“Some People You Like, and Some You Just Don’t”

Started in a Zoom workshop offered by Story Circle Network, where Len is president. Nice job. I love the way one thought leads to another. WTG, Len. Curious about the workshop? E-mail me and I’ll tell you how to join.

20 Minutes a Day

Prompt: You know how it goes, some people you like, and some you just don’t. From the preface of Susan Lewis’s Forgive Me

As a rule, I like most people. That is my nature. However, there are a few instances where I find myself backing slowly away. Call it self-protection or simply being discerning, but there are situations where I sense the person I’m getting to know is not going to end up in my close friend category.

I consider it a red flag when I meet a person who repeatedly uses the expression, “In my experience…”. It’s not that I mind hearing how someone might have learned something from his/her experience, it’s just that if they use the phrase a lot, it often means that person thinks they know better than others, based on their unique “experience.” I try to give people the benefit of the doubt on this…

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Have you heard about Writer Advice’s Flash Fiction Contest?

Latest Contest Information

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” ~ Steven King

Writer Advice’s

Flash Fiction Submissions

So many people lost their employment or their businesses in 2020 that we’re reducing the price significantly for anyone who does not want feedback. Your work will still be considered for a prize, but you won’t receive a detailed evaluation of your writing.

If you’d like to know what’s working in your writing and what trips an award-winning writer up, I’m happy to send a personalized, detailed letter, but I have to ask that you pay an additional $9 fee. You’d pay the $5 submission fee and add the $9 feedback option on Submittable. If you have the money, I strongly recommend it. It’s a good bargain and a worker is worthy of her hire. Thank you for understanding.

WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, a story running 750 words or less. Sometimes fiction is based on real life, sometimes it stretches the imagination, but we always love or hate the characters. All fiction genres are welcome. Hopefully, your story will touch or move readers in some way.

Please don’t try to cut a longer story down to 750 words. Instead, submit to a contest with a longer word limit.

Finalists who paid the $14 fee receive responses from all judges. Everyone who pays the supplemental fee receives a detailed response from award-winning author B. Lynn Goodwin.

We enjoy stories with a discovery, maybe a surprise, and a tone that rings true. Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us.

DEADLINE: The last day we’ll accept submissions is Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Early submissions are encouraged. Scroll down to find the Submittable button. The fee helps us pay expenses. 

JUDGES: will be selected from previous prizewinners. Read recent winners by clicking on Archives if you are curious about what judges might be looking for.

PRIZES: First Place earns $150; Second Place earns $75; Third Place earns $40; Honorable Mentions will also be listed.

FOR BEST RESULTS:

  1. Include your name, contact information, and title in the cover letter, but include only your title in the submission so it remains anonymous.
  2. Since we judge these anonymously, you don’t need a cover letter that includes more than your contact information including your e-mail address. If you are a finalist, we’ll ask for a bio. 
  3. Please double-space your submission. We recommend that you use a 14-point font that is easy to read. Cambria, Ariel, and Verdana are all good. If you forget, we can fix it for you.
  4. You own the copyright. If we publish your work, the rights still belong to you.
  5. Simultaneous submissions accepted. You may submit up to 3 pieces to us, but each one must be submitted separately. 
  6. We prefer unpublished work, though we do accept stand-alone excerpts from fiction seeking a publisher or agent. If it doesn’t work as a stand-alone, it’s best to submit it elsewhere. 
  7. If you have questions, please click on the contact button and ask. 

We look forward to reading your work. 

COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CONTESTANTS:

WriterAdvice.com is one of my all-time most reliable and accessible sites for writers. I use it—and recommend it to my clients.” ~Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers (http://howtodoitfrugally.com), poetry and fiction

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about the great feedback you give to folks no matter how many entries you get.”   –Bill Buschel

“Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for this feedback. It’s such a refreshing experience to have some exchange — as most submissions disappear into the either like rogue satellites.” –Charles Watts 

“Thank you so much for your detailed feedback!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and analyze my work . . . It’s not every day a contest gives you comprehensive feedback instead of a simple yes/no!” –Lena Crown

“Your insights are excellent” –Dan Dubelman

“You are the first professional to offer feedback and your encouraging words have given me additional motivation!  It is reassuring to know that I was on the right track; you have a remarkable ability to give constructive feedback in a positive way (and you are absolutely correct). I look forward to submitting more stories and continuing to improve.” –Jamie Fouty

“I learned about this contest from the Submittable page. I then checked out your website and felt comfortable submitting my story as you seem like someone who genuinely wants to help and advise others.” –Roger Yetzer

“Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts. I’m always striving to improve my writing, and feedback from editors like you make it much easier to do so.”  –Margarite R. Stever

“Many thanks for your response, from it, I can tell you’re very good at what you do.” –Kisa, Visually Versed

“Thank you so much for your feedback, it always makes me feel inspired and motivated.” –Elizabeth Cockle

“Thanks for the wonderful feedback, never, never, got that before in thirty years.” –Jenny Hickinbotham

SUBMISSIONS:

All entries should be submitted through Submittable,

submit

Winners will be announced on WriterAdvicewww.writeradvice.com at the beginning of July 2021 or—worst case — later. 

Book Club Mom’s Author Update: B. Lynn Goodwin

News to share: Goodwin announces the release of Talent, the story ofSandee Mason who is convinced her life will change if she can just win applause for her talents—whatever they may be. She can’t wait to accomplish something after living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared in Afghanistan months earlier, leaving Sandee craving the same attention the whole town is giving him, even as she wrestles with feelings of loss. When her high school drama department puts on the play Oklahoma!, she knows that now is her chance to step out and be noticed. What will she learn about herself as she reaches out to the world?

Book to feature: Talent (Koehler Books, November 1, 2020)

Brief bio and other books: B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, writeradvice.com. In addition to Talent, she has written Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 (memoir) and You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (self-help). Never Too Late and Talent are multiple award-winners. Shorter works ran in Hip MamaThe SunDramatics MagazineGood HousekeepingPurple Clover, and Flashquake. A reviewer and teacher at Writer Advice and Story Circle Network, she lives in Northern California with her energetic husband and exceptional terrier.

Website and social media links:
Website: writeradvice.com
Twitter: @Lgood67334
Facebook: blynngoodwin and @writeradvice  · Author
Instagram: blynngoodwin


Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Writer Advice’s Flash Memoir Contest

So many people lost their employment or their businesses in 2020 that we’re reducing the price significantly for anyone who does not want feedback. Your work will still be considered for a prize, but you won’t receive a detailed evaluation of your writing.

If you’d like to know what’s working in your writing and what trips an award-winning writer up, I’m happy to send a personalized, detailed letter, but I have to ask that you pay an additional $9 fee. You’d pay the $5 submission fee and add the $9 feedback option on Submittable. If you have the money, I strongly recommend it. It’s a good bargain and a worker is worthy of her hire. Thank you for understanding.

That said, WriterAdvice seeks flash memoir, a personal life story running 750 words or less. Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us. Focus on a moment that changed you. Memoir is a slice or sliver of your life. Hopefully, your story will touch or move readers in some way.

Finalists who paid the $14 fee receive responses from all judges. Everyone who pays the supplemental fee receives a detailed response from award-winning author B. Lynn Goodwin.

We enjoy stories with a discovery, maybe a surprise, and a tone that rings true.

DEADLINE: The last day we’ll accept submissions is Tuesday, March 2. Early submissions are encouraged. Scroll down to find the Submittable button. The fee helps us pay expenses. 

JUDGES: will be selected from previous prizewinners. Read recent winners by clicking on Archives if you are curious about what judges might be looking for.

PRIZES: First Place earns $150; Second Place earns $75; Third Place earns $40; Honorable Mentions will also be listed.

FOR BEST RESULTS:

  1. Include your name, contact information, and title in the cover letter, along with a statement that this is memoir–not fiction, but include only your title in the submission so it remains anonymous.
  2. Since we judge these anonymously, you don’t need a cover letter that includes more than your contact information including your e-mail address. If you are a finalist, we’ll ask for a bio. 
  3. Please double-space your submission. We recommend that you use a 14-point font that is easy to read. Cambria, Ariel, and Verdana are all good. If you forget, we can fix it for you.
  4. You own the copyright. If we publish your work, the rights still belong to you.
  5. Simultaneous submissions accepted. You may submit up to 3 memoir pieces to us, but each one must be submitted separately. 
  6. We prefer unpublished work, though we do accept stand-alone excerpts from fiction seeking a publisher or agent. If it doesn’t work as a stand-alone, it’s best to submit it elsewhere. 
  7. If you have questions, please click on the contact button and ask. 

COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CONTESTANTS:

WriterAdvice.com is one of my all-time most reliable and accessible sites for writers. I use it—and recommend it to my clients.” ~Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers (http://howtodoitfrugally.com), poetry and fiction

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about the great feedback you give to folks no matter how many entries you get.”   –Bill Buschel

“Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for this feedback. It’s such a refreshing experience to have some exchange — as most submissions disappear into the either like rogue satellites.” –Charles Watts 

“Thank you so much for your detailed feedback!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and analyze my work . . . It’s not every day a contest gives you comprehensive feedback instead of a simple yes/no!” –Lena Crown

“Your insights are excellent” –Dan Dubelman

“You are the first professional to offer feedback and your encouraging words have given me additional motivation!  It is reassuring to know that I was on the right track; you have a remarkable ability to give constructive feedback in a positive way (and you are absolutely correct). I look forward to submitting more stories and continuing to improve.” –Jamie Fouty

“I learned about this contest from the Submittable page. I then checked out your website and felt comfortable submitting my story as you seem like someone who genuinely wants to help and advise others.” –Roger Yetzer

“Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts. I’m always striving to improve my writing, and feedback from editors like you make it much easier to do so.”  –Margarite R. Stever

“Many thanks for your response, from it, I can tell you’re very good at what you do.” –Kisa, Visually Versed

“Thank you so much for your feedback, it always makes me feel inspired and motivated.” –Elizabeth Cockle

“Thanks for the wonderful feedback, never, never, got that before in thirty years.” –Jenny Hickinbotham

SUBMISSIONS:

All entries should be submitted through Submittable,

submit

Winners will be announced on WriterAdvicewww.writeradvice.com at the beginning of April 2021 or—worst case — later. 

Take the Giveaway4Good Challenge

‘Tis the season to give back, so I am sharing this important reminder from a Brevity Guest Blogger, Lisa Ellison. Take a look at her article and do what you can to support.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Lisa Ellison

During my parents’ divorce, I lived with my grandmother, a gifted raconteur with impeccable timing and skillful intonation. Listening to her made me want to become a storyteller. Most of her tales were set during her childhood in the Bronx and involved the Yankees, her mother’s mysterious illness, or her family’s elaborate Italian dinners.

One day, she told me about a dollhouse she’d wanted for her sixth Christmas. At sixty-one, she could still recall the number of rooms and the color of the kitchen’s porcelain plates. With each detail, she transformed into the little girl who pleaded for her one and only Christmas wish.

But the only gifts under that year’s Christmas tree were underwear and socks.

After a long pause, she swallowed hard then patted my hand. “That day, I learned an important lesson. If you never want anything, you’ll never be disappointed.”

A lifetime of…

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Quick Update

My review of The Part That Burns is posted at https://www.storycircle.org/book_review/the-part-that-burns/. Right now I’m reading Officer Clemmons, which was not sent to me for review. I’m alternating those that have been sent and those I’ve picked and finding that I like almost all of them.

If you see this and would like to review books for Writer Advice, please let me know. 🙏 If you’re curious about what’s new, take a look at Contests & Markets along with Interviews and Book Reviews. All three have been updated since October.

Looking for presents you can buy without going to a store? Here are my two recommendations:

For anyone 13+ who could use a little hope: Talent.

Sandee Mason is convinced her life will change if she can just win applause for her talents-whatever they may be. She can’t wait to accomplish something after living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared in Afghanistan months earlier, leaving Sandee craving the same attention the whole town is giving him even as she wrestles with feelings of loss. When her high school drama department puts on the play Oklahoma!, she knows that now is her chance to step out and be noticed. What will she learn about herself as she reaches out to the world?

For anyone 40+ who could use a little hope: Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62.

How does a 62-year-old womanwho’s never been married find happiness with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . . Craigslist!? Does she throw caution to the wind and relinquish her freedom, or should she take a crash course in compromises? Author B. Lynn Goodwin tells all and more in Never Too Late. How she was attracted to Richard’s clear expectations, his honesty, and his incredible openness. She’d never met anyone like him. Would she recognize love if it knocked on her heart? And could an educated woman be happy moving into a blue-collar world? Whether you’ve been single forever, are trapped in an unhappy marriage, or you’re simply curious, you’ll find secrets to a happy marriage in Never Too Late.

Questions? Reactions? Please leave me a comment. Thanks!

Writer Advice’s Scintillating Starts Contest

Go to http://www.writeradvice.com and click on Latest or Current Contest to learn more. We’d love to read your opening.

Openings matter. They determine whether a potential agent will represent your book or move on. Writer Advice’s Scintillating Starts contest is your chance to show Writer Advice, http://www.writeradvice.com, how effectively you can grab and hold your readers and get feedback on what is and is not working. Fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction are all eligible. You do not have to have completed the book to enter. 

Send us up to 1250 words of your first chapter by 12/02/20.  We are known for our feedback and would love to tell you what’s working and what an agent might say. Don’t send chapters from books that are already published, since this is really about advice, although there are prizes. 

How This Works:

  1. You can enter up to 1250 words of your opening. Some agents decide whether they can sell your work after the first paragraph. We’re giving you the equivalent of 5 pages with the disclaimer that, like an agent, we can quit earlier if our attention wanders.
  1. You can also submit a query letter that is 300 words or less. Can’t fit it into 300 words? Please edit. Agents don’t want to read more. The query letter is not your cover letter for the contest. It needs to be entered as a separate .docx.
  1. You are guaranteed feedback on whatever you send. I’ll tell you what I like, what stands out, and what trips me up. Then I’ll imagine I’m an agent (I used to teach acting) and tell you whether I’d be interested or not and why.

Fees for responses: $16.00 for manuscript opening $4.00 for query letter

The whole purpose of this Writer Advice opportunity is to get feedback. We are not a literary agency, but I know what agents are looking for and I can make suggestions before you send to agents. We are known for our feedback, as you can see in the tan box at www.writeradvice.com, and would love to tell you what’s working and what an agent might say. 

We call this a contest because the top pieces receive cash prizes. A cash award of $300 will be split among those whose work is shared on Writer Advice, http://www.writeradvice.com. This is usually 2 or 3 writers. We may also list the titles and authors of Honorable Mentions.

If your work is shared on Writer Advice, you’ll be able to tell prospective agents, publishers, and book buyers that you were one of the winners of Writer Advice’s Scintillating Starts Contest. 

This contest is open to anyone who has not signed a contract for the book submitted. That means your book does not have to be completed for this contest, though it should be before you submit it elsewhere.

Share a Marketing Tip

SHARE A MARKETING SUCCESS TIP: 

  1. Are you a book marketing expert? 
  2. Are you a writer who tried something that worked? 
  3. Do you want to recommend a publicist who helped you out? 

Share your idea in a brief query submitted through the Contact box on http://www.writeradvice.com’s home page. If we like your idea and it hasn’t already been done here, we’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks for helping yourself as well as others. 

Maybe one of your tips will help me market my memoir, https://www.amazon.com/Never-Too-Late-Wannabe-Wife/dp/1633935256/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1582754244&sr=8-2, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62.

🙏

Thank you!

Why Listening Matters

Here’s a collection of quotes I often use with writers before we listen to each other’s work. What resonates with you?

Opinions welcome.

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. — Ralph Nichols

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.  ~Winston Churchill

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force…When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life…When we listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other…and it is this little creative fountain inside us that begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected laughter and wisdom. …Well, it is when people really listen to us, with quiet fascinated attention, that the little fountain begins to work again, to accelerate in the most surprising way.  ~~Brenda Ueland

It is the province of knowledge to speak And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.  ~~Oliver Wendell Holmes

The first duty of love is to listen.  ~~Oliver Wendell Holmes

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.  ~~Henry David Thoreau

An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes.   ~~M. Scott Peck, MD

Writer Advice’s Current Contest

Latest Contest Information

“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” 

~~Jean Luc Godard       Editor’s comment: How true is that!

Writer Advice’s Flash Prose Submission Information:

THE NEW NORMAL:

What 2020 is Exposing

Writer Advice seeks both Flash Fiction and Flash Memoir for our summer contest. Write about what’s happening in your immediate life, in your community, in your country or in the life of a character as we face Covid-19, racial awareness, and the upcoming elections.

That’s a huge topic so your first step is to narrow it down. NOTE: You can write as yourself or as a character. These suggestions may trigger even better ones from you. You are not limited to them.

  1. Write about something you saw, heard, or felt and how it affected your sense of normalcy.
  1. Write about a frontline fighter against Covid-19 or a speaker at a Black Lives Matter march.
  1. Write about a medical professional or a contact tracer or any of our thousands of unsung heroes. Notes in a diary and lists are both acceptable forms as long as we see a beginning, middle, end, and some character growth.
  1. Write about being unfairly arrested or hassled or misunderstood or underappreciated. Or write about handling a person who fits that description.
  1. Write what happens when someone in your family has Covid or you lose friends or foes to disease or violence. Yes, you may write this as a characters.
  1. Write about a particular news story that depresses or energizes you.
  1. Write if you love or hate masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, social distancing or if you think the virus is fake news. Either your story or a character’s story can work here too.
  1. Write about the police in your community or tell about a stop or arrest if you are a part of the police.
  1. Write about being laid off or working from home or being a business owner this year.
  1. Write about being Black, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Indian, something else, or mixed race this year. This is a place where you can try on another ethnicity if you want. Please be authentic and sensitive if you do.
  1. Write a letter to your grandkids (born or not), to your future students, or to someone you lost about what happened after they were gone.
  1. Of course you are not limited by these ideas. Write your story about what you see happening and where it may lead us. Write it as yourself or as a character.

My suggestion is that you keep in mind that we’re looking for complete stories in 750 words or less so pick your subjects and your words carefully. You could write a book or two about 2020, but that would not be right for this contest. Flash Prose focuses on an incident and how it enlightened, educated, entertained, surprised, or distressed the narrator.

Of course we accept simultaneous submissions. Please notify us immediately if the piece is accepted elsewhere.

We want strong, polished work, and we guarantee a response from an award-winning author, whether you are a finalist or not. Please submit through Submittable only.

The last day we’ll accept submissions is Wednesday, September 2. Early submissions are encouraged. A $14 fee helps us pay expenses. That said, we want to read your work and hope you will submit to Writer Advice’s Flash Prose Contest. 

Finalists receive responses from all judges. Everyone receives a detailed response from award-winning author B. Lynn Goodwin.

DEADLINE: Submit to the WriterAdvice Flash Fiction Contest by September 2, 2020. Early submissions strongly encouraged. 

JUDGES: will be selected from previous prizewinners. Their names will be announced soon and you can read their pieces by clicking on Archives.

PRIZES: First Place earns $150; Second Place earns $75; Third Place earns $40; Honorable Mentions will also be listed.

FOR BEST RESULTS:

  1. Include your name, contact information, and title in the cover letter, but include only your title in the submission so it remains anonymous.
  2. Since we judge these anonymously, you don’t need a cover letter that includes more than your contact information including your e-mail address. If you are a finalist, we’ll ask for a bio. 
  3. Please double-space your submission. We recommend that you use a 14-point font that is easy to read. Cambria, Ariel, and Verdana are all good. If you forget, we can fix it for you.
  4. You own the copyright. If we publish your work, the rights still belong to you.
  5. Simultaneous submissions accepted. You may submit up to 3 pieces to us, but each one must be submitted separately. 
  6. We prefer unpublished work, though we do accept stand-alone excerpts from fiction seeking a publisher or agent. If it doesn’t work as a stand-alone, it’s best to submit it elsewhere.
  7. If you have questions, please click on the contact button and ask. 

COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CONTESTANTS:

WriterAdvice.com is one of my all-time most reliable and accessible sites for writers. I use it—and recommend it to my clients.” ~Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers (http://howtodoitfrugally.com), poetry and fiction

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about the great feedback you give to folks no matter how many entries you get.”   –Bill Buschel

“Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for this feedback. It’s such a refreshing experience to have some exchange — as most submissions disappear into the either like rogue satellites.” –Charles Watts 

“Thank you so much for your detailed feedback!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and analyze my work . . . It’s not every day a contest gives you comprehensive feedback instead of a simple yes/no!” –Lena Crown

“Your insights are excellent” –Dan Dubelman

“You are the first professional to offer feedback and your encouraging words have given me additional motivation!  It is reassuring to know that I was on the right track; you have a remarkable ability to give constructive feedback in a positive way (and you are absolutely correct). I look forward to submitting more stories and continuing to improve.” –Jamie Fouty

“I learned about this contest from the Submittable page. I then checked out your website and felt comfortable submitting my story as you seem like someone who genuinely wants to help and advise others.” –Roger Yetzer

“Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts. I’m always striving to improve my writing, and feedback from editors like you make it much easier to do so.”  –Margarite R. Stever

“Many thanks for your response, from it, I can tell you’re very good at what you do.” –Kisa, Visually Versed

“Thank you so much for your feedback, it always makes me feel inspired and motivated.” –Elizabeth Cockle

“Thanks for the wonderful feedback, never, never, got that before in thirty years.” –Jenny Hickinbotham

SUBMISSIONS:

All entries should be submitted through Submittable,

submit
https://writeradvice.submittable.com/submit/143139/2020-writer-advices-flash-prose-contest-6-23-20-9-02-20

Winners will be announced on WriterAdvicewww.writeradvice.com at the beginning of October or—worst case — because no one knows what may happen as the year progresses — later.