Just Write

Vary sentence structure

Have you heard about varying length of sentences? Here’s what Mary Gordon says about that: “One of the things that I try to do is to have a paragraph that begins and ends with a sentence of approximately the same length and verbal structure. . . . in the middle, the sentences tend to be longer and more complex. It allows for a kind of velocity to happen . . . A shorter sentence you actually have to read more slowly . . . If you are a writer, you have more power than the greatest tyrant in the world because of punctuation. You get to tell people how to breathe . . . a sentence that has very little punctuation, you actually have to read more slowly because you’re not stopping to breathe. So it’s a slowing down and then a kind of build up – a crescendo and…

Places to submit

Joyland – Regional Literary Magazine

Joyland is a literary magazine that selects stories by region. Each regional editor works with authors with some connection to their area. Living in the respective city or region for any amount of time is qualification enough for submission. If you’re unsure, send to the region nearest you. Joyland publishes short fiction, novel excerpts, and literary non-fiction between 1200 and 10,000 words ( slightly under or over is fine). Joyland Submission Guidelines Rejection Guidelines Published work by Regions

Guest Bloggers

Is pre-writing for you?

Guest Blogger Becca Lawton writes about pre-writing. Excerpt from Becca Lawton’s 8/31/15 blog post, about her time in Canada on a Fullbright Scholarship to research her book: Writing a novel is such a huge undertaking that I’m amazed anyone writes more than one . . . I’m completing a submittable draft of my second novel . . . Now that I’m dragging my sorry carcass to the finish line, it’s fun to look back at this post written September 29, 2014, soon after the start of the project, when I was just starting to pour all my hope and energy and learning into it: I just completed sixty pages of prewriting for a second novel . . . They’re filled with answers to questions like, “Who are the main characters in your book?” and “What are their wants in every scene?” and “Is the setting recognizable yet unique?” I’ve modified the questions…


What are you angry about? Prompt #189

Prompt #1: What are you angry about? Mad about? Annoyed about? Complain! Go ahead and vent. Spit it out. You can answer from your experience, or from your fictional character’s point of view.     Prompt #2: Regarding Prompt #1, is there anything you can do about it? If yes, write possible solutions, compromises, ideas, brainstorm. If not, let it go. Write about how you can release it, breathe it away, banish it, whisk it away. How can you let go of your fears, worries, annoyances? How can you just let go?


Cast off the fear

“I was terrified about writing stories about where I came from because I was embarrassed. Truly great writers are not afraid to bare their souls. Sometimes you may feel like: ‘I shouldn’t have put that in there, I don’t want people to think it’s about me or look at me differently.’ Toss those thoughts aside. That’s a mental block. Don’t think about it. Just do it. As long as you write from a place of purity, and it comes from your heart, you can’t go wrong.”—K’wan Foye, interview with Alicia Anstead, October 215 issue of The Writer.

Just Write

Sensory Detail – Taste

When writing simmers with sensory detail, readers digest the story and perhaps, are satiated with emotionally charged memories. Do you remember dipping graham crackers in milk and eating it quickly before it broke off and became a soggy mess? You might use something like this in a scene where the hero/heroine has just been dumped by a boyfriend/girlfriend. Perhaps your character can’t make decisions. Employ a scene where he taste tests while walking a buffet line; a bite here, a nibble there, unable to settle on a nourishing decision. Employ sensory detail to involve readers in the story’s emotional ingredients. Match emotions with taste receptors: Bitter: She recoiled and didn’t know whether it was from her bitter coffee or his abrupt, “We’re done.” Salty: “The oysters were so fresh they tasted like my tears. I closed my eyes to feel the sensation of the sea.” — Laura Fraser, “Food for…

Places to submit

Ruminate is ready for your submission

ru’mi-nate: to chew the cud; to muse; to meditate; to think again; to ponder Ruminate is an award-winning quarterly literary arts print magazine engaging the Christian faith. Ruminate publishes poetry, short stories, photography, visual art reproductions, short fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, essays, reviews, and interviews. Ruminate sponsors four contests each year—poetry, short story, nonfiction and visual arts. Ruminate suggests slowing down and paying attention. “We love laughter. And we delight in telling the truth, asking questions, and doing ‘small things with great love,’ as Mother Theresa said.” You are invited to submit your work. Note from Marlene: Writers Forum of Petaluma presenter Rayne Wolfe, October 15, 2015: Newspaper reporter and columnist, Rayne Wolfe will share her methods for identifying sources, mining for quotable gold and turning interviews into stories. Whether you are focusing on non-fiction, fiction, historical fiction or memoir, Rayne will share her tools for enriching all writing by becoming…