• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

Vanessa Hua's Ten Writing Pointers

In the 53rd in a series of posts on 2016 books entered for The Story Prize, Vanessa Hua, author of Deceit and Other Possibilities (Willow Publishing), offers some authorial tips.1. Hours of power. Figure out when you are at your most inspired and productive—early or late morning? After 10 pm?—and spend that time working on the projects that matter to you most. When I’m feeling less than inspired—say, late on a Friday afternoon—I deal with administrative tasks, such as sending and following up on pitches and submissions, or taking care of paperwork.2. Reverse engineer. Read stories and study their dialogue, their structure, and everything you can mine that resonates with your work. How did the author manage two timelines, or portray a character only dimly aware of the consequences of her actions? Type out the sentences you love and ad lib style, play around with the details until it becomes your own.3. Writing about what you don’t know. To describe a time, place, or event that you didn’t witness, search through Flickr, YouTube, Google Street View for photos and videos of other worlds. Soundcities is a database of street sounds. Read fiction and non-fiction from that country and time period, as well as travel guides. If you discover gaps in the official record, rejoice! Your imagination can fill in the rest.4. Writing outside your experience. Start humbly, not with assumption and arrogance. Ask questions and do research to avoid trite, stereotypical descriptions. Run a draft past readers from that background to get their opinion. Ask yourself, is your character fully-realized, or is he a symbol, a mechanism?Hagiography? Not on your life!5. Beware of hagiography. When writing about your family, don’t turn them into saints. As hard-working as your grandfather might have been, as self-sacrificing as your mother is, portray them (or the characters based upon them) in all their flawed complexity.6. Step back. You’ve just received comments from your writing group or workshop. Put your work aside for a day or more, however long it takes for your emotions to settle so you can see what advice you want to keep, and what you’ll disregard.7. Exercise. It’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking”—our sedentary lifestyle is killing us (in addition to all the usual agonies of attempting to write). I try to go for a swim, walk, or a run each day. Feeling off kilter physically can diminish your motivation. That time away from my computer, with my body in motion, is important to my creative process. Often, a narrative dilemma resolves itself when I’m not actively thinking about it, that ah-ha moment when I'm gliding underwater.8. Double up. If I’m commuting or going for a run, I use a pdf-to-voice app to immerse myself in my work-in-progress and to listen for clunky or confusing sentences. Do whatever you can to make the most of the time you have.9. Foster literary community. Attend or organize readings, subscribe to literary magazines, and form writing groups. Share opportunities with colleagues and friends, and celebrate and spread their victories—even if they won what you wanted! It will help you cast your net farther in search of opportunities, and they will share with you in return.10. No one will care as much as you do. Not your partner, not your mother, not your professor, not your editor, not your agent, not your dog. Sounds depressing, but for me, it’s empowering. Your work ultimately rests upon you, and you must do whatever it takes to put forth your best.

"If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing. "
Kingsley Amis

Random picks

  • The benefits of journal writing are fairly well established due to the long history of journal writing. There are plenty of noteworthy characters who have advantaged from journal writing. Journal Writing Benefits When considering the benefits of journal writing, it is important to set a few parameters. Firstly, journal writing has no age requirement. Both kids and adults will benefit from it. People write journals to reflect and express themselves. There is no required subject or content to a journal. What matters is that time is spent on reflecting on one’s thoughts. You might not be...
  • People write friendship poems a lot. This style of poetry is written with deep emotions a lot of the time. Friendship poems can be based on a social, work or intimate relationship. A lot of this form of poetry can be found on the internet.
  • Elizabeth McCracken's first story collection in 21 years proved to be a triumphant return to the form, as she took home the top prize of $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl as winner of The Story Prize for her collection, Thunderstruck (The Dial Press). After she and fellow finalists Francesca Marciano and Lorrie Moore read from and discussed their work on-stage at The New School in New York City on March 4, the Founder of The Story Prize, Julie Lindsey, announced McCracken as the winner, and the author took the stage to accept the award to enthusiastic applause from the audience.In the days...
  • Margo Jefferson is a master of appearances. Growing up in the Chicago branch of Negroland -- a liminal realm of existence she describes as "that small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege...
  • You need to write a blog if you hope to raise your online visibility. Building your reputation through your blog posts will help to further your success. If you want to make yourself heard and you express yourself well, you could turn a profit from a popular, well-made blog. If you have a business, an appropriate blog can increase its exposure and draw in potential customers. Read on to find out how to blog for fun or profit. Blog frequently. Bloggers tend to begin a blog and then post inconsistently. Even if readers love your blog, they’ll lose interest if they have to wait a long time...

Recommended sites

Most recent titles

Fast fact about writing

It has been said that a monkey, randomly typing away on a typewriter (in the days when typewriters replaced the pen or plume as the preferred instrument of writing) could re-create Shakespeare-- but only if it lived long enough (this is known as the infinite monkey theorem).