• Your 2018 Goals: Rounding the Third-Quarter Pole

    By on September 16, 2018 Posted in Are You Writing?     Comments 7 comments

    It’s been almost half a year since we last checked in on each other’s 2018 writing goals — remember, so long ago, completing the sentence “In 2018 I will” and leaving a comment on this post or emailing me privately? — and so, with autumn fast approaching and three-fourths of the year gone, what better time to check in on those goals?

    Are you achieving your 2018 literary goals? Have your goals changed? Do you have new goals? Let us know in the comments below.

    Or if you’d rather talk this over privately, drop me a line: david[at]writebynight[dot]net.

    Here’s the fun part where I ask some of you in public how you’re doing!

    Barbara M., you shared that you wanted to finish an audiobook over the summer. Have you had the chance to do so?

    Dot D., you wanted to complete a draft of your novel and get some editing done on another book. How’s it looking?

    David L., you completed that sentence with “publish ‘Intrusion’ and ‘Dave’s You Must Be This Short To Enter’ this year.” Mission accomplished?

    As for me, I wrote that in 2018 “I will complete a draft of the book I began writing in May [2017].”

    Welp. read more

    Packing Books for Vacation

    By on September 8, 2018 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 11 comments

    I’ve been on vacation — a beach vacation, at that — for ten days now and I’ve read not even half a book.

    Before we left, I asked Justine to be my book sheriff: “Don’t let me bring more than two books,” I said. Because usually I get out of control when packing for a trip. I always think I’m going to do nothing but read, and so I bring the number of books that aligns with constant reading.

    Like, a book per day. read more

    Seasonal Reading Habits & You

    By on September 1, 2018 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 4 comments

    With autumn fast approaching, it’s almost time to put away our summer books and look to the fall.

    That’s a thing, right? Don’t our reading habits shift with the seasons?

    I’m going to take a stab at diagnosing myself as a reader — what kinds of books do I turn to in which seasons —  and then afterwards I’ll consult my reading list to see how wrong I am.

    Your turn: How about you? Do you read different kinds of books in different seasons? Let us know in the comments. read more

    Share Your Rejection

    By on August 25, 2018 Posted in Inspiration     Comments 12 comments

    The #ShareYourRejection hashtag on Twitter has gotten a lot of action lately, and in no surprise, writers are among the most vocal.

    Many of these responses are inspirational tales of books that were rejected dozens of times before finding a publisher, like Arianna Huffington’s, Jill Orr’s, and Dea Poirier’s.

    Other writers flash some humor within the trauma, like Hannah Khalil, Erin Vincent, and Joseph Finder.

    And then there are the anecdotes that are truly horrific and/or weird, like this one from A.N. Devers.

    As writers, rejection is folded into our lives. So many thousands of agents, publications, and publishers reject so many thousands of projects and writers each year. It’s just math. read more

    Story Club: “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket”

    By on August 18, 2018 Posted in WBN Story Club     Comments 4 comments

    I think it’s high time we all read a short story together again.

    I’ve been reading a ton of Stuart Dybek’s short fiction lately, and I’ve also been talking your ear off about it. I won’t do (much) more of it here, I swear!

    But Twitter friend Kelly Luce took a class with Dybek, and we had a back and forth about that experience, in which she mentioned that Dybek’s favorite story might be Nobel winner Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket.” Kelly says that Dybek “still cries every time he reads it.”

    I’d never read Kawabata, but this recommendation was good enough for me. So I read it, and enjoyed it, and I thought it might make for a fun discussion for us. read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Musical Edition

    By on August 4, 2018 Posted in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 33 comments

    It’s been an entire half a year since we last did a micro fiction contest! (See: The Excellent Gimmick.)

    A few weeks ago we talked about whether we listen to music while we read and/or write. That discussion coincided with a Yak Babies episode in which my personal pals and I talked about music and song lyrics in fiction: When it works, when it doesn’t, and why.

    Shortly after that I wrote a story in which a song features prominently, just to see if I could do it.

    Now it’s your turn!

    Your task: Write a short story in fifty words or fewer that includes a music reference: song title(s), artist(s), lyrics, whatever you want. read more

    Literary vs. Genre Fiction: Your Reading & Writing Habits

    By on July 28, 2018 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 20 comments

    For this week’s new episode of Yak Babies we discuss so-called literary fiction: What does the phrase mean, is it little more than a marketing term, how is it distinguished from genre fiction, etc.

    Growing up, I read only genre fiction, except for assigned books. Like I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, I started with the Hardy Boys, and then eventually moved into Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler territory. On the podcast I speculate that all teenagers are drawn to genre fiction, and then I say something like “No teenager wants to read Ann Beattie.”

    It would’ve been more accurate to say “Few teenagers” rather than “No teenager.” Of course there are teens out there who love Ann Beattie. But I think the spirit of what I’m saying is true.

    But here’s your chance to prove me wrong!

    Your turn #1: As a teenage reader, were you drawn more to genre fiction or to literary fiction? Why? read more

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