Category Archives: The After Hours Writer

NaNoWriMo in the library

National Novel Writing Month, more commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, is under way. Have you considered inviting participating writers into your library for an “open swim” writing event? The official website offers a publicity kit for the price of shipping but you could always create your own promotional materials as well.

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Filed under Professional Practice, Story Starters, The After Hours Writer, This Business of Writing

Story Starter: Smithsonian Flickr

I recently posed this Story Starter to Story Problems and I thought I’d share it with you too. It was inspired by this post on the Smithsonian’s blog.

Visit the Smithsonian’s Flickr (or your favorite Flickr page) and select an image (like above?) that intrigues you.

Write about (choose one of the following):

  • What’s happening at that moment, or, if you’d prefer, what is about to happen.
  • Imagine you’ve just found this image in your grandmother dusty attic. Do you recognize it? Do you not? What’s your reaction? Oh no! Don’t tell me a deep and troubling family secret has been revealed at a most inopportune time?
  • You are very, very old and used to be very, very famous. One day a reporter comes to visit you and asks you about the photo. What do you tell them? What do you keep to yourself? What do you only tell us, the reader of your tale?

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Filed under Adventures in Tutoring, Story Starters, The After Hours Writer, This Business of Writing


I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under but I only just learned about Duotrope. It’s a “free* resource for writers that primarily offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction and poetry markets.” (So, yes, a little like the Poets & Writers database.) If you’re interested in submitting your writing to literary journals and magazines, it’s worth checking out. You can create an account to track your submissions, as well as view average acceptance stats (although beware that the stats are skewed thanks to voluntary responses.) It’s also a handy way of bookmarking journals you’re interested in who aren’t currently accepting submissions and tracking contest deadlines.

So, take these words to heart and, with Duotrope’s help, join the game!

* For now, at least. A donations tab alerts you that they’re struggling to make ends meet.

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Filed under Klickitat Recommends, The After Hours Writer, This Business of Writing

“Things like getting rejected were the way to know that you were in the game”

Credit: Ball State English Department

“…when I arrived [at grad school], I hadn’t ever finished a publishable short story, and the types of discussions I was used to having about literature were more of the dead-important-people variety. At Arizona State there was suddenly this community of people swapping the names of up and coming writers, hero-worshipping authors I’d never even heard of. They revised their stories and them put them in envelopes, sending them out to editors. They collected rejections on little slips of paper and put them on the wall like trophies. I wanted to have those little slips of paper. I wanted to know the authors they talked about. This never felt competitive to me—just participatory. For three years, I was in the type of club I wanted most to join, and things like getting rejected were the way to know that you were in the game.” — Caitlin Horrocks, author of This is Not Your City. From an interview on PhD in Creative Writing.

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Filed under Quote of the Day, The After Hours Writer, This Business of Writing

I’m teaching a found object workshop on May 19th at 826michigan

Inspiration Sold Separately: Storytelling through Catalogs and Found Artifacts
Ages: 12-15, 15 students
Saturday, May 19, 2-3:30pm (one session)

Catalogs aren’t junk mail! They’re actually on-going sagas in disguise. Just who are the people buying those clothes and furnishing their homes? What are their stories? In this workshop, we’ll explore how the things we collect tell volumes about our inner lives. Taking inspiration from real life auctions and fictional found object narratives, we’ll re-purpose images from catalogs and magazines to tell stories visually and with minimal text. You’ll never flip through J. Crew the same way again!

Visit the 826michigan workshop page to sign up!


Filed under Adventures in Tutoring, Field Trip, Housekeeping, Professional Practice, Story Starters, The After Hours Writer, This Business of Writing