What It’s Like to Write for One of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers (Not this One)

Did you know I write for another blog?

Yup.  It all started a year or so ago.  I was following a bunch of writing blogs, and one day The Write Practice put out a call for regular contributors. I applied and got it! This week I learned that it was named one of Write to Done’s 2015 top 10 blogs for writers! Woohoo!

I would like to say this accomplishment is because of me (heh, heh), buuut I actually first discovered The Write Practice because it won the same honor in 2012 (or 2013?). Still, it feels pretty good to know that I at the very least have not brought it down.

Anyway, the experience has been cool. It’s made me a part of a solid virtual writing community. Joe Bunting (the founder and manager of the blog and basically my boss) gives me blogging tips, writing encouragement and Starbucks cards! And because each post includes a writing prompt, our readers are actually really involved. They take 15 minutes to write a scene or two and post them right in the comments.  It’s awesome to see!

One of my favorite posts is when I asked readers to write a scene from the point of view of an animal. The attempts were so funny!! I even took a stab at it myself.

Generally, however, I try to write posts that coincide with what I dealing with a writer.  So, for example, if I’m struggling with my POV, I’ll write a post about POVs.

I also try to reference writers of color and female authors as much as possible. It’s like Chris Rock said (more or less)-  sure, minority/female writers aren’t the only ones who need attention, but the chances are much less likely that they are getting it already. It’s just harder out here when you’re not a white dude (just click around my blog to learn why).  To the extent I can help, I’m like—why not?

The post (written by me) that got the most comments was when I asked readers to describe this Italian painting and then compare it to Zadie Smith’s description. Zadie Smith isn’t my favorite author, but my goodness that woman knows how to draw an image with her words. I felt really inspired by her skills, and it was cool to see others were as well. I’ve also written posts inspired by everyone from Walter Mosley to Uzo Iweala to a Washington Post Press Pass mentee.

Anyway, The Write Practice has more than 200,000 subscribers and accepts posts from guest bloggers all the time. If you’re interested, I encourage you to submit one for consideration!!

Holllerrr

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1,000 Words Written! And…Some Talk on Showing (Not Telling)

Success! I finished designing my novel using my nifty Snowflake Pro.  Now all I have to do is write it!  Believe it or not, I started yesterday with about 1,000 words.  Before I started throwing words on the page, however, I needed a shot of inspiration.  So I read the first couple of pages of a few novels on my shelf.  Then, I pulled out the nifty book I bought back in 2007 or so (the first time I tried to write a novel) called “This Year You Write Your Novel” by Walter Mosley.  The book is pretty is awesome because it’s so short and to the point.  I re-read the part on how to “show” rather than “tell” and these are the tools Walter says I need:

1. Sensations.  “If you can include the physical reactions to the emotional situations that your characters find themselves in, you will be bringing your readers closer to the experience of the novel.”

2. Emotions. “To say ‘I love you’ rather than using a more vivid expression is not strong enough for fiction.  You have to get down to the place where the character (and therefore the reader) feels the emotions that drive your novel.”

3. The Pedestrian in Fiction. “Pedestrian details tells and also shows us something about our protagonist and/or her world…Everyday experiences help the reader relate to the character, which sets up the reader’s acceptance of more extraordinary events that may unfold.”

4. Methaphor and similie.  “The methaphor shows us something—something we both see and imagine. And it’s not only human beings that are transformed by methaphor [e.g., “the man was a lion among sheep”]; anything in the writer’s realm can also be something else [e.g., “the sun is a grueling taskmaster with a solar whip in hand”].”  (His examples).  When the methaphor is too strong, turn to the simile.

lion

5. Final note.  “A novel is more experiential than it is informational. Most of what your reader learns is gain through what they are shown about the lives and circumstances of the characters therein.”

It worked! After I read those pages, I felt inspired! Pumped!  I was ready to sit down and write something sensational and emotional, but also pedestrian and employing literary techniques.  And, I did…sort of.  But I found that trying to be so creative at this point slows both me and my story down.  As I’ve occasionally discussed in the context of blogging, I like to just freestyle write and worry about editing later.  So now my plan is to do what I do (snowflake designed outline and stuff) and then worry about Walter’s “showing” tools later.

Have a great weekend!!