5 Ways Twitter Helps You Become a Better Writer

 

I’m so excited to be over at the awesome Sacha Black’s this week. Her intro for my post gave me a good laugh. Much love to her for that and for hosting my words and wisdom. Or my words, anyway.

Check it out and drop a comment completely agreeing with me (or heckling…I’m good either way). Cheers!

 

 

Whether you love Twitter, hate it, or feel a bit iffy, I’ve got news for you.

Tweeting improves your writing.  

Clicking the button on someone’s blog with that little blue bird on it doesn’t count. I’m talking about composing a tweet. Writing something. All the cool kids are doing it. I’ve lost count of how many hashtag games there are on Twitter.

What am I going on about? Here’s what: Twitterature. Get it? Twitter Literature. I know. Sounds made up. It’s not. It’s a real thing. Seriously.

If you’re a writer not taking part in any of the prompts on there, you’re missing out.

Why are you missing out? Here’s why: Microbursts. Get it? Micro fiction bursting with story. This one is not a real thing—it’s something I completely made up for my book but totally should be a thing. (For my fellow nerds, yes, microbursts are real but they are a weather phenomenon so don’t go there. We’re talking about writing. Focus, people!) You’d be surprised how much you can fit in a tweet.

Let’s talk about how this fast-paced platform helps you become a better writer.

 

Way 1 – Learn to Be Concise

You have to be brief when writing a scene, story, or joke in 140 characters or less. Even if you tend toward the dark side of verbosity, you can tweet. If you’re naturally wordy, you won’t be. You can’t be. It’s 140 characters. With a hashtag. You can’t afford to be long-winded. Succinct is the secret. The limit forces you to edit. Every. Word. Counts. Cut the crap, you know? Get rid of it. If it doesn’t fit in that tiny tweet, make it fit. Writers from all genres do this every day on Twitter.

Continue reading…

 

Hinting at Shadows ~ Summer Sale

 

 

June is a big month for short fiction.

Bath Flash Fiction Award is an organization whose goal is to “promote flash fiction for both writers and readers and to bring the genre to a wider audience.” They are hosting the Flash Fiction Festival on June 24 & 25th. “The first literary festival in the UK entirely devoted to Flash Fiction. Happening on the weekend of National Flash Fiction Day [June 24]…”

That’s a lot of flash.

I’m psyched about this promotion of flash fiction so I’m celebrating with ALL OF THE THINGS! Okay, a sale.

Hinting at Shadows, my collection of flash, will be just $0.99 (£0.99) for the entire month of June.

Happy flashing! Erm…reading. 🙂

 

You can get your copy here: Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

 

Yes, yes. I’m getting a global link. Working on it. Cheers!

 

Hinting at Shadows ~ Published #NewRelease

 

hinting-at-shadows-cover-reveal-lemon-shark

 

So. It has come to this.

Yes! It really has. It’s here!

Hinting at Shadows is now available in both eBook and paperback.

After some minor bumps and bruises with the ever-delightful formatting process, I am finally able to release my book into the world.

This is a collection of short fiction. Flash, micro, sudden, postcard, hint… Whatever you label it, it’s fiction. And it’s short.

I hope to entertain but, really, it’s awesome if I can spark your imagination or get you thinking about possibilities.

As most of you know, when I write fiction, I turn to the dark side. (I am this close to a Star Wars reference…)

This book is a mixture of darkness and softness. I skip the gore and go straight for the heart, allowing words to whisper dark, suggestive snapshots of the psyche. I’m fascinated by human nature. These are stories that hint at the things in the shadows.

Thanks to all you tweeps, blogging friends, and writer buddies who supported, encouraged, and, quite frankly, kept me going with your excitement for this project. You are all awesome. A special thanks to Sacha Black, Rachael Ritchey, and Loni Townsend for all their help.

 

Blurb for Hinting at Shadows:

 

NO ONE ESCAPES LIFE UNSCATHED

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.

A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.

Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

 

Available to buy:

Paperback

eBook

If you decide to grab a copy, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating shadows with flash.

 

Cover Reveal for Hinting at Shadows

 

Thanks to everyone who voted in the cover poll, texted, emailed, and sent carrier pigeons to tell me which cover they liked. I’m so grateful because, not only did you choose a favorite, you explained your decision. I got feedback about image, font, colors…

With all that interest in my cover, you made this writer very happy. Onward!

In the poll, the winner was #1 (tree and rainy window) with #4 (shadows and flowers) a close second. However, a lot of people who voted for #1 commented that they liked #4 as well for various reasons. Behind the scenes, #4 won by a landslide.

Do I need to say I chose #4?

Well…I will. And I did. We took some of the elements from #1 (including more black background for easier readability), changed the font, and tweaked a few things.

Voila. We have ourselves a cover. One I’m thrilled with.

 

hinting-at-shadows-cover-reveal-lemon-shark

 

Still need to finish the nuts and bolts of the thing, you know, but am so pleased to have the cover of my book completed. Thanks, again, to the lovely Rachael Ritchey for designing and to all of you for providing invaluable feedback and helping to create this cover.

 

Hinting at Shadows will be available November 2016.  🙂

 

Cover Reveal (with a Little Help from My Friends)

 

I have a few books simmering on the burners. But my short story/flash collection is the one I’m closest to torturing the world with. And it needs a cover, as these things go.

Anyway, there are many choices and it’s overwhelming. I’ve narrowed it down. A lot.

I write kind of “dark” fiction but it’s not horror. It’s not thriller. It’s not really any genre. It’s just sort of…dark. Sad? No idea. But I don’t want to mislead readers with a cover that screams, “Horror!”

That was fun.

I want something that represents the darkness while also retaining some softness. If you’ve read my flash, you know what I mean. Without further ado…

Would you, could you, pretty please (with a cherry on top) take a look at these and vote for your favorite?

The font type, color, size, and placement can be changed. Any suggestions/ideas in the comments would be much appreciated. 

Thank you, gentle readers. I am so very grateful.

 

Brentyn_Cover1 poll

Cover 1

 

Brentyn_Cover2 poll

Cover 2

 

Brentyn_Cover3 poll

Cover 3

 

Brentyn_Cover4 poll

Cover 4

 

Brentyn_Cover5 poll

Cover 5

 

Cover 6

Cover 6

 

Cover 7

Cover 7

 

The lovely Rachael Ritchey, author of Chronicles of the Twelve Realms and founder of BlogBattle, designed these for me. I asked her for some advice after reading her post about cover design in her Indie Publishing series and, before I knew it, I had 500 designs in my inbox. I jest. There were only 400. She enjoys designing covers. And is really good at it. And is most generous with her time and talent. 

 

 

All images copyright Sarah Brentyn

Grilling Fun for July 4th Weekend

 

Grilling Cookbook - sig

 

Happy 4th of July!

It’s time for some outdoor grilling.

I don’t really cook (at all) so here’s my alternative to a fab 4th recipe for you. Enjoy!

Visit Lemon Shark Reef here (yes, right here – just click right here) for some weekend fun.

Riding Hood’s Grandmother Reveals Identity as Bestselling Author

Because, as we all know, fairy tales aren’t always what they seem.

(You don’t have to celebrate July 4th to enjoy this tail tale.)

Go *Tweet* Yourself

 

Go Tweet Yourself - sig

 

I just figured out I could retweet myself.

Late to the party.

I won’t lie. I played around with it a bit, hovering over those double arrows, clicking them, unclicking them, and generally goofing around.

My first thought, before I played, was: “That’s weird. Why would I do that?”

My second thought was: “I wish Twitter would introduce some useful new features.” (Ahem. Edit button.)

It went downhill from there:

“Hee-hee. I wonder if I’ll get a notification from myself that I got an RT from myself.”

“Where would it come from?”

“What would it say? ‘You retweeted you!’ or ‘You really think you’re something special to RT your own tweet, you humble fool.’

But, then, I got to thinking about how I use my Twitter account.

As I’ve mentioned, I mine my own tweets for future short stories and flash. So it might be kinda cool to revisit a piece of micro fiction and have it show up on the timeline of someone who missed it.

Then again, I could just pin it or copy and paste it into a new tweet… So, I guess, I’m back to my first reaction. Retweeting yourself is weird.

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you retweet yourself? Did you know you could retweet yourself? Do you find any benefits to retweeting yourself that I’m completely missing? Did you notice how I just like saying ‘retweet yourself’ because I’m immature and find it amusing?


I Need to Get the Hell out of My Own Way

 

I walked away from writing.

 

Get Out of My Own Way - sig

 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

But I ran back—characters shouting in my head and fingers itching for the keyboard.

I need to write.

Without it, I am incomplete. I am miserable.

So why am I not writing? To be fair, I’ve started flash fiction again. But I’ve stopped there.

I’m not taking a scene or idea and running with it. I’m not working on any of my novels. What’s going on?

Well, I’m busy. My health isn’t great. My to-do list is growing every day. I have deadlines, meetings, and appointments. Did I mention kids? Because. Kids. I have a lot going on in my life right now.

When it comes to writing, I always have an excuse ready. Except I call it a “reason” because I’m a word nerd and these small differences often wind up making a big difference.

Excuses are crap, my writer-self says.

Reasons are real, tangible things that get in my way, my writer-self says.

I hate to admit it but it’s true. Think about this. You MAKE excuses, you HAVE reasons. See? My writer-self is right. Also, she’s full of shit.

I need to get out of my own way.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever caused your writer’s block? Been your own problem? Are your “reasons” just excuses in disguise? 

 

Mine Your Own Tweets

 

Break out your spinning wheel. With all the straw stuffing your Twitter timeline, you can find some serious writing gold.

Look at your tweets because there’s a story there. Possibly many.

Right there. See that? It’s the beginning of a blog post. Maybe even a personal essay. It could be turned into some flash fiction.

Mine your tweets. You’ll find some gems in there.

Scroll through your Twitter account. Tweeting doesn’t carry the same pressures as other types of writing. They’re often spontaneous, unfiltered thoughts.

Tweets have your voice, your experiences, your opinions. And something about the content made you want to put it in writing and publish it.

Not all that glitters is gold, though, right?

So let those zingers and one-liners be. If it fit into 140 characters neatly, leave it alone. Or pin it to your profile page. But don’t drag it out and drag us through a post about something that should have been left on your timeline. If you have to force it, let it be.

Otherwise, grab that tweet and spin it like Rumpelstiltskin.

 

Rumpelstiltskin

Illustration by Paul Zelinksky

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you ever look through your Twitter (or Facebook) timeline? Do you grab ideas/words/stories from there?