Just Write

Emulate Writers to Improve Your Writing

The following is an excerpt from “Train Your Eye for Better Writing,” by Tess Callahan, September 2017, Writer’s Digest: “I encourage my students to read deeply a broad range of writers, and after each one, try writing a few sentences in that wordsmith’s style. For example, take a signature line from William Faulkner. . . and, while keeping the sentence structure intact, pluck out all of the nouns and verbs and replace them with your own. Don’t place these emulated lines directly into your own writing. . . Instead, the idea is to practice emulating lines so that the many different styles can work their way into your brain, spin around in the blender of your subconscious, and serve to inform your own unique voice. No art form exists in a vacuum. The impressionists were friends and rivals who hung around in the same cafes, shared, traded and borrowed, and…


Writers are such heady creatures . . .

“Writes are such heady creatures that we often forget our characters have bodies and senses. To fully imagine a life, one has to supply undeniable details about the exterior world so that when the novelist has to make the truly improbable leap to the interior world of another human being, the reader is primed to believe us.”  —Julianna Baggott Excerpt from “Pure Writer,” by Elfrieda Abbe, The Writer Magazine, January 2016

Places to submit

Flash fiction: What it is and where to submit

“Flash fiction goes by many names: microfiction, sudden fiction, short-short, postcard fiction, etc. Its word count runs anywhere from 140 characters to over a thousand words, generally capping out at 1500. A short-short story has to handle all the fictional elements seamlessly within an extremely tight space. Give these extreme parameters, what makes a piece of flash fiction truly great?”  —“Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” by Jack Smith, May 2017, The Writer “It’s a great artistic expression,” states Kim Chinquee, author of Oh Baby Flash Fictions and Prose Poetry. “Key attributes [for flash fiction]: Language. Imagery. Surprise. Things that are left out. Elements such as tone and point-of-view can fill in for the plot. Rhythm. And a smashing title and ending.” Smith writes in this article, “Hundreds of publications are open to flash fiction.” Here are some of them: Atticus Review The Carolina Quarterly Smokelong Quarterly More places to submit flash fiction….


Onomatopoeia . . . Prompt #341

Using sound in our writing can be a way to add richness and memorable descriptions to our prose.  For this writing, first think of some sounds . . . . a train whistle . . . a fog horn . . . a cat’s meow . . . someone calling for help. Take a few minutes, if you can, to listen to the sounds around you right now. Think of some other sounds . . . the fizz from a carbonated drink being opened, the intake of breath when someone is surprised. As Jay Heinrichs says in the October 2011 issue of The Writer magazine, “Onomatopoeia:  Words that go splat”: “The Greeks came up with [onomatopoeia], which means ‘made-up name.’ The ono is an echo, imitating a sound for action. The ono . . . is a great way of bringing life to your storytelling. Things do not go “oops”…


A tradition involving your grandparents. Prompt #340

“As the years slip past, we become more and more aware of what’s really important in life. With every passing season, we see more clearly and know more surely that the love and traditions a family shares are treasures beyond value.” — A Grandparent’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words by Thomas Nelson It occurs to me (Marlene) that we think our lives are boring. We think “No one wants to hear about me.” But. . . aren’t you curious about your grandparents and your ancestors? Maybe you are lucky and know all about them. If you are like me, you know little about your family that came before you. So, write your stories. Write stories about your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. I bet someone will be interested. I bet more than one person will be interested. Write about a tradition involving your grandparents. Or about anyone in…

Just Write

 Nervous about sharing your writing?

“Do you ever feel nervous about sharing so much in print?” Roxane Gay answers, “Absolutely. The only way I really have the courage or stupidity to share my writing is by believing that no one is going to read it. I have to tell myself that because I‘m actually very shy and private in real life. It’ hard to share such personal stories. But here I am! It’s difficult at this point to maintain the delusion. It was much easier when I was publishing in small literary magazines and nobody knew who I was.” Roxane Gay, September 2017 Writer’s Digest Note from Marlene:  So, even prolific writers are nervous about their work being made public.  Here’s a thought:  Don’t worry. Just write! Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short…

Places to submit

Uncanny ready for your submissions

  Uncanny Magazine  is an online Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine featuring passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture.  Each issue contains intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs, from writers of every conceivable background. Uncanny believes there’s still plenty of room in the genre for tales that make you feel. Uncanny looks for new and classic speculative fiction, podcasts, poetry, essays, art, and interviews. Submissions Oct 2 to Oct 16, 2017:  short story submissions and poetry submissions. Note from Marlene:  Sorry for the short notice. It’s good to always have something ready to submit for these short notices. Fiction Guidelines Uncanny is looking for original, unpublished speculative fiction stories between 750-6000 words. Payment is $.08 per word (including audio rights). Poetry Guidelines Uncanny is looking for original, unpublished speculative poetry of any length. Payment is $30 per…