Red Lettering

Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

Archive for the tag “Writing Opportunities”

Announcement: Short Story Contest


Here it is, folks. Several months ago I mentioned that, in celebration of 50 followers, I would hold a short story contest. Though it took me a long time to get to it, I never forgot about it.

Therefore, today is the day to introduce the first ever short story contest on Red Lettering. 

This is the place where usually people are supposed to wax eloquent on how I now have 69 followers. I am incredibly grateful. 

However I also know that all of you are writers and what you really want to hear about is the writing contest, so I’ll move on to the point of this blog post.

Curtains again - Copy - Copy


Here’s the way it will work: 

At some point in the story, use the piece of dialogue, “Elves don’t carry guns.”

Your word count should be between 100 and 5,000 words. To count your words, simply paste them into a Microsoft Word Document, a Google Docs Document, or here (though I can’t really say I would trust that website enough to put my writing on it).

Submit it to me through email ( by December 31st, 2014. I’ll most likely email you back within a day or two saying that I received it (though I will almost definitely respond faster if you send it in last-minute), but if I don’t, you may want to send it in again, just to be sure.

After the close of the submission period I will post the stories here and readers will get to vote on their favorite story until January 10th. (I’m not sure whether we’ll use an in-post voting widget-thing or if readers will email me with their votes; what do you all think?) I know it may be a long time to wait — a whole month to write and then ten more days until the voting results are released— but since December and January can be so busy, it seemed a better option to give more time than is necessary than less.

There is no fee to enter, and you retain all copyrights to your writing. 

There will be a prize for the winner— a $15 Amazon Gift card.

And if you want it, you can also have a little picture that says you won to put on your blog or download and leave forgotten on your computer. Either way.


Your entries must be clean. Clean, clean, clean, cleaner than a cloud doused in dish soap. One of my readers is younger than eight, and I don’t know about a couple of the other ones. So please, don’t make it so that I disqualify you. If in doubt, ask.

Curtain header


Well, writers? Though I’ve said this many times before, this time I really cannot wait to see what you’ll come up with.

The Grand NaNo Post

The Grand NaNo Post

“Ah,” most of you say, “I wondered when she would write a post about it.” 

You should never have worried, readers. Of course I shall write a post about my beloved NaNoWriMo! The fact that it grows dangerously near to November means nothing.

Actually, my post comes so late because I have very little to say. For the benefit of those who don’t know what it is, I have come to summarize. For those of you who do know, and will be doing it, I come to offer my support and encouragement.

I also come to make a few announcements about what shall be happening on the blog during November.

But first, for those who don’t know of the Grand 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 fleetingly about writing a novel.

Or so says their website. In truth, those three sentences hardly scratch the surface of what NaNoWriMo is. Perhaps it’s professionalism that keeps them from it, but in any case, it’s up to us, the participants, to really say what NaNoWriMo is all about.

It’s about thirty days of caffeine, frozen fingers as the weather gets colder, and more time with your novel that most of us will get in any other thirty days.

It’s about writing one word at a time, pounding them out even when we don’t feel like it, because we have a deadline to meet. It’s also about writing whole scenes, chapters, sections, novels, at once.

It’s about learning how to write, through practice. Well, it’s about learning how to get the first draft out, anyway.

It’s about gathering in groups of people to Word War until the sound of a timer is perpetually ringing in your ears. 

It’s about learning to fall in love with your novel, even as you crash into bed exhausted each night.

It’s about remembering what it feels like to be a writer.

Helpful Tools During NaNoWrimo

Write or Die. (Well, not literally, but that would produce a lot of words, wouldn’t it?)

Write or Die is a program that pulls up a blank text box for you to write in. You set your time goal or word goal, and you cannot do anything else until you reach it. I’m afraid I cannot give you much information about the new version, because I always go back to the old one, which I find to be less filled with distractions. However, I think you can get all the information from the websites.

The New Write or Die

The Old Write or Die

Word Wars 

Word Wars can be set up whenever or wherever. Two or more writers pick an amount of time and race each other: whoever gets the most words wins, though most people don’t really care about who wins. The quick sprints are incredibly helpful for reaching daily word goals.

I have heard that Go Teen Writers will be setting up a Word War during November, though I’m afraid I don’t know for sure.

There’s a group board for Word Wars on Pinterest where you can set up Word Wars with people. You can join the board if you comment saying you would like to, and I don’t think anyone would mind if you just joined in one of the Word Wars without being a part of the board.

You can set up a Word War with whomever you would like, basically wherever you would like. All you need is another person who would like to join!

You can also send me a NaNoMail if you would like, and if I’m around I can Word War with you. My NaNo profile is here.

A Baby Names Website

Because occasionally, we’ll suddenly realize that there’s a character who needs to join the grand quest, or briefly step in to say something. Personally, I use most of the time. You can search for names, search for meanings, search for nationalities, search for first and last letters, and search for syllable length. You’ll find the place to search on the left sidebar. Of course, using, “(((???)))” or “Mr. [Somebodyorother]” always works if you don’t have time to find a name, too.

Music and a Good Pair of Headphones. 

Find them now. You’ll most likely want them at some point in the month, even if you don’t usually listen to music while you write.

Other Tips

Keep coffee (or tea, or something hot) easily accessible.

They say don’t edit, but if you’re like me, you’ll probably end up doing just a little bit of editing. Like, say, typos. I’m going to go against the NaNoWriMo catch phrase and say, that’s okay. Don’t over-edit, but if the typos are driving you crazy, right click, click the correct option, move on. Don’t pull your hair out over it.

Back up your novel every~single~day. I cannot stress this enough. You really don’t want to have your computer crash half-way through NaNo and realize that you’ve just lost your novel.

Get up, run around, find something active to do every once in a while.

Know where you’re supposed to be every day. Don’t panic too much if you miss a day, but keep updating your novel and watch as your word count keeps going up. They put the “stats” page on there for a reason. Use it. It’s incredibly helpful.

Connect with other writers you know, if you can. Doing it as a community makes it ten times better.

And, about the blog…

I’m going to be trying for 70,000 words this NaNo (though maybe not officially… So, shhh), and I realized that I wouldn’t have time to make the goal and write anything good for you here, so—

(No, don’t worry. The blog won’t be going on another hiatus.)

—I asked four awesome people to guest post on the blog this November. All published authors, all with excellent work, they’ll all be bringing excellent writing advice to you. You should definitely be looking forward to these next four Wednesdays.

Unfortunately, the Character Interviews will be paused for the month of November. They’ll make a return in December though.

Well, readers? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What are you writing about? Make use of the comment box!

Why We Go To Camp

Participant 2014 - Twitter Header 2

The wind whooshes around you, pulling at you and kidnapping your breath, holding it for ransom. Your feet do not touch anything, and though your eyes are open, you see only blackness.

Finally, you feel ground solidifying underneath your feet and the rushing wind slows, then stops. After blinking a few times, you are able to make out your surroundings; several stylishly rustic-looking cabins dot the area around you. A few trees are scattered here and there, as though someone walked past with a leaking bag of seeds, but your attention is quickly taken from the way things look, and given to the way things sound. You have been outside before, as most people have, so you find it unusual that there is no natural sound. No crickets chirp in the knee-length grass. No birds sing from the tops of the trees or the insides of the roofs.

Then you notice that the lack of natural sounds is not the only thing unusual. You can hear a clack, clack, clacking coming from the cabins surrounding you, a loud version, and a softer version that reminds you of typing on computer keyboards. Determined to investigate, you make your way cautiously toward the doorway of a nearby cabin. The door is open, so you step in.

It takes your eyes a moment to adjust to the difference in light, but soon you see with clarity the odd sight in front of you. Eleven people sit, stand, or pace in the cabin in front of you. Boys and girls, men and women, they have only one thing in common: the fact that each of them is writing. One writes at a typewriter; another with a pen; yet another dictates their words into a computer program. 

If you are confused, reader, you might be pleased to know that you’re just walked onto a website labeled Camp NaNoWriMo. It should sound familiar to some of you, but to others it might be an alien term, so I shall explain.

Camp NaNoWriMo is what happened when the National Novel Writing Month branched off into separate sections, creating two smaller but similar challenges in April and July. A writer can join the website, set a word goal, and write for the entire aforementioned months to meet their goal. Whether their goal be big or small, whether the writer be walking, jogging or sprinting, many writers gather on one website to write their novels.

Separated into “cabins” of eleven people, the writers face writer’s block, lack-of-time, procrastination and distraction with each other for one month.

One of the obvious questions when faced with such information would be, “Why in the worlds would I want to do such a thing as that?”

Well, dear reader. I searched the internet for just such an answer, and Google told me several things that I think apply to writer just as (more than!) they apply to children.

Why Children and Writers Should Go To Camp

  • To Try New Things
  • To Challenge Themselves
  • To Get a Change of Routine
  • To Meet New People
  • To Learn New Skills
  • To Get More Active
  • It Builds Self-Esteem

Most writers will know what’s best for themselves better than I do, and perhaps Camp is not right for everyone (talk to your doctor before using Camp, and it should not be used by young children or… ah, sorry. No.) but I know that I’ve grown substantially as a writer every time I did Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo. Whatever regular summer camp may be, whatever children might learn if they go to camp, writers learn when they challenge themselves.

Will you go look at their website?

Will you challenge yourself?

Will I see you at camp?


Cover Reveal: Five Enchanted Roses

Happy first day of June, readers! After waiting anxiously for this news , today I have immense pleasure in presenting to you…   EnchantedRosesCover   Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their second fairy tale novella contest—

Five Enchanted Roses

a collection of “Beauty and the Beast” stories

The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Beauty and the Beast,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours! Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Enchanted Roses collection, which will be packaged up with the gorgeous cover you see displayed here. Perhaps your name will be one of the five displayed on this cover? All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page. Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 14. Do grab yourself a copy and see what these talented writers have done with the timeless “Cinderella” tale!


Cover Illustration Credit: This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website:

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