WIP Challenge – March 2023

Time for another monthly writing challenge!

Consider a time when you felt embarrassed by something or someone. Remember your emotions, your physical sensations, how you reacted.

Now write a scene in your story that would elicit the same reaction from your main character.

Work this incident into their character development arc.

Happy Writing!


WIP Challenge – February 2023

Need to spice up your current novel with a writing challenge?

Write a scene that takes place before your book begins. Detail something specific that happened to your main character that still haunts/influences/motivates them.

  • What new insights does this activity give you about your character and their world?
  • How can you weave this into your novel and provide a resolution/show character growth from this event in your current narrative?
  • Does this change anything about your current plot?
  • Does this change anything about the relationships your character has in the book?

WIP Challenge – January 2023

Write a short description of something important to your character. Include where it came from, why it’s important to your MC, if it’s value is monetary, sentimental, or functional, and how your character typically interacts with it.

Now write a short scene where your character loses this thing. Address the following elements:

  • How is it lost?
  • What does your character feel?
  • How do they interact with their environment after?
  • How does this impact their relationships with other characters? Consider short term and long term impact.
  • How does this influence what they do next?

Happy writing!


WIP Challenge – December 2022

Take your character into a densely populated place. Take time to describe the colors, smells, sounds. Weave the chaos of it into your character’s journey through. Do they overhear something? Do they get bumped or shoved in the melee?

Happy Writing!


WIP Challenge – November 2022

Write a scene where your character encounters water. Describe how the water interacts with the environment and how it affects your character. Does it worry them? Terrify them? Soothe them?

Happy Writing!


WIP Challenge – October 2022

Incorporate an extreme weather condition into your narrative. Show how this affects your character’s mood, attire, living space, and choices for the continuation of their journey.

Happy Writing!


WIP Challenge – September 2022

Looking for a fun writing challenge to add comedy to your narrative and more distinct character voices?

Write a scene where your character gets a superficial–but annoying–injury (stubbed toe, jammed finger, papercut, etc). Then make it a nuisance for following scenes.

Happy Writing!


WIP Challenge – August 2022

Ready to add depth to your work in progress (WIP) with a new writing challenge?

Write a scene in the place where your main character (MC) feels the safest. Draw attention to the elements or characteristics that contribute to their feeling of safety.

Happy Writing!

Petey says hello!

5 Critical Tips for Writing Short Stories

How do you write a short story? What short story elements catch a publisher’s eye?

In my role as first reader of an online speculative fiction magazine, I have truly been blown away by all of the things that I’m learning about regarding the story selection process. So many well-written stories get rejected because they do not adhere to these 5 simple, but not all-inclusive, standards below.

1) Make everything that happens in your story matter

Eliminate extraneous details, if you say it once, it’s enough. And be concise with dialogue and descriptions, purple language and paragraphs of backstory doesn’t get brownie points if it doesn’t enhance the story/arc.

2) If it’s critical to understanding the punchline, make it clear in the narrative

The most unfortunate thing is getting a really well-written story with a fuzzy/muddled plot. Make it clear what you’re trying to say with your story, don’t veil it in mystery.

3) Foreshadow twist endings

It really sucks to read an amazing story with great characters and action and then BAM! Something crazy happens at the end that comes completely out of nowhere. While this may seem like something clever to do, it’s almost guaranteed to end in rejection. Foreshadowing is paramount to twist endings. Something in the twist needs to tie back to the rest of the story and tension build-up.

4) Avoid a setup that is too convenient or too disconnected

Too many well-written stories move the plot along in ways that feel too convenient to be believable or are too disconnected to make sense, and this eliminates the tension in the story. The solution really boils down to adequate foreshadowing. Anything can be written in a story, especially genres like speculative fiction or magical realism, but just make sure your critical plot points are adequately foreshadowed.

5) Make your character motivations clear early in the story

If I can’t connect with your character, then I honestly don’t care what they’re about to go through in the next 5000 words. Make it clear to your reader what your character wants early in the story so we can view what happens to them from their perspective and understand why they do/think/say/respond the way they do.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful in your writing and publishing journey! Thank you for being a member!

Happy Writing!


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