cough. cough. cough.

The only thing worse than having bronchitis for two weeks is trying to edit what you wrote during those two weeks. One hit of cough syrup and every defense I have against overblown metaphor, word overuse, and over.. you know what, I was gonna do a thing with three “overs” but it’s probably the cough syrup talking. How about instead of making you read more of my ramblings, I just tell you who won the popular vote?

But it’s not all about the popular vote at YeahWrite, 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. Our editors comb the grids to find, not just the best writing on our grid this week, but what we think is pretty darn great writing anywhere anytime. 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!  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.

The other benefit of the editors’ pick, of course, is that unlike the popular vote we’ll tell you why we liked that post. So don’t just skip reading the blurb if it’s not about your post; you’ll pick up some handy pointers about what makes good writing great that you can apply to your own work. For more of that critical feedback, keep an eye on our Roundup for a quick rundown of trends we see each week. We try to highlight the good stuff and point out problems that more than one writer is struggling with. There’s probably a handy tip in there for you right now, so check it out!

Once you’re done reading through the Editorial Staff Picks and Roundup (and congratulating the winners in the comments), keep scrolling down to check out who won the popular vote on both grids. If you earned the highest number of votes in any 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? All our grids have the same Winner, Editorial Staff Pick, and Top Three badges. It doesn’t clutter up our sidebar, and they’ll still look pretty on yours!

YeahWrite #312 Weekly Writing Challenge Staff Picks:

Microprose

Anchoring Andromeda by Laura

In the simplest terms, a good story follows an arc from one emotion to another via conflict and action. Laura’s micro does exactly this, taking us from loss to hopefulness, all between the lines. Her opening hook immediately places us elsewhere and elsewhen. She chooses adjectives and verbs – “cryptic,” “strange,” “disturb” – that strengthen this sense of distance and unfamiliarity. She creates conflict with “we located… but I kept searching,” and then resolves it with finding “our new North Star,” which is what ultimately accomplishes the titular goal, that is, finding – or creating – something to hold onto, to anchor herself to the rest of the galaxy. From title to hook to plot arc to tight writing, this story accomplishes just about everything I ask for in microprose.

What really sets Laura’s story apart from the other great stories on the grid this week (I was thrilled!) is her attention to the nuances of the prompt: she gives us not only stars to view but that sense of amazement we were looking for when we asked the question.

Thanks for playing along, microprosists; see you next month!

Rowan’s Roundup: YeahWrite Weekly Writing Challenge #312

Sometimes there’s a fine line between personal and persuasive essay, especially when you’re trying to influence a reader. Do you present facts and charts, or do you tell your personal anecdotal encounter with the issue and hope that you’ve shone light on it from the appropriate direction? There’s really no right answer here, except to pick one and commit.

More often than not in a given week I’ll see at least one essay that’s unable to make up its mind. It’s two essays, either of which would be strong on its own, but together they end up weakening each other. The persuasive portions look like tacked-on morals and the personal portions are too-weak individual anecdotal support for the conclusions. As my dad used to say when I was trying to decide: I don’t care which you pick, but pick one, we have to get your sister to school in ten minutes.

Your vocabulary word for the week is aphantasia. It’s the term for being unable to visualize, to see or recall images from descriptions. When I ran across it a year or so ago, I thought to myself “I wonder if this is the explanation for some of the descriptions I see cropping up?” I meant to write an entire writing help section about it. And then I promptly forgot about it until a friend reposted it on Facebook this morning. A lot of times in our writing we want to include vivid images, prowling and roaring through our words like nightingales. What’s that, you say? Nightingales don’t prowl?

See, in our quest to include vivid imagery, sometimes we don’t stop to think about what the imagery really looks like (or we have aphantasia). So we end up with nightingales roaring, boulders trickling down a hillside, or my personal pet peeve right now, lips “crashing together.” OUCH. If you’re as addicted to glorious descriptions as I am… take a minute to make sure that what you’re describing makes sense.

If there was ever a time for the advice “kill your darlings” microprose writing is it. You wouldn’t think it’s possible to waste words when you only have 42 of them to use, but it can and does happen. You can’t afford to be attached to a turn of phrase in microprose, not when it means you sacrifice imagery or plot to save it. And no, the answer isn’t “rip out every instance of the, a or an in every other sentence to make room.” The answer is kill your darlings. Get rid of the cute nickname, the exact quote. Say paparazzo instead of sleazy photographer. Get precise.

That’s it for this week! Remember, we don’t always give out a pick on all our grids; if we were impressed by several posts on one grid we’ll give them all picks, and if nothing really stood out for us we’ll hold off. If you didn’t get a pick this week, read back through the Roundup to see if you can use some of this week’s tips and tricks.

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, the Weekend Writing Showcase opens tonight at 6pm Eastern US Time!

Congratulations to the Crowd Favorites at YeahWrite #312

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.

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About the author:

Rowan submitted exactly one piece of microfiction to YeahWrite before being consumed by the editorial darkside. She spent some time working hard as our Submissions Editor before becoming YeahWrite’s Managing Editor in 2016. In real life she’s been at various times an attorney, aerialist, professional knitter, artist, graphic designer (yes, they’re different things), editor, secretary, tailor, and martial artist. It bothers her vaguely that the preceding list isn’t alphabetized, but the Oxford comma makes up for it. She lives in Portlandia with a menagerie which includes at least one other human. She blogs at textwall and CrossKnit.
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