Pardon my soapbox

I’m going to take a minute off from writing about writing, and even writing about winning, to give everyone an important reminder. It’s almost Canada Day, and the 4th of July, and it’s midsummer, and next week is a microprose week, and there’s probably some reason in your life that you’d like to celebrate by lighting off some fireworks right now. I love fireworks. They’re gorgeous, and they make a tremendous noise, and I really didn’t get to have fireworks as a kid because I grew up in the desert and my parents for some reason didn’t want us to light everything on fire in the height of burn season.


As the family member of more than one combat veteran with PTSD, and the owner of a number of fluffy pets of various sizes, I’m gonna make a little appeal to you right now: Please consider keeping those fireworks limited to the actual day of the celebration. See, that red number on the calendar serves the same purpose as a content warning on a story. It lets us prepare ourselves and our pets to engage with an experience that can be traumatic. One of my family members goes to the movies on the Fourth. Yes, all day. Yes, no matter what’s playing – they need to be in a soundproofed theater listening to something that isn’t explosions going off overhead. And that’s a great coping mechanism for one day, but it really doesn’t work to do it for two solid weeks.

Enjoy the fireworks this year – I know I plan to – but enjoy them in a way that doesn’t add to trauma for veterans, babies, and dogs. Please? My family thanks you.

Annnnnd with that out of the way, let’s talk about the results of this week’s popular vote! Besides the popular vote, we also have the option of handing out an editorial staff pick 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 #324

When there’s a trend in writing, but there’s only one or two examples on the grid in a specific week, sometimes I hesitate to bring it up because it can feel like a personal callout. On the other hand, we’ve reached Critical Rowan Mass on something that’s cost more than one person an editorial staff pick in the last couple months, so here we go. Stop when you’re done.

I know it’s tempting to throw in a cute closing or a pat phrase, looking for that memorable hook that will stick in your reader’s mind. But if you find yourself reiterating the point of your entire essay in those two paragraphs at the end of your post, here’s what I want you to do: put the hook at the beginning of your story to suck the reader in and keep them reading, trust that you’ve written well enough for the reader to get your point (if you’re scared that you didn’t, consider editing rather than recapping your essay) and then delete those paragraphs. Otherwise instead of leaving your reader with the hook you’re leaving them with the phrase “yeah, I just read that” or “why is this so long”?

If the question you never want to leave a reader with in nonfiction is “yeah, so what,” the one you want to avoid in fiction is “yeah, then what.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to leave a reader wanting more of your story, but sometimes in flash fiction writers leave us wanting a story, period. I’m guilty of this: I’ll get so excited about letting my readers meet a character I love that I’ll forget to have the character do anything. I hit the end of my allotted 750 words and we know that Renee is a drag king with a car named Georgette whose mother has Alzheimer’s and whose sister doesn’t speak to her… but she’s still standing in the exact same spot she was in when the story opened, having not so much as moved a finger or taken a step. When that happens I sigh, add that character sketch to Evernote, try to reduce those 750 words to a 50 word micro for purposes of description, and use that micro as the opening paragraph of a story where Renee meets a guy named Jack who makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

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 #324

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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