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                     W R I T I N G  W O R L D

   A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 3:04          12,500 subscribers          February 20, 2003

SPECIAL NOTICE: Please DO NOT REPLY to this e-mail; any messages
sent to the listbox address are deleted.  If you wish to contact
the editor, please e-mail Moira Allen.


         From the Editor's Desk
         FEATURE: The All-Important Script Outline
            by Laura Brennan
         News from the World of Writing
         FEATURE: The Basics of the Nonfiction Book Proposal
            by Moira Allen
         The Write Sites - Online Resources for Writers
         FEATURE: Demystifying the Agent Query Letter
            by Natalie Collins
         FEATURE: Writing and Marketing Erotica
            by Catherine Lundoff
         From the Managing Editor's Mind
         WHAT'S NEW at Writing World/Prize Drawings
         MARKET ROUNDUP/Writing Contests

Get published! Get published! Get published! Get published!
Get published! Get published! Get published! Get published!
Get published! Get published! Get published! Get published!
Visit http://www.1stbooks.com/getpublished/no_rejection.html
EARN AN MFA IN WRITING through the brief-residency program at
Spalding University in Louisville, KY. Call (800) 896-8941x2105
or e-mail gradadmissions[at]spalding.edu and request brochure FA90.
For more info: http://www.spalding.edu/graduate/MFAinWriting
WRITERSCOLLEGE.COM has 57 online courses. Prices are low.
If you can reach our web site, you can take our courses.
DISCOUNTED WRITERS' SOFTWARE -- PowerStructure, DramaticaPro,
StoryView, WritePro, MovieMagic, InkLink, plus many more.
National Conference at The University of Texas at Arlington on
Feb. 21st & 22nd, 2003. Call us toll free at 1-866-821-5829.
E-mail us at naww[at]onebox.com or visit us at http://www.naww.org

February 28, contribute $5 or more to Writing-World.com and
receive a copy of "1500 Online Resources for Writers!" See
http://www.writing-world.com/books/1500.html for details, or go
to http://www.amazon.com/paypage/P2UTPRKYGU4AA1 to contribute.


                     FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

Digging Out
The world is very white where we live, and I've discovered a
great new workout: "BEND and LIFT and TOSS... BEND and LIFT and
TOSS..."  Our patio is buried under about 15 inches of snow, and
since I can't reach the bird feeder without waders, I've just
been tossing handfuls of seed onto the snowpack.  The result:
This morning we had seven squirrels, four bluejays, and assorted
other wildlife dining at the "back door beastro."  The cats have
discovered that they can "hide" behind the pile of snow against
the door and periodically jump out at the squirrels -- who have
themselves discovered that cats jumping behind glass doors pose
no threat whatsoever!

My husband blames me for all this.  "You prayed for snow!" he
reminds me, as we go digging in search of the driveway.  Well,
it's true, and while shoveling isn't my favorite activity, I need
the exercise, and I've been loving (almost) every minute of it.
When life gives you snow, make snowballs!

Help Found!
I received more than 60 responses to my "help wanted" call in the
last issue -- and sorting through the selection meant making some
very tough decisions!  Nearly every applicant was well-qualified
for the position, and many seemed vastly overqualified; how, I
wondered, could I pick just one?

So I didn't.  Ultimately, I ended up selecting three people to
join the "team," each with their own special skills.
Writing-World.com proudly welcomes:

JOSE ANICETO - A programmer and IT professional from "down
under," Jose will be handling HTML and website development tasks.
Jose is a project manager for an Australian technology company,
and editor and contributing author of ISSIG Review and ISSIG Bits
(publications of the Project Management Information Systems
Specific Interest Group).  He is also a contributing editor at
Suite101.com.  Jose says that he can "eat, breath and almost
dream of HTML."

JUDY GRIGGS - A freelance writer based in Ohio, Judy will be
handling various research tasks (including the joyous task of
checking the site for dead links).  Judy has worked as a staff
writer and correspondent for several daily newspapers and as a
publicist for a countywide public library system.  She is also
the former president of the board and executive director of the
Ohio Literacy Network.

LINDA PLIAGAS - Linda will be joining the staff to assist in
publication development and ad sales.  Linda has been a magazine
publisher, editor, print advertising sales executive, public
relations pro, graphic design "guru" and "marketing maverick."
She is also a university-trained reporter, having majored in
journalism at CSU Long Beach, where she won the "Writer of the
Year" award.  Linda is based in Los Angeles.

With these wonderful, talented people on call, I have no doubt
that I'll be able to kick back, relax, sip martinis on my patio
(once it thaws), and lead the life of leisure and luxury that
goes with managing a dot.com in today's economy.  (And if you
believe THAT, I'd better get back to my novel, because I'm
obviously a better fiction-writer than I thought!)

                         -- Moira Allen (Moira Allen)

THE WRITER'S HANDBOOK 2003. This definitive career resource for
writers provides essential information, how-to advice, and paying
markets you won't want to miss! Featuring 3,000+ markets that buy
articles & book manuscripts. To order: 800-533-6644 or
1-262-796-8776 http://store.yahoo.net/kalmbachcatalog/61966.html
Creative Journeys Writing Workshops bring women together to honor
their creativity and spiritual nature through writing.  Workshops
in Arizona, Michigan, Oregon Coast, Mexico.  For details, visit
http://www.creativejourneys.net - gail[at]creativejourneys.net


Our spring semester begins on March 3, and our classes are
filling up -- so if you'd like to reserve a spot with one of our
fabulous instructors, I'd recommend that you send in your
enrollment as SOON as possible!  Each class link below will take
you to a page where you can enroll via PayPal, and each page also
has a link to a downloadable "check payment form" if you would
prefer to send a check or money order.


Moira Allen - 4 weeks - $60

Get paid for your book BEFORE you write it! Find out what
publishers look for in a book proposal, the homework you need to
do before you start to write, and how to prove you're the right
author for the job. Recommended for writers who have a nonfiction
book planned or in progress.


Isabel Viana - 4 weeks - $60

To write a personal essay is to embark on a journey towards
deeper self-knowledge. To sell a personal essay requires the
writer's ability to express that new knowledge about herself with
broad strokes so that readers can relate to the writer's
experience. Includes business and marketing tips.


Kathleen Walls - 4 weeks - $60

If you enjoy seeing new places and writing home about them, you
could be a travel writer. Find out how to appear "professional"
from your first submission, find markets, learn what editors want,
take advantage of "comps," and maximize your income.


Lisa Beamer - 6 weeks - $90

Merge your writing with your faith, and find out how to market
your work not only to "Christian" markets but also to secular
publications. For writers with a basic knowledge of the
freelancing process.


Catherine Lundoff - 6 weeks - $90 (max. 10)

For centuries, writers have portrayed sensuality and sexuality in
words to captivate, titillate and amuse their readers. Find out
how to capture what is perhaps the greatest intimacy your
characters will experience. For new and experienced writers.


Sue Lick - 6 weeks - $90 (max. 12)

What is POD? Is it right for you? Find out how to choose a
publisher, format your manuscript, design your cover, write PR
material and develop a marketing plan. If you have a book ready
to go, get personalized assistance in each lecture -- with a
published book as a result!


Michael Knowles - 6 weeks - $90

Learn the practical aspects of marketing and selling your ebook
online: how to build a powerful web site, identify target markets,
build a marketing plan, select the right payment processing tools,
and deliver your book to your customers. Includes free copy of
instructor's ebook, "You CAN Take Credit Cards Online."


Natalie Collins - 6 weeks - $100

While there's no sure-fire formula for impressing an agent, you
CAN stack the deck in your favor. Find out how to write a killer
query, superb synopsis, and meticulous manuscript. Receive a
critique of your query and synopsis, and a list of legitimate
literary agents with track records of sales.


Brian Jud - 6 weeks - $100 (max. 10)

Media appearances provide a free way to gain national exposure
quickly and sell many books in the process. Find out how to plan
your media campaign, contact media decision makers, and perform
"on the air" -- as well as how to pitch your books once you're


Linda Phillips - 7 weeks - $105 (max. 12)

Do you have what it takes to be a children's writer? Find out
what "category" of children's writing fits "best;" explore the
tools for writing fiction, nonfiction and poetry; discover new
markets; and learn the business side of writing for children.


Bruce Boston - 8 weeks - $100 (max. 12)

A workshop emphasizing the special concerns and aspects of the
craft of writing speculative fiction. Students can offer work for
critique, and will receive individual market guidance.


Jo Parfitt - 8 weeks - $100

Writing is the perfect portable career. Whether you travel around
the country or around the world, find out how to turn your
journeys into inspiration -- and how to turn that inspiration
into articles that sell. Instructor has kept her writing career
alive while spending more than 10 years in four countries.


Laura Brennan - 8 weeks - $120

The "spec script" is the TV industry's calling card. A great one
can help you break through to agents, win competitions, and
impress show runners. Find out how to choose a show to spec,
develop ideas, "break" the story, and write a killer opening.
Class includes critique of your pitches, outlines and scenes.


Marg Gilks - 8 weeks - $125 (max. 20)

Each lesson covers a fundamental element of fiction writing:
showing instead of telling, characterization, point of view, all
the way through to putting the final polish on your manuscript.
By the time you've finished, you'll have a manuscript ready for
submission -- or you'll know how to create one. Ideal for those
who have a novel or short story in progress.


NOTE: These courses will only be offered once in 2003; our summer
semester will have a completely different course selection.

Our team of professional editors -- including a Pulitzer Prize
nominee and an author published by Dell, Warner, Fawcett, etc.
-- specializes in novels written by first-time, novice writers.
See us at http://www.a1editing.com for prices, references, etc.

                 by Laura Brennan (LauraBrennan[at]worldnet.att.net)

The outline is a subject of some debate among writers.  Some hate
them, preferring to discover the characters and story as they
write.  Others (myself included) can't live without them.  I
clarify nearly all of the beats in my outline, and for me it
works remarkably well: I'll spend three days working out a
detailed blueprint (usually 16-19 pages for an hour-long
episode), but then I'm able to write 3-5 pages *an hour* from
outline.  In a pinch, I've written forty pages in one day for a
script that was under a very tight deadline.  And my first draft
is scarily like the finished episode.

But that's enough of a plug for outlines.  The truth is, love 'em
or hate 'em, in television you can't live without 'em.  That's
because the story needs to be approved, not just by the head
writer, but also by the studio, network and other producers
before a writer can go to script.  The outline makes this

You should be able to follow the story from the outline.  It's a
selling tool, as well as a time for you to clarify your vision,
make your decisions, and lay everything out.

The Scene
The outline lets you see where there are holes in your story by
giving you an overview of every scene.  Do you repeat a beat?  Is
there something else going on in every scene, other than plot?
This is a good time to take a look at your scenes and make sure
they're going to be solid when written.

The first thing you want to check is that each scene has a
beginning, a middle, and an end.  You want to start as late as
possible: mid-scene, mid-argument, just before disaster strikes,
or in the middle of the battle if you're coming back to something
that's already been established.  (This is also true of sitcoms,
although you also want to open with something funny happening --
either repartee or a setup/punchline or a visual joke.)

For the middle, well, you want something to happen in every
scene.  You need to forward the action, move the plot along. More
on the meat of a scene, below.

You want to get out of a scene as soon as possible, and, ideally,
on some kind of a punchy moment.  These are all true for sitcom
or drama: end on a strong exit line, a surprise or twist, a
moment of coming together (usually near or at the end of a show),
a laugh (yes, even in drama -- although usually it's in the Tag),
a moment of decision (or indecision -- just before a choice has
to be made), or a moment of crisis (the "out of the frying pan"
moment).  Scene endings are one of the most common mistakes
writers make -- they let the scene end, let it trail off, they
don't actively end it.  The endings of your scenes, especially
act breaks, should resonate.  That's what keeps readers turning
the pages, and audiences tuning back in after commercials.

* Scenes are short.  Look at it this way: you typically have
about 35 scenes in a 56-page script.  That means scenes are, on
average, less than two pages long.  Really what happens is that
some scenes are little more than ESTABLISHING, and others may run
three pages.  But you want to use five-page scenes in television
only sparingly.  Unless there's a heck of a lot going on, that's
a long time to be stuck in one set, with the same handful of

* Scenes must be more than about moving the plot forward.  In
fact, the more plot-heavy your story is, the more you need
moments where the characters can blossom, so that we care about
the moves of the plot.  Every scene, sitcom or drama, must
include or accomplish some combination of the following: humor,
passion, moving the plot forward, insight into characters,
surprise, suspense.  You want every scene to have at least three
of these elements.

Obviously, sitcoms will have a lot more humor in them.  Humor, in
fact, will be the driving force behind every scene.  In
hour-longs, the plot will tend to drive the scenes, but you'll
need to mix things up with humor, passion, character moments,

* What do the characters want in each scene?  This is key.  Your
characters are not just being moved around a game board.  While
the plot may drive the episode, it's the characters who drive the
plot.  If you can't tell from your outline what each character
wants in each episode -- if you don't know this before you start
to write -- the finished episode isn't going to ring true.  Now's
the time to jot it down; clarify for yourself, if you don't know,
for each scene.

The outline is about decision-making.  You can always change your
mind if you come up with something better later (often, something
will come out as you start to write the dialogue -- the
characters will tell you what they want).  But you're going to
write a stronger episode if you go in with a plan.

Finally, one of the other things you can get from your outline is
attitude.  This is different from what people want -- this is
more about how they're behaving, especially towards each other.
The more conflict the better, but everyone handles conflict in a
different way.  So use the outline to make sure you understand
what your characters' attitudes are towards what's going on and
towards each other.  This is where you track it to see if all
your characters 1) are in character; 2) make sense; 3) have
legitimate turning points/arcs, if that's part of your story; 4)
want something, sometimes more than one thing, in any given

And if that doesn't convince you to write an outline, remember:
it's a step you're paid for in television.


Sign up now for Laura Brennan's class, Writing for Television:
The Spec Script, beginning March 3 at Writing-World.com!


Laura Brennan has been a professional television writer for the
last ten years, working for PBS, cable and syndicated shows
(including The Invisible Man, Highlander: The Raven, and The Lost
World.) She has been hired to write a sitcom, as well as two
children's series (currently in development), has consulted with
several different production companies on a number of drama and
sitcom pilots, and worked on creating a new mystery series with
the development team at PAX-TV. Brennan has won or placed in the
top ten of half a dozen national television writing competitions,
including a top-ten finish in the prestigious ABC/Disney
Fellowship. Read Laura's monthly column, The Screening Room, at

Copyright (c) 2003 by Laura Brennan

You CAN Take Credit Cards Online! What's the right solution for
YOUR product or service? Get the ebook Tom Mahoney of
merchant911.org calls "a must-read for anyone thinking about
establishing an e-commerce Web presence."


Authors Guild offers health insurance
The Authors Guild has added Oxford Health Plans to its roster of
discounted health insurance plans for published authors and
journalists. Oxford plans are available for metropolitan New York
City and other areas in the East. Guild plans from other major
insurance companies cover much of California, Connecticut,
Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and upstate New York. Only Guild
members are eligible to apply. For more information:

Schools charged license fee for classic literature
To encourage schools to use ebook technology, Palm Digital Media
and Lightning Source have introduced the Classics Collection, a
selection of classic titles including: "The Red Badge of
Courage," by Stephen Crane, "Little Women," by Louisa May Alcott,
"Night and Day," by Virginia Woolf, the works of William
Shakespeare, and other books commonly found on middle and high
school reading lists. Schools pay a licensing fee of $499 for
unlimited access to 250 titles during the school year, or 500
classics for $750. The collection is provided on a CD that can be
loaded onto a school's server. However, the titles appear to be
public domain works which are available free online, easily
copied to a CD, and loaded on a server.

Read an Ebook Week
March 9-15 is Read an Ebook Week. The brain child of Canadian
author Rita Toews, the event is registered with Chase's Calendar
of Events, a directory of special days, weeks, and months used by
event planners or anyone looking for a reason to celebrate.
Suggested activities for authors and publishers include ebook
discount sales, public appearances, and announcements on web
sites, discussion groups, and newsletters. For a free printable
flyer: http://www.zorbapress.com/epweekly/w_essays/ebookweek.htm

ABA supports online sales tax
In keeping with their campaign for tax fairness, American
Booksellers Association President Ann Christophersen has called
upon Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Borders to follow the lead
of national retailers who recently began collecting online sales
tax. The news of the retailers' decision came days after more
than 560 independent booksellers joined as co-signers on letters
to their state governors, calling for fair and uniform
enforcement of state tax laws. "Clearly, the ball is now in the
court of national retailers that are not yet obeying the law and
collecting sales tax," said Christophersen. "It's their choice:
They can remain Internet scofflaws who siphon money away from
essential social services, or they can chose to obey the law and
serve both their customers and local communities."

Fake email alerts dog Paypal users
Since the beginning of the year, at least four e-mail messages
disguised as security upgrade announcements from Paypal have hit
users' inboxes. According to Lawrence Baldwin, president of
Internet security firm myNetWatchman, "Every link is a valid,
bona fide PayPal link," designed to make the messages look legit.
Only sophisticated header analysis would give away the fact that
the messages don't come from PayPal. Bemoaning the wave of
attacks, Paypal spokesman Kevin Pursglove offered this advice:
"In these phantom emails, the attempt is to induce the user to
follow these instructions. Don't do it! Don't use the software
and don't follow the links in the e-mail. (Only) go to PayPal by
entering the site's URL directly in the browser." Suspicious
PayPal messages can be forwarded to: spam[at]ebay.com

HELP TO YOU, THE SCREENWRITER...from an Industry professional
with vast experience in script analysis, charging reasonable
rates.  Increase your chances for success!  See my website for
details before submitting your script to an agent/producer/studio
or contest. http://www.coverscript.com

                         by Moira Allen (Moira Allen)

It's often possible to sell your nonfiction book before you write
it. To accomplish this, you'll need to submit a proposal to an
appropriate publisher.

The first step, of course, is finding an appropriate publisher.
Don't just grab a directory of markets and look in the topic
index for, say, publishers who handle books on "dogs." Instead,
try these steps:

CHECK YOUR BOOKSHELF. Who publishes the books you refer to on
this subject? Would your book fit into their line? Take note of
any publisher who appears more than once on your shelf.

CHECK A BOOKSTORE. What publishers are offering similar, or
complementary, titles? Do you find that you're picking up books
by one publisher more often than others? This could mean that
your interests mesh with those of that publisher. While you're
browsing, ask yourself these questions:

*	Do you like the look and feel of the publisher's products?
    Is the paper high quality? Do you like the cover? Is the type
    easy to read? Would you like your book to look like this?

*	Does the publisher offer the type of book you're planning?
    Does it have the same depth of content? If the publisher uses
    lots of color photos, can you provide them? Conversely, if you're
    planning to use lots of artwork, does the publisher support it?

*	Do the books match your style? If you write in a
    "conversational" style, don't pitch to a publisher who offers
    highly technical or academic books.

*	Are your credentials comparable to the publisher's other
    authors? Do you need a special degree or professional experience?

*	What is the price range? Does it match the likely budget of
    your audience? You may like the idea of having your book
    published in glossy coffee-table format, but will your audience
    shell out $30 or more for it?

REVIEW THE GUIDELINES. You may find these on the publisher's Web
site, or in a guideline directory. (You'll find lists of book
publisher sites at
http://www.writing-world.com/links/bookpubs.html.) Also, try to
find the publisher's current catalog; this will tell you what
books have recently been published. If a publisher has recently
published a book similar to the one you're proposing, it isn't
likely to want another -- but a competing publisher might! Make
sure your book matches the publisher's requirements, including
length, illustrations, etc. Finally, make sure you know what
terms the publisher offers -- including royalties, rights, etc.

Chances are, your research is going to turn up more than one
"appropriate" publisher for your book, and that's good. Youll
want a backup plan if your first choice doesn't come through. The
question is, can you submit your proposal to more than one
publisher at a time?

There is no clear answer. Some publishers still resist
"simultaneous submissions," but others acknowledge that when it
can take six months or longer to review a proposal, it's asking a
lot to expect authors to submit proposals "sequentially." One
approach is to submit simultaneous query letters, asking whether
you may follow up with a proposal and sample chapters. If a
publisher says "yes," you can then ask whether the proposal must
be "exclusive" (sent only to that publisher) or whether you can
send it to other interested publishers. A book query is
functionally the same as a magazine query, and you can often send
it by e-mail.

Preparing a Proposal
Once you've found a publisher, you need to develop a professional
proposal that includes the following elements:

The Overview
The overview of your proposal is presented in narrative format,
and may have several sections, including:

TITLE. A title helps establish the concept of your book in the
editor's mind. Amy Shojai, author of New Choices in Natural
Healing for Dogs and Cats, points out that a title "must not only
describe the book and/or concept, but be that illusive thing that
editors/agents describe as 'sexy'. The title must strike an
instant chord of recognition with the editor." At the same time,
she notes, "don't get too attached to titles. Editors change them
all the time, often for something that's boring."

CONTENT. Your overview should offer a general summary of the
content. Don't go into excessive detail; instead, try to convey
the general focus and purpose of your book, including the
benefits it will offer to readers. (The concept of "benefits" is
key: Your overview should clearly indicate what readers have to
gain from your book.)

RATIONALE. Your overview should also explain who will buy your
book (and why that audience will want to buy the book now). "Back
up the need for the book with stats," says Shojai. "Editors want
numbers; don't just say 'everybody who loves pets will buy my
book.' Tell them how many owners there are who have dogs who chew
used bubblegum and would benefit from your book, 12 Steps to
De-Gumming Da Dog."

COMPETITION. What books will you be competing against, and how
will you compete? To answer this question, of course, you must
first research the competition -- something that, hopefully, you
did before you started writing. Says Shojai, "The competition
section is probably the most important part of any proposal. I
try to never slam the competition, but to put my proposal in a
favorable light compared to whatever might be out there."

Your discussion of the competition should list specific titles
(including author, publisher, and publication date). It should
then explain how your book differs from those titles: How it
improves, differs from, or goes beyond what has been written

What if you can't identify any competition for your book? This is
not necessarily a good thing! Shojai notes, "If there is no
competition, find some. Put something in, even if it's a stretch,
because if nobody has done the topic before, the publisher/editor
will figure... it's not a saleable idea. You want books on your
topic to be out there and successful; that means you have a
ready-made market. Then it's a matter of making your book
different enough... to make the idea viable."

FORMAT. This section should list the book's title and subtitle,
the number of words you anticipate, and any other information
relevant to the production of the book. Mention whether your book
will include any graphics (tables, charts, figures, diagrams) or
illustrations (photos, line drawings, etc.), sidebars,
appendices, and so forth. Indicate whether the publisher will
need to assist with artwork or whether you will be providing it
yourself. If color artwork is included, make sure you provide a
rationale for the cost.

MARKET. Explain how your publisher can reach the book's target
audience. List magazines in which the book should be reviewed,
organizations and groups that might be interested in the book,
specialized book stores or other market outlets, etc. Note
whether the book could be used as a classroom text. (You'll be
asked for this information anyway once your proposal is accepted,
so start gathering it now.)

Chapter-by-Chapter Summary
Most publishers expect to receive a list of proposed chapters,
with a brief (one- to two-paragraph) summary of each. If you
haven't written your book, you may not know exactly how many
chapters it will contain -- but you should be able to flesh out a
summary from your basic outline. This information isn't "set in
stone" -- you can always change the number of chapters, or their
organization, later. There's no "right" number of chapters;
however, a book with too few chapters (e.g., less than five) may
seem too "light," while one with too many (e.g., more than 30)
may seem unwieldy.

Some publishers will also ask for sample chapters. If so, find
out whether they need to be sequential (e.g., the first three) or
whether you can send the most representative chapters.

Author Bio
What are your qualifications for writing this book? Your bio
should answer this question in the space of (about) a single
page. It should be written in narrative format, and in third
person -- e.g., "John Smith is an award-winning decoy carver who
has practiced and taught the craft for more than twenty years."

Be sure you know what credentials are expected of you by the
publisher and by the market you are attempting to target. If your
book focuses on "scholarly" information, chances are good that
you'll be expected to have academic credentials. If your book
focuses on business or technical information, you may be expected
to provide relevant professional experience. If your book
addresses more popular "how-to" or "self-help" topics, you may be
able to market your proposal on the basis of professional or
personal expertise.

Writing credits are useful if they are relevant. If you have
published other nonfiction books, for example, this demonstrates
that you can finish and sell a book-length manuscript, even if
it's on a completely different topic. Articles will also help
demonstrate your skill and marketability -- but publishers often
aren't impressed by articles on an unrelated topic. Fiction
credits may not impress an editor at all. Keep in mind that
you're not just trying to prove that you can write; you're also
trying to demonstrate that readers should believe what you say!


Sign up now for Moira Allen's class, Developing a Nonfiction Book
Proposal, beginning March 3 at Writing-World.com!


Moira Allen is the former managing editor of Inklings and
Inkspot, and has been writing and editing for more than 20 years.
Allen has published more than 300 articles and columns, and is
the author of "Writing.com: Creative Internet Strategies to
Advance Your Writing Career" (Allworth Press, 1999) and "The
Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals" (Allworth
Press, August 2001). For more information about these books,
visit the Author's Bookshelf. This article is excerpted from  her
forthcoming book, "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer."

Copyright (c) 2003 by Moira Allen

Where do great writers get those super ideas for their stories -
those wonderful stories we never forget?  Same place YOU can get
great ideas for YOUR unforgettable stories. For details, see OUT
OF YOUR MIND AND INTO PRINT, http://whortleberrypress.com


Writer's Pocket Tax Guide
The latest and most accurate information in a form that is easy
to understand for freelance writers.

Writer's Postage Chart
Gregory Koster and Terry Hickman's postage rates for mailing
manuscripts to and from most English-speaking countries.

Poetry Competition Updates
Free subscription to details of current poetry competitions with
deadlines, how to enter, prize money, and judges.

Adobe Tryouts
Want to create a PDF file but don't want to buy Acrobat? You can
create a limited number of PDF files from Word and other
documents online for free, or subscribe to the conversion service
for $9.99 a month.

Direct Search
This site "is a growing compilation of links to the search
interfaces of resources [e.g., databases] not easily searchable
from general search tools." Has tons of databases!

The New Age Retailer
An extensive alphabetical list of all types of book distributors;
a great resource for the self-published author!

"The Easy Way to Write a Novel". This popular writer's resource
shows you, step by step, how to achieve your dream of writing a
great novel in the shortest possible time. Suitable for any level
of expertise. Free writing courses. http://www.easywaytowrite.com

                    by Natalie Collins (Nataliewrites[at]aol.com)

Query letters and synopses are the bane of writers everywhere.
Extremely prolific authors with 200,000-word manuscripts suddenly
suffer writer's block when faced with a letter that starts: "Dear
Agent." Why are these two products so difficult to write? Perhaps
because we are making it harder than it needs to be.

Query letters are simple. You may not believe me, but it's true.
I'm going to help you stop overthinking them, and just get the
letter written.

There are only five parts to an effective query:

What is the most important aspect of your work? You need to focus
on something unique, original, and attention getting that sums up
your story in one sentence. Remember that a hook is your slogan.
It's your selling point. It has to be the very best part of your

Book description
Your book description should be as brief and compelling as you
can possibly make it. Secondary plots and characters have no
place here. You don't have the time for them. What you need to
get to is the meat of your story. What drives this manuscript?

Genre, word count, market
Why will this book be of interest now? To whom?  How long is it?
Should you always include a genre? In my opinion, no. I research
the agent I am querying first, before trying to put a "tag" on my
work. Most often, agents will decide what genre your work fits
in, and you don't have to. If you do feel it necessary to use a
genre, try to keep it broad and non-specific. From here, we move
to your credentials.

Keep it short and sweet. Do not list every award you have
received, or every school you have attended, but be careful not
to leave out anything important.

Your ending can be simple, such as: "Please let me know if you
are interested in reading (novel title). I have enclosed a SASE
for your convenience. Best, Natalie Collins."

That's it. Nothing more is needed, except, of course, a SASE for
those snail mail queries. Don't bother sending postage for the
return of your manuscript; simply send a #10 SASE for the agent's

Queries should NEVER be more than one page, and should always be
professionally written, edited, and proofread. Even email queries
should contain your contact information, and should be

Remember to sign your query personally, and double check to make
sure that you have included every item you mention in your
letter. If the agent has requested your material, make sure you
remind him/her of this.

The bottom line is, make it simple. Don't overthink your query.
Ready to give it a try? Then sign up for my class for a personal
critique of your query!


Sign up now for Natalie Collins' class, Finding an Agent,
beginning March 3 at Writing-World.com!


Natalie Collins is a writer and editor with more than 20 years'
experience. She is the author of the novels "SisterWife,"
"Twisted Sister," and "Outer Darkness," and has won numerous
awards for her writing of fiction and nonfiction. "SisterWife"
was chosen in the top ten of the 2001 Annual Preditors and
Editors Poll. She has worked in newspaper journalism,
advertising, and served as an editor for the 2001 and 2002
Sundance Film Festivals. She has spent the past two years
researching and compiling information on agents. Visit her web
site: http://www.nataliercollins.com Read Natalie's column, Ask
an Agent! at http://www.writing-world.com/agent/current.html

Copyright (c) 2003 by Natalie Collins

Are you a Freelance Writer?
FreelanceWriters.com is the only global online directory of
freelance writers.  Your writing skills, experience and contact
information can be listed in the database so that clients and
editors will have your information at the touch of a button. Go
to: http://www.freelancewriters.com/writers_faqs.cfm

                    by Catherine Lundoff (clundof[at]earthlink.net)

Erotica is any literary or art form that arouses sexual desire or
even love in an audience. Put simply, erotic writing is writing
that has the potential to turn your reader on. That's a nice
broad definition, limited only by the range of your potential
readers' desires. Given this range, erotic writing can encompass
any aspect of sensuality, from the sensual depiction of a hot
bath to descriptions of an explicitly sexual act.

Erotic literature is a growing field and one that spans a
multitude of genres, as well as being one unto itself. There is
erotic horror, science fiction and fantasy erotica, literary
erotica and erotic romance, just to name a few genres that are
receptive to erotic writing. There are also sizable markets
specifically for heterosexual, gay, and lesbian erotica, as well
as a smaller number for bisexual and transgender erotica. "Sex
sells" is a saying that's been around forever and for once, it's

How to write erotica
In order to have the most impact, your literary erotica needs to
be more than just a long sex scene. For one thing, most editors
and readers are going to want your story to have some sort of
plot to make it more interesting. For another, since you are
somewhat limited by the human body, you're unlikely to come up
with a sexual or sensual description so wildly original that no
one has ever written anything like it before. Make your story
stand out with interesting characters and story lines instead.
These should carry your story line forward, not the sexual
situation alone. Below are some questions to ask yourself about
your erotic writing. If you can't answer these questions or the
answer is no, it's time to rewrite:

   * Is there a story without the sexual angle?
   * Do the erotic elements move the story forward?
   * How does the sensual/sexual scene affect you/your reader?

Good word choices and descriptions are crucial for effective
erotic writing. Adjectives and euphemisms for genitalia and sex
acts are frequently used as building blocks for erotic fiction.
When handled appropriately, they can help give your story a
romantic gloss that might otherwise be missing. More often than
not, they're overused and will make your story appear downright
silly. Prune your adjectives and read some erotic scenes and
novels you like to get an idea of how other writers do it. As a
general rule, it's better to avoid euphemisms, especially when
you are first starting out; a few well placed metaphors can be a
lot more useful in conveying your images.

Erotic fiction depends on the physical actions and sensations of
your characters for impact. Educate yourself about anatomy and
any sexual activities you want to write about so you can write
more effectively. Read your story out loud and check to see if
something seems physically impossible or just plain
uncomfortable. If so, it's going to make your erotica less
appealing to your potential readers.

The majority of the literary erotica published in books,
magazines and websites is in short story form. But don't despair
if you want to write novels or plays or something else. There are
a number of presses and markets out there to choose from, ranging
from Circlet Press (science fiction and fantasy) to Random House
and Penthouse. Novels are a comparative rarity because they are
more difficult to write than erotic short fiction. This is due to
erotica's dependence on impacting the reader: it's just harder to
sustain an impact-laden story line and a series of sensually
related events than to write one or two into the same story. Some
writers are very successful at it, however, and there's no reason
you can't be among them.


Sign up now for Catherine Lundoff's class, Writing and Selling
Erotic Fiction, beginning March 3 at Writing-World.com!


Catherine Lundoff has sold over 25 stories and articles to a
variety of publications. Her erotic fiction has appeared in such
collections as Best Lesbian Erotica 1999 and Best Lesbian Erotica
2001, Shameless: Women's Intimate Erotica, Erotic Travel Tales
II, Zaftig: Well Rounded Erotica, CleanSheets.com and A Taste of
Midnight: Vampire Erotica. She is a member of the Erotic Author's
Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of
America. Visit her web site:

Copyright (c) 2003 by Catherine Lundoff

DON'T KNOW WHERE TO SEND YOUR WORK? We'll research & target
markets, prepare cover letters, track submissions. Reasonable
Rates, References. WRITER'S RELIEF, Inc., 245 Teaneck Rd. #10C,
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660 (201)641-3003, http://www.wrelief.com


The introduction of the printing press in England in 1476 granted
the crown ownership of printed works and control over content of
the press -- monopoly and censorship. With history in mind, the
framers of the Constitution wanted to make sure copyright could
not be used to censor or oppress in the US. They handed the task
of copyright protection to the Congress. As a result, the first
Copyright Act granted a limited monopoly to the creator to print,
publish, and vend a work for a 14-year minimum or 28-year maximum
period. It did not cover the exclusive right to perform or create
adaptations of the work.

Today's law grants copyright owners the right to publish and
distribute works, plus control over public performances,
adaptations, and reproduction. The term now lasts for the life of
the author plus 70 years, no matter who owns the rights.

Instead of "the crown" controlling the presses and censoring
content, through the Copyright Extension Act, Congress has
granted monopoly and censorship to copyright owners, which in
most cases are large media corporations, not the original
creators. The only way artists make a living from their works is
by selling exclusive rights to corporations. Because ownership
now covers all aspects and adaptations of a creative work for an
incredible duration, corporations enjoy a monopoly on every work
they own. Backed up by the threat of a lawsuit, this ironclad
ownership is a powerful tool for censorship. A corporate entity
can purchase the rights to a controversial work and keep it from
ever seeing the light of day. Corporations also decide who gets
to publish and distribute their works.

Rather than "promote the progress of knowledge," as originally
intended in the Constitution, modern copyright law allows
corporations to control "the progress of knowledge."

In my next column, I'll examine how fair use creates balance in
copyright law.

For more information:

Rights, Contracts, and Copyrights

The Purpose of Copyright, by Lydia Pallas Loren

                         -- Peggy Tibbetts (peggyt[at]siltnet.net)

Be more prolific!  Increase your income! Write your book
faster than you ever thought possible.  Learn to create your
book's blueprint in 2 hours, buy a best-selling plot and more.



Fundamentals of Fiction, Part IX: Writing Etiquette
by Marg Gilks

Fundamentals of Fiction, Part X: Avoid Those Beginners' Blunders
by Marg Gilks

How to Write an Op-Ed, by John McLain

What Is Magical Realism, Really? by Bruce Holland Rogers

Writing for the General Public: It's Not as Easy as it Sounds,
by Mary J. Breen

Win one of three copies of John Rains' book, Shooting Straight in
the Media / A Firearms Guide for Writers, at

your MS.  Critiquing, Line Editing, Submission Assistance.
info[at]writersconsultant.com, http://www.writersconsultant.com


Robert L. McLaughlin
Campus Box 8905, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-8905
EMAIL: rmclaugh[at]ilstu.edu
URL: http://www.centerforbookculture.org/review/

Seeking contributors to write overview essays on the following
writers: Michel Butor, Julieta Campos, Jerome Charyn, Emily
Coleman, Stanley Crawford, Carol De Chellis Hill, Jennifer
Johnston, Gert Jonke, Violette Le Duc, Antonio Lobo Antunes,
Wallace Markfield, David Markson, Rick Moody, Olive Moore, Julian
Rios, Joanna Scott, Esther Tusquets, Luisa Valenzuela. Please see
web site guidelines for the content requirements of each essay.

LENGTH: 50 pages (double spaced)
RIGHTS: The Review holds the rights to published essays, and
gives writers 50% of proceeds if it resells the essay to another
publication; it also gives the author the right to reprint the
material as long as credit is given to the Review.**
SUBMISSIONS: Applicants should send a CV and a brief writing
sample. In your cover letter, be sure to address your
qualifications for writing on a particular author.
GUIDELINES: http://www.centerforbookculture.org/review/papers.html

**Editorial note: This is an academic publication and is not as
familiar with typical "rights" terminology as a consumer
publication would be; contributors should proceed with this


Randi Layne, Editor
PO Box 132, Antioch, IL 60002-0132
EMAIL: editor[at]hourglassbooks.com
URL: http://www.hourglassbooks.com

Looking for literary short stories exploring the father-daughter

LENGTH: No word limit
PAYMENT: We follow the Authors Guild model contract and pay
author royalties according to the recommendations in that form.
All royalties are shared among the contributing authors as
determined by the publisher.
RIGHTS: Author retains all rights
SUBMISSIONS: Send all text in the body of an email, no attachments.
GUIDELINES: http://www.hourglassbooks.com/submissions.html


Linda Roghaar, Editor
PO Box 3561, Amherst, MA 01004-3561
EMAIL: contribute[at]knitlit.com
URL: http://www.knitlit.com

We have contracted with our publisher, Three Rivers Press/Random
House, for a second volume of KnitLit stories. If you have a
great knitting story, we'd like to consider it for the book. The
stories should be lively and attractive, ranging from the
hilarious to the thoughtful, from the practical to the poetic,
and from the spiritual to the wickedly mischievous.

DEADLINE: April 30, 2003
LENGTH: 1,000-1,500 words
PAYMENT: $50 honorarium, and copy of the book
RIGHTS: One time rights
SUBMISSIONS: Submit by mail or email
GUIDELINES: http://www.knitlit.com/too.htm


"FNASR": First North American Serial Rights, "SASE":
self-addressed, stamped envelope, "GL": guidelines.
If you have questions about rights, please see
"Rights: What They Mean and Why They're Important"

Please send Market News to Moira Allen


This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. For more
contests, visit our newly redesigned contest section (now listing
contests by categories: poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, books,
scripts and screenplays, and competitions for young writers).
More than 200 contests added as of February 3.


               The Writing Parent Best Humor Contest

DEADLINE: March 10, 2003
GENRE: Humor
LENGTH: 1,000 words or less

THEME: Send us your funniest, unpublished stuff and you could be
our winner. All topics are open, but we will not consider erotic,
pornographic or foul language entries, as the winning entry will
be published in our zine and on our web site. Tip: Make us laugh.
If it doesn't make you laugh, it probably won't make us laugh.

PRIZE: First Place: $50; Second Place: $15 plus humorous book;
Third Place: Humorous book

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: Yes, no attachments. Plain text only in body of

EMAIL: HumorContest[at]thewritingparent.com
URL: http://www.thewritingparent.com/contest.shtml


              Spring 2003 Cafe Poetica Poetry Contest

DEADLINE: March 31, 2003
GENRE: Poetry
LENGTH: 80 lines or less

THEME: Poems must adhere to the PG-13 regulations. If unsure, let
us preview the poem prior to submission. The poem must be the
work of one author and cannot have been published in a national
print medium for monetary compensation. Poems must have a title.

PRIZE: $50 award and publication

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: Please use online submission form

EMAIL: contests[at]poemtrain.com
URL: http://www.poemtrain.com/free.htm


               Otherworlds Sci-Fi Short Story Contest

DEADLINE: March 31, 2003
GENRE: Short Story
LENGTH: 5,000 words or less

THEME: Otherworlds Sci-Fi and Branch & Vine Publishing are
looking for some exciting sci-fi, fantasy and/or alternate
history short stories to be included in the first volume of our
anthology we plan to publish this summer. Check out our web site
for more details. Also be encouraged that we plan to use some of
the stories in our quarterly Alien Alerts Magazine.

PRIZES: First Prize: $100 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate, plus 2
copies of the anthology. The first place story will be the lead
story. Second Prize: $75 B&N Certificate, and publication. Third
Prize: $50 B&N Certificate, and publication.

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: We prefer that your submission be in the main
body of an e-mail message that includes the story title, your
name and address. All email submissions must be able to download
to MS Word or WordPerfect 6.0 or higher. You may submit via disk,
ZIP, or CD in MS Word, WordPerfect, or Adope PageMaker 6.0.

ADDRESS: Otherworlds Sci-Fi, The Connection/Contest, PO Box 1297,
Radford, VA 24143-1297

E-MAIL: otherworldsscifi[at]aol.com
URL: http://www.otherworldsscifi.com/ShortStoryContest.html



The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, edited by Tom Dullemond
     and Darin Parks

Nebraska Farm Life WWI to WWII, edited by Richard McCall

Parallel Logic: A New Yorker's Move to an Eskimo Village,
     by Elise Sereni Patkotak

The Sacrificial Lamb, by Jack Doepke

Secrets of a Successful Freelancer, by Nancy Hendrickson

Shooting Straight in the Media: A Firearms Guide for Writers,
     by John Rains

Write Industry Reports: Work at Home and Start Earning $5,000 in
Royalties per Month, by Jennie S. Bev

   Find these and more great books at

   Advertise your own book on Writing-World.com:


on how to reach 80,000 writers a month with your product, service
or book title, visit

eBooklet, RESOURCES FOR WRITERS by subscribing to NAWW WEEKLY,
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Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Editor/Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (Moira Allen)
Managing Editor: PEGGY TIBBETTS (peggyt[at]siltnet.net)

Copyright 2003 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.

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All materials on this site are the property of their authors
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For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor