Shut Up & Write!

If you’re a writer from the Philadelphia area, there’s a place where you can go to meet like-minded writers, and spend some time just writing. From 6:45 pm to 8:45 pm, the Lovett Library is the place to be to write and discuss writing with other writers on Monday evenings with its Shut Up & Write! sessions.


The POV of the Writer, Reader, and Character(s) Matter


How your characters see things depends greatly upon how you see things. So if you have a parochial point of view, your characters will share that point of view. As writers, we are often told (or convince ourselves) the story writes itself. That’s not always the case. The story may not be written or told if the door to the room in which you want your readers to enter is closed.

Lately, I’ve been practicing with various points of view. Writers are like illusionists, we make our readers see what we want them to see. Let’s say I have a character who is a thief. My readers will see him as a thief. The challenge then becomes what kind of thief they are. What was/is their motivation for becoming a thief? Were they coerced or is it by choice? Are they male, female, or transgendered? Are they white, black, or any derivative in between? Are they Atheist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or any of a hundred faiths or denominations?

Another factor to consider is the reader. Many readers are open-minded while others are the exact opposite. And everyone brings with them a plethora of life experiences to the table. The POV of your character and how you treat that character will determine how that character will influence the POV of your readers. Which is why I’ve been practicing.

I create one scenario, place my character in it, then I take the same scenario and change my character’s place in it. In one story, they may be the victim of a crime. In another story, they may be the perpetrator. In another, they may be the witness, or family member, or friend, or . . . .







Opportunities for Freelance Writers


If you’re looking to start freelancing or if you already freelance and are looking for more opportunities, consider taking a look at what The Freelancer has to offer.

This site has useful information regarding every aspect of freelancing from how to get started to how to market yourself. There is also a newsletter.

Explore the site and its parent Contently. If it looks like something you might be interested in, you can register and create a free portfolio.

I’m giving it serious consideration myself.


Time to Take Stock of Your New Year’s Goals

How have you been doing with working toward your New Year’s goals? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably been slow going.

We’re nearly 1/3 of the way through the year and most people have already broken their New Year’s resolutions. The average person quit back on January 12. So if you made any resolutions, there’s a very good chance you’ve ditched them weeks ago. However, if you set yourself New Year’s goals, there’s a better chance you’ve tried to stick to them.  It’s a lot easier to stick to achieving a goal than it is to keep a promise–even to yourself.

Have you written those short stories you planned on writing? Have you finished those chapters you intended to write?

Go over the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year and see if you’ve reached them or are anywhere close to achieving them. If you are, good for you. If not, reassess your goals, and make adjustments, then try to meet the revised goals.

You’ll feel better about setting a goal and not quite getting it done than making a promise and then breaking it.

Give Your Story a Cold Reading


Whether you’re writing a 6-word story, a 100-word story, or a 1,000-word story, always give your work a cold reading.

So, you’ve written your story, made the umpteenth re-write to it, read it to a friend or had a friend read it for you, and now you’re ready to submit it. Don’t do it. At least not right away. Don’t even think about it. Put your story out of your mind. Put it away for a few days (or weeks) and move on to something else for awhile.

When you finally get back to your story, you’ll be able to look at it critically and creatively from a fresher perspective. You may see things you missed or hadn’t thought of initially. Once you’re satisfied with your story, submit it and move on to the next story you set aside for a cold reading.


CRAFT is offering $2000 in a Short Fiction Contest

CRAFT, an online literary fiction magazine, is offering $2000 prize to the winner of its short fiction contest. $500 will be awarded to the second-place finisher and $300 will be awarded to the third-place finisher.

6000 words is the maximum length of submitted fiction stories. There is a $20 reading fee. Submission deadline is April 30, 2018.


Backup Your Writing Even When Posting Online or It Might Get Lost

Just because you had a story published in an online publication or uploaded something to a social media site does not mean that your hard work will be forever preserved in digital format for the world to see indefinitely. Backup your writing and keep it safe. For what you post today may be lost tomorrow.

Even if you’re an active member of a social media group, backup your posts if you want to be able to refer to them later in the future. Of course, if what you write and post is of minor significance, then there is no great need to save what you say.

A few years ago, I was actively participating in an online community of writers of microfiction. I posted stories, read the contributions of other members, and exchanged comments and critiques. It was an active community; then one day it ceased to exist. Everything I had written was gone.

The same thing happened to another writer’s community I was a part of. Fortunately, I had just become a member and had not had time to begin contributing so I didn’t lose anything.

The lesson here: the Internet is ephemeral. Publications come and go, social communities come and go. And if you don’t save the work you submit, it will be lost to time and space.


Can You Write a Story With a Letter Missing?

Take the Missing Letter Challenge and See What You Accomplish

We are all faced with challenges of some kind. As writers, we’re often challenged with what to write, what not to write, is the grammar correct, is the spelling correct, is the punctuation on target, and is what I said what I wanted to say. These are basically outside challenges that come with the territory. But sometimes, there are moments when some of our challenges are self-imposed.

Christopher (aka @shapshifter) over at not only wrote a story containing exactly 100 words, but he wrote it without using the letter L, and he titled it appropriately “No L.”