Query Letter’s 270+ Best Writing Contests (Repost)

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and enjoying the warm weather. Still stuck in the editing trenches here, so I’ve yet to frolic in the sunshine.

This post will be quick, but trust me, it’s a goodie.

The lovely folks at QueryLetter.com reached out to me with some exciting information. Recently, they published a blog post titled ‘The 270+ Best Writing Contests‘. In this extensive list, they’ve highlighted over 270 of the top writing contests around. And the best part? There are contests in a variety of genres and word counts. From poetry to flash fiction to non-fiction, all writers are welcomed. No matter what you write, you’ll for sure find something up your alley.

I highly recommend checking out this list. Even as I’m writing this, I’m looking through all the different contests and am tempted to try it out. Inspiration is already bubbling in my head. Challenge yourself and try participating in one of these contests. There’s no harm in taking a chance and throwing your hat in the ring. You never know.


Have you ever participated in a writing contest before? Are you interesting in signing up for one of contests listed? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing my 1st Whodunit Draft in a College Writing Workshop

Hello Writer Bees!

As some of you may know, my current WIP is a 1920’s murder mystery. But what inspired my first mystery story? When and how was “draft zero” born? Here is the story of how I started writing detective fiction.

A flashback to my college days. Because I was interested in mystery genre, I decided to take a detective fiction course. Super fun elective class. We read all the greats, like Doyle, Poe, Christie, and Spillane.  That same semester, I was also taking a fiction writing class, as one of my degree requirements.  

Here’s how fiction writing workshop worked. My professor charged us to write 2 short stories – any subject, any genre – 10 to 15 pages in length. Each session was dedicated to one student’s creative piece. Together, we’d discuss and critique each other’s work, offering constructive feedback. Picture your peers and fellow writers reading and judging your story, dissecting it in front of you. Needless to say, critique day was a daunting, nerve wracking and incredibly rewarding experience.

My first go around at workshop, I wrote The Tale of a Boy and a Mermaid, which I have posted here on this blog. Next turn up at bat, I wanted to write something out of my wheelhouse, something different.

Inspired by the mysteries I was reading at the time, I decided to try my hand at writing a whodunit. I thought, maybe this critique was the perfect opportunity to test drive this vague idea for a detective character I had. And mind you, none of my peers were writing any close to a murder mystery. As always, I was the oddball out.

With Jabberwock mode engaged, I furiously wrote a murder mystery, finishing the morning of my class. College deadlines, am I right? The story centered around the detective and his aid, Mister G.W. Barnaby and Oscar Fitzgerald, solving a case. Set in a 1920s Broadway theatre, an actress is shot with an assumed prop gun that had real bullets instead of fake ones. A bit cliché, I know. But I enjoyed writing a mystery, crafting suspects and leaving clues. Really did fall in love with the genre. Titling it ‘Murder at the Primdove Theatre’, I submitted the story to be judged by my classmates, biting my nails the whole time.

Surprisingly, they seemed to like the story. Peers pointed out their favorite lines and gushed over how fitting character names were to the time period. And that “Wow, what a plot twist!” moment from readers is priceless. However, I did receive some notes, like the pacing being too fast and not much setting description. Even with the notes of criticism, I was still proud of my little whodunit.

After I graduated, I set my sights on my next big goal; Becoming a published author before I turn 30 years old. Since I couldn’t get these sleuths out of my head, I gave them another case to crack, the Case of the Drowned Mermaid. Some elements from the workshop story carried over into my WIP, like the relationship between suspects. So, I always consider my first try at a whodunit as my ‘draft zero’, the little seed that started it all.

Moral of the story: If there is a time to take a risk with your craft, a writing workshop is the place to do it. Seriously, it’s a good place to experiment, to create freely, and to receive some honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to write outside your comfort zone. You’d be surprised what the outcome will be.

In my case, it was my current mystery WIP.


Hope you found my life story interesting. Do you have a story behind your first draft? Have you ever been involved with a writing workshop or class? Lemme know in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative. Happy sleuthing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block (Repost for Camp NaNoWriMo)

Hello Writer bees!

(With Camp NaNoWriMo starting next week, some may struggle with writer’s block during this writing challenge. Don’t fret! To help with that, I’m reposting these awesome tips for beating the block. Good luck to everyone participating! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hope you are are staying safe and writing wonderful work. And if you are feeling stuck with your writing, that’s alright too. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the words on the page. Don’t be discouraged. Writer’s block happens to everyone, myself included.

So today, I’m sharing some tips for beating the block and rekindling inspiration once again.

Be honest and ask yourself, “how do I break out of this funk I’m in?” and “What’s stopping me from writing?” Depending on what you need, there are three courses of action to take. Whatever route you choose, find what works for you.

See the source image

Push to Writing – the need to shake up you writing habits.

  1. Write in some place other from your usual spot. No need to chain yourself to your desk. Write in a different room of your home. Or outside. A new, quiet place.
  2. Freewriting: Write the first things that comes to mind, whatever it may be. Follow where the words take you. On a time crunch? Take a 5 minute writing sprint and write as fast as you can.
  3. Set deadlines and stick to them. Reach for a daily wordcount goal that’s achievable and works with your schedule. Even if it’s only a 100 words a day. You’ll be 100 words closer to your finished draft.
  4. Try writing exercises and prompts. They can be a fun, well-needed challenge for some writers and can get the brain working. But where can you find prompts? I post a Prompt of the Week every Monday. Check them out!
  5. Use a different writing tool. Instead of a keyboard, switch to paper or sticky notes or colorful markers.

Recharge – The need to step back from your writing endeavors.

  1. Take a break! A real one. Relax. And don’t think about your story. A little separation from your WIP is fine. Sometimes, lightbulb moments happen when you least expect. I speak from experience.
  2. Go for a walk. Alone, with music, or with a dog. Walks are great. Socially distanced walks while wearing masks is even better.
  3. Get cozy and curl up with a good book. Fuzzy socks included. Let your mind unwind and dive into a whole new world.
  4. Drink some coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage of choice. And stuff your face with your favorite food. Writing is hard work. Treat yourself to that tub of ice cream or bag of potato chips. I won’t judge.
  5. Sleep it off, or just lounge around. Rest, physically and mentally. There are times when the best ideas can come right before you fall asleep. Keep a notepad on your nightstand ready, in case you need to jot down ideas.
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Getting motivated and inspired! – the need to get pumped to write again and find inspiration.

  1. Browse through photos; especially images that relate to your story’s genre. Create an aesthetic board featuring images that remind you of your story. If you are writing historical fiction, keep a folder of snapshots from that time period.
  2. Talk it out. Talking to another person, writer or non-writer, about your ideas can get those creative juices flowing. Find someone you feel safe with and who encourages you. Don’t waste your time with people who judge you harshly.
  3. Read some quotes from some famous authors. Gather inspiration from the authors who came before you.
  4. Connect with other writers. The writing community is a fantastic group of creatives. Make friends, chat about WIPs, support each other through those tough times. It’s nice to have someone in your corner, to have that support system.
  5. Be okay with writing trash. Not everything you write will be perfect. And that’s fine, that’s what editing is for. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for the story that future readers can connect with. That’s the real goal, isn’t it?

How do you get through writer’s block? What’s your advice to a writer who is struggling? Let me know if the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky.

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The Brawn Man of Brooklyn (A Superpowered Short Story)

They called it an extraordinary phenomenon.

A regular Hercules, Dr. Rabinowitz on 3rd street claimed. Frankie was born with the capabilities of lifting objects 100 times heavier than his body weight. Super strength, as the kids would say. His mother said Hail Mary in Italian ten times a day and cried, as if her son was some kind of devil. She constantly scolded him out of fear of his destructiveness. “Don’t touch that!” and “Don’t touch anything!” and “Don’t you dare touch the baby!”

He was a toddler. And his strength was something unexplainable, something that should remain a secret. If he pressed his hand into wall too hard, the wall would crack. Toys, if not handled gently, would be crushed or broken into pieces. Even the metal handle of his bicycle was indented with his fingertips. He couldn’t control this, even as he got older, his power grew more dangerous. On the kindergarten playground, he pushed a kid out of the sandbox and cracked his rib. When he was seven years old, he threw a baseball and it landed three blocks away and through a car windshield.

He couldn’t touch anything. He wasn’t safe.

When his sister, Camilla, was an infant, Frankie would hold his small hands behind his back and peek into her crib. He was afraid of breaking her too.

His father owned a deli under the train tracks, Berardi’s Deli. Behind it was a dead patch of grass they called a backyard. And above it was a shoe box apartment they called a home. His father wore a stained apron as he sat on the sidewalk’s edge, smelling like fennel seed and sweat. He smoked a cigarette and watched the kids in the street play. Frankie, now a small boy with small hands, sat beside him.

“Pops, why can’t I play with them?” The boy asked, watching the kids play stickball. “I promise I’ll be good. I won’t hit so hard. Honest.”

His father gave him a side glance, taking a long drag and rubbing his stubbled chin. “Last time, you knocked a kid out.”

He looked down at his small hands, discouraged “I-I didn’t mean to, Pops, he was….”

“Your mother with have a heart attack if she finds out you hurt someone else with your…” Trailing off, he stood up and stomped his cigarette out. The few remaining embers in the curb fizzled into the cement. “Don’t let nobody see you doing that. You hear me?” He warned. Frankie’s eyes wandered to the window to the apartment above the deli, where his mother, with tired eyes, looked out.


“I don’t think it’s a good idea, Camilla.” He said, looking down at his feet as they walked home from high school one crisp autumn afternoon. His black hair fell into a perfect greased curl.

“Sure it is,” His sister grinned, holding her biology textbook in her arms. “You love baseball.”

“Watchin’ baseball, sure. Not playin’ it,” He shrugged, still unsure “Pop’s will be mad. And Ma’s gonna be in hysterics if she finds out.”

She nudged him with her elbow. Her long wool skirt matched her mint green sweater. “Come on, don’t worry about that stuff, Frankie, you’d be amazing and you know it.”

Frankie sighed, shoving his hands in his Letterman jacket. A chill blew between them. A police siren blared in the distance. The sun was setting, burning orange and gold.

“What if I hurt someone?”

“What if you only hit home runs?” She countered with a laugh.

“I’m serious, Camilla,” He grabbed her arm lightly, as if he was holding a feather. They stood on the street corner across from their family’s deli. “I can’t control this. Someone’s gonna get hurt.”

“You can control it. You don’t have to be scared. You’re strong… super strong, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can do something good with it.” The sirens grew louder.

As they crossed the street, a car screeched around the corner, being tailed by red and blue flashing lights. A police chase. Frankie was in the middle of the street, frozen for a moment. Camilla screamed, pulling at his hand. “Frankie, move!” He wouldn’t budge. He didn’t want to be scared anymore. The car barreled towards him. He pushed his sister out of the way, and braced for impact, with an arched back and outstretched arms.

The car slammed into Frankie, metal crushed against his chest, pushing him back a couple of feet. His sneakers skid against the pavement. The vehicle was stopped completely, with three bewildered robbers wearing ski masks sitting inside. The next day, the headline in the newspaper dubbed him “The Brawn Man of Brooklyn”.


Hello Writer bees! I’ve been feeling gross this week. For the record, it’s not COVID. While I’ve been under the weather, the Mister and I have been on a nostalgia trip, revisiting shows and movies from our childhoods. High School Musical One and Two were involved. Since I love that nostalgia feeling, it seemed fitting to share this short story I wrote back in 2017. Back when I was a newbie writer. Hope you enjoy!

—Lady Jabberwocky

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The Inspiration Behind Naming my Blog

Hello Writer Bees!

Are you a little curious where the name Lady Jabberwocky came from?

Obviously, part of it was a nod to Lewis Carol’s whimsical poem The Jabberwocky. When I started this blog, my aim was to keep things our conversations fun and lighthearted, like that famous poem. However, in the Valentine’s Day spirit, I’m sharing the other source of inspiration. And it has to do with my partner, Michael, who I sometimes refer to as Mister Jabberwocky.

Eons ago, I was a college freshman and just started dating Michael. One day, I was furiously typing a short story in the library. Thoroughly feeling those creative juices, I think I wrote 1,000 words in an hour. He laughed at me and said something like “Wow! You’re going beast mode on that story!” The phrase ‘Beast mode’ did not sound right to me, it was better suited for another activity, like gaming or sports.

I replied. “Well, it would be more like a literary beast, wouldn’t it? Like a Jabberwock?” It was the first monster from literature that came to mind. I feel like every writer has that in the zone moment. Jabberwock mode was what I called mine. I still do, If I’m honest. From then on, it became an inside joke between the two of us. Whenever I wrote for a class or for myself, I wrote like a Jabberwock, or was in Jabberwock mode. Was I pathetically hyping myself up? Probably. Well, I guess when you’re in that writing mood, hyping yourself is allowed.

After I graduated college and earned my bachelor’s degree in English, I was on the fence about starting a blog. Would anyone care what I had to say? My boyfriend – my biggest supporter – encouraged me to go for it. But what would I even write about? What would I even call the site? I wanted a name that hinted to my love of writing and literature. Hinted to that feeling of inspiration and creativity. That was it. Lady Jabberwocky was born, inspired by my young Jabberwock days.

And now, look where I am, four years later and still blogging. Still writing like a nonsensical Jabberwock. I love that part of my blog name comes from the early days of both our relationship and my writing journey.

Thanks for reading, writer bees. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!


What inspired your blog name? Share your stories in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

My Favorite Blog Moments from 2021

Hello Writer Bees,

Once in a while, it’s good to take a minute and reflect on your accomplishments. To be proud of yourself. Plus, with the year we’ve all had, I think we’ve deserved some positivity. Often times, I stress and put myself down, like nothing I ever do is enough. In an effort to improve my mental health and confidence, I’m reflecting on some of my favorite posts and moments from 2021. Come stroll down memory lane with me.


May of Mystery

Every May, I shine a spotlight on the mystery genre. Being an aspiring mystery writer myself, it was thrilling to write posts celebrating detective fiction. Check out my posts from May of Mystery.

Reaching 1,000+ Readers

For me, it has never been about gaining a mass of followers. I started this blog to connect with and encourage other writers. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I had to say. And now, I’ve reached over 1,000 amazing, super supportive readers. In the span of 4 years, I might add. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the wonderful writing community.

Writing Advice

I’m no professor, just an ordinary writer who helps other writers. I try to share writing advice in a conversational, lighthearted tone. Here are some of my favorite writing tips posts from 2021.

Top Writing Blog Award from QueryLetter

Frankly, I’m still in shock over this one. How did a knucklehead like me earn a blogging award? I have no clue what I’m doing. Seriously though, this blog is a labor of love. For my humble little platform to be recognized in such a way is so special to me.

Very Short Stories

Apart from writing advice, I’ve also shared my dabbles of flash fiction. In 2021, I stepped outside my comfort zone and wrote in genres I don’t normally write it. It’s a fun challenge, I encourage all writers to try it sometime. Here are a few short stories I’ve written last year.


What did you accomplish in 2021? For fellow bloggers out there, what are your favorite posts from your own blog? Share your stuff in the comments.

Thank you all for the love and support over the years. Hope this year is even better.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

What Do YOU Want to See on My Blog?

Hello Writer Bees!

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all nothing but positive vibes and creative energy in 2022. Hope you had a wonderful holiday. Mine was lovely, got to spend it with family. Unfortunately, New York has been hit with another surge of COVID. We’re pretty much on lockdown again. I’ve been working from home the past few weeks, which I don’t mind. Reminds me of my freelancing days.

To start off the new year, I want to hear from you guys. My purpose for this blog has always been to support and encourage other writers in their creative pursuits. So, I want to know what you want to see on this blog. Seriously, writer bees, if there’s a topic you want me to talk about, I’m open to ideas and happy to help. Somes things to ponder include….

  • What do you want to learn more about in fiction writing or blog writing?
  • What are your writer struggles? What skills do you want to improve on in your own writing?
  • What do you want to know about me and my writing journey? Ask me anything!

Talk to me in the comments. Sorry, this first post is short and sweet. Life on my end has been hectic. But, I promise, I’ll try to ring in the new year as best as I can. Thank you for all the love and support.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky


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Receiving the Top Writing Blog Award from QueryLetter!

Hello Writer Bees!

So, something amazing happened. Lady Jabberwocky received an award.

The incredibly kind folks at QueryLetter.com honored me with the Top Writing Blog Award. Apparently, I’m a phenomenal resource for writers. Their words, not mine. Truly, I’m touched. Blogging isn’t always easy. I have my down days. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing enough for the Writing Community. Not helping enough. Not creating the best content possible. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not fulfilling a purpose.

This recognition means so much. You have no idea. I only hope I can live up to such high praise. I wanted to share this bit of good news with you all. In times like these, good news is a gift. I want to thank every single reader sticking around all this time. You are well appreciated. Seriously, this blog would not be here without you guys and your support.

Keep an eye out for this little gem floating around the blog.

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Stay safe and stay creative!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Should a Writer be the Same Race & Gender as Their Narrator?

Hello Writer Bees!

So, the other day, I was scrolling through Twitter when a post caught my attention. It was a #WritingQ. The question was: Does a writer need to be the same race or gender as their narrator?

As a female writer with a male narrator, I felt the need to dip my toes into these controversial waters. Let’s talk about this for a second.

My Opinion.

Does an author need to be the same gender, race or sexuality as their narrator? In my opinion? No. That’s part of creative writing. We use our imaginations to create realistic characters, even if they’re much different than us. A narrator doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of the writer. And a writer doesn’t have to limit themselves and write only in a box. Don’t be afraid to write out of your comfort zone. When we do create characters outside of our own experience, it’s important to do them justice. Here are some quick tips for writing a character from a different background.

  • Be aware of stereotypes. Step above the stereotypes. If it comes off as cliché, a character will lose their authenticity. Also, if it’s not done properly, a character could come off as offensive.
  • Do your research.  – When a character comes from a different cultural background, research that culture. What names are common in that ethnicity? What are some typical meals? Do they have certain habits, rules, or traditions? Dig deep, you may actually learn something.
  • Be open to writing a character unlike yourself. Challenge yourself and stay open minded. The fun part about writing is stepping into someone else’s shoes – someone else’s brain – and telling their story.

My Experience

As many of you know, I’ve been writing my murder mystery WIP for quite some time. Many times, my main characters have made appearances on this blog. On paper, my narrator and I are completely different.

  • My narrator – Oscar Fitzgerald – is a young Irish man living in the 1920s. He/him pronouns. Attracted to women.
  • I’m a Puerto-Rican-Italian millennial. She/her pronouns. Attracted to… Mister Jabberwocky.

And maybe some readers will be put off by that stark difference. How can a woman writer do a man justice? Impossible!  I can understand why some readers feel that way. I’ve seen some men poorly portray women in fiction. Truth is, choosing a male narrator was barely a thought to me. I honestly thought nothing of it.  When I began crafting my detective duo and their dynamic, both characters being men fell into place naturally. If it works, it works. Why fix it?

How do I go about writing in male perspective? Frankly, I don’t set out to. That’s the secret. When I sit down to write, I don’t go “Okay, let me pretend I’m a dude now.” For me, gender isn’t often considered. Usually, I focus more on the character’s personality more than anything else. I keep our similarities and our differences in mind at all times. That mindset guides me through writing a male narrator. And look, I’m not perfect. I’m sure I’m missing some nuances of being a guy, especially one from the 1920s. But I do my best, that’s all anyone can do.


I want to hear from you. How do you go about writing a character from a different background? How are you similar to your narrator or main character? How are you different? Let me know in the comments.

I understand this can be a touchy, controversial subject for some people. Everyone has their own opinion. Please be respectful in the comments. I’d appreciate it.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky

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How to Consistently Create Content for Your Blog

Hey Writer Bees,

I received another great question from my Q&A, this one from dharkanein. They write:

Congrats dear. I just want to know how you keep yourself on track…of course of writing daily that too for such a long period. As I have gone much up and down through this journey and stop writing…and I too have completed my 4 years of blogging a week ago. So basically I want a tip for the consistency.

First off, congrats on your 4 years of blogging. That’s awesome!

Its a lot of pressure to create blog content consistently. Other bloggers will probably agree. Regularly pumping out content can be stressful sometimes. Here are three ways I keep myself on track and stay consistent.

Have a Schedule

Calendar GIFs | Tenor

Maintaining a posting schedule is super important. When you set yourself up with deadlines, you fall into a rhythm. Choose a specific “post day” and find a schedule that works best for you. For me, I post prompts on Monday and on Friday, I post writing tips and stories. That 2-posts-a-week routine fits my life. I try to stick to that plan as best I can, but things happen. And when they do, you can’t be too hard on yourself. Scheduling posts ahead of time helps manage that posting plan too. I have a couple weeks worth of prompts pre-scheduled for September. If you can’t write ahead of time, have a general idea of what you want to write about on posting day. Honestly, most of my Friday posts are written Thursday night. I’m a self-proclaimed procrastinator, but I’m a procrastinator with deadlines and those deadlines keeps me on track.

Knowing Your Voice

Own Your Voice GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

In every post, I use the same tone and voice. When I started this blog, I wanted to write about writing in a candid, conversational way. I didn’t want to sound like a professor giving a lecture. I wanted content to sound fun and relaxed but also informative and honest. Readers should expect the same kind of content each time they read a post. When you write a post, remember who your audience is. Remember the tone you are going for. Keeping the overall vibe the same is a big part of being consistent as a blogger.

Brainstorming Ideas

Brainstorm GIFs | Tenor

Easier said than done, but brainstorming posts ahead of time helps with consistency. Sometimes, post ideas happen when you least expect. I always keep a scrap of paper or notebook handy, just in case inspiration strikes. Lately, I’ve been daydreaming about blog ideas while brushing my teeth or doing the dishes. I’ll just stop for a second and think ‘huh, that’d be a good post for the blog’ then write it down. If you build up a stock pile of potential posts, ideas that suit your niche, you’ll have ideas ready for when you need them. And you won’t be scrambling to write a post last minute. Because, let’s be real, we’ve all been there.


Thank you for the awesome question. Hope you find these tips helpful.

To my fellow bloggers out there, how do you keep consistent with your blogging? How do you stay on track and manage it all? Share your experience in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky