• Can We Learn Anything By Rereading Our Published or Abandoned Writing?

    By on April 29, 2017 Posted in Strategies     Comments 8 comments
    Apr
    29

    TL;DR version: Why is rereading our own work so difficult? Or are you one of those lucky few who enjoy it? Can we learn about ourselves as writers by rereading our old writing? Try this exercise: reread something of yours you haven’t even thought of in years. Record your feelings as you read it. Then print out a new copy and attack it with a red pen. Explore your edits. Do they tell you anything about how you’ve changed as a writer? Report your experiences to us in the comments below!

     

    I have this teeny-tiny problem when it comes to rereading my old writing: I absolutely hate doing it. It hurts my brain and makes my stomach sour.

    Earlier this week I wrote the following in an email to a WriteByNighter: “Part of why I have trouble rereading anything after I publish it [is that] I always want to go back and rewrite certain passages, and I can’t do that anymore because it’s too late. It’s difficult for a writer not to want to tinker and tinker and tinker some more.”

    It’s as if I’m never satisfied with the final product. In fact, it’s as if I never even have a final product, but rather a product as it looks like when my deadline arrives. read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Fun with Sp*m

    By on April 22, 2017 Posted in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 45 comments
    Apr
    22

    TL;DR version: In this new Micro Fiction Challenge, we’ve bumped the word count to fifty(!) and are offering multiple prompts, rather than just one funky word. Using as your opening one of the five sp*m comments below, write a fifty-word or shorter story. Multiple prizes are up for grabs. Type or paste your story in the comments.

     

    I didn’t write much this week. It happens. I was even going to do another “Things I Did This Week Instead of Write,” so that those of you who also didn’t write would have a place to safely say so and tell us why.

    But I figure even better than that is to offer something to write, something low pressure, in case you’re just looking for any excuse, an exercise or prompt.

    And we’re due for a Micro Fiction Challenge anyway. read more

    2017 Writing Goals Check-In: Mid-April

    By on April 15, 2017 Posted in Inspiration     Comments 23 comments
    Apr
    15

    TL;DR version: Are you on pace to reach your 2017 writing goal(s), whether or not you made it public here? If so, congrats! Why not beat your chest about it in the comments section below? If not, why not? Is there anything any of us can do to help? And if you never did share your 2017 writing goal with us, it’s not too late! Simple finish this sentence in the comments section: “In 2017, I will ___________.”

     

    I don’t mean to hassle you or anything, but Tax Day is almost here, which reminds me that we’re more than one-third of the way through the year, which reminds me that it’s been a couple of months since we last checked in with each other about our 2017 writing goals.

    Gulp!

    OK, so right around New Year’s Day a whole lot of us made public writing resolutions by finishing the sentence “In 2017, I will…

    “…finish my second book,” Marcia S. said.

    “…write my first book and read 50 books….and make time for exercise,” wrote Sharon M. read more

    The WBN Story Club Returns! (Maybe)

    By on April 8, 2017 Posted in WBN News & Events     Comments 44 comments
    Apr
    8

    TL;DR version: If you’re interested in being a member of the WBN story club, read on! If you’re not, well, there ain’t much point in you reading on. Here’s what I’m looking for input on: What kinds of stories should we read? Is one story and discussion per month a casual enough pace? What would you be looking to get out of such a club? Let us know in the comments below. If you don’t have any input but are interested in joining the club, just leave a comment saying “In.”

     

    A couple of weeks ago, when I asked to hear about your favorite books and favorite movies about writers and such, I also extended the idea of reviving the years-dormant WBN Book Club, resurrecting it as a short story club instead.

    A few of you expressed interest, with a desire to learn more before committing.

    So what follows is what I envision for this story club. I’d also very much like to get your input and ideas, because this will be a group thing. (Kinky.)

    If enough of you are interested in this idea, we’ll give ‘er a whirl.

    If you don’t have any ideas on any of this, but you want to be involved, simply comment “In.” read more

    The Writer’s Hiatus: Why and How?

    By on March 30, 2017 Posted in Strategies     Comments 14 comments
    Mar
    30

    TL;DR version: Do you take a hiatus from your WIP between drafts? Why or why not? During that hiatus, do you think about your WIP or do you try to erase it from your mind? How long should these hiati (yeah) last? Should you work on another writing project during a hiatus, or put the writing implements away? Share your thoughts below!

     

    I’m working with a fiction writer who has just finished the third draft of his book but is now taking a break — “going on hiatus,” he says — before beginning the fourth and final draft.

    (For more on drafting, and on swooping versus bashing, join last week’s super fun discussion.)

    It always sounds so appealing to me, this going on hiatus business. Part of it is the word itself. Perhaps simply because they both start with the same letter, and because I’m a simpleton, “hiatus” summons images of Hawaii. It also makes me think of Carl Hiaasen (hia, hia, simpleton), who for a while was my vacation reading.

    Also, according to Merriam-Webster.com, the word comes from a Latin verb, “hiare,” meaning “to yawn.” (Is this post making you hiare yet?)

    But of course it has since come to mean a gap or an interruption in an activity. And for many writers, a hiatus has become a standard step in the writing process.

    It goes something like this:

    1. Finish a draft.

    2. Put that draft in a drawer. (Literally and/or metaphorically.)

    3. Don’t work on it for [x] weeks/months.

    4. Pull it out, reread it, and have a nervous breakdown.

    Let’s take a look at this, step by step. read more

    Do You Swoop or Do You Bash?

    By on March 25, 2017 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 31 comments
    Mar
    25

    TL;DR version: Are you a swooper — a writer who races to the end of a draft — or a basher, a writer who sweats blood making sure that every line is perfect before moving on to the next? Does this tell you anything about yourself as a writer, or as a person?

     

    Last week we had cause to lightly touch on Kurt Vonnegut’s semi-famous division of writers into two categories: swoopers and bashers. So this week, let’s talk a little about this and see if we can learn anything.

    First the definitions. This comes from Timequake, KV’s last novel, and, I do believe, the first one of his I ever read. Before I immediately went right out and read them all, and then read most of them a second time, and a few of them a third, a fourth…

    “Tellers of stories with ink on paper, not that they matter anymore, have been either swoopers or bashers. Swoopers write a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then they go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work. Bashers go one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before they go on to the next one. When they’re done, they’re done.” read more

    Poll: Your Favorite Writing- and Reading-Related Things

    By on March 18, 2017 Posted in ABCs of Writing     Comments 24 comments
    Mar
    18

    TL;DR version: This week I thought it would be fun to get to know each other by sharing some of our favorite writing- and reading-related things. What is your favorite novel; piece of writing advice; movie about a writer? Find those and more questions at the bottom of the post, and then answer ’em in the comments below. And don’t be afraid to reply to other people’s comments! Do you and someone else have the same favorite novel? Ask him/her what else he/she reads.

     

    Thanks in large part to our helpful discussion last week, as well as a Monday deadline for my writing group, I have been hard at work this week on my novel.

    Which, by the way, is called… well, I don’t know what it’s called. Some people say you should have a title before you start a project. Name a thing and it becomes a thing. But I know plenty of writers who will create a title only after the work is done. And that title often comes from the text. What do you think: title first, title last, or who cares?

    Point is, I’ve been writing so much fiction this week that I didn’t have time to write my blog post, which was called “How to Write More Fiction Without Sacrificing Your Blogging Duties.” (Title first!) read more


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