Opening Lines As First Impression

Do you learn from example? You’ll love this post. Thanks for sharing your insights Josh Sippie.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Sippie author picBy Josh Sippie

It’s hard to argue that the whole “you only get one chance to make a first impression” logic doesn’t also apply to writing. The first line of a narrative is the first foray into the voice of the author, the creativeness, the style, the everything. If that isn’t on par with what you, the reader, are looking for, then what’s leading you to believe that the rest of the narrative will change? For that matter, why should you give it the chance to change when there are so many other options out there to consume?

So what makes an interesting first line? Let’s take a look.

Take, for instance, the first line of The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls.

“I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.”

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Dear Modern Love Editor: I Want to Be 1 in 100

Wonderful honesty. Both entertaining and insightful.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

M. Betsy SmithBy M. Betsy Smith

Dear Editor:

I read the Modern Love submission tips and followed them as best I could – well, except maybe I already screwed up because I’m giving away the storyline too early. Points off for premature disclosure.

I am a new writer so I will make mistakes – this is the second one. Not good form to mention I am new at this. My writing might clue you in to that anyway. Wait, should I delete that “that”?

My favorite tip advises me to just write because if I do I will get better. I’m old, at least life makes me feel old, so I have to hurry up. I need to get all the stories pent up in me out.

I have been asked where I will submit my essays and my response is always the New York Times Modern Love column. I figure it’s…

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Sharing and Self-Promotion

Sharing and Self-Promotion

Forgot to take a picture of us at the boutique, so here’s one of my book covers

I rented a booth at a holiday boutique to sell my books. Knowing that I can promote other people’s products much better than I can my own, I invited two friends who write in basically the same genre to share my table. To my great delight, the scheme worked. We all sold books, and we all had a great time. To me, the moving target that is self-promotion is easier to vector in on with friends. It seemed that even the shoppers who didn’t buy our books spent more time listening to our pitch when there were three of us at the table. You might think bringing in competition would hurt my chances of making a sale, but it didn’t work out that way. Next time you’re planning a book event, consider helping another author and see how it helps you.

Luck and wisdom!

PS – Shameless self-promotion alert, you can buy The Chenille Ultimatum here.

Just Like Your Father

Always nice to have my work accepted and published.
Thanks Murmurs of Words.

Murmurs of Words


By Lynn Goodwin

“You’re just like your father,” spoken in a sing-song disdain is a refrain from my childhood. Auntie Deloris and Uncle Art confirmed it. And once when I was in my late teens, Art added, “It’s nothing to be proud of.” I couldn’t see how we looked alike, but I couldn’t see myself in the mirror either. I only saw a reflection.

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Writer Advice,, helping writers since 1997, offers

  • Manuscript Consultations
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Go to Click on Manuscript Consultations for more information.

10 PAYING/NO FEE Literary Magazines – Deadlines: Aug. 30 – Sept. 30, 2019

Why not take a chance in one of these contests or in Writer Advice’s Summer Flash Contest at

Trish Hopkinson

The literary magazines/journals listed below all offer some form of payment, do not charge submission/reading, take online submissions, and have submission deadlines from August 30 – September 30, 2019.

This list focuses on poetry submissions/contests, but most lit mags accept prose and art as well. The listings are in order of closest deadlines.

Carte Blanche

DEADLINE: Aug. 30, 2019


FORMS: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, translations. comics, photography

FORMAT: online

PAYMENT: “carte blanche pays a modest honorarium per submission.”


DEADLINE: Aug. 31, 2019


FORMS: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, reviews

FORMAT: online and print


  • “Poems: $120 for one poem or $150 for two or more poems
  • Stories: $200
  • Articles: $200
  • Visual art/Intro essay: $120
  • Reviews: $100
  • Online Publication: $100″


DEADLINE: Aug. 31, 2019


THEME: Climate Change

FORMS: poetry, fiction, essays, drama, comics and graphic narratives, hybrid work

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What to Say to a Writer

Lenore Franzen gets it IMHO.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

franzenBy Lenore Franzen

At my writer’s group recently, we were going around the circle and checking in—giving the others an update on our own writing, perhaps raising an issue we’d been facing. One woman, when it was her turn, expressed frustration over a question she is asked often by those who know she’s working on a memoir. “When are you going to get your book published?”

When indeed. For anyone who doesn’t make a habit of wrestling with words and calling it her livelihood, let me tell you a secret. This is the question every writer dreads. It’s a question that pokes us, taunts us, by way of saying there should be a measurable outcome to everything we do and perhaps we’ve chosen the wrong thing to spend our time on.

A journalist writes to meet a deadline. An academic writes to stay relevant. A copywriter writes to sell.


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