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Crash! Crunch! Cabang! Where have all the Literary Devices Gone?

By Gila GreenWriters are forever hearing they need to improve their writing skills. No matter what we produce and how frequently, there’s always some well-meaning editor, fellow writer or classmate hinting that you can never learn enough about writing. Interpret that as you wish. Perhaps, you see great writing as an exercise bike you need to ride forever, or like a sink in which dishes grow (if it’s anything like my kitchen sink). Either way most of these messages are downers. The answers we’re given repeatedly once we ask that inevitable question: how does a writer improve her craft are often framed as more of a chore than a bowl of cherries.  No doubt you’ve read that writers have to be voracious readers, readers so starved for reading material that only the dry end of a book cover or sharp end of a kindle is true nourishment. Food is blasé in...

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Dear Gila...

Dear Gila: This course has been superior so far. I can't thank you enough for your keen attention to detail and piercing critiques. A great learning experience!Also, thanks for your summary, How Not to Write flash. I see it covers most of the mistakes I've been making--so an invaluable guide. A great course, and I appreciate that you made it available to me over email. You're the best, Gila--may you thrive in your writing, editing, and teaching.Best wishes,Tom Allan

How not to Write Flash Fiction

I read a lot of Flash Fiction. Over the years I’ve noticed that some writers continuously flounder over these common misconceptions and mistakes. If you’re trying to master the art of Flash Fiction writing, these eight “don’ts” might help you jump up to the next level. Don’t approach Flash Fiction as though it’s just a very short story. Flash has its own set of rules and the king of those rules is this: you have no time. This means spending the first eight lines on background and leaving minimal space for any action to occur is sure to flop. Don’t do it.Flash Fiction is supremely brief. But the buck stops there. You can write non-fiction flash, romance flash, fantasy flash and any other genre you feel passionate about. For some reason many of the submissions I receive in my Flash Fiction courses forget all about genre, so focused are they on...

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Second set of fall classes begin November 16, 2015

Flash Fiction (8 weeks)Create Memorable Writing with Literary Devices (6 weeks)Create Memorable Writing with Literary Devices II (6 weeks)Publish Your Short Story (4 weeks)

Class Participants Write......Dear Gila

Hi, Gila! Hope you are well. Just wanted you to know about a flash market that’s very writer-friendly, a good place to land for some of your flash students who are looking for their first publishing credit (or have a good piece that doesn’t seem to fit with other markets): Every Day Fiction. I just had a piece published there (http://www.everydayfiction.com/campaign-button-by-joyce-barton/), and here was my experience:-Their response time was reasonable (90 days is their max; I heard from them in 88)-All 6 of their editors gave me comments/feedback on my story.-I was given the opportunity to make changes based on the feedback before publication, if I wished to do so (had a nice back-and-forth with one of the editors and added a sentence as a result)-Readers can comment and rate your story (1 to 5 stars), and the writer has the opportunity to respond to the readers (not something you see in most...

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It's not too early to think about fall classes

Fall Classes Begin October 5 and registration is open:FLASH FICTION WORKSHOP by Gila GreenHOW TO PUBLISH A SHORT STORY WORKSHOP by Gila GreenCREATE MEMORABLE WRITING WITH LITERARY DEVICES by Gila GreenCREATE MEMORABLE WRITING WITH LITERARY DEVICES II by Gila GreenNeed a little more time to catch your breath from summer?For the first time I'm offering two sets of fall classes. No need to wait for winter, but you can still pause a little longer than usual this year:November 16, 2015 registration is open CREATE MEMORABLE WRITING WITH LITERARY DEVICES by Gila GreenCREATE MEMORABLE WRITING WITH LITERARY DEVICES II by Gila GreenHOW TO PUBLISH A SHORT STORY WORKSHOP by Gila GreenFLASH FICTION WORKSHOP by Gila Green

Shshsh. I’m a Writer.

The summer writing season has begun.If you would like a post on any particular topic, please send me your request.I'd be happy to consider it. Summer post by Gila GreenI have a confession. When I fill out forms in my kids’ schools or any other official forms —for some reason only schools seem to come to mind, but that’s another post—I always write ‘housewife’ under mother’s occupation and I instruct my husband to do the same. He always nudges me in the ribs with the same expression on his face, his jaw slightly lowered, his eyes at a half roll. “Because” I hiss at his unasked question. “How many times do I have to tell you?” This is normally enough for him to shrug his shoulders and follow my instructions. Would that all marital conflicts resolve themselves so easily.So, why don’t I put in writer or even editor?  Because I always, yes always,...

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Letters

Dear Gila,BH my book will be delivered to me this week in print. This is the link. http://www.mazoproducts.com/cat/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=276It was wonderful working together and I greatly appreciate all the help and advice you provided me with, even after the editing was completed.Good luck with all of your future pursuits,Love Chana.Dear Gila,Here's the link to my short fiction piece - Silent Partners. The WOW! quarterly contests are a great way to get motivated and test your skills. I appreciate your interest so please feel free to share it with your Flash class. I would be grateful for any feedback/critique you or your class would like to offer! http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/63-FE1-Fall14Contest.htmlThanks,Andrea 

Spring classes begin April 15, 2015

There is still time to sign up!

Spring Classes start April 15, 2015

There is still time to sign up!

Congratulations to ...

Carol Ungar on the upcoming publication of her cookbook Jewish Soul Food: Traditional Fare and What it Means. Dear Gila,I couldn't have done it without you!Carol UngarIt was fun editing a cookbook for the first time, if not a little fattening, but it improved my cooking skills and it's always a pleasure to work with Carol. Mazal tov! I look forward to part two.And to Pia Wolcowitz on the release of her novel The Nurse.Thank you for everything,Pia It was a pleasure to edit this novel and I wish Pia much success! I look forward to her next jump into adult women's fiction.Chana Bunim Rubin Ausubel whose memoir As Long as the Candle Burns is coming out this spring with Mazo Publishers. Thank you for choosing me as your editor, Chana. Your work is an important part of American Jewish history. Dear GilaYou were a marvelous editor!Love Chana

Flash into the Middle of Things or In Media Res

Flash into the Middle of Things by Gila GreenWhy do writers use in media res (Latin for “into the middle of things”)?  There is nothing new about this narrative technique, which we find in everything from Homer’s Odyssey to films, poetry and plays. In media res is neither a frame nor a story within a story nor a self-contained story. In media resallows the audience to jump into a story right in the middle of the action. If done well, the audience is quickly consumed by the narrative, even though many questions are unanswered. For example, if a story begins with a murder we do not know the victim, the motive, whose side we are on, but our curiosity is immediately addressed. In Flash fiction in media res can be particularly useful because of the very short word count allowed. Yet, I find many writers find it difficult to break away...

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Does Your Story Have a Case of Runaway Pace? By Gila Green

Have you ever seen any of these comments in the margins of your work?·                     Slow down·                     Uneven·                     Lacks climax·                     FlatIf you answered “yes,” you should immediately browse through your writer’s toolbox of literary devices for pacing solutions—specifically how to slow the pace down.One device many writers threw out of their toolboxes long ago was indirect writing.  Most of us were told by everyone from our high school English teachers to published writers in creative writing programs that direct writing is good writing and indirect writing is bad writing. That’s often true. But completely eliminating indirect writing is also a surefire way for many writers to ruin the pace of their work. They write each line so directly that the story is over before it begins; there is never any time to savor the scene, in particular the climax or mini climaxes; there is no hair-standing-on-end time; and no goose-bumps-down-the-arms moments because...

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Congratulations to Joyce Barton

Hi, Gila!  Just wanted to let you know that my first flash piece, Bar Rag, was published by The Legendary (an online literary journal).  Less than a year after taking your course, not bad. ;)Go here & click on 'Joyce Barton' link:  http://www.downdirtyword.com/fictionpage.html(Or you can access it from the bio page: http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/joycebarton.html )Just wanted to say thanks again; your class helped me get started with flash, and now I'm on my way.Hope you are well, and Happy New Year!~Joyce

Forget the Rules! Take a Flash Fiction Break By Gila Green

When I tell people I teach a virtual flash fiction course, I often get strange responses bordering on laughter. Isn’t flash fiction just really short fiction? What’s the point of taking a specific Flash class?No, flash is its own genre deserving of its own class and in my opinion, it’s still underrated as a way to break into publication. But the increasing number of publication opportunities is only one benefit of Flash. It also offers a break to a lot of writers who might be burnt out with a novel or short story. In the main, you get a break from following those longer-length piece rules and who doesn’t need a break from ‘the rules’ once in a while to recharge?  Here are five rules most of us hear over and over again that you get to completely ignore in Flash:Tell don’t show. If you’re like me, you’re not the ideal...

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Allusion in Flash fiction: double your meaning in a single Flash

This is the first in my blog post series on writing, particularly flash fiction. This post was on the WOW-Women on Writing site in 2013.Many writers think ‘brief’ these days. Short fiction is popular both on the internet and in print and whether you call it flash, postcard or micro fiction it all comes down to your story’s bottom line: reduce your work to its barest bones. One guideline is to eliminate literary devices. We are told that although we may write: “He was Usain Bolt in his running shoes, sprinting towards the hospital.” This is a no-no in flash. Change this to: He sprinted to the hospital. You just went from eleven to five words. This advice saves the writer six precious words. It also ups the story’s pace, intensifying the drama and focus and flash fiction is nothing if not about focus. What about the meaning of the story?...

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Create Memorable Writing. Four new classes begin January 12

My new writing class Create Memorable Writing has been updated and revised. Mark January 12 on your calendars.Enamored with the new short writing trend? Sign up for Flash FictionShort on time? Try my four-week short story mini publishing workshop

New Fall Classes

Classes in Flash Fiction and Literary Devices Begin October 27.Sign up for FlashSign up for Literary Devices INEW: Mini Course. How to Publish a Short Story.Loved Literary Devices I? Sign up for part two. 

Summer Series Guest Post #4 Margo Dill

Welcome to my newest guest: Margo Dill. I've been virtual friends with Margo for a few years now and I'm very pleased to introduce you to her latest novel, a YA paranormal romance with a catchy title: "Caught Between Two Curses." To whet your appetite, here's a line about her latest work: Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs.   Practical Ways to Balance Motherhood and Writing  by Margo L. DillI have a 3 ½ year old daughter and a 13-year-old stepson. This summer, it seems harder than ever to balance work and motherhood. I think it’s because the kids are older—they sleep less and want to do more. But I’m working on some practical ways to entertain and love my children while I also work as a writer.1.      ...

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The Costume Room

My short story The Costume Room was a finalist for WordSmitten's 1010 Fiction Contest.Today Brian Henry posted it on his blog.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks so much to Yael Shahar author of A Damaged Mirror,who invited me to participate in the current My Writing Process Blog Tour. Yael describes her book as an exploration between right and wrong; between choice and choicelessness, and the consequences of crossing boundaries. Check it out!This tour asks four questions that each writer answers before she passes on the virtual torch, so here goes:What am I working on? I just finished my second novel, Passport Control. I’m really excited about it as it is my longest work and I feel for me it means I have finally crossed the line from short story writer to novelist. Although, I have already published one novel King of the Class I was undergoing a transition with that novel from years of writing only short stories and some poetry. This time around I no longer had the ghost of a short story writer flitting...

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Welcome to author Renee Howard Cassese

I am so pleased to introduce my third summer guest, Renee Howard Cassese. Renee has been a participant in two of my virtual classes over the last couple of years. It is a privilege that many of my class participants continue to fill me in on their writing lives. Thanks for the update, Renee and congratulations on your move to self-publishing, which I've asked Renee to discuss in today's post. You can take a look at her self-published paperback I am my Mother's Only Poem: http://www.amazon.com/Am-My-Mothers-Only-Poem/dp/1494962535/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402002896&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+my+mother%27s+only+poemTo self-publish or not to self-publish, that was the question. Though I rejected the idea of self-publishing because I thought it would brand me as an incompetent writer and unattractive to agents and traditional publishers, over the years I gently but surely changed my mind. When it comes to novels I still believe traditional is the way to go, but I am considering looking for small presses...

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Summer Registration for Flash Fiction is Open

http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_FlashFictionWorkshop.php

Welcome to my second guest: Author Diana Bletter

Continuing my summer series of author guest posts, this week I'm featuring Diana Bletter.We've met virtually and I'm looking forward to one day meeting in person. Thanks for visiting, Diana.What? Huh? You’re 57 and you’re only publishing your first novel now?It’s not as if I didn’t try. I’ve wanted to be a published writer ever since the poem I wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination was printed in a newspaper. I was eleven. I loved seeing my name in print. I loved the way my parents showed my poem to total strangers. But most importantly—and I realize this more and more—I loved the actual writing of it. The way I could make words dance the Salsa right over the page. I loved the timing, the rhyming. I was so proud of the poem's last lines: “Can we help with the things he lived for: peace and non-violence? If we don’t, there...

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Guest Post: Author Yael Unterman

I have opened up my blog to a series of guest posts from other writers for your summer reading enjoyment and I am delighted that my first guest is my friend and colleague Yael Unterman.Yael  has just released her first short story collection "The Hidden of Things." Check it out!On Writing, Spirituality and Being a Mensch This piece is not an easy one for me to write. But it has an important message.In 2009 I published a work of non-fiction (biography), but the publication of my second book in 2014 – a work of fiction – was the realization of a childhood dream. Yet fulfilling a dream sometimes brings some huge challenges in its wake. As writers, our book is our “baby,” and we go to great lengths to ensure the welfare of our offspring. I, too, feel an abiding loyalty to my book and to the heart and soul I...

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Pithom and Ramses in CommuterLit

My humor flash piece Pithom and Ramses appears in CommuterLit this week.

Summer Registration Open

Registration is open for new virtual classes beginning July 8.Bring your short fiction, novel or memoir up to publication level and meet writersfrom all over the world from your own home or office computer.Flash Fiction : http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_FlashFictionWorkshop.phpLiterary Devices I: http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_LiteraryDevicesI.phpLiterary Devices II: http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/GilaGreen_LiteraryDevicesII.phpSince 2009, more than 100 writers have taken my classes from the USA, Israel, Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa. Many have gone on to publish, to win writing awards and to find online writing partners.

Spider Places in Dublin

My short story Spider Places will be published in Ireland's The South Circularin their ninth issue on March 20, 2014.thesouthcircular.com

Congratulations to Jill Sadowsky!

Jill participated in my Raanana Creative Writing Workshops and I was also lucky enough to work as an editor on her book David's Story, which explores her life and struggles living with a son with schizophrenia.She is also a recipient of the Israel Mental Health Award for her devotion and work in the field of mental illness.Today, I'd like to congratulate her on winning FIRST PRIZE in a short story contest as well as $500. I'm so happy for you, Jill. Keep striving for excellence.Jill's winning short story has been published live online at Dare to Dream page 2,http://www.dreamquestone.com/daretodream02.html .

Sign Up is Open for my New Four Week Publish Your Short Story Workshop

Register Here: Publish Your Short Story Workshop

Latest Books

No Entry

No Entry

In No Entry, Canadian teenager, Yael Amar, signs on to an elephant conservation program and ends up coming face to face with violence, greed, and murder and the taste of a very real danger for all of us: elephant extinction.

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White Zion

White Zion

White Zion is a novel in stories forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press (April 2019). The novel takes readers into the worlds of 19th century Yemen, pre-State Israel, modern Israel and modern Canada...

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Passport Control

Passport Control

Miriam Gil knows little about Israel. Her father won’t talk about his life there or the brother he left behind when he came to Canada. Hurt and angry when he tells her to move out to make room for his new girlfriend, she enrolls in an Israeli university. She falls in love with Guy... 

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King of the Class

King of the Class

Eve and Manny are engaged in post-civil war Israel, but Manny has a secret: he’s falling in love with his religious roots and turning his back on moral relativism. As their wedding date approaches...

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