Who’s ready for the weekend?
Especially, who’s ready for this weekend, and the super challenge? I’m still a lot in love with our newest challenge, and not just because we get to hand out cash prizes to the winners. We’ve got great prompts and great judges all lined up to drop on you at 10pm tonight, so get your metaphorical pencils sharpened and we’ll see you soon!
In the meantime, let’s check out this week’s grids and the popular vote results, shall we? Besides the popular vote, we also have the option of handing out an editorial staff pick each week to any post on our grids. Our editors comb the grids to find, not just the best writing on this 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. 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- and we’d love to, so keep that great work coming!
On weeks when we don’t award a staff pick, keep an extra close eye on the Roundup. That’s our rundown of trends we see from week to 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 Roundup, 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? Both 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!
Rowan’s Roundup: YeahWrite Weekly Writing Challenge #314
It would be great to think that every reader remembers every word we write, but the simple truth is, readers are paying the most attention to the first and last 3-5 sentences of your essay or story. That’s when you need to grab them, and that’s when you need to release them into the wild. That means that the last paragraph of your work isn’t the time to start a new thought, but to tell your reader where they should be taking the thoughts they’ve had while reading the rest of it. And the first few sentences aren’t the time to give that rambling but important backstory, but to open with the meat of what you want to say, the hook that will keep them reading.
Obviously I don’t mean that you should neglect the middle of your work, but don’t try to sustain the pithy energy of the first and last paragraphs in there. Let your reader relax, set your hook again, change your pacing up a little. As you read back through your work, try to think about it like a magazine article: what would be the pull quotes? what illustration would an editor suggest for this story? are my main points made in simple, tight language, or have I buried the lede? and does the flow of the story change structure and pace to show the reader what I think is the most important?
I’m going to cheat a little bit and borrow from last week’s nonfiction roundup. Your challenge for the next few days is this: listen to how people talk. Do they speak in complete subject-object-verb sentences? Or do they have their own styles? What does the way they speak say about each person? Dialogue is important to your story, but it can also be a way of revealing more about your characters than just what they plan to eat that night. Dialect, accent, and even lingusitic structure can be very telling. Probably the first time I ran across this was when I was 10 or 11, reading CJ Cherryh’s Morgaine series; one of the characters is displaced in time and learned to speak the POV character’s language a hundred years prior. Instead of just throwing in a bunch of “thees and thous” to make the speech sound faux-archaic, Cherryh gave her an entire archaic linguistic structure. You can also see this in works like Maus, where Vladek Spiegelman uses Polish linguistic structure but English words to say “It was maybe two miles to go from Auschwitz to Birkenau. There it was much more big.” This works in context because Vladek’s language is a contrast to the modern English his son uses throughout the rest of the comic, and places Vladek in time and space more clearly for the reader than “My father grew up in Poland” would. Of course, reading off-structure phrases or direct phonetic descriptions of language can be tiring for the reader to wade through, so keep them direct and use them sparingly, like Laissez-faire did this week with “cwoze.”
That’s it for this week! 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! If you’re more the self-help type, remember to scroll through our writing help section for tips and tricks. Even if a post isn’t directed at your favorite grid, there’s probably a handy hint for you in there anyway!
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 #314
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.