November is National Novel Writing Month


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.


Literary Magazine Call for Submissions [Bonus]

Earn bonus in any of my high school courses (excluding dual enrollment) if your submission is published in the Winter issue of the school literary magazine. (Short stories = 20 points Essay = 20 points Poetry = 10 points  Other Work (drawings, comics, artistic photography, etc.) = 5 points.) Please note that submission does not guarantee inclusion. See details below:

Chadwick School Literary Magazine: Call for Submissions

The Chadwick School Literary Society is looking for original creative works by Chadwick students to publish in our school literary magazine.

Short stories, poetry, essays, songs, comics, drawings, photography, and other creative works will all be considered. You may submit work from class assignments or that you completed at home. More

Snow Day Drabble

A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words. Though drabbles are usually fictional, we will be writing nonfiction stories about the most interesting thing you did over your extended winter break. Remember that although these stories must be only 100 words–no more and no less–the idea is to still tell an interesting and meaningful story.

Post your snow day drabble in the comments to this post!

Drama is based on the mistake…

“Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake.”

W.H. Auden

Air and Light and Time and Space

This comic from Zen Pencils is based on a poem by Charles Bukowski. Click on the image to see the illustrated version or read the poem below:

air and light and time and space

“–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
but now
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to

no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.

baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses

Words I Never Want to Read

In this instructive piece, editor Jamie Chavez talks a bit about pet words in creative writing, but mostly she focuses on “some words and phrases [she] really wish[es] you wouldn’t use, because,  frankly, [she is] tired of reading them.”

• I couldn’t help but … (notice, think, wonder)
This phrase shows up in many variations, and all of them are unoriginal and empty. Stop it. Just say, “I noticed …”

• Truth be known
Aside from the fact it’s way overused, it’s awkward. If you really must use it, it should properly be If the truth were known. Don’t tell me it’s your voice. Please.

• Suddenly
The hallmark of an inexperienced writer. Think about it: everything in fiction (in life!) happens suddenly. One second it wasn’t happening … and then it was. Suddenly.

• Blurt out
You remember my post on dialogue tags, right? I’m already not crazy about blurt for that reason, but when you write he blurted out, I cringe at the redundancy.

• I thought to myself (or he thought to himself)
Of course you think to yourself! Who else is in there with you? Now, you can say things to yourself. That means you’re speaking out loud, but are not engaged in a dialogue with another character. And that’s fine. Although it is, they say, one of the first signs of insanity.

• Then, then, and then
It’s not necessary to keep reminding me that one action came after another.

• Memories that flash or crash
Why is it so difficult to write about memories? Phrases like Memories of that day came crashing down on him or He flashed back to a happier time are just overdone. Corollary: memories that stab, as in Waves of guilt stabbed at him. Ick.

• That
He used to think that he couldn’t live without her. Then he realized that he could. If I had a nickel (as my father used to say) for every superfluous that I’ve removed from manuscripts, I could retire to that little beach house on Tybee Island I’ve had my eye on.

Read her full post here.