Counting eggs

Have you ever reread one of your stories and realized you forgot to include a key detail? I so do this all the time. My brain is so focused on the details of a story I forget to mention the setting or describe a character. Just this weekend I almost submitted a story about a train conductor that did not include the word conductor or clearly state his job title in any way.

I caught my mistake with a little trick I learned after 8 years of writing elementary school textbooks. Generally, along with writing a lesson, I’m required to include focused questions on the subject matter and their answers for the teacher’s edition. (remember that book with all the answers in it that one kid in 5th grade always bragged about stealing?) I realized pretty quickly that writing and answering those questions made the missing information in a lesson very obvious.

So here’s how I applied this to my own writing. Maybe it will work for you, too. After I write a story, or sometimes before, I write out the answers to three questions about my intentions for it: Who is my main character? Where is my story set? What is the central conflict? (Mnemonic device: Person? Place? Problem?) Then I reread my story to make sure every part of my three answers are in the text somewhere. Try it out. Let me know if it helps!

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.

Melony heard The Music in her essay about self-doubt. This week’s Prompt Up, taken from her essay, is: “Something is waiting for me outside.”

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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