Tag Archives: non-fiction

Monday morning writing joke: “Write to be wrong”

Q. Why did the non-fiction author break up with the novelist?

A. Because they could agree if fact was stranger than fiction.



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Guidelines | Ploughshares

Ploughshares logo


Emerging Writer’s Contest

Deadline is May 22, 2017

The Emerging Writer’s Contest is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book. The winner in each genre will be awarded $2,000. Read past winners of the contest here. To submit to the Emerging Writer’s Contest, please visit our submission manager.

The 2017 contest judges are Garth Greenwell (fiction), Meghan Daum (nonfiction), and Natalie Diaz (poetry).

The winning story, essay, and poems from the 2017 contest will be published in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Ploughshares, and each writer will receive $2,000 and two copies of the issue in which their work appears.

You are eligible if you:

  • Have yet to publish a book (including chapbooks, eBooks, translations, books in other languages/countries, and self-published works).
  • Have no book forthcoming before April 15, 2018.
  • Are not affiliated with Ploughshares or Emerson College as a contributing author, volunteer screener, blogger, intern, student, staff member, or faculty member.
  • Will not have a relationship with Emerson before April 15, 2018 (example: if there is a chance you will attend the Emerson MFA program in the coming year or if your work has been accepted for publication for an upcoming issue).

The contest opens March 1, 2017 at noon EST and has been extended to May 22, 2017 at noon EST. We will announce winners in mid-September, 2017.

Fiction and Nonfiction: Under 6,000 words
Poetry: 3-5 pages

Submit one entry per year via our online submission manager.

  • No entries via email or mail will be considered for the contest.
  • Submitted work must be original and previously unpublished in any form.
  • For poetry, we will be reading both for the strongest individual poem and the general level of work, and may choose to publish one, some, or all of the winner’s submitted poems.
  • Cover letters are not necessary. All identifying information will be removed from submissions.

Entry Fee
Entry to the contest requires a $24 fee, which is waived if the submitter is a current subscriber. The fee is:

  • Payable by Visa or MasterCard through the online submission system.
  • Includes a 1-year subscription to Ploughshares (beginning with the Spring 2017 issue and ending with the Winter 2017-18 issue).
  • Includes free submissions to the 2017 reading period

Current subscribers—through the Winter 2017-18 issue—may submit for free.*

*If you are a current subscriber, you will still be prompted to checkout, but you will not be required to enter your credit card information and will not be charged.

To submit to the Emerging Writer’s Contest, please visit our submission manager.

Source: Guidelines | Ploughshares

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Filed under 2017, contest, writing tip, Writing Tip Wednesday

Writing tip Wednesday: “New Millennium Writings”

New Millennium Writings

New Millennium Writings

New Millennium Writings is now accepting submissions for its Thirty-sixth Consecutive Awards for Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction. Writing competition winners will be published in NMW and on this website. Current contest deadline is midnight June. 17.

$4,000 offered in Literary Grants and Awards, Plus Publication
$1,000 for best Poem
$1,000 for best Fiction
$1,000 for best Nonfiction (Nonfiction includes humor, memoir, creative nonfiction, travel, opinion, essay, interview, features, investigative reporting, etc.)
$1,000 for best Short-short Fiction

Visit www.newmillenniumwritings.com for user-friendly guidelines and much more, or jump straight to www.writingawards.com and employ our simple submissions process.

To apply online, follow these guidelines

1. No restrictions as to style, content or number of submissions. Enter as often as you like.

2. Winners announced beginning in September. All contestants will receive our high-quality 2014 anthology.

3. Send between now and June 17, 2013, Midnight, all U.S. time zones.

4. Simultaneous & multiple submissions welcome. Previously published material welcome if under 5,000-circulation or if previously published online only.

5. Each fiction or nonfiction piece is counted as a separate entry, and should total no more than 6,000 words except Short-Short Fiction (no more than 1,000 words).

6. Each poetry entry may include up to three poems, not to exceed five pages total per entry. All poetry Honorable Mentions will be published.

7. Save cover sheet or letter with the submission you’ll be uploading and send as one file. Should you forget to include such covers, however, it’s OK, as contact information is automatically forwarded to us when you pay online.

8. Payment is $20 per submission in order to cover our many expenses and reserve your book. Payment will be by credit card or echeck through PayPal

9. Each entry must be in a separate file (up to 3 poems in one file (See #6)). Many file formats are accepted.

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“Hal, open the keyboard. Hal….”

Could a computer write this story?

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/tech/innovation/computer-assisted-writing/index.html?hpt=hp_bn11

By John Sepulvado, CNN

updated 3:21 PM EDT, Fri May 11, 2012

(CNN) — Computer applications can drive cars, fly planes, play chess and even make music.

But can an app tell a story?

Chicago-based company Narrative Science has set out to prove that computers can tell stories good enough for a fickle human audience. It has created a program that takes raw data and turns it into a story, a system that’s worked well enough for the company to earn its own byline on Forbes.com.

Kristian Hammond, Narrative Science’s chief technology officer, said his team started the program by taking baseball box scores and turning them into game summaries.

“We did college baseball,” Hammond recalled. “And we built out a system that would take box scores and historical information, and we would write a game recap after a game. And we really liked it.”

Narrative Science then began branching out into finance and other topics that are driven heavily by data. Soon, Hammond says, large companies came looking for help sorting huge amounts of data themselves.

“I think the place where this technology is absolutely essential is the area that’s loosely referred to as big data,” Hammond said. “So almost every company in the world has decided at one point that in order to do a really good job, they need to meter and monitor everything.”

Narrative Science hasn’t disclosed how much money is being made or whether a profit is being turned with the app. The firm employs about 30 people. At least one other company, based in North Carolina, is working on similar technology.

Meanwhile, Hammond says Narrative Science is looking to eventually expand into long form news stories.

That’s an idea that’s unsettling to some journalism experts.

Kevin Smith, head of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Committee, says he laughed when he heard about the program.

“I can remember sitting there doing high school football games on a Friday night and using three-paragraph formulas,” Smith said. “So it made me laugh, thinking they have made a computer that can do that work.”

Smith says that, ultimately, it’s going to be hard for people to share the uniquely human custom of story telling with a machine.

“I can’t imagine that a machine is going to tell a story and present it in a way that other human beings are going to accept it,” he said. “At least not at this time. I don’t see that happening. And the fact that we’re even attempting to do it — we shouldn’t be doing it.”

Other experts are not as concerned. Greg Bowers, who teaches at the Missouri School of Journalism, says computers don’t have the same capacity for pitch, emotion and story structure.

“I’m not alarmed about it as some people are,” Bowers said. “If you’re writing briefs that can be easily replicated by a computer, then you’re not trying hard enough.”

[Editor’s note: This is one half of an interesting set of articles. I will post the second one here soon. By story in this article, it doesn’t mean a fiction story or a poem. I’m not sure when, if ever, a computer application or program will be able to create a convincing fictional story. But it is something innate in humans, as the next article points out. The article deals with Alzheimer’s patience and their ability to tell stories even when they have problems with their memories.]


Filed under Hal, non-fiction, software application, technology, writing

Some writing advice to consider

Here are three writing places you can go to get some advice. I sure there are others, but these three stops could be helpful:

From A to Z, literally in alphabetical order prolific author Jane Yolen discusses almost every aspect of story writing, from architecture to endings. None of the entries are long, so it is not as if you have to spend hours with your eyeballs glued to the screen. But hey, if you write, you’re probably already doing that anyway.

If you are more into writing non-fiction, then this list of practical tips from twenty-two authors could be of help for you. But there are nuggets of information for any writer, such as being willing to delete entire chapters and favorite passages. Not all the recommendations are so painful, but it takes more than fast fingers and a fluid imagination to make your writing work.

A former agent turned author, Nathan Bransford covers a wide variety of topics dealing with writing, including poles where he asks his readers to offer their opinions. He has entries for subjects such as How to find an agent and How to write a synopsis or query letter, all under a heading called Publishing Essentials.

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Filed under advice, blog, fiction, Jane Yolen, Nathan Brandsford, non-fiction, publishing, Steve Silberman, words, writer, writing, writing blog, writing tip