35 Writing Contests in November 2020 – No entry fees – Written By Erica Verrillo…

Erica Verrillo provides us once again with writing contests for the current month. Thank you so much, Erica!


on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:

This November there are nearly three dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels.
Prizes range from $50,000 to publication. None charge entry fees.

Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.

Get Full Details HERE

Is Grammarly Safe For Free And Premium Users? – Written By Derek Haines…

Derek Haines informs us about the safety of Grammarly, a program many of us use to edit our work. Thank you very much, Derek.


on Just Publishing Advice:

There’s no doubt that Grammarly is one of the most popular grammar checkers for writers and bloggers.

But as with all online apps and services available on the Internet, you might have some concerns regarding your privacy and personal data.

Whenever you register and install any app or program on your computer or mobile devices, it’s always worth checking the privacy policy and terms of service.

However, we all know that very few people take the time to do it, so I’ll share my experience with you.

Continue reading HERE

Story Structure: Why Some Stories Fall Apart & Fail to Hook Readers – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb published an article about story structure. She writes as educational and informative as always – and with just as much wit and humor as usual. Thanks for another helpful and funny post, Kristen!


Story structure is a HUGE deal in all stories. The last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned memoirs and how they can utilize a variety of structures. This said, there are so many variegations for the memoir, that I just can’t do them all justice here.

Since I am at least sharp enough to know when to defer to people much smarter than me…AND because I am #1 at HUMBLE…

At the end of the post, I’ll give y’all some links to people who ARE memoir experts and can do a much better job explaining all the structural styles available.

This said, if you’ve read my last two posts The Quest: The Hero’s Journey Meets Memoir and Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling we didn’t ONLY talk about memoirs. Rather, we discussed where some fundamentals for writing great memoirs apply across the board to other types of storytelling.

Whether we’re writing a memoir, novel, short story, essay, or even screenplays…structure matters.

If we keep starting out with great ideas that ultimately end up haunting our hard drives unformed and unfinished?

Structure.

Or, maybe we finish books, but no one seems to want to read them. It could be the glut in the market. OR it could be that the core idea is GOLD, but the structure isn’t such that it fully reveals what our story has to offer.

There are many reasons our writing might be stalling, stumbling, fumbling or failing. Yet, in my 20 years editing? It’s almost always, always a problem with story structure.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Happy Halloween 2020

The dark history behind Halloween

(Source: Business Insider.com)

The word ‘Halloween’ was first popularized in a poem.

Scottish poet Robert Burns helped to popularize the word “Halloween” with his 1785 poem of the same name.

So where does the name itself come from? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it’s actually two words smushed together. “Hallow” — or holy person — refers to the saints celebrated on All Saints’ Day, which is November 1. The “een” part of the word is a contraction of “eve” — or evening before.

The day’s morbid traditions go back to ancient times

Historians have linked Halloween to Samhain, the Celtic festival of the summer’s end celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

According to Celtic mythology, the veil between the Otherworld and our world thins during Samhain, making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to return.

People would make offerings of food in order to get on the good side of these spirits and departed ancestors, according to the Mirror.

Allhallowtide, which includes All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and the subsequent All Souls’ Day, was initially celebrated in the spring, during the early years of the Church.

Pope Gregory IV switched it to the current date in 837, according to Britannica. His reasons were unclear, although influence from Celtic factions of the church and the fact that it makes sense to commemorate death during the fall are possibilities.

Bobbing for apples used to be more than just a splashy party game.

Halloween has come to be most closely associated with the pumpkin, but apples have played an important role in its history.

After all, apples make numerous appearances in Celtic mythology and are often connected to the Otherworld.

Bobbing for apples remains a popular party game.

The reason? Well, the practice used to be considered a form of divination performed around Halloween, according to NPR. That’s right — people would dunk their heads in a vat of water and try to bite into floating fruit in a quest to figure out their future spouse.

Ladies would mark an apple and toss it into the tub. The thinking was they’d be destined to whoever pulled it out of the water.

Jack-o’-lanterns symbolize a fateful deal with the Devil.

Otherwise, you might end up like Irish folk figure Jack O’Lantern.

Modern day, intricately designed pumpkin creations certainly make for impressive decorations. But back in the day, folks in Ireland dubbed their carved, fiery turnips “jack-o’-lanterns” thanks in part to an ominous legend.

One night, a conniving local drunkard named Jack trapped the Prince of Darkness in a tree by hacking a sign of the cross into the bark. In exchange for letting Satan climb down, Jack had him vow to never claim his soul.

Jack proceeded to act like a jerk his whole life. When he died, he sure as heck was not allowed in heaven. So he tried to return to his old pal, the Devil. But Satan upheld his end of the deal, hurling a piece of coal from hell at the dead man for good measure.

Left without anywhere to go, Jack placed the blazing coal in a turnip to use as a lantern. The dead man then set out, doomed to wander until he can find an eternal resting place.

Trick-or-treating has ancient precedent — but the candy part didn’t come about until much later.

Modern day trick-or-treating is a confluence of various traditions.

Ancient Celts dressed up as evil spirits in order to confuse demons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

In medieval England, “soulers” would go around begging rich folk for “soul cakes” on Halloween. Instead of threatening to play tricks, however, they’d pray for peoples’ souls in return for the cake, according to “The Compleat Teacher’s Almanack.”

Throughout medieval Europe, mummering — dressing in disguises and visiting neighborhoods while dancing, playing music, and doing tricks — was popular on major feast days.

TIME reported Irish and Scottish immigrants brought “souling” to the States in the 1800s. But modern day trick-or-treating didn’t catch on in the US until the 1920s.

The practice was pretty controversial into the 1950s, though. According to the American Journal of Play’s “Gangsters, Pranksters, and the Invention of Trick-or-Treating,” many adults raised “stern objections” to trick-or-treating over the decades, as it was often viewed as a form of extortion.

The “Bloody Mary” ritual has unclear origins (and various practices).

Late folklorist and UC Berkeley professor Alan Dundes wrote an article titled “Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety” about the various origins and practices of the “Bloody Mary” ritual, also known as “Mary Worth” and “Mary Whales.”

Many versions of the ritual include the elements of a girl peering into a mirror (often in a bathroom), darkness, blood, chanting, and the appearance of the cursed “Mary.”

Black cats have been associated with the supernatural for hundreds of years.

Black cat costumes are particularly popular on Halloween.

“In the Middle Ages, black cats were often portrayed as the famliars of witches, which is likely to be the origin of the distrust with which they are regarded in America, where early Puritan settlers rejected anything associated with the Devil and witch,” Chloe Rhodes wrote in “Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book on Old-fashioned Superstition.”

According to History.com, it was also believed in the Middle Ages that witches transformed into black cats to conceal themselves.


After this interesting and fascinating information about ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ I wish you and your loved ones:

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

THE MAGICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WRITER AND THEIR NOTEBOOKS #AMWRITING – Written By Lucy Mitchell

Lucy Mitchell explains why there is a magical relationship between a writer and notebooks. Thanks so much for your post, Lucy! How many people don’t understand that bond.


#writingcommunity #writerslife

This weekend will be spent clearing out my dressing table and creating a temporary work desk. As I am working from home in my day job, the teenagers are off school due to half term, my husband is also working from home and we are in the middle of a strict lockdown, I cannot spend the next two weeks working from the living room. Not only will I have to put up with pyjama clad teens wandering about in the background while I am on Zoom calls, I will also have to listen to my loved one shouting at everyone to keep the noise down from his desk.

Underneath my dressing table there are three large boxes filled with notebooks. Some of my old stories were born inside these notebooks and some still reside between the pages. I have to write this post because I think my family believe this will be the weekend I finally clear out all my boxes of notebooks.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Asking the Right Questions with Character Interviews – Written By Becca Puglisi

Becca Puglisi published a blog post about asking the right questions with character interviews. How do we know the character, what’s important? Thanks so much for helping us out answering these questions, Becca.


on Writers Helping Writers:

Developing characters is one of the joys of writing and it’s a dream when we understand them and what they’re about. Inevitably, though, there comes a time when our characters do and say things that don’t make sense to us, we feel they’re one-dimensional, or we just don’t know how they should react to situations. This can stall our story.

Character interviews are a fabulous way to address these problems. Not only does interviewing your character help you learn more about them, you’ll be able to note the hesitations or uncertainties so you can drill deeper into those areas. It can also give you a better feel for their voice, which can sometimes be hard to nail down.

But there are so many interviews and questionnaires available on the internet, and we can lose a lot of time answering questions that may not be relevant to understanding our character. So how do we know which questions are the right questions? Which ones will help us dig deeper into our characters and, ultimately, strengthen our story?

Continue reading HERE

How To Edit A Book And Do It Right – Written By Derek Haines

Derek Haines gives us advice on how to edit a book. Thank you so much for helping us with your information and experience, Derek!.


on Just Publishing Advice:

When you sit down to edit a book, you want to improve your story and your writing.

It’s a good idea to do a thorough grammar and spell check before you start. You have a choice of plenty of premium and free grammar checkers to help you.

But a grammar check is not editing. The editing process starts when you carefully read your manuscript, line by line.

If you don’t have a professional editor, you can learn how to self-edit your book by following my checklist of 20 common faults.

Continue reading HERE

Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling & Why It Also Matters in Memoir – Written By Kristen Lamb

My favorite blogger Kristen Lamb has published a post about narrative style, the heart of storytelling. Thank you so much for another educational blog post, Kristen.


Narrative style is the beating heart of writing. While our voice might remain consistent from a blog to a non-fiction to a fiction, narrative style is what keeps our work fresh and makes it resonate.

Developing a strong narrative style is especially critical if we decide to write a memoir because the style will need to not only reflect the personality of the author-storyteller, but also hit that sweet spot in tone that is appropriate for the story.

But what IS IT?

Last post, I opened the discussion about memoirs. Memoirs are not only becoming increasingly popular, but with the implosion of traditional publishing, there’s good news. Anyone can write and publish a memoir. There’s also bad news…anyone can write and publish a memoir.

Before we talk about the various structures and types of memoirs, it’s a good idea to first discuss the broad concepts. Last time, I mentioned that superior memoirs frequently DO reflect The Hero’s Journey.

That was our first meta-concept, so to speak. The second meta-concept is narrative style. This aids us in connecting with audiences and generating long-lasting resonance.

Narrative style can be one of those amorphous concepts that’s tough to define directly. Sort of like black holes.

Scientists don’t per se observe a black hole directly, as much as they suspect they might have a black hole because of what’s going on around a certain area in space (the behavior of light and nearby planets, etc).

This said, all creators would be prudent to keep some core principles in mind when writing anything from a blog, to a non-fiction, to a memoir. These principles lay the foundation for what we think of when it comes to ‘narrative style.’

CONTINUE READING HERE