This morning a friend challenged us to post a single sentence or paragraph from something we were working on. Trying to do that – to pick out that one perfect sentence among many – is almost the opposite of the old advice to “kill your darlings.” It also makes you look at your writing in a new way: what have you written that’s not just perfect where it is, but perfect on its own, with enough information to make a reader who knows nothing about the rest of the story love it as much as you do.
Speaking of readers, let’s find out who our readers loved this week in 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? 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!
YeahWrite #322 Weekly Writing Challenge Staff Picks:
I admire how Ruby Bastille built a robust world so quickly in this story. We readers get a broad sense of the characters’ everyday lives without a speck of exposition. She highlights the simultaneous joy and sadness of survival by placing a normal conversation between a mother and daughter in an abandoned mini mart after society falls apart. The effect makes us marvel at two ordinary items—peanut butter and a toy dragon—when we see them through Lena’s eyes.
Rowan’s Roundup: YeahWrite Weekly Writing Challenge #322
A friend’s professor told her this week that proofreading and editing are the same thing, and I cringed. That’s one Venn diagram that does not overlap completely, although it has a lot in common. Editing is more about looking at the sense in the writing and making sure that the author has successfully conveyed their intent. Proofreading is mechanical: punctuation, justification, spelling. This week’s roundup is about proofreading.
When you proof your work, one thing to remember to do is compare the first sentence of every paragraph. Each of us has a habit, a favorite opener, and especially in very short work we tend to overuse that technique. If the first sentence of every paragraph is the same length or same style (do you favor a very short opener and a longer explanation? a precatory phrase, a comma, and a description?) every paragraph will seem similar even if completely different things are happening in them.
I’m going to offroad a little bit here and tag in on Michelle’s nonfiction advice from this week’s kickoff post (you do read all the posts, don’t you? there’s some good advice lurking there) to talk about voice. Voice isn’t just the way you write; it’s the way your characters speak. You can convey a lot of information about a character by the way they talk and what they talk about, even if you don’t have room to describe them. Writing a fantasy story set on a desert planet? Your characters probably won’t use a lot of idioms like “that’s water under the bridge.” Another voice issue to be aware of: do all your characters sound the same? Do they all sound like the narrative passages? Characters should be unique individuals, with their own voices and phrasing. As you read back through the grid this week, pay attention to the characters’ voices and leave a comment letting the author know what you think!
That’s it for this week! Remember, we don’t always give out a pick on both 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 #322
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.
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.