• Micro Fiction Challenge: Break of Poop

    By on February 9, 2016 Posted in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 21 comments

    poopLet’s do some writing and win some prizes, shall we?

    I sure hope your 2016 writing resolution is getting its butt kicked by you (passive voice!). Mine is not. Work is piling up, there’s TV to watch, the dog keeps barking in my face. And my novel collects dusty, dusty dust.

    I am back in the writing rut I thought I’d wrestled myself out of.

    If you’re in the same jam, let’s see if we can’t help you bust out of it by writing some short fiction. I mean, like, short, short, short fiction. Might I even call it micro fiction? read more

    Reading Resolution: January Report

    By on February 2, 2016 Posted in WBN News & Events     Comments 14 comments

    Magda Szabo The DoorSo January is over and we’re now in the shortest but most brutal month of the year.

    Here in NYC we’ve had only one major snow and no serious cold snap, so I won’t be surprised if February kicks the pudding out of us. What a great time to get out in front of your 2016 reading resolution!

    It’s been two weeks since we had our rousing discussion about those. How are they going so far? Let us know below.

    During that discussion I promised to report on my reading progress once per month, in order to keep me honest in pursuit of my goals — to read at least fifty-two books in 2016, over half of which will be written by women, and over half of which will be written by minorities and/or by foreign authors in translation.

    I’m not going to write lengthy reviews of each book, because yawn, right? I’ll just give a bit of background/plot and an impression or two.

    Maybe you’ll find something new to read. Hopefully next to a roaring fire and a cup of hot cocoa.

    Many cliches are cliches for good reason.


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    Great Beginnings: Season of Migration to the North

    By on January 26, 2016 Posted in Great Beginnings     Comments 13 comments

    season of migration to the northIt’s been too long since we’ve gotten our Great Beginnings groove on. We writers place a lot of pressure on ourselves to write a killer opening line, a killer opening paragraph, a killer opening page. Sometimes too much pressure! So much pressure that it can color our pleasure reading and numb our appreciation for truly great beginnings. That’s part of why I’d like to resuscitate this series and make it a regular feature — many of us could use such a reminder. Consider it a mini book club.

    This week I want to take a peek at the first three lines of Tayeb Salih’s novel Season of Migration to the North, first published in Arabic in 1967, translated into English by Denys Johnson-Davies in 1969, reissued by NYRB Classics in 2009, and read, with delight, by me in the first few days of this new year.

    First the lines from Season of Migration to the North, and then some discussion questions: read more

    Going Public With a Reading Resolution

    By on January 19, 2016 Posted in Inspiration     Comments 31 comments

    reading resolutionLast week’s spirited discussion about writing resolutions and public accountability is still going strong, as many of you have shared with us your 2016 writing goals. This week I want to tell you about my 2016 reading resolution, and I want to hear your reading resolution too.

    In the post above, I mentioned my reading log, and how at the end of 2012 I was so disappointed with that year’s list that I publicly vowed to read eighty books in 2013, else I be obliged to perform a public dramatic reading of Fifty Shades of Grey while wearing a hot-pink onesie.

    I must admit, last year’s reading list was as woeful as 2012’s. For one thing, the amount was lower than it’s been in years. I know quantity isn’t all that matters, but I still prefer to average a book per week, and last year I didn’t come very close to that.

    And of the books I did manage to read, well fewer than half were written by women, minorities, or foreign authors in translation. Combined! read more

    Going Public With a Writing Resolution

    By on January 12, 2016 Posted in Inspiration     Comments 34 comments

    FireworksAccording to this random study, 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions accomplish them. That sounds about right. Put another way, if you make twenty-five resolutions on New Year’s Eve, you’re likely to achieve two of them by the same time next year. Two outta twenty-five, gang. And the two would be probably the simplest and/or least important ones, too. (No study makes that claim — it’s just me being a cynic. Twelve days ago I resolved to be less of a cynic in 2016. Oh-for-one.)

    There’s a formality in the word “resolve,” a certain firmness. (A comic, maybe Carlin, once lobbied to have “firmth” become a word. I support that.) If you resolve to do something, it’s not just a passing thought; it’s a declaration. “I don’t just want to do this thing — I declare that I will do this thing!” It’s a strong statement.

    Well, folks, we humans struggle with strong statements. And most other things. And so another year passes and another set of resolutions goes unachieved, and we feel a little bit more like pieces of shit each and every December 31. read more

    One Way Out of a Writing Rut

    By on January 5, 2016 Posted in Strategies     Comments 11 comments
    My gaping writing rut

    My gaping writing rut

    I’ve got this friend who constantly, daily, harangues me for not writing enough.

    It’s justified; I don’t write enough. I’m forever saying to friends and clients, “You must write every day. Every. Single. Day!” Yet I don’t do the same.

    Nobody likes a hypocrite. Especially a hypocrite who even from his soapbox can’t see over the lip of the writing rut he’s in.

    This friend, on the other hand, writes more than anyone else I know. Every week he sends me a new novella or three new book reviews and six essays. It’s super annoying.

    (You hear that, friend whom I know is reading this? You, sir, are annoying.) read more

    Our Top Posts of 2015

    By on December 22, 2015 Posted in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    FireworksSince many of you will spend a large portion of your week twiddling your thumbs at an airport gate, or sitting for hours in a plane on the motherf*cking tarmac, we figured this would be a good time to offer not just one blog post, but many. Because what else are you going to do? (One good answer: Write!)

    The following are links to some of our top blog posts from 2015, based on page views and rich interaction and whatnot. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve likely seen many of these. Consider it a clip show. If you aren’t a regular reader, well, why the hell aren’t you?

    Happy holidays, WriteByNighters! And safe travels.


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