writer blogs

Useful Writing Websites

What are some of the writing website you hang around at to learn the craft of creating stories or writing non-fiction?

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Favorite Sites

Here are my favorite sites which I haunt on a daily or almost daily basis:

I am still a newbie at writing fiction and so I look for websites that have practical information and places that have a sense of writing community. Because writing is a lonely business. 

First Page analyses

There are some wonderful first-page analyses happening at Writer Unboxed, Kill Zone, and Fiction University.  Writer Unboxed has started All the King's Editors recently. I really appreciated David Corbett's column just this week. It helps me to look at my own skill in sentence and paragraph formation, to help me figure out focus. 

And isn't that one of a new writer's biggest nemesis?  Bringing the story into focus?  

As I work with my story, now in its 5th draft, I am combing through my words and trying to sort out themes and subtexts through the use of particular words.

Not only do I want to use a character's point-of-view to describe setting but I also want to use words that will set the atmosphere for the reader, when the character might yet be unaware of the danger coming toward her. 

 

What are some of your favorite writing websites?

Wordsmithery

Wordsmith describes a person who works with words and is a skilled writer. 

I'm not laying claim yet to being a skilled writer but I have been working on words rather than plots or characters or settings.

I've been working with revisions of my first full draft since January.  Until July, the revisions focused on plot holes and whether or not my characters were realistic. And I needed to write a few new scenes.

But a couple weeks ago, I finished with that piece of revision and editing. Now I've moved on to wordsmithery. Why don't I just send it off to my beta readers? Because my story was over 100,000 words. So in the interest of finding all of my extra thats and justs to cut I came across Janice Hardy's column on August 4, 7 Words that often Tell, Not Show. And intrigued, I decided to apply it straight away to my story. 

By the way, I've saved the version of my story before all this wordsmithery stuff I'm doing just in case I edit the life out of it.

What's the difference between tell and show? (Check out Grammar Girl definition here.)

  • to tell is to summarize a scene or an action
  • to show is to let the reader experience the scene or the action through specific details and a specific point-of-view of one of your characters

Which is preferable? Readers like to escape into the specific details of a story but there are times when summarizing or telling works better. It all depends upon the scene or action. Transitions, that have nothing important happening within them can be told. 

With Janice Hardy's Fiction Writer column I've searched my documents for the seven words she listed and determined whether I needed to change my sentences or if they were fine as written. My weakness (besides adverbs and gerunds) are the to (verb). And no, I did not take out all my to (verb)s! Check out Janice's column here as she explains it very well and creates examples. 

One of the interesting side effects of doing a search to determine if I need to change a sentence, is that I am not so caught up in my story (yes, I'm still in love with it). I notice each sentence as a stand alone. And the highlight feature allows me to notice how often I use certain words or phrases within a paragraph or a page. Repetition that may irritate certain readers! 

Happy writing! 

 

Excitement!

I am so excited!!  I entered a flash fiction contest and was named as one of the finalists!

 

For sooooo long I have been entering Janet Reid's flash fiction contests and not receiving any type of mention. Nothing I wrote seemed to stand out above the crowd.  Not since 2015! 

Last week, Janet sorted through her 100th Flash Fiction entrees (that word is deliberate as Janet is also Query Shark and she knows how to chomp!) and named her top seven, gave her reasons why she had chosen the entry and then named a winner. I am jealous of the prize the winner received: a map book, Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps.

But, did I mention I'm so happy? 

For this contest, we had to use these words in our 100 word story:  gaze, scapegrace, forti, scram, fin. You can take a look at the winning entries here. There was a total of 84 entries which you can find towards the bottom of the page here. 

My story? Here you go:

Breakfast

He asks about her date. Happily, she chatters. I place the milk pitcher. By him.

“Scapegallows,” he insults. Of course. “He wouldn’t know a fortissimo from a finocchio.” He eats his cornflakes.

Our daughter gazes, blankly.

Angered, I touch her shoulder, “Fatherly humor.”

He rolls his eyes.

Stiff-backed, I sit, “Finish your breakfast, dear. How was the band?”

She shrugs.

Her cannolo remains untouched. Damn him. Patient, I sip my Italian Roast. He stands—slender and handsome as ever—and scrams. I accept his tainted kiss, airbrush-style this morning. He leaves. Scapegoat.

And now? Anticipation! “How was your date?”

If you're as sharp-eyed as some of the Reiders, you'll notice that in my editing and revising, I left out a required word. Rats! But, many of the commenters were gracious, telling me to be gentle with myself (my writerly insecurity came out) and things happen!

I was just so happy to be named a finalist, to hear Janet's take on something I had written.