I’ve Heard It All Before

I’m gonna ask all of you to indulge me a moment while I fess up to a writing pet peeve. Out of all the thousands of clichés in all of writing history there is one that almost always makes me grit my teeth:

Tears. (You couldn’t hear it, but the entire YeahWrite editorial staff shouted the answer in unison.)

Streaming tears. Single tears. Glassy, plump, or kissed. Whatever variety they come in, their mention automatically makes my eyes roll. But before you give up on me for being too finicky, you should know a disclaimer is forthcoming.

Yes, I realize that stories contain sadness. And yes, tears are the natural reaction to sadness. Human characters are going to cry, and that’s fine because it’s less the act than the way the act is described that makes me stop reading.

Describing grief and sadness doesn’t have to be cliché or sentimental. He wiped his eyes. Sadness descended on her like a drizzle. Some authors evoke sadness without ever mentioning the waterworks. Like if I were to describe my grandma’s funeral, for instance, you probably don’t need me to detail my crying jags to know that they happened.

ITT: your writing pet peeves, examples of good crying descriptions in pieces you’ve read

May Poetry Slam: Poetry Criticism

All right, poets, it’s your turn. April was National Poetry Month, so this month instead of a slam we’re going to talk about how to read and critique all that work you generated for your #poemaday before you unleash it on an unsuspecting Internet. Or, if you’ve been reading everyone’s poetry but not feeling sure how to discuss it, it’s a great time to build some vocabulary around poetry critique! Learn more from Rowan here.

Prompt Up!

Prompt Up is our optional weekly writing prompt for the fiction|poetry challenge! Here’s how it works: we choose a sentence prompt from last week’s winning nonfiction post and announce it in the kickoff. It’s your job to use that prompt in your poem or story and then run with it. The prompt is just a springboard, though: feel free to use it as your first sentence, move it, change it, or float it down to other territories.

Cindy celebrated a milestone this week in her post Two Hikes, Two Years. The Prompt Up taken from her essay is: “No more. I’m done.”

How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:

Basic YeahWrite guidelines: 750 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; fiction or poetry only.

1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the fiction|poetry badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry;
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid;
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message;
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge; and
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog.

Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.

Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…

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About the author:

As a professional editor and writer, Nate has published his work in numerous English and history textbooks and in on-line reading programs. In February 2014, he found his way back to creative writing and began submitting to YeahWrite. Soon after, he became an editor of the Fiction|Poetry challenge. You can read his work at The Relative Cartographer, a blog that has been recognized by WordPress, Five Star Mix-tape, Genealogy á la Cart, and BlogHer’s Voice of the Year. He lives in Chicago with his partner, a French princess, and a jungle explorer.

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