Writing Better in 2017.

Do you want to develop into a better writer in this relatively new year? You're not alone. That is definitely one of my goals as well. This article from the Grammarly Blog titled “11 Experts on How to Write Better in 2017” looks to eleven famous writers and editors for advice on how to write better this year. It is worth the read…if you‘re able to implement even one of these tips in your writing practice, I’m almost certain you will improve your craft this year.



Is it Wrong to Quote a Song?

I don’t have a published book (yet), but I do have manuscripts that were finalists in contests. So my inner optimist does daydream about a rosier future where I have one or more books coming out. Music is a key theme in much of my fiction & poetry, so I often wonder about whether there are established rules about quoting song lyrics.

This article from Galley Cat was a help in laying out the copyright issues surrounding music in books: “Can You Include Song Lyrics in Your Book?”

It appears this is a sticky issue and that I may want to avoid quoting lyrics in future work if it’s intended to be part of a manuscript. It might just be better to reference a song title. That's sort of a bummer, but it’s just another constraint that as a writer I probably need to navigate around.


Awesome Online Literary Magazines.

Are you a writer seeking a new audience or simply searching for a new venue to submit your work? Or a reader who would like to find an online magazine that publishes high quality work? If so, I have a great resource for you.

From Bookfox: “30 Small But Awesome Online Literary Magazines.” This article by Maia Russell has some of the best online literary magazines listed below are currently taking submissions, will compensate their writers and have ongoing writing contests.

Personally, I plan on bookmarking this page and reviewing all of these journals to assess whether my writing might be a good fit.


Resolutions for Writers.

It’s a new year and you might be a little nervous about the long winter road that lies ahead. As a writer, what lofty goals and positive habits should you strive towards in 2017?

Fear not. This post from Without Bullshit, “10 easy New Year’s resolutions for writers in 2017,” has some practical ideas on what you can do to improve your writing craft and gain success this year. I personally plan to focus on #2 and #4.


18 Questions.

From Lit Reactor: Annie Neugebauer presents both sides of the equation in “9 Questions Writers Love to be Asked” and “9 Questions Writers Hate to be Asked.” I agree with many of her points, though because I’m not a full-time writer, some I can only relate to partially. Nonetheless, both articles are a great read.



Breaking Free from Line Break Habits.

If you really look at it, the only distinction between free verse and a prose poem are line breaks. Yet I often read poems where the line breaks don’t do anything that the syntax of the sentence doesn’t already do on its own. Maybe this is just my pet peeve, but I own it and feel the need to talk about it.

Readers hesitate at commas,

and stop briefly at periods.

They’ll even pause when a phrase finishes

before moving on to the next.

So if the line breaks just echo the pauses and stops already inherent in the text, what’s really the point of writing a poem instead of prose?

When it comes time to revise, I challenge myself to think about the line breaks. Sure, some breaks just come together with the ends of phrases and sentences and effectively reinforce those stopping points. But I also consider how line breaks can offer a counterpoint to my syntax, creating tension between the rhythm of my sentences and the rhythm of my lines.

I’ve been working on this personally, and I think it might be a path to better poetry.