Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Simple Writing Advice 101 #IWSG

The IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) is, as the name implies, a group of writers who are eager to support each other. We learn from each other, grow together and become better writers as a result. To write in isolation is a mistake. Yes, it takes hours of sitting alone in a seat, pulling words together into something vaguely intelligible. Despite that, at regular intervals it's important to get up, share, interact, live. At times that might seem scary, especially when it comes to sharing our work, the creation we slaved over for so long. My simple advice is this: Get over that fear and get involved. Share your work, listen to other opinions, discover new opportunities. It gets easier with practice.

How was my 2017? I thought 2016 was a roller coaster. How wrong I was. They had better not come as a hat trick.  

How was your 2017? How has sharing your work changed your writing?

If you'd like to join the IWSG or know more about the group, click HERE. We have lots of helpful resources on the website and in free books, competitions during the year, a Twitter Pitch Party coming up in January and lots more.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Great Unfinished Novel #IWSG

It's hard to believe it's November already. Time is slipping away at a rapid pace. For many writers it's NaNoWriMo time. Not for me. Not this year. While I am working on a story that would have benefited from the intense November writing challenge, I just can't take on another pressure. And I'm ok with that.

This month's IWSG optional question is, Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project?

I have taken the challenge three times and reached the 50 000 word goal each time. However, I 'finished' only two of those projects.  That is, I got to the end of the stories and even went through the rewriting/editing stage. They read like real novels. Gasp. Am I completely happy with them? Not so much. They need more work. No longer the spring chicken beginner writer, I learned more as each year passed and came to realise that my old writing could be better, the characters could be more interesting, the structure could use an overhaul. The longer I hold on to those early novels, the more doubt I pour over them. What I really need to do is let them go. What does that mean? Either I need to push them aside and call them a great learning experience, or the better option: I need to complete them and send them out into the world.

If only I had more time. Focus might help a little too.

How about you? How many finished/unfinished writing projects do you have lying around? How many do you hope to get your sticky hands on again for another rewrite?

If you'd like to find a daily pocket of peace in this chaotic world, and wish to buy my book, Cling to God: A Daily Devotional, for yourself or as a gift (Christmas is coming rapidly!), then it's available from Amazon Paperback, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Writing for Profit, Character Creation, Cling to God

There is a tradition in my household. When you have a birthday, you get to enjoy and celebrate it for not just the day, but the whole month also. Well, this month is my devotional book's birthday! It was a year ago on the 18th October Cling to God: A Daily Devotional was released into the world.

Very exciting! Can't believe how fast that year went by.

If you'd like to find a daily pocket of peace in this chaotic world, and wish to buy my book for yourself or as a gift (Christmas is coming rapidly!), then it's available from Amazon Paperback, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes.

This month's optional IWSG question:  Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Maybe not my bank account information, but there's certainly aspects of me in every character. Thankfully I am, along with everyone else, a creature of complexity, so I can draw from many aspects. In my opinion, it's unavoidable. We see the world through our own eyes, even when we try to see it through someone else's. We are the sum of our experiences. To write, we tap into what we know based on what we have observed and experienced and from what we've heard others experience. We then mash all that input together and process it in a way only we uniquely know how. This knowledge becomes a part of who we are. We influence and are influenced. Consequently our interpretation of the world has to come out in our writing. Pieces of  ourselves and others get mixed into our characters. What I haven't done is create a character wholly based on my perception of "me" or the "me" of a specific someone. All my characters are based on a mix.

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: Writing for Profit

From writing to publishing to marketing, the Insecure Writer's Support Group members provide tips on making money as a writer. This free guide represents the spirit of the IWSG - to encourage and support writers everywhere! It is our hope that this book will benefit you as a writer, no matter where you are in the journey.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Annual IWSG Anthology Contest

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st 2017

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.This year, we are honored to have seven incredible judges. For full details check out the IWSG Website.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!

Don’t forget the Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest is October 4! See the site for details. Cool prizes.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Writing Related Pet Peeves #IWSG

The optional IWSG question for the month: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Pet peeve when reading: When I read, my brain can't shut off from editing and analysing. Sometimes I just want to enjoy a good book and switch off!

Pet peeve when writing: The process of writing a novel is so slow. Why isn't this book finished already!? I could, of course, regurgitate words onto the page, but it still takes time to shape the book into the best it can be.

Pet peeve when editing: Objectifying people. In other words, the confusion over the use of 'who' and 'that' when referring to people. Hint: it should be 'who'.

Bonus peeve when editing: the massive confusion over when to use Lay, Lie, Laid. Sheesh. Look up the rule people!

Deep breath...

Okay, so what are your writing related pet peeves this month? What have you been up to this last month? Got any big plans coming to fruition? Tell me all!

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

On August 24th at 2:00 pm EST, Chrys Fey will be participating in a LIVE YouTube interview with Evan Carmichael, an entrepreneur who she'll be interviewing about his book Your One Word and getting some great advice for IWSG members. You'll be able to watch the interview live HERE. You can set a reminder if you click on the link, or you can watch it later.The video will be uploaded in the August 30th IWSG newsletter issue.

Pic: I took the above photo of an otter at Australia Zoo.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Valuable Writing Lesson #IWSG

When I first started writing, I just wrote. I had no clue what I was doing, but that didn't hold me back. It was enough for me that I read a lot of fiction and from that reading I knew what worked and what didn't. Later down the track I decided to get serious about my writing, so I read copious amounts of books on writing, how-to articles, I went to conventions and listened to advice on panels, and I attended workshops. That's when I realised I had no clue what I was doing, and that did hold me back.

Eventually I got past the crippling notion that I can't do this, I can't do that, my writing is horrible and no one will like it. That was right about the time when I told myself, "You know what? Writing is a creative process. Rules don't need to rule. I have the freedom to experiment, to write what I like, to try new things and get creative. If it doesn't work, then try again."

It's important to learn what works and why, but that doesn't mean crippling yourself with doubts. Just write!! Then fix it. Or throw it away and write again. But don't give up because someone else said, "No!" And that's the most valuable lesson I learned since I started writing.

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

Cover Reveal:
A hot and spicy taste of murder—and more.

During the day, law enforcement consultant Gracie Hofner is on assignment at a small San Antonio bakery, waiting for a delivery. No one knows what it is or when it will arrive. The upside? Working next to Donovan Beck, a flirty hunk and a half—perfect fling material.

At night, Gracie resumes her search for a little girl and her mother who went missing following a double murder. Finding the pair is imperative or the girl will become a target.

At the girl’s aunt’s house, Gracie experiences a peculiar need to leave immediately. She tries to deny the urge to flee and pushes the pressure aside, but the compulsion intensifies. Gracie thinks she must have a brain tumor. Or is losing her mind. When similar events continue to occur, Gracie sees a pattern. Can she use this newfound ability to help her find the girl and her mother before it’s too late?

Where to connect with Carol:
Blog - Website - Facebook - Twitter - Amazon

A reminder about our IWSG Twitter Pitch Party!

Hashtag #IWSGPit

July 27, 2017, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time

Cling to God: A Daily Devotional
by Lynda R Young

Published by Freedom Fox Press

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

A book of short devotionals for every day of the year to encourage you in your faith, to help you think about your beliefs and learn more about God. Perfect for people with busy lifestyles.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How to Gain Momentum in your Writing

Today I'm over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group with an article about 10 Ways to Maintain Writing Momentum. Please pop on over to check it out.

In the meanwhile, here is a pic I took at Australia Zoo...giggle.

What's been happening for you lately? How has your writing momentum been going?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Calling for Submissions #IWSG

Today I'm thrilled to announce the next big IWSG guide calling for submissions. Please read the guidelines below.


The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit--This will be a non-fiction book like our Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

What to write: Share experiences about making a profit as an author, what it takes to become a successful writer, the many skills a writer needs to learn other than writing, share the experience going from hobby writer to published author (without making it a self-promotion piece), the fallacies behind writing for profit, the little known facts learned along the way, what you wished you knew when you first started writing, or marketing tips based on experience of what has worked and what hasn't. Please include a title, your name, and a link to one of your sites. Send as an attached Word file or pasted into the email.

If you have any questions, email us at admin AT

Word limit: 500-1000 words.

Submission eligibility: All members of the IWSG Blog Hop, IWSG Facebook group and/or members of our IWSG Goodreads Book Club. It's free to join any of these groups and a great benefit to be a part of these communities.

Deadline: July 31, 2017

Send your submission to admin AT as an attached Word document and note which IWSG group you belong to. Please include your name, a one line bio, and one website link.

The one hundred best entries will be included in the book.

June's optional question is: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I did quit writing for a long time. Silliest thing I ever did. It was the love of story and words that brought me back. But having taken that massive break, I found it really difficult to get back to the same skill level and ease of writing I had before I quit. But what is just as damaging is quitting reading. It can easily happen when you get busy and decide to sacrifice reading time so you have time to write instead. Big mistake! It has the same effect on writing as if I'd quit writing. So I recommend all writers make the time to read as well as write.

How about you? Did you ever quit? What brought you back? 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Marked Beauty Cover Reveal

Marked Beauty
S.A. Larsen

Ellysian Press, due October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

About the Author:
S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at
Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads
On the weekend, I went into Brisbane CBD to take skyscraper type shots with my new camera. So what ends up being my favourite shot? The creeping shoots of a clump of violets. Typical.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Best and Worst Hot Chocolate

Disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, I don't have a sweet tooth. I like my chocolate dark and bitter. Consequently, if you have a taste for sugar, you may not agree with my list.

The Best
Overall, Brisbane makes a better hot chocolate than Sydney, which surprised and delighted me, having moved to Brisbane recently. However, Sydney does feature in my top four.

The Shack: This is an organic wholefood market and cafe with a few locations around Sydney. The one I frequented was in Gymea. This one is all about the chocolate. Rich, thick and heavenly. And not sugary. It had the perfect balance of yum. A true standout.

Murray Street Vineyards:  Located in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. This hot chocolate was made by a resident chocolatier who loved what he did. He made the hot chocolate in layers of silky goodness. A real treat. This is my one exception of having a hot chocolate in a glass. Unfortunately I doubt he is still there after all these years.

Swich Espresso: A little cafe in Holland Park, Brisbane. It's an unassuming cafe on a main street but offers seating on a deck out the back away from traffic noise. The hot chocolate arrives in a large low cup. With not too much froth on top, the chocolatey goodness underneath is a glorious treat. And their hot chocolate is consistently good, unlike so many places.

Oliver Brown: While this Belgium Chocolate Cafe is a chain, it's a good chain. You can order your hot chocolate in dark, milk or white. You have other choices too: mint, coconut etc. I always order the dark hot chocolate with mint. Oh my gosh it's yum. It is sweet, but it's also rich and delicious.

The Worst
The absolute worst hot chocolate I ever tasted came from the small island of Capris, Italy. This one wasn't about the chocolate or the sugar. It was about the sludge. I could literally stand my spoon up in it. I had to order extra milk to make it palatable.

Gloria Jeans: This is a franchise chain that has lowered its standards over the years. The hot chocolate is watery and the froth takes up half the mug a lot of the time. Hugely disappointing.

Some Sydney cafe: Their hot chocolate was so sugary that it tasted like marshmallows, even though it had no marshmallows in it. Not good.

Chocolat Cafe: Found in Westfield, Garden City, Mount Gravatt, Brisbane. Oddly enough, this is a cafe that prides itself on its chocolate. Unfortunately they gave me a cool, watery 'hot' chocolate in a glass when I specifically asked them to put it in a mug, pointing to the mugs.

What is with this trend of serving hot chocolates in a glass? It might look great when presented in a tall glass, but there's no comfort in a glass. To be able to pick up a glass to drink from it means the hot chocolate has to be cooler than it should, and if served hot then it loses its temperature way too fast in a glass, so you're forced to scoff it down before it gets cold. So when you order a hot chocolate, always ask for it in a mug!

Are you a hot chocolate drinker? What was your best experience of a hot chocolate? What was your worst?

Special Note:
The IWSG is now partnering with Reedsy on some upcoming events, and today, May 8, is a big one!
Through the #IWriteBecause project, we want to raise awareness about the power of writing. Above all, writing is not just a vocation or a hobby; it’s one of the greatest ways to express our thoughts and get our message out.

At Reedsy, we believe that every child, regardless of geography, gender or economics, should have access to education and the freedom to raise their voice and share their message with the world. That’s why, for every writer who shares their story, Reedsy will donate $10 to Room to Read — a non-profit organization that seeks to provide girls in Africa and Asia with access to education.

The IWSG asks members to Tweet and re-Tweet #IWriteBecause Monday, May 8!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Zen and the Art of Research #IWSG

This month's IWSG question is about research: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story? I've done so much research for writing that it's hard to name the weirdest or coolest.

I've researched where pippies grow, the atmosphere on Venus, the make up of the sun, how to  artificially make rain, the guns used by detectives in the early twentieth century, what goes into creating artificial intelligence, natural remedies to clear acne, and various backgrounds of martial arts, among other things. Then there is the endless searches for names for my characters, ensuring they fit not only the character's personality, but also the year they were born.

Now for the zen part of this post: A poorly researched story can disturb a reader's calm. I've read stories where it was painfully obvious the author's only research came from watching movies. Anachronisms, falsehoods and inaccuracies can destroy an otherwise enjoyable story.

So my advice is this: Never bank on your readers to care little about the details, to be ignorant of the facts, or to lack an understanding of how physics works. The more accurate your story world is, the more immersed your readers will become--even if it's a fantasy. Don't mimic something you might've heard at a barbecue, or seen at the movies, or glanced across on the internet. Check your facts. Besides, your research might lead your story to a completely different, yet serendipitous, direction.

What do you love or dislike about research? What are some of the things you've had to research?
Hero Lost:
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!

Website - Goodreads 
Amazon ebook - Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble - Nook
Books-A-Million - iTunes - Kobo

If you haven't already, pick up your free copy of "Finding Satisfaction in Christ" by joining my mailing list. With your free copy, you will also receive the occasional devotional from me and a free Christian wallpaper.

And don't forget my daily devotional, Cling to God available in the usual places.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Finding Satisfaction and Insecurities #IWSG

Finding Satisfaction in Christ
by Lynda R. Young

Today I'm releasing a gift for anyone who is interested, anyone looking to find renewal in their faith, anyone looking for revitalization. You can pick up your FREE copy from HERE.

Please help me spread the word.

I used to think I got tired a lot. When life got difficult, I'd get weary. When a project became overwhelming, I'd get spent.

Stress equaled weariness.

This month, I discovered a new kind of tired. It was a bone-weighing, energy-sapping exhaustion that wiped out the whole month. Such was the joys of glandular fever. And just when I thought I was over it, it came creeping back. Consequently I've attempted to take things a little easier than usual. Not always simple for me when I have multiple projects vying for my much needed attention.

And then there's that writer's guilt: I should be writing!

Insecure? Just a tad. Good thing I have a husband who brings me things that sparkle. Chocolate and sparkles fix most ails.

How about you? What have you been up to while I was away?

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

Looking for a Book Club? We have a great one at the IWSG. You'll find it on HERE on Goodreads. If you haven't already, please check it out! You won't be disappointed.

And don't forget our Twitter Pitch party in July. Now is the time to get your pitches in order. Don't wait last minute! To find out everything you need to know about the party, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reworking Old Stories #IWSG

IWSG Question of the month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out? I have. No it didn't work out. It was too easy to stick with what was already there and reshape that, rather than completely pull it apart to bring it back together again. I may try again another time, but the characters need a major overhaul, which in turn will change the story dramatically.

Big announcement: The IWSG Twitter Pitch Party!
 Hashtag #IWSGPit

July 27, 2017, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time

All writers and authors are invited to participate in our very first Twitter Pitch. Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 27, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query. Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

We invite all of you to join us that day! Authors with a publisher or agent, please ask if they would like to participate or pass along their contact information to the IWSG. We intend for this to be a twice yearly event, July and January, giving our members a great opportunity for publication. Help us spread the word!

Also: We have two new items on the IWSG swag page, including a cool eraser. Check them out and support the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

And lastly, I'd like to leave you with a pic of a sunrise I caught one morning.
Happy writing everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Travel Pictures and Book Cover Creation

After posting a brief account of my recent cruise from Singapore to Thailand to Vietnam and back to Singapore, I got a lot of requests to see more pics of my trip. Okay, if you insist (I always love sharing my travel pics).

If, however, you are more interested in How to Create Book Covers that Sell Books, then pop on over to the Insecure Writer's Support Group website to check out my article there.

I don't have many great photos of Singapore, though it's a beautiful city. It was a humid, raining day. I did get to the Singapore Flyer, a massive Ferris wheel and below is probably my best shot with it in the background (if you look closely).
Leaving Singapore:
Travel advice: Don't go on a cruise if you want to stay on your diet:
Dining in opulence on the Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean:
Just outside Bangkok, Thailand:
Reckon I could sneak one of these onto the balcony of my new place? Every good balcony needs a dragon fountain...
I love all ancient ruins and/or intricate workmanship. It's great when I get both in the one place.
The Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya, Thailand:
Floating market, Pattaya, Thailand:
Vietnam wasn't as pretty, but I still enjoyed it.
Okay, I have a gazillion more pics, but that's enough for now.
Don't forget to check out my article on the IWSG website: How to Create Book Covers that Sell Books

Where have you travelled to recently? What's your favourite travel destination?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Writing, Reading and Travel #IWSG

I've just come back from a cruise from Singapore to Thailand, then Vietnam and back to Singapore. I took a book with me (The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu) but didn't open it once. I kinda felt guilty about that when I chose to watch the in-flight movies instead. I squeezed in three and a half of them each way. Think how much reading I could've done! It's not like I'm not enjoying the book. Nope, I'm loving it. It's quite an exceptional science fiction with great ideas and concepts. But the truth was, my brain just needed to switch off. You see, the problem with being a writer is when I read I analyse ... or, if the book is really good, I feel super inspired to write, or I mope and wish I could write like that--which is ridiculous since we all have our own way of writing and our own unique stories. But I still mope on the occasion. Just because.

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I'm not quite back into the swing of things yet as I had expected. The world continues to shift and rock as if I'm still on the boat. Hopefully my weary brain will land on shore soon.

In the meantime, I'd like to welcome into the IWSG fold, two new admins:
Heather Gardner will be running the conferences page at the IWSG site.
C. Lee McKenzie will be our media relations expert.

Also, check out the cover of  our upcoming IWSG anthology, Hero Lost, if you haven't already.

And, we have an IWSG swag now. You can get your own IWSG pen, magnet or t-shirt. Check it out HERE.

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The IWSG Short Story Contest Winners

Wishing everyone a happy New Year! I'm hoping this year will be far better than the last one. Above is a quick snap I took in Brisbane's Botanic Gardens.

And now on to good news: The much awaited results for the IWSG short story contest have come in. Below are the winners in no particular order:
Erika Beebe - The Wheat Witch
L. Nahay – Breath Between Seconds
Tyrean Martinson - Of Words and Swords
Elizabeth Seckman - Mind Body Soul
Olga Godim - Captain Bulat
Ellen Jacobson - The Silvering
Roland Yeomans - Sometimes They Come Back
Yvonne Ventresca – The Art of Remaining Bitter
Sean McLachlan - The Witch Bottle
Sarah Foster - The Last Dragon
Renee Cheung - Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight

And the grand prize winner:

Jen Stanton Chandler - The Mysteries of Death and Life

Congrats to everyone who took part! The stories were all fabulous and it was a difficult task for the judges to pick their favourites.

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?
Can I say all of them? When people treat these rules as absolutes and take great joy in picking apart published works that break the rules, then I must admit I get a little upset. No rule is absolute. Every rule can be broken. If you want to head hop through the story, then head hop! If you want fractured sentences, then fracture them! Shatter them if that's your desire! Have a field day with backstory, tell to your heart's content. But ask yourself, does it work? Are you doing it out of laziness or ignorance or stubbornness, or is it part of your master plan? In other words, does it have the full impact you intended for the story? Yes? Then go for it!

 How about you? What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?