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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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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/

 

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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.)

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Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoHave you ever wondered why April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. (and other places as well)? Perhaps because both Geoffrey Chaucer and T.S. Eliot open epic poems with references to the month: “Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote” (Canterbury Tales) and “April is the cruellest month” (The Waste Land). Or perhaps because many English-speaking children learn this simplest of rhymes almost as soon as they can speak: “April showers bring May flowers.”

April is also National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. If you want some writing inspiration, any number of sites offer daily prompts:

(These work just as well for other types of writing, if poetry isn’t your thing.)

Whatever writing you do this month, take time to appreciate the poetry that already surrounds you in song lyrics, in mnemonic devices (30 days hath September…), in the everyday speech of your community.

Happy Poetry Month!

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Are you ready?

Think you might try your hand at poetry this year during National/Global Poetry Writing Month? You only have three more days to wait/prepare!

If you are looking for ideas, NaPoWriMo.net has great suggestions and resources, including links to over 300 (so far) participating blogs and websites.

Most April prompts don’t get posted until March 31, but if you want a bit more of a head start, these might fit the bill:

Sharpen your pencils and charge up your laptops — it’s going to be a creative month!

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Happy Short Story Day!

In honor of the shortest period of daylight in the year, the northern hemisphere celebrates today as Short Story Day. (The southern hemisphere celebrates it on 21 June.) I was woefully uninformed about this holiday until the good folks at Writers Write, a wonderful, South African-based resource for writers, posted about it on their blog. They included links to other posts about the short story, and I’ve highlighted some below that I thought might be of particular interest.

The Long and the Short of It touches on some crucial differences between novels and short stories. This observation resonates with me most: “Rather than length as a dividing line, short stories – the good ones anyway – have a stronger sense of unity than a novel.” Novels can afford to meander; short stories have to make every word count.

Cut to the Chase offers great tips for beginning a short story. My favorite: “Read over your opening page and cross out every single line that is not indispensable. When you get to the line that simply cannot be left out, you’re at the start of the story.” This is a great editing tip for fiction of any length.

20 Unforgettable Quotes is just that – a list of clever, pointed, wry, and even soulful quotes about the short story. My favorite is from Stephen Colbert (#15).

It seems fitting to end with words of wisdom from the king – Stephen King. My favorite bit from Stephen King on Writing Short Stories is, “You need to take out the stuff that’s just sitting there and doing nothing.” Words to live by, my writing friends.

Short stories are my favorite prose form, so I intend to spend the day binge-reading Neil Gaiman and Ursula Le Guin. Happy Short Story Day!

 

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