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Writing for Life

Mondays

Why Writers Should Enter Free Writing Contests 

Woman writing on a wall

Today’s guest post is by Michael McPherson:

Entering writing contests can afford a great opportunity to practice new skills, hone your existing writing skills, and bring in income. Yes, most contests offer cash prizes, and many writers actually earn up to a third of their income entering and winning writing contests.

Contests span a broad range of topics and writing styles, so you are certain to find a contest that fits your interests, skills, and abilities.

Although many writing competitions exact an entry fee, there are free writing competitions that you can enter, so why not give them a try?  Beginning a writing career takes time to develop, and writers normally do not have a lot of extra cash to expend on competition entry fees. So free contests mean you have a lot to gain and nothing to lose. Continue Reading…

The Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing

Wednesdays

Staying in Character: The Convergence of POV and Voice

Fatal Flaw #5

We’re wrapping up our look this month into Fatal Flaw #5: POV Violations. And there are many. POV “rules” aren’t hard to follow once you understand them. The trick is to keep in mind that when you’re in POV, you can only see, think, hear, and feel what through the senses of that one character. Anything that veers out of POV is a violation. 

Today editor Robin Patchen delves into the POV violation involving characters’ voices.

Jane Austen’s books are all written in the same voice—hers. And we love them. But twenty-first century authors can’t write the way Jane Austen did because modern readers have different expectations. Today’s readers look for books written from deep point of view, and in deep point of view, not only are author voices different, character voices are too.

Did you ever watch the TV show Frasier? There’s a scene where his new girlfriend invites him to go antiquing with her. Kelsey Grammer’s character responds, “I’m not one of those people for whom antique is a verb.” A funny line, but it tells us something—Frasier Crane’s writers knew who he was. Do you know who your characters are?  Continue Reading…

Grammar, Punctuation & Confusables

Fridays

Are You Getting the Just Deserts You Deserve?

Say What new

Sometimes we think bad people should get what they deserve, but we shouldn’t liken that punishment to eating day-old pastries.

Yes, lots of people use the phrase “getting his just deserts,” but they are thinking of desserts—sweet treats.

The word desert pronounced with the accent on the second syllable (de-ZERT), brings to mind the verb that means to leave, abandon, or withdraw. But as a noun, that word means “that which one deserves.” Desert, in that sense, is now archaic and rarely used outside this phrase.

In a convoluted way, writing “he got his just desserts” (as in sweets) makes some sense. I picture doling out some awful-tasting moldy cake to a person I feel deserves such a dessert. Continue Reading…

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