• Beautiful Words,  Craft

    Great Advice for Writers of Short Stories

    By Rebecca Dempsey After more than a decade of writing short stories, here is what I have learned.  Write.  Read short stories. Read across genres, authors, places and times. I recommend Jorge Luis Borges, Arthur Conan Doyle, Carmel Bird, Ambrose Bierce, Etgar Keret, Tim Winton, DH Lawrence and Flannery O’Connor etc. The shorter the work the keener the focus is on how it is written. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation matter. There could be as little as 10 words to grab and hold someone’s attention so errors are distracting. Don’t have a cast of thousands, or a story crossing continents or time periods when there are only 500 words to do…

  • Beautiful Words,  Uncategorized

    10 Ways To Make Your Words More Beautiful

    April is National Poetry Month. Today I celebrate beautiful words. Regardless of tastes, preferences or trends, I believe the beautiful calls to us. There is something inside of us that longs for symmetry, for rhythm, for thoughtful curves. Often we can appreciate delicate images that spurn our emotions, that bring out in us the good and noble. We all enjoy art for a variety of reasons, but no one can deny how well-crafted art serves a purpose. Art can point us to the good in humanity, echoing ancient truths. Beautiful art feeds our souls. As we write, we can organize our words in such a way that their patterns, their meaning, their rhythm, their…

  • Beautiful Words,  Uncategorized

    Ten Signs You May Be A Literary Writer: A Very Silly Quiz

    You’re writing a book and all of your hundreds of readers want to know. “What’s it about?” And you, gather them around you, adjust your cravat, look over your half moon glasses that are pretentiously hanging from a gold chain around your neck and you say, “I’m not really sure.” Why can’t you explain? It’s because your story seems to transcend certain genres, it’s a journey or it’s an introspective. Words like “romance” or “fantasy” don’t seem big enough. You, dear writer, could be writing literary fiction! But you say, “I don’t want to write literary fiction! Because I know the market for these kinds of stories! Yesterday I had…

  • Beautiful Words

    Technology and the Right to Create Art

    by Olivia Folmar Ard As much as I wish otherwise, writing isn’t a full-time job for me. Forty hours a week, I’m an administrative assistant at a public liberal arts university. During my time in this department, which houses communication studies, journalism, public relations, and mass communication, I’ve been privileged to witness students of these disciplines as they learn how to turn messages into art. The mass communication students learn how to operate cameras, lighting, and other equipment that will one day land them a job in television, filmmaking, or something else equally exciting. It’s truly eye-opening to see how much preparation, time, and effort is required for a relatively…

  • Beautiful Words,  Craft

    Never Say Never: Writing “Rules” That Beg to Be Broken

    By Jennifer Worrell How many of you have heard the old saw, “Write it your way!” or “Write the story you want to read!” And so you do. And then you’re told…you can’t do that. Only {insert bestselling author names here} can do that. But no one explains why. How did successful writers get that privilege, and who gave it to them? Creative writing is nothing without artistic expression, but that’s impossible to achieve if you’re imprisoned by arbitrary rules. In search of a like-minded community, I joined far too many online writers’ forums. A lot are great (especially this one!) and can help you through many a muddy spot…

  • Beautiful Words,  Character Development,  Craft

    Eight Ways You May Be Bungling Your Dialogue In Your Novel

      “I’m not bungling my dialogue,” you say to yourself. But you’ve had a few complaints from your beta readers about how they don’t like the characters. You’ve been told the story feels dead. While your plot is tight and your pacing is perfect, the characters themselves feel off. The trouble could be your dialogue. Dialogue is the soul of the characters. Dialogue is what brings the story to life for your reader. Are you bungling it? You may be bungling you dialogue if . . .  You’ve forgotten about the influence of setting. Your story’s setting may play a role in the way that your characters speak. But too…

  • Beautiful Words,  Craft,  Creativity,  Uncategorized

    Description: Six Ways To Tone It Down And Make Your Story Stronger

    Description can be overdone like Girl Scout cookies, sunny days and reality television. In our fiction writing, description can play a key role. It can make the details of the story come alive vividly. Good description engrosses the reader in the story. But like fine wine, news in an election year, and most pork products, if you have too much description, you may regret it. Many times writers get a little too excited with their descriptions of the people, places and things in their story. As much as I loved the beauty and genius of Les Miserables, I totally skimmed through dozens of pages describing the sewer systems of Paris. With apologies…

  • Beautiful Words,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Uncategorized

    Top 10 Ways To Make Your Words More Beautiful

    by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James Regardless of tastes, preferences or trends, I believe the beautiful calls to us. There is something inside of us that longs for symmetry, for rhythm, for thoughtful curves, for delicacy, for images that spurn our emotions, that bring out in us the good and noble. We all enjoy art for a variety for reasons, but no one can deny how beautiful art serves a purpose. Beautiful art points us to the good in humanity. As we write, we can organize our words  in such a way…

  • Beautiful Words,  Inspiration,  Observation,  Self Talk

    Top 10 Great Things That Happened When I Stopped Complaining

    by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist Sometimes, the world really is insufficient, faulty or stupid. But sometimes it’s just better not to notice.  A few years ago, after a particularly difficult time in my life, I challenged myself to watch what I said and to stop complaining. I thought that by stopping the bad attitude was just a generally a good step in the direction of restraint. I had no idea that this would change nearly everything about my life.  Now, this blog has the main purpose of encouraging time-crunched writers in their dreams, but sometimes, I want to write for everyone. I firmly believe that the world would change dramatically…

  • Beautiful Words,  Craft

    Top 10 Questions To Ask Others and Avoid Being Labeled Another Emily Dickinson by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelists

    If you are a writer, then it is likely that you prefer to be isolated from the rest of the world. You spend your days thinking up great stories, making them as perfect as you possibly can. You may create that ideal lover, that ideal setting or that ideal story that you believe is the only story worth telling, at least for now. You may often be so engrossed in the creation of your little world that you forget that when the story is over, you may have to share it. And that thought makes you want to pretend you’re Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson was an American poet who lived…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Beautiful Words,  Pinnable Graphic

    Top 10 Ways Poetry is Better Than Food

    Poetry is better than food. At least sometimes it is. Just like we eat a variety of things so that we can nourish our bodies, I think we should read a variety of poems so that we can nourish our souls. I love that some poetry  is bite sized like a Dickinson poem or a haiku. I like that some poetry is a full five course meal, like a Longfellow poem. Hungry yet?   1. Like vegetables, poetry is good for you.  If you have the literary nutrition of a poem daily, the you can  appreciate rhythm, imagery, metaphor, meaning, communication, pathos, story telling and good craftsmanship. If you analyze…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Beautiful Words,  Inspiration

    Who Are We? A Existential Rambling From A Novelist Who Should Probably Know Better

    Who are we? What is our identity? These are big questions that haven’t been fully answered by the wisest men. But I’d like to suggest that we are more than our genders, more than our hobbies, more than our avatars, more than our homes, more than our children, more than our possessions. I ask this because I have always struggled with identity. I spent a good part of my childhood fighting for attention, fighting for reassurance, fighting for comfort, for safety, for aspirations, for acceptance that exactly who I am is enough. That fight lasted way too long and the addition of titles like wife and mother just made fight…

  • #WhyIWrite,  Beautiful Words,  Creativity,  Self Talk

    What Is Beautiful To Me by Katharine Grubb

      What is beautiful?  It is beautiful to stop and take deep breaths. To understand that your breathing not just helps your body but it also calms you down. Your deep breaths soothe your mind. Deep breaths free you up to think and act clearly. Deep breathing is a pacifier, a soother, a psychological binky.  You can wrap yourself up in your own breaths and rest deeply. You can breathe the toxins out of your body. You can breathe out the bad thoughts and the invasive poisons. What is beautiful? It is beautiful to choose to be free and walk in truth. What’s beautiful in the journey of truth is…

  • #WhyIWrite,  Beautiful Words

    Beauty, Truth, and the Power to Transcend: A Guest Post by Carolyn Astfalk

      Sometimes we recognize beauty on sight. Where beauty exists in the natural world, it’s often easily discernible. Other times, we have to dig to see the beauty or observe from a different perspective to grasp its intricacy or totality. Whether we readily recognize beauty or not, its creation isn’t a slapdash affair. It can be a complicated, messy process that requires deliberate planning, execution, and revision. However difficult it may be to infuse our art with beauty, it is critical to its acceptance and appreciation. Truth and beauty create transcendence, and it’s transcendence that resonates with readers. Beauty, in its universality, becomes personalist. “In so far as it seeks…