editor

[quote]Jan’s microstory is like a lovely, lyrical story problem. What I love is that she takes an absolutely mundane question – what is six times nine? – and answers it in mathematical metaphors, all the while retaining her own unique, unmistakeable voice. However you tally it, it all adds up to a beautiful answer to the ultimate question. [/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 may not be Callahan’s Place but it’s a sweet little bar out on Route Whateveritis and it’s got the best weekend bartender in the universe: Natalie! Stop by when she opens the doors at 6pm today and stay all weekend, we won’t kick you out unless you’re soliciting. Need a place to try out that 1,000 word essay I just told you to write? Here’s a great one!

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yeah write weekly writing challenge #206: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

yeah write weekly writing challenge #206: popular vote winners and editors’ picks

So, now you’ve had your coffee, and your vote, and you’re all wide awake and ready to hear some Very Good Advice, right? Right?

Quit while you’re ahead.

I know, right? When was the last time you heard me say “quit” when talking about your writing? And yet, here we are. So what do I mean by quit while you’re ahead?

Stop when you’ve said everything you have to say.

It’s as simple as that. How often do you read a post and discover that the last third is re-explaining the first two-thirds of the post? If that’s you, and you’re worried that the reader might not have gotten your point out of the first part of your post, the answer isn’t to keep going and explain what you meant in the first bit; the answer is to go back and rework the first bit until it says what you mean.

Maybe that means you won’t use your whole permitted word count. Maybe all you have to say this week can be summed up in one, concise, fantastic paragraph. Do it. Write that paragraph. And then… quit while you’re ahead. Don’t bog your reader down in explanations or reiterations just because you’ve got another 400 words available to you.

Examples, you say? Sure. We’ve got a gorgeous one on the fiction|poetry grid this week. Read Shannon’s story Secrets and Scars and then ask yourself: What would another 471 words have added?

Check out this exchange:

“Dope?”

I nodded. I could only whisper.

“Yeah. I fucked up a lot.”

Sure, Shannon could have written hundreds more words about which drugs the narrator used, her slow fall into abuse and addiction, crimes committed, sordid stories… but all that is summed up in “Yeah. I fucked up a lot.” Using crisp, brief language like this, Shannon lets readers bring their own experiences to the story – building empathy instead of preaching.

The same concept applies to poetry: If you’ve got a great image, and you’re not working in a form that requires a certain number of lines, why not stop? It’s like looking at photos: your friends love that one great photo from your vacation, but who wants to sit through a slideshow?

Okay, speaking of quitting, I’m going to quit lecturing and give you what you really want: the popular vote results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microstories!

But it’s not all 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 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.

Yeah write #206 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

nonfiction editor

[quote]There are stories we tell that just don’t lend themselves to be written. They make a good aside or they only work when nestled into the context of conversation. But when we have two stories with similar themes, sometimes the answer is to write them together and let them lean on one another for support. Such is the case with Searching for Substance’s submission this week. The man, the moon, the season, they all work together to show the seasons of life. We don’t get lost in a maudlin mess looking at the mortality of man, nor are we beaten into the notion that spring is about rebirth. Together, we have a story worth reading. A word of caution, however: It’s easy to go overboard with your story-mingling. Too much on either side shows a lack of focus. Make sure your narratives are tight before you publish! [/quote]

Yeah write #206 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]In just 27 words, this poem delivers both crisp imagery and meaningful personification. We see a soothing blue, we sniff cotton-candy, we feel the hand of dusk in our own, and we are left with the bliss of being free from the worries of the day.[/quote]

nate

nate

Yeah write #206 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

microstories editor

[quote]Yeshu’s micro this week gives us a clean, simple and eloquent answer to the ultimate question. It is structured so well: a full story from start to finish. She did a really nice job of balancing what she’s showing us (placing breakfast in his lap, how he struggles with his spoon) with what she’s telling us (her internal distress, her unspoken answer to his question). All in all I found this one of the most satisfying stories on the grid this week.[/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.

What’s up this weekend?

moonshine grid opens at 6pm eastern time

Every Friday Natalie kicks the boards off the windows, takes the “police line do not cross” tape down, and opens up the sweetest unauthorized home for your writing on the net. Just don’t try to sneak in a commercial post- down with Big Corporations! Up the proletariat!

stay tuned for sneak peeks at the April poetry slam, and a special surprise for fictioneers

That’s right. Not only will we be revealing the form for the April poetry slam (on March 31, in case anyone was going to accuse me of a terrible joke), we’ll be rolling out our first fiction genre slam. Keep an eye on the coffeehouse and kickoff posts for details!

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yeah write weekly writing challenge #205: challenge winners

yeah write weekly writing challenge #205: challenge winners

Hey. Hey, you. I’m going to tell you a secret.

It’s a big secret.

Are you ready?

You don’t have to use all 600 words.

What, you didn’t think that was a secret? Boy, it sure feels like it is some weeks. I’ll read through your posts and realize “hey, this isn’t actually one idea. It’s two or three.” Or I’ll think “boy, this would have been a great post if it had ended 200 words sooner instead of explaining its conclusion three times.” When your post rambles or changes ideas, you may lose your readers. You microstory writers know what I’m talking about: you convey complete ideas in only 42 words. Bringing that sensibility to your fiction and nonfiction posts can help you really drill down to what’s important. Maybe that’s only 200 words, but you know what? That’s ok. Turning a strong 200 word post into a weak 600 word one will only hurt you on the grid, as some of you found out this week.

Since it’s Friday, I’m going to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here. First, though, I’m going to subject you to my editorial comments: Some of you should have done a whole lot better on this grid than you did. If you think I might be talking to you, take another look at your post: did it ramble? Meander? change ideas in the middle? Maybe that’s what hurt you in the vote this week.

But it’s not all 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 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.

Yeah write #205 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

microstories editor

[quote]

Tina titles her poem “The Introvert’s Choice,” but really it’s a choice that’s not reserved exclusively to introverts. I think there’s something here that any of us can relate to when faced with something we desire more than anything. Structurally, I love how the whole poem is one sentence – one thought – start to finish, and the parallel constructions in the first and third stanzas make it feel like she’s drawing out a painful moment, but reveling in it at the same time, just like sitting beside the person you love is painful but exquisite at the same time.

[/quote]

[quote]

I love this microstory, and not just because I wrote basically the same thing (Jen, I’m sorry, I think I got votes that belong to you). I’m a sucker for allusion, and Jen pulls together at least five stories that I can count. Successful use of allusion can really expand the borders of a microstory, taking it from 42 words to thousands of words and images as readers recall the poetry and music that the microstory weaves in. You might have noticed it last week in my microstory; if you didn’t, go back and read Jen’s this week to see how a master does it.

[/quote]

rowan

rowan

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

Why do you go away? Don’t go away at all! Stick around, because at 6pm today the moonshine grid opens. Got an idea that’s not quite fleshed out? One that you started at 200 words that kind of snuck up on you and turned into 2,000? As long as it’s not commercial, bring your post on down and send it air mail to wherever “away” means to you!

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yeah write #204 weekly writing challenge: challenge winners

yeah write #204 weekly writing challenge: challenge winners

The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn’t sure it was worth all the effort.

Those aren’t the first words in Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, but they’re the first ones I read, and they caught me immediately. This, I thought, is how you tell stories. In fifteen words, you don’t just know that the sun is rising. You have a sense of languor, but more, you have a sense of the writer, the dry voice that you will become so well-acquainted with over the course of more than 40 novels. Because it’s not possible to read just one.

Some of you don’t know Pratchett yet. Some of you are young enough to have him among the first fantasy books you read, and others are old enough to have been in your twenties or thirties, disillusioned with Piers Anthony’s Xanth and longing for a series that could blend fantasy with humor with puns but maybe leave the creepy pedophilia out of it.

It wasn’t just the puns that kept us coming back for more, though. In Pratchett’s world, sometimes the witch marries the prince. The  captain of the guard marries the duchess. The six foot tall adopted dwarf proves that family is about where you know you belong despite the world’s insistence that you look wrong. In Pratchett’s world, anything could happen to anyone. He didn’t focus on the princes and princesses, although they’re there, but on the little people around them that are just trying to get by and maybe have a few dreams come true in the process. They are, in fact, about the rest of us. The ones who don’t get stories in traditional fantasy novels. The ones who show up as “fifth elf from the left, second row” in photos of the Last Homely House.

Pratchett’s stories aren’t about humor, despite being humorous. They’re about universal truths, and the good and bad things that we do to each other, the grand hopes and schemes and the little grinding miseries of the human race, all on the back of a world carried by four elephants standing on a turtle. And somewhere, “behind the hours, there was a place where the Hogfather rode, the tooth fairies climbed their ladders, Jack Frost drew his pictures, the Soul Cake Duck laid her chocolate eggs. In the endless spaces between the clumsy seconds, Death moved…”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sir Terry Pratchett’s Death is kind. He tries hard to understand humanity, and he wants to be gentle. He also speaks in allcaps. He can’t help it; that’s just his voice. As I write this, on March 12, Pratchett is finding out if his theory about belief is true. I’d like to think it is. I’d like to think this, his final gift to us, is pretty accurate.


[NB- the first quote is from The Light Fantastic, the second from Hogfather]

terry pratchett tweet

Now that I’ve given you at least half of the feels if not all of them, I’m going to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction.

But it’s not all about the popular vote, folks. Every week our editors comb through your submissions looking for great posts to give editorial staff picks to. We don’t always give out staff picks – only if we really like your post. 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.

Yeah write #204 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

march poetry slam participants: the cinquains

nate

nate

[quote]The poetry slams make me so happy. Not only do I love that we’re trying something new together, I enjoy seeing how everyone slots their own voice into the same poetry form. Michael took us for an intergalactic trip in his modified lanterne. R. Todd plopped us down right in the middle of the end of a relationship with his crown cinquain. And Natalie confronted us with lines from her mirror cinquain, such as “You grew large, expanding/ Until you seeped through all my heart’s/ Chambers.” I can’t wait to see where else we’re taken.[/quote]

[Ed’s note: poetry slam participants, grab your special slam badge from the sidebar! All our cinquain writers have earned this badge, even if Nate didn’t specifically call you out by name. Thanks for playing along, and good job! /RBG]

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

Quaffing. It’s like drinking, but you spill more. If you need to raise a glass in Sir Terry’s honor, or just share a post you wrote five years ago that’s kind of fantasy related, come on down to the cosiest little bar in Ankh-Morpork. We’re serving lizard. Onna stick. In sauce. Maybe. Commercial posts will be detained by the Night Watch and may be used for experiments at Unseen University. You’ve been warned.

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