Plus, we celebrate classic Halloween movies and spend one more day getting ready for NaNoWriMo.

“Graveyard” by Justin Cox and Midjourney

Happy Halloween, writers!

As I write this, I’ve spent the weekend watching the 80s Halloween-ish movies Beetlejuice and Gremlins. While both films are fun, there’s an odd anti-technology theme prevalent in both. Was there a fear in the 80s about technology making our lives worse than better? In hindsight, I guess it was irony…

Anyway, let’s talk NaNoWriMo! Today is the final day to prepare, and if you intend to participate, I have two suggestions for you:

  1. Register on the official NaNoWriMo website.
  2. Sign up for The Writing Cooperative Discord Server and connect with fellow writers.

Good luck, everyone!

Programming Note

I moved This Week In Writing, my free weekly newsletter, from the Twitter-owned Revue to Substack. The first issue at the new location sends out tomorrow. If you were subscribed on Revue, your subscription should automatically transfer. Not subscribed? Click the link.

While the weekly newsletter is now on Substack, The Writing Cooperative is not going anywhere. The publication remains here on Medium, publishing the high-quality content you expect. This newsletter, the monthly best-of in dire need of a better name, will also continue to live here on Medium.

About a year ago, I moved the weekly newsletter off Medium. The main reason is there are roughly 50k email subscribers. While that’s an amazing number, I know that not all 50k people wanted a weekly newsletter. Instead, they continue to receive the monthly best of, and those who want the weekly check-ins can get them from a dedicated email platform. Of course, I cross-post the newsletter here, too, for people who prefer to read them in the publication instead of receiving them in the inbox.

Ok, that’s enough explanation. Let’s get on with what you’re really here for: the best posts of the month. Enjoy!

Justin’s Picks for October

The New AI Art Generators Can Teach You a Thing or Two About Writing by James Horton, Ph.D

Before the code came together, after all, someone had to reverse-engineer art itself, to answer a megaton question: how can we design a creative process so powerful that a non-sentient machine can use it to bootstrap its way to being an artist?

Open Letter to Editors of Journals, Magazines, and Online Publications by Bethany F. Brengan

Since I’ve been writing and working with editors for several years now, I thought I might return the favor. Here, in order of most innocuous to “red flag the size of Alaska,” are my two cents about what causes me to “reject” a publication.

Yes, You Can Become a 6-Figure Creator Without Having a Niche by Tim Denning

Niches have killed more writing dreams than I can count. When there are too many restrictions on your creativity it starts to feel like a prison. Writing prison sucks out all the joy from creating content.

Advice I Would Give Myself as a Beginning Writer by Alex Baia

The prime directive is this: get better. Shun that which doesn’t make you a better writer and lurch toward that which does, however clumsily.

How Meditation Helps Your Writing by J. S. Wong

Research shows meditation improves focus, reduces stress, and can decrease anxiety and depression. If you feel disengaged, stuck, or burned out with your writing, notice what else in your life might be affecting you.

The Ultimate Guide to Caring for the Author in Your Life by Kitty Turner

If you’ve only recently met your author, the most astonishing and valued thing you can do is ask to read their work. Believe it or not, you are probably the first person who ever has.

Challenge: Make a Book from Years of Blog Posts by Susan Barrett Price

By the time I self-published in November, 2011, my goal changed from sales to sharing — sharing the lessons I learned from my foremothers: Use your head. Throw your arms around uncertainty. Trust your noble heart. Move your feet. Get going! Lean into the longing. Turn discontent into action.

How to Write a Spine-Tingling Horror Story by Beth Peterson

The promise of a rampaging serial killer or a haunted house will get your readers to pick up your book. But if your characters are boring, it won’t matter how terrifying your story gets.

writing in all lower-case isn’t visually pleasing by Joe McCormick

pressing that little shift button to type a capital letter takes no effort, but makes a sentence look a whole lot better (and correct). however, the trend of the ‘social media generation’ rebelling against the use of big letters has become an opportunity for some of the biggest brands out there to market their products to that exact audience.

How Artificial Intelligence is Sharing the Future of Copywriting by Rui Alves

But as a seasoned copywriter, I don’t think you should be afraid of algorithms taking over the world. While some people worry about AI replacing writers altogether, I see it as a tool for helping us be better at our jobs.

‘Author Dies Intestate!’ by Jean Maxwell

There are many cases (think Prince, and Aretha Franklin) where artists who have valuable intellectual property have not made a will. That’s called being ‘intestate’ and the word ‘state’ being in there is perhaps no accident, because if you don’t have a will, the state determines what happens to your property, and worse, takes a horribly long time. In the end, this leaves your heirs with less, and like the fictional Harlan Thrombey, the family’s knives and daggers will come out.

Archaic Writing Still Has A Place In Modern Society by Bethany Dawson

Archaism is defined as a thing that is very old or old-fashioned. And in literature, an archaic piece of writing would be one that uses old terms that aren’t seen much anymore or even a type of prose that isn’t familiar in the modern world.

For more writing advice, subscribe to This Week In Writing or check out my book, Write Now: How To Pursue Your Dream And Start Writing Today!

The Best of the Writing Cooperative in October was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Author: Justin Cox