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Monday, July 16, 2018

 

'Till the Cows Come Home

Growing up, my parents would say things like "that girl won't quit talking 'til the cows come home" or "she's a slow learner - those cows will be home before her knees are healed" and so much as I'd like to think they were talking about someone else, I'm an only child. An only child who never stopped talking, dreaming, climbing trees, and playing football. I can't say I've done much tree climbing or football as of late, but the talking and dreaming has served me well. However, let's go back to that colloquial phrase: 'Till the Cows Come Home. It'm not quite sure of the exact origin of the phrase, and some say claim John Fletcher's 1616 The Scornful Lady, I digress...in the here and now, I live on a dairy farm and our cows come to the barn twice a day to be milked, so I found myself perplexed since I thought the cows coming home was similar to pigs flying. Apparently in the Scottish Highlands, the cattle (they aren't actually cows, but steers) spend months grazing on the common grass until autumn when they come home to feed. All in all, it just means: for a very long time.

Now that we've completely over thought that entire thing, let's move onto the point. Here's where I say something completely profound:

WRITE 'TIL THE COWS COME HOME!

No matter how little you believe in yourself or how many naysayers there are, if it's in your heart to write, you just keep writing 'til those cows come home - then write some more! Use your journal, use social media, use your blog, start your novel, submit to those contests, etc... Just keep writing. I started writing as a child. A group of us put together a newspaper just for our block. We drew pictures, wrote short stories, jotted down poems, and made copies for our subscribers (who were mainly our own parents). I took great pride in writing essays and articles during school and university, and then as a professional I wrote training manuals and marketing materials. I never would have dreamed I'd be here - working on a book, writing blog posts, helping promote authors, etc...but those cows aren't home yet, so I'm just going to keep writing!

Now, back to you. How are you doing on your writing? I want to encourage you to keep writing, and if you don't have anything lengthy enough for a novel just yet, how about submitting to one of our dynamite contests? Write something short, submit it, get some feedback, win some prizes, get some encouragement from others! Sounds like a great idea all the way around!

What are you working on? What are your writing goals? Can you commit to writing 'til the cows come home?

While you ponder those questions - check out the winners of our recent Essay Contest! 


Crystal is a council secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, five young children (Carmen 11, Andre 10, Breccan 4, Delphine 3, and baby Eudora), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

 

Interview with Ashley Memory, Essay Contest Runner Up

WOW! recently announced the winners of our   Essay Contest and we are proud to announce Ashley Memory from Asheboro, North Carolina  as one of the runners up with I know What She's Thinking. 

About Ashley:

When she’s not marveling at the antics of the lizards on her apricot tree, Ashley Memory is either making raspberry jam or writing poetry, essays, or fiction. While she does occasionally pinch a juicy magazine from a waiting room, she returns them eventually and frequently donates her own.

Ashley is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a two-time winner of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize sponsored by the N.C. Writer’s Network. Her first novel, Naked and Hungry, was named a finalist in the James Jones First Novel Fellowship Competition and was published by Ingalls Publishing Group in 2011. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Thomas Wolfe Review, Wildlife in North Carolina, Romantic Homes, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and most recently in The Gyroscope Review, The Hardball Times, and The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory. Her story “Party Etiquette for Insects Recently Transformed into People,” earned honorable mention in the WOW Summer 2017 Flash Fiction Contest.

Since taking early retirement from her marketing job with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is a part-time instructor for Central Carolina Community College’s Creative Writing Program in Pittsboro, N.C.

For more information, please follow Ashley on her blog.

----------interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW:  It's such a pleasure to have you here today Ashley- thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and chat! I enjoyed your essay as well as the opportunity to learn more about you. 

I understand you are now retired (but still working part time) – so I have to ask: how do you juggle a busy career and your passion and love of writing? What advice do you give others who may struggle with time management?

Ashley: My husband Johnpaul and I are actually building our house – literally, from driving the nails to doing the wiring – so I’m busy in quite another way these days. Oddly, I find the act of doing something like pushing a wheelbarrow to be compatible with writing. In fact, I’ve worked out several plot lines while engaged in physical labor. It occupies my active mind so my unconscious mind is free to do its magic.

Being retired from a paying job, I know that other people are far busier than I am! If, however, I have any advice to offer, I would encourage other writers to take advantage of the brief kind of moments everybody has. Instead of waiting for a large chunk of time to suddenly appear, use the time in the doctor’s waiting room or the five minutes in a staff meeting where you’re waiting for your boss to show up, to jot down a new metaphor or a snippet of random conversation. It will pay off later! If my co-workers ever peeked inside the folder I carried around with me to meetings, I think they’d be surprised at what they found.

WOW: How exciting and what a great opportunity for you and your husband - it's like the ultimate team building experience!

Tell us about Naked and Hungry – since it was your first novel, may I ask what you wish you had done differently? What did you do that you absolutely would NOT change when it comes to publishing?

Ashley: It was very exciting when one of the 18 publishers I sent the manuscript to accepted it for publication. The company was very small but they did have a whip-smart editor who helped me tremendously during the final revisions. However, because it was a small press, I agreed to handle much of the promotion myself. This work, while working full-time and launching a cooking website, nearly killed me. It was my own fault but what was I thinking?

Because the book was written from a male point of view and inspired by my father, we ended up spending a lot of time together. I could not have written it without his encouragement and guidance, and the time we spent together was very special to me. I wouldn’t give up that for the world. Also, although Naked and Hungry had a primary point of view, I made the decision to include a few chapters from the mindset of minor characters. This work, while challenging at times, proved invaluable when it came to weaving together the strings of an intricate plot. The work of a writer is ultimately solitary, but surrounded by all those quirky characters, I never felt lonely.

WOW: Sounds like an enlightening process and I have a feeling there will be more to come?  What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for 2018 and beyond?

Ashley: Be the best writer I can be. It’s as simple as that. If I continue to strengthen my writing, I’m betting that project goals – whether it’s to write an essay, poem, short story, whatever – will sort themselves out. I consider myself a perpetual student of life and need to learn in order to continue to grow. So this year, I’ll be continuing to read the best work out there (new authors as well as re-reading the classics) and to take classes. I’m actually taking a WOW! nonfiction class led by Chelsey Clammer right now and loving it.

WOW: There will be no moss growing as you may be retired, yet you are quite the rolling stone. I enjoyed your bio and have to say: I am also very interested in cooking/baking and making all things delicious, so please tell us how you came to make your own raspberry jam and share your recipe if you are willing?

Ashley: One of the reasons I married my husband is because he asked: “Have you ever wanted to make jam?” Yes and yes! Yes to jam and yes, months later, when he asked me to marry him. I have always loved cooking and fresh fruit so it was a natural fit. Raspberry jam is one of the easiest and most delicious jams to make.

Add two cups of sugar to about 4 cups of fresh raspberries with the juice of one lemon in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and skim off any foam that collects around the edges of the pan. Let it boil for about 5 more minutes. Next, drop a dollop on a frozen saucer and see if the mixture gels. If it does, you’re ready to ladle the mixture into your canning jars and seal them according to the jar manufacturer’s instructions. If not, let it continue to cook for a few more minutes. Quick hint: If you’re going to use the jam right away, or within the next three months, you can just store it in your refrigerator in a plain jar, no processing necessary. Also, because I love the fresh flavor of the fruit, I try not to cook it for longer than necessary, knowing that the thickness of the jam will sometimes vary.

What’s great about having homemade jam on hand is that you can use it for things other than spreading it on toast. Try filling your Danishes with it, spreading it on a layer cake, or sandwich it in between butter cookies. Yum.

WOW: Sounds fabulous and I can't wait to give your recipe a whirl!

Was it difficult coming up with a title for your essay? How did I Know What She’s Thinking come about?

Ashley: I shared this essay with my friend Ruth first and I’ll never forget what she said: “Sometimes, Ashley, life just gives you these little gifts.” And the crazy experience that inspired that essay was just one of those gifts. As for the title, it came from the character’s own mouth. I didn’t have to do any work for that at all. But the truth is that we don’t really have to wait for an extraordinary experience. They happen to us every day. We just have to be willing to stop, look and listen.



Thank you for this delightful interview (and delicious recipe) and congratulations again as one of the runners up in the WOW! Women on Writing Essay Contest!


Check out the latest Contests:


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

 

Listen to ME-OW

Angela (a fellow WOW writer) commented on a post, saying, "There can't be too many cat posts," and that got me thinking about the cats in my life... and my writing.

Cats and dogs are so different. Dogs are loyal to a fault. It's the reason why there are so many abused dogs. If they're in an awful home, in spite of being horribly treated, dogs keep coming back--hoping this time, they'll get the love they want and need.

Cats? Cats won't put up with anything. If they're mistreated, they find ways to get revenge. A peed-on coat that's been draped across a couch. (Do you know how distinctive of an odor feline urine is and how difficult it is to get rid of?) Clawed-up drapes. Cats hold a grudge and they don't ever forget.



I read an article about how cats and novels are alike, and again, I was lost in thought. (I know. Sioux using her brain twice in the span of a couple of minutes? The chick is twisted.) Colleen M. Story (what an incredible name for a writer) claims that cats and novels are alike in three ways... and I can think of a fourth. Here they are:

1. Cats don't need us... and neither does a fleshed-out character. If we're doing our work well, our characters stand on their own. They're interacting with each other, and they don't need our meddling. We're a conduit. Like the Ides of March song goes:

I'm your vehicle, baby
I'll take you anywhere you want to go.

If we've done a good job of creating our characters, we're just the vehicle. The characters dictate to us where they're headed... and usually cats dictate to us when they want affection. Otherwise, stay away.


2. Cats go 90-miles-an-hour crazy sometimes... and so does our writing. When I got married, my parents cat-sat for us. My father was never much of a cat person. Unfortunately, our then-cat was still a kitten, and kittens think they are flying squirrels. That crazy kitty would tear around our apartment, and then take a flying leap and land on my father's shoulder.

Sometimes our writing flows out at lightning speed. We can't explain why, but it sure is nice when it happens.

3. Cats are extremely particular... and so is our writing.  While writing a novel, sometimes we try to cram something ill-fitting into our story. A plot event that we think is necessary, but seems out of place once we read it a second time. A well-crafted story with fleshed-out characters have finicky tastes... just like our cats that turn their nose up when some cheap tuna is being offered.


4. Cats can be comforting... and writing a novel is, too.  When I had Elmo and Maya and Buttons, I loved cuddling with them. Curling up with a warm kitty--there's nothing like it. Writing can be a source of comfort and satisfaction, too. When we're able to tell a story that needs to be told (memoir or historical fiction), when we're able to craft a novel that keeps the reader engaged and entertained--that brings us a warm feeling... just like a purring cat.

Can you think of another way cats and novel-writing are like? Please share. And Angela, here's one more glimpse of a kitty. 


 



Since it's the summer, Sioux Roslawski is reading and vegging out, when she's not working on her WIP.  From mid-August to the end of June, her days are spent teaching (along with spoiling her granddaughter and rescuing golden retrievers). If you'd like to read more of Sioux's stuff, check out her blog.

Friday, July 13, 2018

 

Friday Speak Out!: How to Love a Writer

by Laura Thompson

When I was first offered the chance to edit dissertations, I realized it was an ideal opportunity as working from home would give me more time to write. I set up a small desk in our unused third bedroom, and while my writing space is small, it does have everything I need, a computer, printer, shredder, and most importantly, solitude.

My husband, unused to me being home all the time navigated these uncharted waters uneasily unsure what the guidelines were for a wife who worked from home. Would I still answer the phone/door or did I want him to do it? Why did I get so cranky when he yelled up the stairs to ask a question about dinner which was still five hours in the future? Gee, he didn’t mean to play the music quite so loudly, and yes, he had heard of headphones. To keep the peace and foster love in other relationships where one party is a writer, I put together a few warnings, disclaimers, and talking points:

 The writer can be a strange and difficult creature.

 Often introverted, moody, and even morose, the writer may snap and not apologize for hours or even days.

 The writer thrives on a large percentage of alone time, time to write, time to reflect, and time to watch the dust motes float on a sunbeam filtering through the blinds.

 Don't be alarmed should your writer appear withdrawn or suddenly seem uninterested in conversation. This sudden retreat has very little to do with her personal feelings for you and everything to do with her need to focus on a pending murder, lovers’ quarrel, reading of a will, or drug bust about to go down.

 Yelling from another room or up the stairs is never effective as we are not deaf, merely involved.

 Deprived of a keyboard for long periods of time tends to make the writer anxious.

 In the case of writer’s block, gently and persuasively luring your writer away from her desk with the promise of a lovely meal and a good bottle of wine is the best and most supportive action.

 Writers require energy to work, so the occasional treat such as a cupcake or chocolate is always good for a kiss and a smile.

The writer can be a warm and loving companion when not existing in the nether world of creating, and loving your writer can be a rewarding experience. Sure, it was alarming to find a Google search for “death by poisoning” open on your writer’s laptop when you went looking for tax documents, but there’s no call for concern.

After all, she loves you. It’s that lying, low-life scum-sucking, cheating bastard, Jim, who needs to die. How and in which chapter remains to be seen, but he’s definitely gonna get it!

* * *
Laura Thompson an editor, storyteller, word nerd, and proofreader of her own text messages. She writes about travel, her obsession with food, education, and other random thought bubbles. Her passion for traveling the world is second only to her passion for writing. Laura is currently writing a book about college admissions.

Please connect with her at:
Pages and Stories: www.pagesandstories.com
Instagram: @laura_is_writing

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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

 

My 500-Words a Day Pledge and How It's Going

By the title of this post, you can pretty much tell (hopefully!) what this content is going to contain. So backstory...I wasn't working on my novel. It was so infrequent that when I did sit down to work on it, about once a month when I needed something for critique group, I couldn't remember the characters or what I wrote last. One day, I thought: How hard would it be to write 500 words a day?

I'm a pretty fast writer, and if I'm not editing myself while writing, then maybe I could actually accomplish this. So on my blog, in public, and broadcasted on social media, I made this pledge, which you can read here: I will write 500 words a day. I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you how it's going and what I'm learning.

Right away, I will confess I'm not writing 500 words a day. (Bows head in shame) BUT, I am writing much more than I was, and am currently almost to 28,000 words as of this post writing. I love my story. I'm excited to work on my book, and I'm writing things I never even dreamed of. The story and the characters are taking over, and the book is exploring themes and characters who I think readers will relate to. (Let's hope!)

What I've been able to do since making the pledge is write somewhere between 1000 and 3000 words a week. That's close to 500 words a day, and some weeks, like this one when I had a writing retreat with my critique group and a light week at my day job, I have really been able to make good progress.

Before reading a lot about productivity and writing for busy moms, I thought writers really did have to have hours a day to dedicate to writing novels. But many of us WOW! readers and writers, and also many writers and bloggers around the Internet, swear that setting an easy goal (500 words a day, 20 minutes a day, etc) can get the job done. And I agree.

Consistency is the key here. Because I'm finally writing often and regularly, I don't have to reread my entire story or even what I wrote the session before when I sit down to work because it is all fresh in my mind. Another thing I'm doing is before I stop a writing session for the day, I write a short paragraph about what I'm going to conquer next in the plot before I stop for the day. This works great because when I open the document to continue writing, I instantly remember where I was going with the book and what I had planned to work on that next session.

If you're finding yourself not writing this summer because of kids being home, vacations, visiting relatives, or late nights out, then try this method. It doesn't have to be 500 words--maybe it's only 300 or 10 minutes, but I really believe that if you set a small goal to work on your WIP, you will do it, and  you will feel accomplished.

Margo L. Dill is a writing coach and WOW! instructor, as well as a writer and freelance editor. You can enroll in her novel writing coach that starts the first Friday of every month by going here. She is also offering  a marketing class starting this fall. Find out more about her at http://www.margoldill.com

Typewriter photo above by alexkerhead on Flickr.com

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

 

Review: Memoir Your Way: Tell Your Story Through Writing, Recipes, Quilts, Graphic Novels, and More

I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing a memoir for a few years. I have several book ideas based on time periods of my life; but when I sit down to map one out, it’s intimidating. I write creative nonfiction essays where I’m able to write an essay in one sitting, revise it, and be done with it. Writing a mostly chronological story for the span of 90,000 words is overwhelming to me.

If you’re anything like me, someone who is interested in telling her stories and recording her family history but want to explore other options besides writing an entire memoir, Memoir Your Way: Tell Your Story Through Writing, Recipes, Quilts, Graphic Novels, and More (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016) is for you. This full-color, glossy coffee-table book not only explores different forms of memoir but also contains some of the BEST MEMOIR WRITING ADVICE I’ve ever read in a condensed format.

Let’s start with that. Chapter 2: Five Simple Steps to Telling a True Story by Joanne Lozar Glenn is my favorite chapter because her memoir writing advice is specific and inspiring. It dissolved all the overwhelming feelings I previously had about writing a memoir. “Once you start creating your memoir, what do you do with all the memories that come flooding in? The answer is be selective, and tell the truest story you can.” Joanne tells you to choose a moment, keeping the focus small, and then walks you through the steps of crafting that moment step-by-step. You see the progression of her work from one sentence to writing it into a scene, revising it, and finally shaping it like Play-Doh into the perfect format. It’s the best example I’ve seen. She also answers common questions about how to deal with holes in memory, how to incorporate facts, deal with dialogue, questions about family secrets, and more.

The Memoir Roundtable—a group of six writers, crafters, and workshop leader—authors this book, each author writing her own chapter or two.

Another favorite is Chapter 3: Around the Table: Food and Cookbook Memoirs by Dianne Hennessy King, public TV producer, cookbook editor, and cultural anthropologist. Dianne shows you how to create a food memoir as a cookbook, an essay, a cooking video, a CD, a quilt, an oral history, and a blog. The part that gave me several ah-ha moments was where she poses questions to trigger your food memories. “Can you remember a ‘first time’ for tasting a specific food or dish that seemed exotic or strange to you?” When I read this question and its examples, I immediately thought back to when I was five-years-old sitting cross-legged on a tatami floor in Okinawa eating grilled sea snails. It may sound gross, but they were actually delicious! Back home in California, I told my four-year-old neighbor about my snail-eating experience and watched her pluck a snail from an ice plant beside her and pop it in her mouth. I screamed, “Nooooo!!” and snatched it out of her mouth before she could crunch down on its shell. I hadn’t remembered that until I read this book. And that’s what this book does, spark amazing memories! Imagine taking those two sentences I just wrote about eating snails and expanding them into a scene; a scene that could be part of a food memoir about my Japanese heritage and my travels to Okinawa.

If you’d rather make something than write something, Chapter 4: Reinvent Your Scrapbook by Katherine Nutt provides a new twist on a traditional scrapbook that combines visual appeal with storytelling. In one section she suggests scrapbooking an emotional memory for healing. I’ve been looking for a way to write about my cat Noodle, who was sixteen when she died from a brain tumor. The veterinarian was so touched by our love for Noodle that the Cat Care Clinic donated $15,000 to brain tumor research in Noodle’s name. I still have the letter. I also have x-rays, documents, and of course, tons of photos. I never thought about creating a scrapbook to commemorate her until I read this book.

Chapter 5: Create Your Graphic Novel by Natasha Peterson provides you with the basic elements you need to create your graphic memoir. And she writes it in comic form! The thing that she said that stuck with me the most is that there are no rules. Combining your memories with illustrations is a powerful and captivating way to tell a story. I’ve created comics before and even received grants for them, so I’m thinking about turning some of my personal essays into graphic memoir pieces.

The idea of making a quilt as a family heirloom has always fascinated me. In Chapter 6: Memory Quilts: A Way to Celebrate Lives, Linda Pool shares ideas for story quilts like celebrations, weddings, pets, hobbies, a college quilt, a sports quilt, travels, and more. Imagine making a quilt out of pockets or dad’s favorite shirts, or even including report cards or old love letters. This is the longest chapter in the book and has practical tips for layouts, printing photos, transferring handwritten words, and so much more. I can’t think of a better gift!

If you are a parent or teacher or auntie or mentor to a child, Chapter 7: Nurturing the Young Storyteller by Nadine Majette James explores memoirs from a younger writer’s point of view, as well as how crafting a memoir can preserve childhood’s most precious times. I especially appreciated the sample projects and activities as well as the questions appropriate for young interviewers. I remember interviewing my mom when I was ten-years-old with an old cassette tape recorder in the bathroom because I thought it had the best sound. I wish I still had that tape; then I’d still be able to hear her voice. These types of projects are so important to preserve history and can help kids build skills and self-esteem.

There is also a chapter on researching your heritage—where to start, where to look, genealogy, and what questions to ask. And finally, another one of my favorite sections is “Appendix A: Getting Over Your Fear of Writing” by Joanne Lozar Glenn. She shares a number of writing prompts including lists, maps, objects, and photographs to get your pen moving!



Writing a memoir does not have to be tedious or overwhelming!

Memoir Your Way is one of the most inspiring writing books I’ve read in a while. It explores the art of memoir in many different formats and gives you the tools to jump right in. Each format has examples, resources, and takeaway. It makes memoir fun, not tedious or overwhelming! “Don’t worry about whether it would win an award. Its value lies in creating it in the first place.” I don’t need to stress out about writing a formal memoir. Instead, I’ll focus on creating. The book is written in a fun, friendly tone, and packed with ah-ha moments. It would make a great gift for the crafty person in your life. I can’t recommend it enough!

Memoir Your Way: Tell Your Story Though Writing, Recipes, Quilts, Graphic Novels, and More is available in ebook and print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Check out their page on Facebook, connect with the authors on Twitter @MemoirYourWay, and visit their Pinterest board.

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Angela Mackintosh is working on a series of creative nonfiction essays with accompanying illustrations and photo collages. Sort of like a graphic memoir, but totally unique because she's doing it her way.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

 

Meet Tara Lynne Groth, Runner Up in the Winter 2018 Flash Fiction Contest

Tara Lynne Groth is a writer in North Carolina. She writes short fiction and poetry. She was accepted to the fiction workshop at the 2018 Looking Glass Rock Writers Conference. Tara Lynne placed second in the WOW! Women On Writing Summer 2016 Flash Fiction Contest, received honorable mention in the 2015 Carolina WomanWriting Contest, and was a semifinalist for the 2015 and 2016 James Applewhite Poetry Prize. She is an alumnus of the Southampton Writers Conference. In 2017 she published Magazine Queries That Worked, a guide for freelance journalists that features all of her successful query letters and the stories behind each article. She blogs at Write Naked and tweets at @WriteNaked. Visit her website at www.taralynnegroth.com.

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WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Winter 2018 Flash Fiction competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?

Tara Lynne: Thanks! I've entered WOW contests before. A few years ago another one of my stories placed second. I took a break from submitting to contests and journals, and when I started submitting again I decided to send one of my recent pieces to WOW. I like that WOW partners with literary agents for their final judging process.

WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, "Ribbon?"

Tara Lynne: I've been doing family history research the past few years and I'm using the details of my ancestors' lives for plot development in a series of interconnected short stories. "Ribbon" is based on what I've learned about my relatives three generations back.

WOW: What key elements do you think make a great piece of flash fiction?

Tara Lynne: I love having a twist at the end of the story, but it needs to be supported by subtle hints throughout the story.

WOW: You were accepted to the fiction workshop at the 2018 Looking Glass Rock Writers Conference, which sounds exciting. What was that experience like?

Tara Lynne: The organizers of the writers conference run a great event. The mornings are reserved for time with the visiting speakers and the afternoons are free time to explore the quaint town of Brevard or nearby hiking trails in the Pisgah National Forest. The school has a phenomenal on-campus catering service. The organizers really take care of every need so that all the writers can focus on their work and the insight of the speakers. I would definitely go again!

WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Tara Lynne. Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?

Tara Lynne: Find or make a good system for tracking your submissions. It can get confusing when you have several stories under consideration at different contests. I not only like to track the date of submission and the contest deadline, but I also track the date the contest announces winners (if/when that date is provided). That way if the story didn't place I can submit it elsewhere right away.

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For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.

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