for September, 2014

When writing becomes a community.

September 17, 2014

For most of us, writing is probably a pretty solitary practice. We sit alone at our desks, on our couches, or in our beds, curled up with kitties and several cups of coffee, as we get through word after word of our latest project, blog post, or personal journal entry. We work through the plotlines by ourselves, revise by ourselves, and rewrite, largely, by ourselves. There are too many jokes out there about how writers’ skin is the color of the paper they write on because of just how infrequently they see the sun (like vampires–the kind that drink blood, not the kind that glitter like diamonds on a nice summer day). It’s also really common to hear of writers who are essentially modern-day Emily Dickinsons, writers who are so terrified of criticism they never share their work with a soul (except, of course, with the aforementioned kitties because they don’t judge–and even if they do, they do it in […]


Monday Muse: The Sound

September 15, 2014

“Write about a noise – or a silence – that won’t go away.” – The Pocket Muse * * * She heard footsteps again. She always heard the footsteps. They echoed through her empty room – empty of everything but a blanket in the corner and a bucket for her to shit in. Mackenzie curled up as far from the door as she could. The footsteps got louder and louder until they passed. They never came with voices. It’s like the ghosts were afraid of saying anything because they didn’t want Mackenzie to hear them, and if she heard them, she could suck them into her muddled world and drain the life right out of them. She didn’t know how much time had passed – how many days had gone by without light or sound, other than those goddamned footsteps. She had lost track of everything but those fucking footsteps. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had a […]


The six-word story.

September 12, 2014

”For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” That tragic piece of work is a complete six-word story written by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was challenged to write a story using only six words, and that’s the story he came up with. It’s tragic, poignant, and extremely impactful. A lot of writers get caught up in word-count, which is normal considering, you know, one of the things agents look at when we’re submitting a work to them is the length of the novel in question. Too short and it hardly counts as a novel. Too long and no one wants to take the chance (and spend the money) on printing it without knowing for-sure it’s going to sell. In other words, unless you’re Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, you probably shouldn’t submit a novel longer than one-hundred thousand words if you want to seriously be considered for representation. So with how obsessed we are over word count, flash fiction and similar short-order […]


Keep an eye on the “-ly.”

September 10, 2014

Modifiers are great. Adverbs and adjectives help us add more color and flavor to our work. They’re great additions to any piece of writing, when they’re used appropriately. That’s right. Like everything else, there are the right and the wrong ways to use modifiers. Today we’re going to specifically look at adverbs. Just a quick refresher, adverbs are words that modify verbs, other adverbs, and adjectives (adjectives are words that modify nouns, pronouns, and phrases acting as nouns). Even more than that, we’re going to look at adverbs that end with the letters “-ly.” Adverbs that end with “-ly” are pretty common, probably because slapping an “-ly” to the end of an adjective basically turns it into an adverb. It’s easy, effective, and simple. Unfortunately, it can be something else, too: lazy. Cleaning out the “-ly” adverbs in your writing can really help tighten and strengthen the language. Let’s look at it, shall we? She wearily walked into the room. […]


Monday Muse: The Bathtub Story.

September 8, 2014

Hey guys! First thing’s first, you should definitely check out this awesome piece written by a friend of mine in response to the last Monday Muse. It’s dark, but good. I think you’ll enjoy it! That being said, we’re moving on for today. So, technically, this is a prompt I was inspired to create after reading a piece from the prompt book I have. The passage reads as such: “In Making Shapely Fiction, the witty and wonderful Jerome Stern cautions against writing the “bathtub story.” A bathtub story opens with the protagonist taking a bath (or occupying a similar confined space). During this bath, the protagonist thinks of, ruminates upon, wonders about, and analyzes the past, present, and future, but he never gets out of the bathtub.” In this, they caution against writing a bathtub story, but for the sake of exercise, I think it sounds like a whole lot of fun to keep yourself confined to these kinds of […]


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