Writing Around the Web and the Next Adventures in Writing Book

writing around the web

Adventures in writing: around the web.

Last year, I published 101 Creative Writing Exercises, a book packed with exercises that impart useful writing techniques while providing inspiration for projects and regular writing practice. It was the first book in my Adventures in Writing Series.

Now I’m putting the final touches on the follow-up book in the series, which is tentatively titled Core Practices for Better Writing.

As you can guess from the title, the book explores core practices that writers can adopt for consistently improving their writing. This book is ideal for beginning to intermediate writers but it also includes practical advice for advanced writers who see room for improvement in their work.

I’m excited to announce the book will be available sometime in June (possibly early July).

Writing Around the Web

Over the past few months, I’ve had the honor of guest posting on a few awesome blogs:

The Creative Penn, Pinterest: A Visual Marketing Tool for Writers and Bloggers: Pinterest is a social network based on imagery, so at first glance, it may not seem like a great marketing tool for writers. But it turns out there’s a bustling community of readers and writers on Pinterest. This post includes concrete tips for using Pinterest as a marketing tool. By the way, Writing Forward is on Pinterest.

Fiction Notes, The Art of Using Literary Devices and Techniques: Literary devices and techniques are tools you can use to give your writing extra depth and layers. Find out how to identify literary devices and techniques and use them to strengthen and enhance your writing.

Novel Publicity, 5 Classic Character Archetypes: You’ll recognize all five of these classic character archetypes, plus you’ll learn how character archetypes fulfill a particular purpose in a story. Archetypes are often confused with stereotypes, but archetypes play a far more significant role.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Keep writing!

Enter to Win a Free Copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Giveaway: 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises yet, here’s your chance to get one for free.

From today through Wednesday, April 17, Goodreads is hosting a free giveaway of 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

Goodreads is a social media network for people who love to read. It’s a great way to share and discover books. You can create a list of books you want to read and rate and review books you’ve already read. Plus, there are plenty of special features for authors.

Click here to learn more about 101 Creative Writing Exercises

All you need to enter is a (free) Goodreads account. Once you’ve logged in, click “Enter to Win” below (after the jump) for your chance to win a copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises. The contest is open to residents of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

101 Creative Writing Exercises by Melissa Donovan

101 Creative Writing Exercises

by Melissa Donovan

Giveaway ends April 17, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Writing Around the Web

Since today’s post is so short, I thought it would be a good time to share a few guest posts I’ve written for other blogs in recent weeks:

The Creative Penn: Pinterest: A Visual Marketing Tool for Writers and Bloggers: Pinterest turned out to be a surprisingly viable marketing tool for me, both as a blogger and as an author. In this post, I share tips and strategies for using Pinterest to market books and blogs.

Fiction Notes: The Art of Using Literary Devices and Techniques: Find out how the study of literary devices and techniques will refine your writing.

Novel Publicity: 5 Classic Character Archetypes: Character archetypes are identifiable by their purpose to a story. Learn about five universal character archetypes and how they enrich a story.

I hope you’ll check out these posts and enter the contest to win a copy of my book. After that, I hope you’ll get back to writing!

April is National Poetry Month

national poetry month

2013 poster for National Poetry Month by Jessica Helfand.

Today is April 1st. All around the world, people will celebrate today with jokes and pranks. For us writers, April 1st marks a different celebration: a celebration of poetry.

National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by The Academy of American Poets as a way to draw attention to poetry. Today, a range of government agencies, leaders, educators, publishers, poets, and arts organizations participate in National Poetry Month.

Whether you read poetry, write poetry, or simply want to show your support to poets and the literary community, April is a great time to get involved.

There are many ways to participate, and we’ll get to those shortly. First, let’s find out what National Poetry Month is all about.

What is National Poetry Month?

The Academy of American Poets describes National Poetry Month as follows:

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.

Let’s Honor Poetry!

There are countless ways you can honor and celebrate poetry throughout the month of April. The Academy of American Poets has suggested 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. Here are a few more:

  • Share a poem: send a poem to a loved one (or send one poem a day throughout the month). Write your own poem or share one of your favorites. You can also find poetry online and share it on your website or via social media.
  • Speaking of social media, use it to promote poets, poetry, and National Poetry Month.
  • Check out the poetry writing tag here at Writing Forward, where you’ll find several dozen posts filled with poetry prompts, exercises, resources, and tips.

Here at Writing Forward,we’ll be celebrating National Poetry month with a few new posts on poetry. I’ll also share poetry-related articles via all of our social media accounts throughout the month.

Poetry Writing Cafe

I’ve also set up a Tumblr account called Poetry Writing Cafe, where I’ll be sharing a poem a day in print, audio, and video formats. I’ll also post other poetry-related articles there throughout the month. Like any blog, you can follow Poetry Writing Cafe via RSS.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating National Poetry Month. How will you honor poetry this April?

10 Ways to Celebrate National Grammar Day

National Grammar Day

National Grammar Day: March 4, 2013.

It’s March 4th. Every year on this day, word-nerds, linguists, and writers honor National Grammar Day. The event is hosted by Mignon Fogerty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl.

In Grammar Girl’s own words, “Language is something to celebrate, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”

So, how can we celebrate this day? What can we, as writers, do to further the cause of good grammar and improve our own writing by strengthening our grammar skills?

How to Celebrate National Grammar Day

  1. Listen to the “Grammar Hall of Shame Playlist,” comprised of great songs with bad grammar. See if you can find at least one grammar mistake in each one.
  2. Use your blog or social media accounts to tell your friends and followers about National Grammar Day and to promote good grammar in general.
  3. If you’ve ever published or shared a piece of writing and later discovered an embarrassing typo, you’re not alone. Check out these funny typo stories.
  4. Educate yourself on the top ten grammar myths.
  5. Treat yourself to a style guide or grammar resource. I recommend Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, The Elements of Style, or The Chicago Manual of Style as the three best starter resources for writers.
  6. Explore good and bad grammar around the word by perusing Grammar Girl’s Flickr stream.
  7. Commit yourself to a week of learning grammar with this calendar of daily grammar tips.
  8. Send a National Grammar Day e-card to “the language lover or worst language offender in your life.”
  9. Read through Writing Forward’s own grammar tips. Find out why you should learn good grammar and learn how to make good grammar part of your daily life.

Last but not least, enjoy this “March Forth” video and make sure you click through to YouTube so you can check the “About” tab (beneath the video) to get the lyrics.

Now, march forth and embrace good grammar everywhere!

Writing Forward’s Milestones and Top Posts of 2012

2012 milestones writing forward

Writing Forward’s milestones and top posts of 2012.

Every year brings new readers and old friends to Writing Forward, and I am both honored and grateful to be a part of the wonderful online writing community.

Our readers (and fellow writers) have come a long way in the five years since I started this blog. Some of us have discovered the joy of writing for the first time and set out on a path to write as hobby or to pursue a professional career in writing. Some of us have launched blogs, gotten our work published, or self-published. We’ve worked to improve our writing and have reached out to connect with readers and the greater writing community.

I hope that writers all around the world will take some time at the end of the year to reflect on what we’ve each accomplished and to look ahead in considering our goals for the future, both as writers and as human beings. Read more

Writing Forward Celebrates Its Five-Year Anniversary

writing forward turns five

Writing Forward turns five years old.

On September 1, 2007, I launched Writing Forward. On that day, five years ago, I could never have imagined that it would become what it is today.

Back then, Writing Forward explored all forms of writing, not just creative writing. Posts about business writing and copywriting were mixed in with posts about fiction and poetry. I was excited if the site got ten visitors in a day. Now, it gets tens of thousands of visitors every month, and it’s been recognized twice by Writer’s Digest.

Writing Forward has been an incredible experience for me. Through it, I’ve found my voice, connected with tons of wonderful writers, and learned more about writing than I thought possible — and there’s more yet to learn!

However, the fifth anniversary of Writing Forward never would have happened without all of the passionate, supportive readers, friends, and fans. I offer my deepest thanks to everyone who has visited this site; from loyal subscribers to occasional passers-by, from quiet lurkers to active tweeters; all of you have made Writing Forward what it is today.

Time for Change

In honor ofWriting Forward’s fifth anniversary, I decided to change the schedule a little. I usually publish new posts two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Starting this week, we’ll switch to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, and on Fridays, I’ll update and publish some of my favorite posts from the past. There are hundreds of posts in the archives, many of which I’d like to revisit and freshen up.

I’m also thinking about adding a new topic. You can see the list of topics we explore across the top of the page, under the header. I have a few ideas knocking around in my head, but if there are any writing-related subjects that I don’t cover here, but that you’d like to see addressed, let me know by leaving a comment.

Let’s Celebrate! 101 Creative Writing Exercises on Sale All Month

To celebrate our five-year milestone, I’ve dropped the price of 101 Creative Writing Exercises. Throughout the month of September, the Kindle and all Smashwords versions will be 99¢ and the paperback will be available at Amazon for just $6.99.

101 Creative Writing ExercisesThis book is perfect if you’re looking for creative writing ideas, want to acquire new writing tools and techniques, or just want to get more writing practice. It takes you on a writing adventure through fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Click here to check out some samples before you buy.

Amazon Paperback

101 Creative Writing Exercises Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle

101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle
101 Creative Writing Exercises Smashwords

Thank you all for your support. Here’s to another five years (and many more) of writing!

Kindle Edition of 101 Creative Writing Exercises on Sale for 99¢

101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

From now through Sunday, 7/22, you can download the Kindle edition of my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises, for just 99¢.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of creative writing.

You’ll experiment with fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. You’ll discover literary terms and writing techniques that will enhance your writing skills. You’ll explore new ideas that will invigorate your writing and inspire you.

Most importantly, you’ll get plenty of writing practice by completing these exercises. Every exercise also includes a variation, so you get double for your money.

What are you waiting for? Pick up 101 Creative Writing Exercises now.

The Reviews Are Coming In

In March, I held a haiku contest and gave away three copies of the book. Marlon Manalese, one of the winners, was kind enough to post a video review. Here’s what he had to say about 101 Creative Writing Exercises:

Thanks, Marlon. Your video review made my day!

Remember, the sale ends on Sunday, 7/22. Get your copy today:
Amazon Kindle
99¢101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)

“I believe the universe created us; we are an audience for miracles. In that sense, I guess, I’m religious.” – Ray Bradbury, AARP Magazine

Beloved author Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

He was best known for his collection of short stories, The Martian Chronicles and his novella Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian story about a future in which books — all books — are banned. Ironically, Fahrenheit 451 itself was banned from some schools — not mine though. I first discovered Ray Bradbury when I was assigned the text in high school. I read it in one sitting and became a huge fan of Mr. Bradbury’s work.

In fact, I consider him to be the grand master of contemporary science fiction. Maybe someone else already officially holds that title, but few science fiction writers hold a candle to Bradbury’s voice, prose, and storytelling. He was a master of the craft, a true magician.

The Life and Times of Ray Bradbury

“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it.” – Ray Bradbury, Beyond 1984: The People Machines

I’ve collected some links to interviews, obituaries, a short story, and other interesting pieces about Mr. Bradbury on the web. I promise you won’t be disappointed. In addition to being a brilliant writer, he was a fascinating person:

Short Story by Ray Bradbury (downloadable PDF): “There Will Come Soft Rains

Writing Advice: Ray Bradbury’s Best Writing Advice

Buzzfeed: 20 Of Ray Bradbury’s Thoughts On Life, Death, And Writing

The Paris Review: Interview with Ray Bradbury

NPR obituary: ‘Fahrenheit 451′ Author Ray Bradbury Dies At 91

Neil Gaiman: A moving tribute to Ray Bradbury

“Science fiction is the fiction of ideas.” – Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was inspired and inspiring. See for yourself:

“Looking back over a lifetime, you see love was the answer to everything.” – Ray Bradbury.

Express your thoughts about Ray Bradbury and share any links about his life and work by leaving a comment.

Goodreads Giveaway: 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Giveaway: 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

Have you been thinking about picking up a copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises but haven’t gotten around to it yet?

Here’s your chance to get one for free.

From today through Monday, June 11, I’m hosting a giveaway on Goodreads, the ultimate social networking site for bookworms.

To enter, all you need is a Goodreads account (it’s free). Once you’re logged in, click the link below to enter the giveaway for your chance to win. The contest is open to residents of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.

Enter to win a free copy of
101 Creative Writing Exercises

Goodreads is a haven for readers and writers alike. The site allows you to add books you want to read and rate and review books you’ve already read. It’s a great way to keep track of your reading. You can also interact with other readers and share your recommendations. Plus, there are plenty of special features for authors, and since Goodreads is populated with passionate readers, it’s a author’s dream.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of creative writing.

  • Explore different forms and genres by writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.
  • Discover useful writing concepts that will build your skills.
  • Create new writing projects or rejuvenate existing projects with fresh ideas.

Each chapter focuses on a different form or writing concept: freewriting, journaling, memoir, fiction, poetry, article and blog writing, characters, and dialogue are all covered.

These exercises are fun yet practical. They impart literary and storytelling devices while inspiring writing projects that you can submit or publish.

Ideal for new and experienced writers alike, this book will enlighten and inspire you with exciting new ideas.

Click here to enter for your chance to win
a free copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises in the Goodreads giveaway

Writing Forward Named One of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers (Again)

101 best websites for writers 2012

Writing Forward named one of the 101 best websites for writers.

Every spring, Writer’s Digest publishes a list of the 101 best websites for writers.

It’s a huge honor for any website to make the list. Writer’s Digest is a highly respected publication. Every issue is filled with useful writing resources that cover everything from the craft to the business of writing.

Best of all, the magazine encompasses writers at all levels. Whether you’re just starting out or are already a successful, published author, you’ll find plenty of wisdom inside.

One of the most difficult chores for writers is sifting through the countless writing-related websites available in search of the gems that prove to be a valuable use of your time. That’s why, for more than a decade, we’ve been busy scouring the web for you, rummaging through every online resource imaginable to simplify your search and bring you the best of the best – Writer’s Digest May/June 2012 issue.

The list is jam-packed with websites that offer insight on every aspect of writing.

Writing Forward first made the list in 2009, and I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve done it again, selected as one of the best “from this year’s record-setting 4,350 nominations.” Wow!

Writing Forward was placed in the writing-advice category, and it’s an incredible honor to be recommended by such a prestigious publication and listed among such excellent writing-related websites.

Welcome, Writer’s Digest Readers!

It’s privilege to welcome the readers of Writer’s Digest to Writing Forward. I hope you will all find value here as well as inspiration for your writing endeavors. I encourage you to participate by sharing your thoughts in the comments. You can also engage with our audience by submitting a guest post.

Thank You!

I want to give special thanks to Dani of Positively Present – for alerting me to the good news, for being a supportive friend of Writing Forward over the past few years, and for tons of great posts on staying positive.

Finally, to all of you writers who have subscribed, commented, emailed, shared our posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites: your participation, feedback, and suggestions keep me going. Without you, none of this would be possible. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Subscribe to Writer’s Digest

writers digest

For less than $20, you can get eight issues of Writer’s Digest packed with insightful writing tips, advice for getting published, and even working as a freelance writer. This magazine covers everything from the writing process to marketing your work.

Some of the best-loved and most respected authors in the world have been featured in Writer’s Digest. Plus, the magazine accepts submissions and pays writers quite well for any work they accept for publication. Subscribe to Writer’s Digest today.

Now, let’s get back to writing.

101 Creative Writing Exercises – Kindle Edition on Sale for 99 Cents

101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Do you have a Kindle or smart phone? If so, you can get a copy of my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises for just 99¢ now through Sunday 4/29.

The paperback is also on sale for just $5.99.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of writing.

You’ll experiment with fiction, poetry, journaling, blogging, and more. Each exercise imparts literary terms or writing techniques, so you’ll learn about the craft of writing as you make your way through the book.

In any craft or career, practice is essential. Surely, by now you’ve heard that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at any craft. That means you’ll spend 10,000 hours writing before your working at the expert level. Writing exercises are an excellent way to gain practice and practical experience.

These exercises are designed to teach you about writing and to give you plenty of practice, but they will also inspire you. If you’ve ever struggled with having too many ideas, not enough ideas, or simply trying to find the right idea, then you know how vital inspiration can be. This book is packed with it.

Every exercise also includes a variation, so you get double for your money.

 On sale now through Sunday, 4/29.
Amazon Paperback
$5.99101 Creative Writing Exercises Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
99¢101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle

Adrienne Rich (1929 – 2012)

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012)

“The serious revolutionary, like the serious artist, can’t afford to lead a sentimental or self-deceiving life.” ― Adrienne Rich

Last week, the brilliant poet and pioneering feminist Adrienne Rich passed away. The world has lost a profound voice, but Adrienne’s poetry and prose will certainly live on.

I first read Adrienne’s poetry in a class on women writers, which was easily my favorite literature course during college. We read “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” as one of our assignments, and I fell in love with the poem. In fact, it was one of the first poems that I truly studied, reading it over and over to absorb every nuance.

The poem does exactly what I think poetry is supposed to do: it paints a picture, it’s rich with emotion, it uses symbolism and metaphor, and it carries a subtle but deeply meaningful message. It makes you think. It invites you to read it aloud and to read it again. To this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite poems.

“Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” is presented in full (on page two) of the New York Times obituary: “A Poet of Unswerving Vision at the Forefront of Feminism.”

Remembering Adrienne Rich

The Los Angeles Times also published an obituary highlighting Adrienne Rich’s contributions and accomplishments:

She came of age during the social upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s and was best known as an advocate of women’s rights, which she wrote about in both her poetry and prose. But she also wrote passionate antiwar poetry and took up the causes of the marginalized and underprivileged. (from the Los Angeles Times obituary: “Adrienne Rich dies at 82; feminist poet and essayist“)

The Poetry Foundation has assembled articles and essays commemorating Adrienne Rich’s life and legacy: “Remembrances of Adrienne Rich Abound.”

New Verse News has published a poem by Bill Sullivan, which is simply titled “Adrienne Rich (1929-2012).”

Adrienne’s Language

“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” ― Adrienne Rich

To celebrate Adrienne Rich’s life and legacy, I thought I’d share a poem that I wrote many years ago, shortly after I first discovered her work. This was for a class assignment in which we were asked to write a creative response to a poem of our choosing. I chose “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” and wrote a response in the voice of Aunt Jennifer.

Adrienne’s Language

A Creative Response to “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” by Adrienne Rich

Adrienne’s language settles across the page
Black symbols of her thoughts embedded,
engraved in deliberate books. Unafraid
of readers’ mindful eyes. Her lovely lullabies
sing and cry. Brave

niece – she grips the pen in hand,
scrawling the notions of life and
the images of living. Her heart lay
open for all to see, for me, my tigers.

Her words set the scene: tales alive
and breathing. Recount the memory, recount.
Counting stitches of her stories – her own
tapestries, done up in Adrienne’s language.

By Melissa Donovan

“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.” ― Adrienne Rich

*All quotes are from Goodreads