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nashostomoShort story is my favorite literary category, so imagine my delight when I discovered that May is Short Story Month. Learn more about the origins of this celebration at shortstorymonth.com and Fiction Writers Review.

I adore short stories because they are compact, intense, and really pack a wallop. As a kid I devoured them like peanuts, cracking them open and popping them one after another. As an adult with more to do than there are hours in the day, I love that I can (usually) finish them in one sitting. The reduced time commitment also makes me willing to take a chance on different genres, and I’ve discovered many beloved authors through their short fiction.

So grab a print magazine or journal (they do still make those) or look up a few of your favorite novelists — chances are pretty good they wrote some short fiction you’ve not read. You might also want to try your hand at short story yourself: the Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition is a great place to start. The prompts are fun and clever, and the deadline is June 4, 2018.

However you choose to celebrate, happy Short Story Month!

 

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Okay, people, you know the drill: It’s National Poetry Month! That means it’s also NaPoWriMo!

Try your hand at a little poetry this month, especially if it’s not what you normally write. C’mon — haiku is 3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Anyone who can count can do that!

If you’re simply not up to writing poetry, at least make a point of reading some. Don’t care for modern poetry? Read something classic, like Shakespeare or Wordsworth or Dickinson. Have bad memories of “literary” poetry from your school days? Read Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash.

Still not feeling it? Poets Trish Hopkinson and Luanne Castle have each assembled a terrific selection of resources for reading and writing, including prompts designed for prose as well as verse:

https://trishhopkinson.com/2018/04/01/national-poetry-month-begins-today-napomo-prompts-galore-other-ways-you-can-participate-2/

https://writersite.org/2018/04/02/welcome-national-poetry-month-and-napowrimo/

 

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Poetry exchange

flying bookAttention poets: Poetry Super Highway is once again sponsoring a world-wide poetry exchange. Sign up to send someone a book of your poetry, and someone else in the exchange will send a book of poetry to you.

For complete information and to register, visit
http://poetrysuperhighway.com/psh/great_poetry_exchange/

 

announcement-smallThe new year brings with it new opportunities for writing, publishing, and networking. Here are a few that have shown up in the ECWG in-box:

Call for personal essays
Word limit: 750
Deadline: 17 Feb. 2018
Description: Kentucky and North Caroline writers are invited to contribute to a collection of essays to be printed in spring 2018. Publication will coincide with the 250th anniversary of an event in the life of Daniel Boone. Selected essays will resonate with the theme of making do/bearing up/overcoming adversity and should be about true-life experiences of the writer or someone the writer knows personally.
Cost: $6 reading fee per submission
Information: http://www.danielboonefootsteps.com/in-the-classroom

Writing conference
Date: Saturday 24 Mar. 2018
Deadline: early registration 20 Mar. 2018
Description: 7th annual conference sponsored by Women Who Write. Open to all genders and genres. Program includes workshops, publishing panel, personal writing time, book fair, and optional pitch session with a literary agent. Keynote address by George Ella Lyon.
Location: New Albany IN
Cost: $55-80 (includes breakfast, lunch, and optional pitch session)
Information: http://womenwhowrite.com

The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville NC is seeking entries for their 27th annual Memoirs Contest. Submission deadline is November 30, 2017. For more information on entries, guidelines, and awards, visit their website:

http://www.twwoa.org

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libra scalesToday we are balanced at the very center of October, with fifteen days before us and fifteen days behind. (What a perfectly Libra thing to say!) That means you still have more than two weeks to prepare for NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month (also known as November).

Lexington has almost 3,000 writers signed up to participate so far. Check out the Lexington page on the NaNoWriMo site to find out about meetings, parties, and write-ins scheduled throughout the month: https://nanowrimo.org/regions/usa-kentucky-lexington. (If you’re not from Lexington, click on the Regions link at the NaNoWriMo site to find your own local WriMo tribe.)

no-dumping-safety-sign-pv13-500x500Whether you write long or short forms, one of the trickiest things about fiction (and some non-fiction) is conveying background information. Too little information loses the reader through confusion; too much loses the reader through sidetracking (or boredom).

Once again, Jami Gold comes through with some concrete suggestions (complete with examples) for finding the difficult balance between “Huh?” and “TMI!” The technique discussed in her July 4 blog post has to do with point of view, which is brilliant because readers experience stories through the characters. Even a story with an omniscient narrator connects with readers via the characters.

So take some notes and tuck them away for the next time you’re revising or beta-reading. As helpful as it is to know what’s wrong, it’s even more helpful to have an idea about how to make it better.