Photo Flare Pics for June!

I think this is the first time I’ve posted the pics for the next contest before posting the stories for the old contest. Sorry about that. Both Julie and I were really busy at the end of April/beginning of May. But I think the end of June is fairly clear for me, at least. The stories should go up tomorrow and Wednesday. Please return to read them!

NEW RULE! If you win our contest, please wait 6 months before entering again. We love to read stories from former winners, but we also want to encourage new people to enter. You can read all the rules at Photo Flare Rules and Pics.

Stories due June 26!

A1

A2

A3

A4

Photo Flare Pictures!

Here are the pictures for the short story due on April 26th. You must pick two pictures and write a story incorporating them in a meaningful manner. It has come down to picture use a couple of times when we have two great stories. We always go with the one with the stronger picture use, so it’s important.

In your cover letter, please give me the number of the pictures you’re using. Stories should be 1000-3000 words. Full rules are at the Photo Flare Rules and Pics page. (My website is experiencing problems so the rules and pics for February are still up. The rules are the same with the date being April 26. I’ll change it when it’s working again.)

Inspiration A1

Inspiration A2

Inspiration A3

Inspiration A4

A Writer Reviews: Reading Like a Writer

Happy Thursday! One piece of business before I post the book review. Kathryn was kind enough to send a link along for the Writer’s Digest Contest. I entered it a long time ago. I have quit entering contests with fees because I think it’s a fast way to go broke, however, Writers Digest is very reputable and the prizes are great! Thanks for sharing it Kathryn!

Now for the review!

A few years ago I took a writing course on writers.com taught by John Shirley. The book for the class was Reading Like a Writer a Guide for People who Love Books and for Those who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose. Aside from Creating Short Fiction, Reading Like a Writer pushed my writing further than any other book.

She starts small, talking about close reading followed by words, sentences and paragraphs. The book keeps spiralling out until she reaches details and gestures. The chapter on details alone is worth the cost of the book. I didn’t really understand how to write description until I read about details. “Details are what persuade us that someone is telling the truth—a fact that every liar knows instinctively too well….And what a relief it is when a detail reassures us that a writer is in control and isn’t putting us on.” Details are what make your world believable.

Towards the end of the book she devotes a whole chapter to Chekhov. I had never read him, so when I was done with her book, I checked out some of his short stories. I can’t say I’m a devoted follower of Chekhov like she is, but his stories taught me even more about paying attention to details. At the very end she has a reading list that every writer should read. I keep hoping to set aside time to reading several of her suggestions.

After I finished Reading Like a Writer, I wrote one of my favorite stories ever. It still has yet to be published, but it has made it to the final stages of a few markets. I’ll let you know when it makes it :)