Congratulations, Dirk, Elspeth and John!


(25 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Rachel Parsons wrote:

I've pretty much given up on contests, although I have gotten some publishable short stories out of them, I never win. I thought about entering the Mythological Creatures contest, but because I'm discouraged, I put the thought on the back burner and oops, missed the deadline.

You and me both. I promised myself I wouldn't be taken in again. Sorry, Sol, but the last time this compulsion got me, I signed up to churn out seven stories--one for each of the deadly sins. I have to be careful now. I had such a good shape-shifter idea, but while I tried to decide on my character's animal. time marched on. Oh well. I never win, anyway. JP


(19 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Here's the thing (or things):
1) Although reading  time may have been slightly longer with only one space between sentences, they found no difference in comprehension. Which simply bears out what we have always known: some folks read faster than others.
2) The sample was admittedly small, so any results are inconclusive.
Looks to me like somebody needed a topic for an article (for financial reasons?) so that's what they chose. Saying a study was made at a particular college doesn't give it any weight--we all went to college and we all had to write up the results of our little research projects. There have been millions of 'studies' done at colleges.
In any case, we humans tend to go with the established norm. It's familiar and hence, more comfortable to use, whether it be the rules of language and writing, dating or baseball. Why worry about putting two spaces between sentences when everybody already does it the other way? I already had to change my spacing once. (At the behest of my tnbw reviewers. YOU try going through a novel and taking out one space after each sentence.) It's my practice now, and I'm sticking to it.  JP


(4 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Another question: Does the title count as part of the story's word count? It does in some contests.
Also, do we have to use 'The House on the Lake' as the story's title, or is that simply the name of the contest?


(33 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

1) Sounds like a lot of work for someone. Who's really going to take the time to screen potential new members? Sounds like a built-in fail.

2) The people who decide whether to include or exclude a new writer could become very restrictive. Who's to say whether a future Steven King should be allowed in? A whole new genre could be lost to readers.

3) Allowing  or not allowing someone to join is contrary to the site's objective of nurturing and teaching those of us who wish to improve our writing skills. Who prizes their exclusivity above the open opportunity to learn and improve the site currently offers?

So there are people receiving unsolicited gratuitous reviews. It's part and parcel of putting your writing in the public eye. Deal with it.

Sorry if my opinion hurts my friends' feelings. Just imagine how hurtful it would seem to an aspiring writer to be excluded before even getting a chance.



(34 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I kind of like the idea of science fiction or urban fantasy, along the line of a Twilight Zone episode. 3000-5000 would be a good word limit.


(26 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are all happy, well and safe.


(5 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

"ACCOUNT CLOSED'? Was it something we said? If you can't stand the heat,...


(11 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Keep up the good work!

Congratulations, Randy! When does the movie come out?

Let's see...maybe five or six years ago! I don't recall the movie, but I loved those reclining seats with the drink and snack trays. Didn't care much for the twenty-dollar admission. Luckily, my son-in-law paid. After that, we started going to an old-time drive- in.

For instance, if you are using a job title as a direct address, it should be capitalized. “Do you think I should start running on a treadmill, Doctor?” … g-01259140

The key is that "Exorcist" is used in direct address to the person. Even though the person is not truly an exorcist, the demon is addressing him as such (direct address), so the title is capitalized.

My dog ate my homework, Teacher.
I'm late because the traffic was terrible, Boss.
I'm too busy to take out the trash, Mom.


(2 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Hi, Njoki! Welcome to the site.  JP


(4 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Weird to see I don't fit in my age group. I guess that just goes to show us not to generalize our conceptions about people because of their age, whether they be teenagers or old folks. We can't help when we were born.


(4 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Hi, Kevin--
Welcome to the site.   JP


(7 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Sounds good. I'll check it out.


(0 replies, posted in Mama, Trains and Pickup Trucks)

If you're working on a historical non-fiction book, here's a competition you should know about. I admit the category is pretty specific, but who knows? You may fit.  This is the address for the 2019 finalists, but the article does invite inquiries for entry. … 019-cibas/


(0 replies, posted in Mama, Trains and Pickup Trucks)

Western Writers of America support and encourage anyone who writes novels, nonfiction, screenplays, short stories, poems and songs in the western theme. They sponsor writing competitions and a convention September 4-7 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Here's the website address.
The competition is open to nonmembers as well as members.


(16 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Thanks, guys. I got my tnbw copies back to re-edit. You're right, John. I used to edit regularly on site. Will have to go back to it.   JP


(16 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Rachel Parsons wrote:

Ended up rewriting the whole chapter and liked the results better..

I guess what I'm saying is bummer, but make the lemonade. Use this as a way of making your work better. .

I suppose I'm a fatalist. I was already unsatisfied with my work; I kept going back to tinker with it. Now I can get the bare bones back from tnbw, and make the improvements it needs. The universe just let me know two things: 1) I can do better, and 2) I need to back up my writing.

All I really needed was someplace to vent my frustration among people who understand. I got that.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I think they'll be helpful.  JP


(16 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Damn, damn, damn! I accidentally erased my whole book! I've spent the day trying to retrieve it, but the software isn't letting me see the files, it just tells me they're retrievable. I have to stop before I erase the whole confounded computer in the trash bin. My only recourse is to copy chapter by chapter from tnbw. Gah!


(6 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I checked it out, BB. looking good! Much success with it.   JP


(1 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Hey, Bill--

Come to think of it, I used to receive notices, too. But I thought I unsubscribed from that.  My email box was getting too full, and it was easier to logon to the site to look for messages. I usually find something I want to respond to.  Hope someone figures it out.  JP


(8 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Worry, worry, worry!

Aren't we supposed to be showing DD our support? Don't give the guy even more to worry about.

1) Yes, it makes sense to remove the work from the site on publication. It only makes sense to remove the story that someone is paying for from tnbw, where theoretically, anyone in the world could join and read for free. Get that? Anyone in the world! It's obvious that doesn't happen, but remove it anyway, out of professional responsibility.

2) Forget changing names, unless you want to. It's not a problem with the publisher. Just make sure the publisher knows your real name, so they know where to send the money.



(17 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Dirk B. wrote:
j p lundstrom wrote:

So, even if you're not writing in first person, you've taken sides, and you can't know what the other team is thinking.

, and it's loaded with qualifiers like obviously, clearly, apparently, etc. They stick out like sore thumbs.

Wait a minute!

I never said the sheriff can't assume what's going on in Mary's head. After all, he's only human (unless you're writing sci fi), and as humans, we make assumptions or come to inaccurate conclusions about people all the time. As a writer, you do want to expose and assess the human condition.

The operative word is loaded. Some words state facts, and others are loaded with judgement. So, words like clearly, apparently, and obviously indicate the sheriff's judgement or assumption about Mary. THEY'RE FINE. The words to avoid are the ones that have the sheriff concluding Mary's guilt without proof. It may be a fine line, but it's our job to tread it carefully. That's what we signed up for when we became writers, or wordsmiths, if you will.

But here's the thing: as a reader, I don't think the use of a phrase like 'Mary jumped guiltily' (or happily, or nervously, or sadly--all unsubstantiated conclusions) is going to stop me from reading on, if it's a good story. So sue me.

I just think we should be aware how much might the pen we wield actually has. After all, leading or loaded statements are what make a president out of an obtuse wannabe.

Well, the power is yours. Use it wisely.