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Alli Englehart writing contest
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Alli Englehart

I am 20 years old and an English Major at Virginia Commonwealth University. I have been writing since I was 12. I find inspiration in every experience, emotion, and setting. My favorite thing about writing is having the freedom to create anything you can.

Story: Mark Twain and Motorcycles


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
The best writing advice I've heard was probably from my third grade teacher, Mrs. Barker. She said it's about letting your mind go free, like letting butterflies out of a jar.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
I usually prepare short bios of main characters and list main events in the first chapter. Then I picture it in my head as if I'm watching a movie. So when writing, I play the movie of my story and just write down what happens.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I actually enjoy criticism; I look at it as a way to gather outside opinions and improve my writing. But there's also a difference between constructive criticism and just criticizing. Ultimately there is no right or wrong in writing.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
There were just a couple name errors I had forgotten to switch after I decided to switch the twins' names. But other than that, I don't think so. I've been developing this story for a long time so I'm really pleased with what I've created so far.


Margaret Alice

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Awesome story! I thought it was very interesting concept, I was disappointed to see it end so quickly! There were a few issues where you accidentally switched Finn and Sawyer's names. You have a fun writing style, and I would love to read more of your work. Could you check out my story, "The Fate Continuum?" I would love to hear what you think. Good luck!

Luke Swanson

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Excellent story. I expected to skim through it, skip through chunks, but I couldn't bring myself to miss a word. I hope you make through this final round.


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Great plot and good writing! I liked the way the protagonist's personality shone through. The ending was neat, although it seems to be part of a much longer piece; indeed a much longer piece would be preferred as we would like more to read about these twins. However, I did expect more of a decription of FInn's inner feelings and reactions on coming face to face with her twin, but maybe the conversation with the cart boy had tamped that down. Also, like Lisa noticed with the cart boy, you got the names mixed up again when Finn introduced herself as Sawyer on seeing her grandmother. Good work!

M.J. Milner

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Exquisite use of dialogue and internal voice. Lovely story premise and good storyline arc. I could see this story getting into the top ten with the help of some strangers and a few of the other writers. Worth reading top to bottom....


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I did like the story, though doesnt seem to be a short one, it could go for many many chapters; :) which is good. Imagination it was created. I like the read and that is hard to do. Thanks for your story. I my self put a silly, but cute short childrens story. Look it up and check it out. :)

Lisa Rose

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This is a very good story. Imagine finding out you have an eighteen year old twin. In the beginning when Finn is talking to the cart boy you have her think. 'At least I know now where I got the name Saywer from.' Shouldn't that have been Finn? If you get the time please read my story 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!