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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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yeah write weekly writing challenge #203 popular vote winners and editors’ picks

yeah write weekly writing challenge #203 popular vote winners and editors’ picks

Now that I have your attention.

Let’s talk a little bit about intent versus impact. This is a topic you’ve probably seen a lot about recently in the news as it relates to racism, sexism, and generally getting called out for statements that the speaker insists they didn’t mean in the way that the listeners understood them.

On a less adversarial front, though, this is a big issue for writers. Did your readers actually understand what you were trying to say in your story or essay? Did they take away from it what you wanted to convey?

One way to figure this out pretty easily is by reading the comments. This is part of why it’s so important to give each other feedback on our writing- there’s no way to know if you’re communicating effectively unless you hear back from your readers.

What happens when you get that comment that says a reader really didn’t understand your post, though? Your first instinct might be to dismiss the reader as “too stupid to understand.” Don’t do that. Your job as a writer is to communicate effectively, and if you’re not reaching your audience that’s on you, not them. Instead, take a minute to think about whether this is an isolated comment or part of a trend that you can see from several readers. Engage with them if you need to, to see what they missed. Did you mean that “dark shadow” to be blood, and they thought it was only a metaphor? Carry this forward to your next post, and try to read it from the standpoint of someone who doesn’t know what you’re trying to say, only what you actually wrote.

Speaking of reading and commenting, though, you’re not here for my lectures. you’re here for the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – and they’re just below this chatty little paragraph.

Remember: 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 #203 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

meg

contributing editor

[quote]With fine detail and focused setting, Bill shares a common experience of childhood:  leaving friends (and a crush) for the family summer vacation. Writing about the drive to the Outer Banks, he effectively evokes memories of being the first in the car to spot the ocean. But it’s a short-lived reverie as name-calling among brothers cuts too close. He beats a tangled blue crab against a pole repeatedly. That primal action and the images Bill chooses to surround it — ensnared, tangled, tearful – powerfully show a boy who is coming to terms with a crush on his swim coach, recognizing his sexuality, and the singular loneliness of both.[/quote]

Yeah write #203 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]For me the telltale sign of a successful poem is when the content masks the form. In Jennifer’s poem 1985, the reader is taken back to the nostalgic days before texting, when young love was scribbled on blue-lined sheets of paper and apprehensively handed off between classes. Only after the “lemonade kiss” of “Te quiero,” did I realize that Jennifer adhered to the cinquain form and that made me appreciate the poem even more.[/quote]

nate

nate

Yeah write #203 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

microstories editor

[quote]Emily’s micro has all the necessary elements of a great short story: setting, characters, tension, and even a sort of resolution at the end. But what really made it stand out for me was her effortlessly layered imagery: the sunset (amber, horizon, sky, fire), the rum (amber, bottle, throat, fire). Even better, she doesn’t tell us how the narrator feels, but expresses her love, sadness and impending loneliness without resorting to a single adjective.[/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

The rum may be gone but we’re still serving up moonshine at the weekend grid. Stop by for a glass of corn whiskey with your noncommercial post from now until the end of Sunday! Bring that cinquain that didn’t quite come together, your old journal entry from high school, or the 10-element listicle that only had 9 things on it. We won’t throw you out.

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yeah write weekly writing challenge #202 popular vote winners and editors’ picks

yeah write weekly writing challenge #202 popular vote winners and editors’ picks

I have a confession to make: I’m the worst commenter at yeah write. No, bear with me. After reading everyone’s entries and doublechecking each one with the other editors, plus writing your love letters if those are needed, I’m exhausted. Often too exhausted to make the rounds one more time and write additional comments. That’s why I’m asking for your help.

Nobody wants to hear from me. I mean, I’m not making that up. You see my name in your inbox, you get a little chill. Is it a full-blown love letter telling you that your post didn’t make it onto the voting grid this week? Is it a little mash note (remember mash notes?) explaining what you missed when you were proofreading? (Please for the love of Webster and Roget, proofread.) So I don’t get a lot of chances to give you useful feedback if you didn’t screw up in one way or another.

That’s where you all come in. This is the best darn writing community on the net, and we all depend on each other not just for kudos but for meaningful feedback. What worked for you in a post? What didn’t you understand? What trick of the trade were you impressed by, or where did the post lose you? Comments are important, y’all. That’s how we help each other get from just barely making it onto the voting grid to that coveted crowd fave or staff pick.

Speaking of crowd faves and staff picks, we’ve got the voting results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here! 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. We don’t give out staff picks every week; just when a post really impresses us. 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 #202 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

vmichelle

[quote]Lisa is the kind of writer who simultaneously inspires me to write and makes me want to quit because I’ll never be that good. And that’s why it is such a treasure to have her on the grid. Lisa starts with the simple statement that her mother was defined by her profession as a nurse. We are drawn in immediately, wanting to know more.[/quote]

[quote]Lisa then takes a moment – the one where she’s talking to her mother about working in the hospital – to give us a vision of her mother drying her hands or smoothing a bed sheet. In this vignette, rather than trying to precisely describe an actual incident, Lisa presents us with the way her mother moved and acted. These are the images we can relate to, the day-to-day things that happen so often we don’t think of them. But Lisa knows how to delicately place them in her essay and, by doing so, connects us to her family.[/quote]

[quote]Lisa shows us her mother’s hands and we can feel them. We can feel Lisa using her own hands to help her child and we feel it too when those hands fail to heal. The connection between mother and child, with Lisa playing both roles at different times, is powerful. Never trite, never overblown, this is exquisite writing.[/quote]

Yeah write #202 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]The “dead person discovering they’re dead” scenario has been done before, but not like Asha has done it–Haley Joel Osment does not see dead people here. The details are immediate and crystalline, just like the vignette the protagonist sees in the mirror. The foreshadowing is not overtly obvious, but gives gentle clues that establish enough to satisfy inquisitive minds.  Little by little she unravels the mysterious image in the mirror, longer descriptions punctuated by revelations, until her epiphany, when we too understand that this ghost will be haunted by her own death. [/quote]

natalie

vnatalie

Yeah write #202 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

vchristine

[quote] What I really love about Jen B’s poem, Broken, is the structure. At first glance it reads haltingly, with an awkward sing-songy voice like it was put together out of bits and pieces; after a second read, I realized that’s exactly what she’d done, and she did it deliberately. It’s a children’s song, the memory of a children’s song, heard through the ears of someone who is no longer whole.[/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

One sheep, two sheep, red sheep, all the sheep are running down to the moonshine grid, which opens at 6:00 pm EST today. They’re wagging their tails behind them because they left the commercial posts at home, but they brought everything else. Date restrictions? Word count limits? BAAAAAAAAH.

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yeah write weekly challenge #201: challenge winners

yeah write weekly challenge #201: challenge winners

We’re no strangers to love here at yeah write. And this week we shared that love with some really incredible entries on the grid. All three grids, really, were stellar. But you know the rules and so do I: there can be only one popular vote winner on each grid. On the other hand, we do commit – and a full commitment’s what I’m thinking of – to giving you more. That’s why we don’t just give out the crowd fave every week on all three grids  – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – we hand out top three prizes and our editorial staff picks. That’s why you keep coming back: you wouldn’t get this from any other guy.

See, here at yeah write we’re committed not only to the winners but to all of our writers. And I gotta tell you how I’m feeling this week, we definitely have more good writing here than just the “top three” picks could cover. So I gotta make you understand how the editorial staff picks work. 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, never give it up, and wear it with pride!

Once you’re done reading through the staff picks (and congratulating the winners who never let you down in the comments), go ahead and run around, or at least down, to check out who won the popular vote on all three grids.

Yeah write #201 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

vmichelle

[quote]Writing about life’s defining moments is hard. These events tend to carry so much emotional weight that it often spills out onto the page in an overwhelming way. I’ve selected posts in the past because of the writers’ ability to convey emotion in such a way that we feel it because we are in the moments and not because the writer told us to. Such is the case with my pick this week. Linda’s post about losing her daughter – and, with her, life as her family knew it – pulls us all the way into her world. We are in the hospital, we see the gurney and we feel the way the “situation crawled from days to months.” We feel Linda’s sorrow over all that was lost even as we learn of the good that remains. It’s a beautiful and touching essay, so full and rich with emotion, and it leaves us to contemplate how things happen and how they can go wrong.  [/quote]

[quote]”When I was three, I remember sitting in an otherwise vacant driveway—peeling off the brown, rotting skin of a walnut. By the time I was done, my hand was covered in maggots—which I found fascinating, just because I didn’t know what they were.” The most powerful emotional writing doesn’t come when the writer tells the reader what to think and feel. Instead, it comes from inserting the reader into the moment, subtle details luring you away from your post as observer and sliding you into the story as seamlessly as if you’d been written into it. In this post, Derek does that with a surgeon’s touch; the reader is simultaneously his child-self, innocent of what comes next, and his adult self, watching in rage and horror with full knowledge of what is to come. He opens with a perfect metaphor for the rest of his story, and never lets go until the bitter end. Some stories are no easier to read than they are to tell and, despite his disclaimer, I think he’s done this one justice. [/quote]

rowan

vrowan

Yeah write #201 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

natalie

vnatalie

[quote]Okay. I admit it. Of all Michael’s characters, Mr. Stamper the space otter has grown on us the most. Maybe it’s his whiskery face. Sarah May what’s-her-name? No, get back to the otter! I’m also a sucker for trying new things, poetry, and participation. So when Michael took his characters and our shot of espresso this week, shoved them in a cocktail shaker, and poured out a sonnet – our poetry form of the month – for this week’s grid? He was already ahead of the game. It doesn’t hurt that the sonnet is good, either. It scans, it’s light and humorous for the three quatrains, and then the final couplet delivers a precise twist on the story, just as a sonnet should do. This is a great example of a writer blending prompts while keeping his own voice and spin on the ideas.[/quote]

[quote]In less than 200 words, Shannon illuminates self-preservation, friendship and ritual, bridging the present and the past among four women.  Titled “Lady Dozens,” the story’s theme addresses the African-American tradition of verbal sparring. As Shannon notes in a post-script that directs the reader to a video explaining the tradition’s historical roots, the term “dozens” refers to the slave trade practice of selling those with physical or mental disability by the dozen. In “Lady Dozens,” the narrator sees three women as dangerous and determines to befriend them through her own verbal prowess, matching an insult about her “ashy ass ankles” with a cut against one of the women’s hair. The narrator confidently wins this bout, earning friendship and respect. As the narrator says, “I need friends, I want those friends. I know what to do.” Yes, she does. [/quote]

meg

vmeg

Yeah write #201 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

vchristine

[quote]Looking for an example of a microstory that does everything right? Laura’s story Terminal – which also won crowd favorite this week – is what you want. First: her title does double-duty by providing the reader with context as well as a great pun. Second: her dialog is natural and believable. Third: the story, which really is just a conversation, has a kind of arc to it – there’s an obvious beginning, middle and end. It’s more than just a snapshot or a description of a moment in time: she gives us the before and hints at the after.  Finally: she leaves us satisfied with her ending (even if we are left wondering whether or not there are Doritos in hell). All in all, it’s perfectly crafted, and I highly recommend you give it a read and see what you can learn from her work. I certainly will. [/quote]

[quote] Jennifer often plays with structure in her poetry, but this week’s microstory really blew us away. The fluid tone of the words, the precise overlays and parallels in both linguistic and visual structure, and the clean knot she tied it all up with? In the immortal words of Yello: Oh… YEAH. [/quote]

rowan

vrowan

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, we’re never gonna make you cry: 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: I understand that you’re never gonna say goodbye. But we have to sometimes, and before you go, please take some time to leave your favorites a little love in the comments. The comments are never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

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

Come on down to the happiest little speakeasy on the planet for live music this weekend at 6:00! You can stay all weekend long, and Natalie will be rolling cocktails (that’s right, Mr. Bond, you may shake that vodka martini, but the only way to keep from bruising your gin is to stir or roll it) for everyone but commercial posts. Those guys you can give up.

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yeah write #200 challenge: writing challenge winners

yeah write #200 challenge: writing challenge winners

Mmmm, you’re a star!

And the audience loves you!

And you love them

And they love you for loving them

And you love them for loving you

And we love each other

And that’s because none of us

Got enough love in our childhoods

And that’s showbiz….

Kid.

Of course, if you’re not one of the merry murderesses of Cellblock Six, the “love” you’re here for is the results of this week’s challenges on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction. Well, you’ve got it coming. In fact, you had it coming all along.

When it comes to the popular vote, though, I didn’t do it. And if I’d done it? how could you tell me that I’d done wrong?

What I will admit to, on the other hand, is handing out the others. The editorial staff picks, that is. 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 #200 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

vmichelle

[quote]Asha’s essay this week is gorgeous. We learn so much about her Ammamma, her mother’s mother, in just a few short paragraphs.The repetition of Deepam. Deepam. grounds the piece and ties each section of the narrative together into one cohesive unit. The ritual of shooing away the darkness comes alive with Asha’s words and I can so clearly see Ammamma’s movements through the house. Asha’s love for her grandmother is evident not only in the beautiful portrait she paints, but also in the way she carries the tradition forward. [/quote]

Yeah write #200 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

i can’t choose just one of these sonnets; or, all the poetry slam participants

[quote]Editors usually recognize an individual post each week with their  staff picks, but nothing warmed my heart this week – heck, this month – as much as seeing the bravery of participants in our monthly poetry slam. The sonnet is a difficult form to master, with a strict metric structure and rigid rhyme scheme, so those who jumped in and gave it their best shot – even if they received a love letter – deserve an extra high-five from the editors this week. We ended up with playful sonnets, conflicted sonnets, and adventuresome sonnets from the community, and brave attempts from the editors as well, proving that not all Shakespearean sonnets must be about love.[/quote]

natalie

vnatalie

Editor’s note: If you didn’t write a sonnet yet, or you’re still messing with it, or scared to attempt the form, never fear! You have two more weeks in February and we’d love to see you try one out. Stop by the coffeehouse to check out the poetry slam rules, take a peep at the event on facebook for a list of folks who’ve tried it out, or check out this post in our writing help section for a more in-depth look at sonnets.

And if you just can’t with the sonnets and all those rules? Never fear, we’ll be back next month with a completely different poetry form. I know, ’cause we just finished picking it out. Hint: no, you won’t have to write in iambic pentameter. I dreamed about iambs and trochees last night. I need a break, too!

rowan

vrowan

Yeah write #200 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

christine

vchristine

[quote]Did you all notice what R Todd did here? He gave us a 42-word rhyming poem in perfect iambic heptameter. By laying it out vertically, he distracts us from what could otherwise be – if less skillfully written – a sing-songy 4-line ditty. This structure allows us to read more slowly, with less emphasis on the rhythm and rhyme.  The result is a thoughtful, introspective answer that feels completely natural and heartfelt.[/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

Pop. Six. Squish. Unh-uh. Cicero. Lipschitz.

You’ve got it coming. So why not get it in the friendliest little gin joint that never existed, the weekend grid at yeah write? We got burlesque performers, ballerinas, and the occasional double act. What we don’t got is commercial posts, so leave yours at the coat check.

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yeah write #199 weekly writing challenge: challenge winners

yeah write #199 weekly writing challenge: challenge winners

It must be Friday. Please tell me it’s Friday. I only come here to use the printer and get free coffee, anyway. As long as I’m planning to sneak out early and go to the beach (or at least take a bath, which is basically the same thing, right?) let me make sure to file the popular vote results from all three grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction – right here first!

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!

Fun fact about our badges: with next week being yeah write #200, everyone who enters (and our winners too) gets a special fancy rainbow glitter unicorn #200 badge! That’s like 40400 individual pixels of joy, just for our writers!

For this week, though, 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 #199 weekly writing challenge staff picks: nonfiction

michelle

vmichelle

[quote]A post about a diagnosis, especially a life-altering and scary one, is often filled with so much detail it can almost be a detriment. Of course it’s understandable how that could happen, but it doesn’t always make for the best personal essay. Then we have this essay. The power of Emily’s piece lies in what is not said and, perhaps even more important, what Emily herself cannot recall. She calls the day of her diagnosis a canyon and tells us how she hungers to know the details. We want them too, but her honesty and yearning in her voice makes us want them for her more than we want them for ourselves.[/quote]

Yeah write #199 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry

[quote]Picking a favorite out of the fic|po grid this week was tough but one that stood out for me was Ashley Austrew’s “Galaxy.” The free verse poem has an inner rhythm that takes the subject of maturation through its paces without the overwrought angst that often typifies relationship lessons. Ashley’s word choices are lean, angular; precise but laden with meaning. Hole and whole punctuate the phases of her experience and we follow her from one to the other. Nowhere is this more evident than when she arrives at the middle of her poem with this wordplay: “He made me / Hole.” From this point on, self-awareness fills these pockets of insecurity. The narrator comes to see her hand, herself, as whole. The organic choices made in spacing and line breaks reflect the trepidation we all experience while coming to believe in ourselves.[/quote]

meg

vmeg

rowan

vrowan

[quote]If you’ve been around yeah write for a while, you’ve heard me rant before about adjectives and adverbs. I love lush, lurid descriptive phrases, but they’re exhausting to parse and sometimes writers get so caught up in describing a scene that they forget that something should be happening with the plot. Silverleaf avoided both of those traps this week, sprinkling metaphor and rich description like “the first golden light of morning leaking over the eastern horizon” in between sparse dry sentences. By crafting her story like this, she left enough empty space for the reader to really listen to those descriptions blowing through her piece like the wind.[/quote]

Yeah write #199 weekly writing challenge staff picks: microstories

[quote]Susan intrigued me with the first line of her poem “The Story” and kept my attention the entire way through. She created a lovely, almost tangible rhythm with the repeated staccato of her consonants: intellect, haystack, pinpricking. I particularly loved the first five lines – they resonated really well with me. Every time I took another look I made another connection. Any poem that is both beautiful and thought-provoking deserves a few extra reads – make sure you go and do that.[/quote]

christine

vchristine

rowan

vrowan

[quote]When you only have 42 words, it’s tempting not to re-use any of them. Kymm showed us the flip side of this rule this week. Her internal repetition kept her microstory tight and tense, revealing little by little, inch by inch, the thing lurking in the shadows. The overlapping gradations of denial slowly giving way to terror built enough suspense that the final, two word sentence had as much impact as the scream it described. (Give yourself an extra point if you got the Jimi Hendrix reference.)[/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.

I didn’t do so well. Now what?

Remember, yeah write isn’t a clicking contest and it’s not a popularity contest. It’s all about the writing. So if you didn’t do well, or you consistently find yourself near the bottom of the grid (as I write this I am dead last on the nonfiction grid and I expect to stay there, so you’re not alone) why not take the time to work on your writing?

There are a couple easy things you can do to improve. First, read the winning posts again. Compare them to yours. What are those writers doing that you’re not? Next, if you’re getting love letters or if you’ve ever gotten one, go back in and re-read those. Maybe you’ve improved enough to get onto the grid but you still have stuff to work on.

You can also stop by the coffeehouse and ask for people’s honest opinions on your work. Sometimes even people who have good constructive criticism for you are hesitant to offer it publicly in your comments.

Finally, you can check out our writing help section. This archive is a collection of our blog posts over the past four years that offer tips and tricks for your writing. Give it a spin- there are hints and suggestions here for all writers, beginning to experienced!!

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

As long as we’re stuck with six more weeks of winter, why not spend some time in Natalie’s cozy weekend habitat? Bring your quilts and blankets on down and grab a hot toddy starting today at 6:00pm EST. There’s no age limit on the moonshine grid, your old posts and young can come on in with you. But those commercial posts can freeze outside.

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