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Scrawlers.com gets a facelift.

Barry and I spent the winter of 2005 writing little short stories of 100 words or less and sending them to each other for notes. We had become enamored of the idea of embracing constraints as a challenge rather than a limitation and more importantly, it was fun. While that project faded away after a year, the spark to create and share did not and we continued to play with the idea of reaching out with this concept to other young writers. By March of 2007, we were ready to put our collaborative idea of marrying the creative arts with dynamic web design to unleash a free online writing workshop for young writers who are excited to say yes, I’m willing to write a 100-word short story and put it out there for peer comments.

Two years later, with a combination of 335 stories, 158 writers, and 384 notes, Scrawlers is growing and we’re glad you’re a part of it. We’re excited so many young writers have chosen to take part in our workshop experience and we hope you’ve gotten something positive out of the experience. Our next step in the life of Scrawlers has arrived and we believe we have another reason for you to stick with us and keep writing.

Today we launch our new web design for Scrawlers.com. Barry’s worked hard to create a simplified layout that focuses on the content you and your peers create. Stories are easier to read, using features like favoriting authors and stories are effortless, and your Bookshelf is filled with more helpful information than ever before. Plus, we just think it looks nice. You’ll also see a tab for you to click and give us feedback on the new design, including your ability to weigh in on other features we can add.

We hope our new web design inspires you to write new stories and comment on the work of your peers even more. We appreciate all of your feedback, participation, and creativity over the past two years and here’s to the future.

Thank you,

-nm

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Our "Dead of Winter" contest is almost over

Just a mid-week reminder of our latest contest…

If you haven’t been entering the Scrawlers “Dead of Winter” contest this week, you still have a few days to post your stories and comments before the 11:59pm deadline this Friday night. We’re giving away a copy of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and To Build a Fire and Other Stories by Jack London to one lucky Scrawlers writer.

Will it be you?

-nm

Absence here, presence there

I took an unannounced and approximately three-week break from this blog to focus on a few issues, projects, and priorities but I’m back and excited for a few entries coming up this month to wrap up the year. The following are in the pipe:

  • Wrapping up last month’s NaNoWriMo.
  • Wrapping up my first semester teaching at NCC.
  • A link to my latest short film (now in the editing stage).
  • My top ten favorite blog posts of the year.
  • Finally, my long-promised recommendation of Five Books for Boys.
  • Thoughts on Oprah’s Book Club.
  • Pros and cons of books as gifts.
  • A Writer’s New Year’s Resolutions.
  • New writing prompts and recommendations.
  • A new Scrawlers contest!
  • And, depending on how often I find myself with internet access, some daily blogging about a mission trip I’m co-leading down to Beaumont, Texas over the last week of the year.

While I took a break from blogging at The Scrawl, I have been quite active on our sister site, Scrawlers. I’ve posted a few new stories over the last few days and it felt good to write something new. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve written at my own website, which is pretty ridiculous, but something struck me in the last ten days or so that panned out to six new stories (and hopefully a few more to follow). That, I think, is a cool side effect of Scrawlers. How it can appeal to the writer who is daunted by writing a longer piece of prose or has only a finite time to scrawl something down or who is frustrated by having a lot of open projects but nothing concretely finished. 100 words? Short, brief, finished. Problem solved for that writer. There are those on the opposite end of the spectrum who are turned off or perhaps frightened at having only 100 words to complete an idea. To those folks I say embrace constraints as a challenge, not a limitation. Pretty sure I’ve talked about that here before.

Thanks for your patience during my absence and I’ll write to you soon, dear reader.

-nm