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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 7:02           17,200 subscribers         February 1, 2007
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From the Editor's Desk
NEWS from the World of Writing
THE INQUIRING WRITER:  Writing Resolutions, by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: State Magazines, by Sean McLachlan
The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers
BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO... Giving and Receiving Critiques
    by Dawn Copeman
WHAT'S NEW at Writing World
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                     FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

Yep, I'm Still Here...
I find that I'm not that good at disappearing.  Or perhaps I'm
not good at letting go.  Or, perhaps, after three weeks of doing
almost nothing but cleaning the house to prepare it for sale (and
packing about 40 boxes in the process), I've reached the point
where working on the newsletter actually looks like FUN!

Our house has now reached that "perfect for showing" state that
suggests that no one actually lives here -- or, indeed, has lived
here for the past four years!  All our clutter is stowed away in
boxes or carefully hidden in the backs of cabinets that visitors
aren't likely to peer into.  (Otherwise they might wonder about
the stuffed cat shoved on top of the Christmas reindeer in the TV
cabinet...)  Mountains of papers have been scanned and consigned
to the recycle bin, and still more have been consigned to the
office closet, revealing my husband's office floor for the first
time in... well, never mind!  My desktop is not only clean, but
has managed to stay that way for days!  I keep wondering why it
seems so impossible to live like this ALL the time.

Finding "the right mover" has been another interesting task, and
one that is still far from complete.  The first mover that I
contacted, on a recommendation from someone in the company,
apparently has far too much business and wants to avoid
overburdening its employees with more work.  This, at least,
would explain the answering machine message: "If you know your
party's extension, you may dial it now.  To reach Barb, press 1.
To reach John, press 2... (etc.) To reach customer service, press
pound."  I press pound. "Thank you for contacting customer
service.  To reach Barb, press 1.  To reach John, press 2..." (I
press one in desperation.) "That number is not in service..."

For reasons that elude me, I persevered and finally made contact
with a human, who promised to call me back and didn't.  I tried
again and made contact with another human who actually DID call
back and arranged a survey of our worldly goods.  That was two
weeks ago.  Last Friday, I called again and was told that I'd get
the results "on Monday... or thereabouts."  Today I pointed out
that it was now "Thursday or thereabouts" -- and I've been
promised a quote tonight... or maybe tomorrow morning...  Somehow
I don't think they're going to get the job.

Being far from satisfied with the "recommended" mover, I branched
out on my own and found another prospect on the web.  I called
and reached a human almost immediately -- a human who sounded
quite enthusiastic about helping me.  "Just a moment while I open
a file," he said, once I'd explained what I wanted. Then, a long
pause.  And then... "Ma'am, what country is England in?"

So much for Mover #2.  Mover #3, recommended by yet another
person in the company, seems a bit more promising; they've
actually surveyed the house AND delivered a quote, all in less
than a week.  The survey was a bit interesting, however, as it
included several items of furniture that I've never actually seen
in my home, such as a "toy chest" (we figured that meant the TV
cabinet) and a "corner cabinet" (Patrick finally figured out that
this meant "the cabinet in the CORNER of the laundry room). But
at least these folks seemed to know where England was and how to
find it, so they're definitely strong candidates!

Meanwhile, work continues "behind the scenes" on improvements to
Writing-World.com.  We hope to unveil something in March... or
thereabouts.  We had considered running a survey in this issue of
what readers would like to see in the way of changes and
improvements to the site, but -- and I hope you'll forgive us --
we decided not to.  The reason is simply that such surveys tend
not to be all that helpful (I've tried them before).  For every
reader who asks, "Please, give us more basic information on
getting started," there's another who cries, "Stop publishing so
much beginner stuff and post more information for advanced
writers."  For every reader who thinks the website is gorgeous as
is, there's another who thinks we must have found the design
under a rock somewhere.

The one consistent complaint is about "those ugly buttons on each
side of the page -- can't you get RID of those?"  The answer, of
course, is "Sure -- provided you don't mind us getting rid of all
the content as well."  Those "ugly buttons" make
Writing-World.com possible, and we are deeply grateful to the
many advertisers who have supported this site year after year.

That being said, however, we DO welcome feedback on the site and
would love to hear your input and suggestions!  If there's
something you'd like to see, or feel needs changing, just send
an e-mail to editors"at"writing-world.com and let us know.

                                         -- Moira Allen, Editor


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UK Writing Contest Amends Its Rules Following Racism Complaint
A short story contest for British writers of Asian, African or
Caribbean origin has been forced to allow white writers to enter
following a complaint to the British Commission for Racial
Equality. The Decibel Prize was established last year by the Arts
Council of England, together with Penguin publishers, to
encourage diversity in writing. The Commission for Racial
Equality ruled that the contest could be a breach of the UK's
Race Relations Act and as such, the Arts Council have amended
their rules so that skin color is no longer considered in
awarding the prize. For more information visit:

Britain Launches Biggest Ever Reading Project
On January 11th, Britain launched Small Island Read, the
country's largest ever reading project to commemorate the
bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade and to celebrate
multi-cultural life in Britain. The event, which runs until March
31st, brings together five local reading schemes and will,
hopefully, see tens of thousands of people reading "Small Island"
by Andrea Levy. The book will be made available for free in
participating cities.  Younger readers  will be enouraged to read
'Refugee Boy' by Benjamin Zephaniah, another Jamaican born
writer, which looks at asylum seekers.  For more information
visit: http://www.smallislandread.com/default.asp

Subsidy Publishing Firm Sold
Authorhouse, the subsidy-publishing company that claims to
publish one in 30 booktitles in the US, was sold on January 22nd
to a Californian Private Equity Firm, Bertram Capital.  The new
owners say they aim to provide additional resources for
Authorhouse's UK- and Indiana-based staff.  Since its foundation
in 1997, Authorhouse has published 40,000 titles by 30,000
authors. For more information visit:

Romanian Journalists Face Jail Over Insult Laws
The International Federation of Journalists is calling for
Romania to repeal an ancient Libel and Insult Law which could see
journalists being jailed for doing their jobs. "Romania must put
an end to the criminalisation of insult and libel laws if it
wants to ensure a free and democratic press and be in accordance
with the other European Union members," said IFJ General
Secretary Aidan White. "If the legal system is used to curtail
criticism of the government, it will create a damaging
environment for free expression." For more information visit:

Women Writers on Show at National Portrait Gallery
Women fiction writers from the 1920s to the 1960s are celebrated
in a new display at the National Portrait Gallery, London until
June 17th.  The display includes portraits of 24 children's
writers; crime and romance writers including Dorothy L. Sayers
and Dame Barbara Cartland; novelists once described as
'middle-brow' like Rosamund Lehmann and Elizabeth Bowen, whose
books combine middle-class domesticity with sophistication; and
writers like Radclyffe Hall, who tackled issues of female
sexuality and faced scandal. The photographers featured in this
collection include Paul Tanqueray, Cecil Beaton, Man Ray and Bill
Brandt, and range from studio portraits to images of the writer
at work. For more information visit:


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                     by Dawn Copeman (DawnCopeman"at"Write-away.biz)

Last month I wanted to know if you'd made any writing resolutions
for the New Year, and my goodness, what an organized bunch of
writers we are!

Some of you are very organized and have set yourself very precise
targets, like Eva Bell, who sent in her resolutions for the year.
"I have completed my research for my next book and have a working
outline ready. I mean to write at least 500 words per day if not
more, so as to meet my deadline of September 2007. To write a
minimum of two short stories and two articles a month. I spent
six months in 2006 traveling through Europe and USA, and if I
really discipline myself, could write a lot. To respond to all
the questions you ask in your letters. Never to leave the house
without a notebook and pencil. To set aside one hour per day to
wade through the press cuttings accumulated over the years, and
junk what I don't need."

Another writer with a precise plan for the year is Janis I.
Soucie: "There are so many projects on my list. Let's see...what
have I chosen to work on this year? This year I plan to finish
revising my current novel, an occult thriller titled The Choice
of Centuries. Then I will be looking for a literary agent to help
sell the manuscript to a publisher. When the revisions for the
current novel are done, I plan on working on either another
fiction or non-fiction novel that I have ideas for, but have not
decided which yet. I am also searching for a publisher for my
poetry and lyric compilation book, A Breeze of Whispers. So far
that is the plan, but we'll have to wait and see how these 'New
Year's Writing Resolutions' work out."

Others have set themselves less precise plans, such as Maggie
Grinnell: "This year I have promised to myself to do two things:
1) submit more of my work and don't be afraid of rejection and 2)
work on neglected stories no matter who/what tries to stop me
(family, work, friends, procrastination)."

Carmen, from Australia, prefers shorter-term goals to annual
resolutions: "I prefer mini-goals as I tend to get disappointed
and frustrated if I make grandiose goals. When they don't
eventuate, which is often, I feel like a failure. So I am
learning the hard way to make smaller goals."

Melanie Bucher, however, prefers to make a detailed plan and to
review it. "I make a list of New Year writing resolutions every
year and have done so since I first started writing four years
ago.  I make sure that they're really specific so that I've got
concrete goals to aim towards; so instead of telling myself that
I'm going to write for a minimum of ten minutes everyday, I
change it to I'm going to write a minimum of 500 words a day.
This way, I know that I'll write those 500 words whereas with the
ten minute resolution, I might only write two words in my
allotted time period, which really isn't going to get me very

"This year, my resolutions are to break into three particular
markets, which I've been wanting to crack for a while now; to
build up my portfolio of clips; to triple my previous year's
writing income; to complete the next assignment from my writing
course (otherwise I'll never finish the programme) and to
complete my historical romance ready for submission to the
Romantic Novelists' Association New Writer's Scheme.  Okay, this
last one really is pie in the sky as it took me the whole of last
year just to get a novel-length plot down on paper, but if it's
on my resolution list, I know that I'll at least give it a good

"I usually stick my list of writing resolutions on my filing
cabinet where I can see it every day.  I even have little boxes
next to each individual resolution which I can tick if and when
I've achieved that goal, and I tell you, it's the most thrilling
feeling in the world (well, almost) when I get to mark off that

"Towards the end of December, I review my writing resolutions and
write myself a 'Ta-da' list - a list of achievements, no matter
how large or small, from the current year.  Giving myself a pat
on the back is really important as writing is a lonely business
and nobody else is going to do it for me.  I've found, though,
that it really motivates me in readiness for the coming year and
pushes me to aim even higher with my next round of New Year
writing resolutions."

Mariea Butler, however, has no truck with resolutions at all: "I
don't like resolutions, I never have."  But luckily for me, most
of you do make resolutions and the rest of your useful tips for
planning and your goals for the year, including Lou Ann Edwards'
refreshing attitude to resolutions can be found online at

Now, onto this month's question.  This question came from Joan
Amato who wrote: "Last year was the most difficult one of my
life.  My sister died and two months later my father died.  Four
months later my roommate entered a nursing home.  I lost all of
my family, my friend, his income that we shared for living
expenses, forcing me to move to a much smaller apartment, down
sizing as I went along.  So going into 2007 and during all of
last year, I have been grieving my losses, cognitively knowing
that it will get better, waiting for it to subside.

"This could be the reason why I'm not disciplined as I tend to
replay memories over and over in my head, until I redirect my
thoughts to try to concentrate more on living and not grieving.

"Therefore, I pose a question: How does one, who has suffered
losses, reconnect with the writing self?  Maybe for now, I'm too
close to the demons I'm plagued with and need to find a new path
that will lead to my writing.  It's writer's block to be sure,
but how easy is it to break through this one? Any suggestions?"

Email your responses to me with the subject title "Writing
through grief" to DawnCopeman"at"Write-away.biz.

Till next time,


For more advice on setting Writing Resolutions and goals visit:


Dawn Copeman is a freelance writer based in England.  She is the
editor of http://www.newbie-writers.com, a site for new and
aspiring writers, as well as a contributing editor and columnist
at http://www.timetravel-britain.com. Visit her website at

Copyright (c) 2007 by Dawn Copeman


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                                              by Sean McLachlan

If you're frustrated by rejections from the big national
magazines, your best bet for publication may be closer than you
think. Instead of sending off queries to New York glossies that
never answer, try querying state magazines.

So what are state magazines? They're publications focusing on the
lifestyle, attractions, and history of a particular state. Some
have a specific focus, such as food or outdoor activities. More
general publications such as Ohio Magazine or Missouri Life offer
interesting features, travel tips, and photographs on a wide
range of subjects. State magazines generally pay well and add
attractive clips to your portfolio. They're widely read, every
state has one or more of them, and many are open to beginning
writers with a good knowledge of the region. Here are some tips
on getting in.

1. The big three
The three subjects state magazine editors look for most are:
travel, town or personal profiles, and history. Editors
especially want articles that show their state to be unique,
unusual, or important. I pitched to Missouri Life about St. Louis
being the site of the westernmost battle of the American
Revolution. The editor leapt at the idea. None of the staff,
and few of the readers, had heard of this important but nearly
forgotten battle.

2. Find an unusual angle
The obvious ideas have probably been done. The old advice of
checking back issues before you submit is twice as true with
state magazines, since their regional focus limits their subject
matter. This is where your writer's creativity comes in. Has your
town been profiled? Check if they missed an interesting new
attraction or historical anecdote. The Civil War been done to
death? Find a decorated veteran of the Korean War, or delve back
in time and write about the War of 1812.

3. Good color photos are a must
State magazines are usually glossy and rely on beautiful pictures
to attract the eye on those crowded magazine stands. Ask
yourself, "how can I make my readers see the story?" Pick a place
that's attractive, like that forested path leading to a hidden
creek, or something funky, like the oil rigs a rancher painted to
look like grasshoppers. History articles need to be well
illustrated too. Historical societies have a wealth of
photographs they're happy to share with the public, and the
editor will usually pick up any fees. If you aren't a good
photographer, don't let that stop you. Editors generally have a
list of local photographers they can call on.

4. Don't forget the specialty magazines
If the main state magazine is tough to break into, there are
generally more specialized magazines open to beginners. They
focus on everything from food, specific sports, and art, to
religious or ethnic communities. Some concentrate on specific
locations, such as Arizona Foothills Magazine, which covers
wealthy residential neighborhoods. Features for these magazines
generally range from $25 to $300, although some pay much more,
while major state magazines generally pay $300 to $1000 and up.
If you have knowledge of a specific topic, local specialty
magazines can give you that first break you need. Once you've
assembled some clips, it's time to pitch the big boys!

5. Have a nose for news
Read your state's newspapers and magazines. Perhaps the winner of
the local marathon is a cancer survivor. Profile her. Is the
state capitol getting a facelift? Do a photo essay and interview
the restoration crew. Be quick; other freelancers may get the
same ideas, but remember that just because a story has been
covered doesn't mean it can't be done from a different angle.

6. Start small
Magazines generally have departments at the front with briefs.
These cover recent developments or subjects that don't need a
full article. These briefs are short (generally 250 words or
less) and quick to do. They're a great way to break in since
editors are more willing to risk a quarter page on an untested
writer than a whole six-page feature.

7. Network, network, network
Get to know the folks at the department of tourism. Subscribe to
the local university's news wire. Meet those archaeologists
excavating that prehistoric village. Make sure everyone knows
you're hunting story ideas and check in with them periodically,
without making yourself a pain in the neck. Public relations
people are good sources of information, but beware. Their job is
more to advertise than inform, so always check your facts.

8. Market to the magazine's needs
Pay attention to the type of articles published in the magazine
and the kind of people who buy it. For example, Texas Highways is
published by the Texas Department of Transportation, and they
want all the subjects to be destinations reachable by automobile.

9. Play to your strengths
Are you an avid cyclist? Pitch an article on the ten best routes
in your state. Do you collect model trains? Do a feature on the
railway museum. Writing about what you love makes your enthusiasm
and knowledge shine through in your prose.

10.  Get around
Become an expert on your state. Is there an historic home in the
next county? Take the tour. A trail in the state park you've
never done? Hike it. Even if these trips don't turn into
articles, you'll get to know your state better. Don't worry if
you're a newcomer to the area; that can give your article a
freshness longtime residents lack. Now get out there and start
finding ideas!

Five Ways to Increase Your Chances of Acceptance

1. Know your subject. Be an expert BEFORE you make the pitch.

2. Know the magazine. Read several issues. Work this knowledge
into your pitch.

3. Be flexible. Editors will often have their own take on a
subject and may want you to change focus, so be willing to bend.
After all, they're paying you.

4. Be prepared with photo ideas. Editors want to know how the
article will be illustrated.

5. Be ready with spin-off ideas. If the editor doesn't want your
story on the local literary festival, suggest a profile of a
local author who will be in attendance.

Sense a trend in this advice? The whole game is to make it harder
for the editor to say "no." Remember, they don't want to say
"no." They say "no" way too often. Editors want to say "yes"
because it means they can fill up part of an upcoming issue and
their day becomes less stressful. Give them a reason to say

Markets Mentioned in the Text
Arizona Foothills Magazine: Their subtitle, The Lifestyle
Magazine for Affluent Desert Living, should tell you a lot. Their
readership tends to be well off, living in the foothills around
Phoenix or Tucson, or looking to relocate there. This monthly
wants upbeat and up-to-date articles with a local angle and
reader-service sidebars. Features are 900-2,000 words and cover
fine dining, fashion, home decorating, architecture, shopping,
golf, and the arts. They are looking to expand their coverage of
the Tucson foothills. Pays 40 cents a word on publication.
Contact: Amanda Fier, Media That Delivers, Inc., 8132 N. 87th
Place, Scottsdale, AZ, 85258. Email:
editorial"at"azfoothillsmag.com, no phone queries. Website:

Ohio Magazine: The website for this monthly states they want
"stories that celebrate Ohio - its people, its rich culture and
heritage, and especially its travel spots. Our audience is
educated, active, affluent and very loyal to Ohio." They're
especially looking for profiles of interesting Ohioans, top
travel destinations, arts, culture, and local trends in cuisine
and home decorating. Pays $300-1,200 for 1,000 to 3,000 word
features on publication. Send resume, SASE and at least three
clips to: Richard Osborne, Editorial Director, Ohio Magazine,
1422 Euclid Ave., Suite 730, Cleveland, OH 44115. Email
editorial"at"ohiomagazine.com, no phone queries. Website:

Texas Highways: Subtitled "The Travel Magazine of Texas", this
monthly is published by the Texas Department of Transportation.
The majority of readers are over 60 and enjoy stories about
scenery, small towns, and history. Focus on places reachable by
automobile. Pays 40-50 cents per word for articles of 1,200-1,600
words on acceptance. Submit a query outlining your idea in the
style you will use. Include a SASE. Send queries to: Texas
Highways Editor P.O. Box 141009 Austin, Texas 78714-1009. Phone:
(512)486-5858. Website: www.texashighways.com

Missouri Life: This bimonthly covers every aspect of travel and
life in the state, with an emphasis on history. Most issues have
at least one article on the Civil War. Wants features of
300-2,000 words, pays 20 cents a word on publication. Contact
Danita Allen, editor-in-chief, Missouri Life, Inc., PO Box 421,
Fayette, MO, 65248-0421. Phone:(660)248-3489. Email:
info"at"missourilife.com. Website: www.missourilife.com.


Sean McLachlan is a freelance writer who divides his time between
Missouri and Spain. His most recent book is Byzantium: An
Illustrated History (Hippocrene Books, 2004). He has three books
coming out in 2007: Moon Handbooks London (Avalon Travel
Publishing), Missouri: An Illustrated History (Hippocrene Books),
and It Happened in Missouri (Globe Pequot). Visit him on the web
at http://www.seanmclachlan.com

Copyright 2007 Sean McLachlan

Looking for more local outlets for your writing? Check out these
two articles:



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THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO... Giving and Receiving Critiques
                                                  by Dawn Copeman

As some point we all need feedback on our writing.  This is
especially true in fiction where we want to know if the story
works before we send it out into the big, bad world. But
critiquing is a two-way process. Many sites insist on people
reviewing others' work before they are allowed to post work of
their own to be critiqued.  Therefore, to get the most out of the
process, we need to learn how to both give and take critiques.

Be Positive
When I was a secondary school teacher, there was a rule we had
for parents' evening: "always find three things to praise about
the child before you move on to criticism."

This is a good starting point for any type of critique.  Granted,
for some children the only praise I could come up with were
things like: "x always has a pencil", "x has never missed a
lesson", even if I sometimes wished they had, and "x has a lively
personality."  So the first thing I would say is try to come up
with something positive to say about the piece you are reviewing.

To read the rest of this column, go to:


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The Beginner's Guide to... Giving and Receiving Critiques
by Dawn Copeman

Writing for Young Readers, by Eugie Foster
An Interview with Johnny D. Boggs of Boys' Life

The Inquiring Writer, by Dawn Copeman
Our Readers' New Years Resolutions

Time Off for Good Behavior: Successful Freelancers Share TIps
for Planning a Vacation, by Denene Brox

Interview with Gordon Van Gelder, editor of Fantasy and Science
Fiction Magazine, by Lynne Jamneck


Freelancing for Newspapers, by Sue Fagalde Lick.  8 weeks, $100;

Fundamentals of Fiction, by Marg Gilks. 8 weeks, $150; enroll at
any time! http://www.writing-world.com/classes/fiction.shtml



This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers.
For more contests, check our contests database.

DEADLINE: February 9, 2007
GENRE: Poetry
LENGTH: 1 - 2 poems, any length, style or subject
PRIZE: $100
URL:  http://www.trumbull.kent.edu/Arts/icon.cfm

DEADLINE: February 15, 2007
GENRE: Short stories, Poetry
LENGTH: Poetry: Maximum 16 lines; Prose: Maximum 150 words
PRIZE: $300
URL: http://www.umm.maine.edu/binnacle/short.asp

DEADLINE: February 15, 2007
GENRE: Short Stories
OPEN TO: US & Canadian citizens.
LENGTH: 10,000 words max.
PRIZE: $5000
URL: http://tinyurl.com/3cghkc
EMAIL: efigula"at"tribune.com

DEADLINE: February 15, 2007
GENRE: Short Stories
LENGTH: 100 - 1500 words
PRIZE: $5 and publication
URL: http://www.mysteryauthors.com/submit.html
EMAIL: MysteryAuthors"at"verizon.net

DEADLINE: February 16, 2007
GENRE: Short Stories, Nonfiction, Poetry, Scripts/Screenplays,
OPEN TO: Anyone worldwide 14+
LENGTH: Varies per category, see website for details
PRIZE: 250 in each genre
URL: http://www.miniwords.charnwoodarts.com/
EMAIL: miniwords2007"at"charnwood-arts.org.uk

DEADLINE: February 18, 2007
GENRE: Nonfiction
THEME: Personal essay. 2 categories: humor; human interest
LENGTH: 450 words max
PRIZE: $100
URL: http://www.wcpl.lib.oh.us/adults/erma.html


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