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Confessions of a Wily Newb, Part 4, by Paris Crenshaw

Guest blogger: Paris Crenshaw (Go back and read Lesson #3)

Lesson 4: Play with formats.

This lesson is kind of related to lessons 2 and 3. In the vein of keeping things short and actually finishing a project, I also encourage you to try working with different types of writing. As I said, even if your goal is to write that amazing novel, you can benefit from working in different forms.

My first–as of this moment, my only–publication on the Wily Writers site is a little piece of flash fiction, called “Pennangalan”. I’d never even heard of flash fiction until I joined the Wilies, but when Angel mentioned the concept I was intrigued. The idea of actually writing a story in 100 words or less was a really interesting challenge that taught me quite a bit about choosing the right words to set the tone and the right details to provide the most description in the most concise way. Those are lessons I wouldn’t have learned if I’d said, “Flash fiction sounds okay, but I’m going to write novella-length stories, so I’m not interested.”

In fact, I’m applying Lesson 4 right now, by writing this blog. Remember I said that I wasn’t sure if I was going to have anything to contribute as the “Wily newb”? The very process of outlining and writing the blog proved that I do have something to say.

The moral of this story is that you should never be afraid to try something new. Stretch your creative wings and explore different ways to tell your stories. You may be very pleasantly surprised with what you discover.


Paris Crenshaw resides with his family in San Diego, California, but spends much of his time on the Pacific Ocean, serving as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy. While pursuing a career as a Naval Officer, he has maintained a love of writing and creating, focusing most of his energy on the sci-fi and fantasy adventure genres. His most recent publications include stories in the first and second issues of Wayfinder magazine, a fanzine for Paizo Publication’s award-winning Pathfinder roleplaying game setting.

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