Category: Ink

The Best Short Story Contests for 2018


Aerogramme Studio, a blog dedicated to resources for writers, recently published an extensive list of short story contests for 2018. The list is heavy on established contests and offers with prize money and fellowships for the winners.

Why should you consider submitting your work to a writing contest? To get noticed. Why should you think twice before submitting work to a contest? Because they cost money to enter, your work could be tied up for the duration of the contest and some contests are fake.

One more thing to consider – some contests guarantee one thing. You will gain at least another reader.

Writing Goals 2018 – Write with Intention

just four men rolling a barrel in a park

In 2017 I finished two NaNoWriMo projects that I started (one in 2016) and now have two potential novels. What’s the next step?

Chuck Wendig gives a clue – write with intentionality.

But in writing this thing, I tried to take it slow, even as I wrote it fast. I tried to pause with scenes and chapters and ask myself along the way: why is this here? Not only that, but what do I want this scene, this chapter, to do? Specifically, what do I want it to do_to the reader_? I want them to feel a certain way, so how do I engineer that feeling with story and character?

Wendig talks abut being in touch with the purpose of your writing from the earliest moments. The writer’s intentions will dictate word choice, character development, scene and setting.

In a very tl;dr piece C. H. Knoblauch takes a deep dive into intentionality and writing, arguing that intentionality is the third leg of an Aristotlian stool, supported by subject and requirements of the situation. This suggests that you can start with great characters and a compelling setting but without intention you’ll be flat on your ass.

[Via terribleminds]

The Ghosts of Christmas Past – A Creepy Look at the Darker Side of Yuletide

Victorian print taken from an engraving by R Graves via Stephen Bywater @authorbywater

Victorian print taken from an engraving by R Graves via Stephen Bywater @authorbywater

So much of Christmas is supposed to by happy, jolly and filled with thoughts of prancing reindeer that we often overlook the darker side of winter solstice. But if we think about it for a while we start to realize that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is certainly a ghost story. The Nutcracker, especially E.T.A. Hoffman’s version, while it may not have ghosts per se, is clearly very creepy.

There are quite a few other ghostly, creepy and malevolent stories set around Christmas time – think The Shining and Psycho.

So if you’re in the mood to settle down with some good old fashioned gothic horror this Christmas look at what sites like are serving up – creepy stuff like M.R. James’ Mezzotint. Also check out NPR’s Linda Wertheimer’s reading of a selection from Marjorie Bowen’s Crown Darby Plate.

On that note, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Psychoanalyzing Scrooge


What exactly trigger’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s big transformation in A Christmas Carol? I always thought Scrooge’s change of heart came about when the spirit of Christmas-yet-to-come pointed a boney finger to Ebenezer’s grave. I may have been influenced in that respect by the Mr. Magoo version.

Re-reading A Christmas Carol this year I noticed that the spirits themselves have little to do with Uncle Ebenezer’s big 180. Scrooge generally scoffs at the spirits, suggesting that Marley’s ghost is a bad dream induced by heartburn, an “undigested bit beef, a blot of mustard.”  The transformation actually starts when Scrooge rediscovers his inner child and sets him free.

If this sounds a little like psychoanalysis, you wouldn’t be the first to make the comparison. Dickens takes his character on journey back to re-experience some of the trauma of his childhood, a process that turns out to be surprisingly similar to intensive short-term therapy. The relationship between memory and personal transformation is a concept straight out of Alfred Adler.

So how would you diagnose Ebenezer Scrooge? Psychology student Kathleen Eveland thinks Scrooge is possibly bipolar exhibiting symptoms of stress-induced psychosis.


Book Recommendations: 20 Strange Books You Might Like to Read. Or Not.



There’s nothing like a book to take you into different worlds, experience different lives and in the doing learn something about yourself. Here’s a list of offbeat books by some very worthwhile authors, including one who lives to chase animals:

The wildly various stories in Running After Antelope are connected and illuminated by a singular passion: the author’s attempt to run down a pronghorn antelope. His pursuit-odd, funny, and inspired-is juxtaposed with stories about sibling rivalry, falling in love, and working as a journalist in war-torn countries. Scott Carrier provides a most unique record of a most unique life.

20 Even Stranger and More Wonderful Books via Metafilter

50 Books Every Child (and Adult) Should Read

For my money Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio is one of the most marvelous books ever written. Full of dry wit and dark humor, much of which is lost on children, the story is a developmental cautionary tale. For children the take-away is “see what happens when you don’t listen to your conscience” but for adults the story is a little more complex. With a little compassion even a dull boy can make good.

Pinocchio is one of 50 classic books that the Independent’s hand picked group of authors tap for must-reads. Other books on the list: Emil and the Detectives, Treasure Island, Animal Farm, Sherlock Holmes, and Beano Annual.

The 50 books every child should read via kottke