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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 7:04            17,000 subscribers            April 5, 2007
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The Editor's Desk
NEWS from the World of Writing
THE INQUIRING WRITER:  Writing Discipline by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: The Business of In-flights, by Tim Lehnert
The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers
FEATURE: Personally Speaking, by Kathryn Lay
WHAT'S NEW at Writing World
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The Author's Bookshelf

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                      FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

Another Day, Another Hodgepodge...
First things first: our apologies again for the newsletter
explosion last issue! Our list service still doesn't understand
quite how this happened, but apparently the newsletter hit the
server when the server was undergoing maintenance.  Thank you to
all the bright folks who thought to e-mail Listbox instead of me;
because of you, the Listbox folks learned about the problem
fairly quickly.  I didn't find out about it until the next day
(when Dawn called from England to tell me about it!)  I
appreciate everyone's patience and forbearance; we got several
hundred e-mails, most of which simply very politely alerted us to
the problem.  There were only a couple of folks who clearly
thought that we had deliberately sent 20 copies of the newsletter
to them just to be mean; I suspect they've unsubbed.

Second: Yes, it's April, and you've probably noticed that the
site looks the same.  The person who had intended to help with
the redesign is suffering several major crises in her life, so
the redesign has been put on hold for now.  We hope to revisit
this issue later in the summer.

Third, for those who can't get enough of my editorials (as
opposed to those who are saying "enough editorials already!"),
you can find a new interview with me on "Women on Writing" -
"Twenty Questions with Moira Allen," at

Fourth, the April/May (and quite possibly June-July-August)
issue of TimeTravel-Britain.com is now online.  This issue
focuses on Salisbury and Wiltshire, and covers such locations
as Stonehenge, Avebury, Amesbury, Silbury Hill, Old Wardour
Castle and more (plus a special travel section on biking in
Britain). Check it out at http://www.timetravel-britain.com

Cleaning My Closet, Redux
And speaking of Britain, that brings me to the latest
installment of "things in my closet that I'd like to get rid
of before I move!"  Thankfully, my closet is getting very
empty; here's what's left:

The complete 40-volume set of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant
comics in graphic novel format, published by Fantagraphics
Books.  These are paperbacks, not "comic books."  They're
all in good to very good condition, with the exception of
two issues (#5 and #6) that have come unglued.  (This seems
to have been a glue problem with those two issues, as none
of the others were affected.)  $250 or best offer!

A complete Silver Art Clay "starter kit."  This has all the
start-up components (files, roller, block, brushes, torch, etc.)
plus a bunch of extras that I purchased separately, including
molding compound (which enables you to make a 3-D mold from some
other object), Wenol silver polish, an unopened silver clay
syringe, most of a bottle of silver paste, and most of a 650-mg
packet of silver art clay.  The set also includes two instruction
books and an instruction video.  $100 OBO.

If you're interested in either of these items, please let me
know as SOON as possible, as there's less than a month left
before my move!

New Book for Costume Enthusiasts
In the 1930's, my grandfather, California artist Victor Anderson,
set out to design a book on historic costume. That book was never
finished, and for decades Victor's exquisite sketches sat in a
box in the back of a closet. Now, more than 70 years later, I've
assembled these sketches into an "artist's sketchbook" of
historic costume -- a fascinating glimpse of costumes from
historic paintings and from costume books of the 1920's. The book
focuses primarily on British costume but also touches on several
periods of European costume. It's ideal for re-enactors, SCA
members, and writers researching historic costume details. A
40-page sample is available at
http://www.writing-world.com/books/costume.pdf (please note that
this is almost a 15MB download!); the 253-page book is available
from http://www.lulu.com/content/728826  (And thank you to
everyone who helped me identify some of the costumes in this

And Now It's Bon Voyage...
If all goes according to plan, I should be editing the next issue
in Hastings.  We're scheduled to leave on April 26, and I expect
I'll be unplugging the computer (gasp, choke, omigod, no e-mail!)
around the 24th.  Since we don't have a house lined up yet, it's
anyone's guess when I'll actually be "connected" again.  In the
interim, however, you can reach me through Dawn Copeman at
editorial"at"writing-world.com, and Dawn will also be handling most
site-related issues.  See you on the other side of the pond!

                                                  -- Moira Allen


CHILDREN'S WRITERS Read by most children's book and magazine
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DEADLY INK - Annual Mystery Conference for Mystery Writers and
Mystery Fans, Short Story Contest, Novel Contest, and announcing
Deadly Ink Press, a publisher of mysteries and suspense. Visit
our website http://www.deadlyink.com or email info"at"deadlyink.com



HarperCollins has announced the launch of the Browse Inside
Widget; a device that enables readers to browse through books
online and also to pull excerpts to embed directly onto
social networking sites and blogs such as MySpace. This makes it
the first time a book reader has been made freely available
online. Commenting on the widget, Harpercollins Group President
Brian Murray said: "The Browse Inside widget is the most recent
marketing tool we have developed using the capabilities of our
digital warehouse to market our titles to the MySpace generation
online. We are extending our reach beyond the HarperCollins site
to where many potential book buyers visit - on social
communities, blogs or author sites." Josh Kilmer-Purcell, New
York Times bestselling author of I Am Not Myself These Days
(Harper Perennial) notes: "The Browse Inside widget - when spread
through online communities - is today's equivalent of picking up
a book off of a friend's coffee table and glancing through it."
For more information visit: http://tinyurl.com/2d8ryh

Random House has also recently launched its own online book
content search and browsing service, Insight. This is an engine
for online discovery of book content, and makes available to
users a fixed number of pages of an archived book's content,
which readers can view by either directly accessing the sample
pages or entering a search term.  Like HarperCollins, Random
House has also created a 'widget' to enable people to copy and
paste certain sections of a book onto their own webpages. Through
Insight, Random House will make the text searchable for more than
5,000 of its new and backlist titles from across the company's
U.S. publishing divisions. Random House expects to add several
thousand more of its books to Insight this spring. For more
information visit: http://tinyurl.com/yuyj7a

April 20 will be the last publication date for Life Magazine,
Time Inc have announced.  This is the third time that Life
Magazine, launched in 1936 as a weekly magazine, has been closed
down; it was first closed down in 1972, to be brought back just
six years later, but this time as a monthly magazine.  It lasted
in this format until 2000 and then was brought back in 2004 as a
newspaper supplement.  This time, it will not be brought back in
print, but will remain online. For more information visit:

If you're planning to submit your manuscripts to Warner Books,
take note: they've moved house and changed name. Following a
takeover by Hachette Livre last year, Warner books have changed
their name to Grand Central Books and will soon be moving from
the Time Life Building to offices near Grand Central Station.
One of the terms of the deal with the French publisher, was that
Warner Books had to be renamed by 2011 since it would no longer
be part of the Time Warner Book Group. The first books to be
published under the new name will appear in the fall. For more
information visit:

Flemming Rose, editor of Jyllands Posten, has been awarded a
prize of 20,000 krone by the Denmark based media organization,
Independent Media Community.  For more information visit:

The editor of the French satiral magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was
aquitted on 22 March, after being sued by two groups representing
Muslims, for publishing three of the infamous Mohammed cartoons.
The groups had claimed the cartoons were offensive and created a
link in the reader between Muslims and terrorism.  The court,
however, ruled that one one of the cartoons had the potential to
offend, but that the case couldn't stand as it was published in
an understood humorous context. For more information visit:

If you fancy a professonal editor looking over your work for
free, then simply think up the winning title for the second book
in a series of writers' guides for getting published: a new,
all-genre/mainstream edition of Don't Murder Your Mystery, the
book that won the 2007 Agatha Award for best nonfiction book. To
the supplier of the winning title, the author Chris Roerden, an
editor with over 43 years' experience, will edit 200 pages of a
work-in-progress. Thinking caps on, as the contest ends April
25th. http://www.marketsavvybookediting.com/contestapp.pdf


veteran article writer, Patricia Fry. Sign up NOW for her 6-week
online Article Writing course starting April 10. $125.


CONTEST. Reading period from now until June 20th. Cash prizes.
Winners announced August 1. For contest rules and information on
submitting.Visit http://www.writingitreal.com/contest.html
Electronic submissions okay.


                      by Dawn Copeman (editorial"at"writing-world.com)

First of all, thank you to everyone who wrote in to say how
useful they found last month's column on Writing Through Grief.
Before we leave this topic, I wanted to let you know about a book
that could help families going through grief. This book was
written by a five-year-old as told to his mom (usually at
bedtime), and illustrated by his mom.  "This Book Is For All
Kids, But Especially My Sister Libby" by Jack Simon was published
by Andrews McMeel in 2002 and has been endorsed by many grief
experts and is being used in hospices across the US. Here are
links to two reviews; if you know a family who is grieving, this
might just be the help they need.

Okay, onto this month's topic. Last month Craig Cardimon wrote:
"I have plenty of ideas. I have them all written down in outline
form. They burst forth in my mind, in pictures, almost in movie
format. They have a rough beginning, middle, and an end. Then
it's kind of done, but only in my own mind, if that makes any
sense. And I'm sort of bored with it and looking for the next
idea, somewhat panicked that I'll run dry of ideas. I know I
won't. How does a wanna-be-published writer pick up an old story
idea and begin writing it down freshly, and continue until it's
done? Where do I get the discipline?"

Perle Champion doesn't think it's a lack of discipline that's
holding Craig back. She wrote: "It is not boredom or lack of
discipline that so often prevents us from finishing a good
written piece, a painting, or song.  It is fear - fear of
failure.  Fear that the finished piece cannot compare to the one
imagined.  You are not the only one with a drawer of unsubmitted
work. The solution is to feel the fear and do it anyway.  If the
worst anyone can do is say no to your work, how bad can that be -
keep trying.  If you never submit your work, you have said no to
yourself - how sad is that."

Eva Bell, likewise, believes Craig's problem can be overcome by
sheer determination. She wrote:  "Disciplining one's self to
write doesn't come easy whether it's an old or a new idea. The
determination to write becomes a creative compulsion, which grows
into the habit of writing. As one begins to write it develops
into a skill, shutting out all other distractions. The three Ds
for any writer are Determination, Discipline and Development of
skills in expressing one's creativity."

Mary Alice Murphy advises regular writing practice: "Write every
day. Let the characters lead you, and you'll be surprised where
they take you. Always end in the middle of a sentence or at least
in the middle of a scene. That way you'll have a place to start
the next day. Don't edit as you go along, except for obvious
misspellings or typos. When the book's done, you'll have plenty
of time to edit, edit, edit."

Carol Gursky advises the note-keeping method: "When I have
writing ideas, I jot them down in a special journal I keep for
this purpose. When I'm ready to write a story, I go to this
journal and look for an idea that appeals to me and write a few
paragraphs on this idea. I find doing this encourages me to
continue with this new story for a couple of hours at least.
Writing in this way, I find makes me happy and excited to be
involved again. I know that I will return to this story and
continue with the second part or even a first draft. But I stay
with this story. I think about it when I'm away from the computer
and jot down things I want to include in this new story. I stay
focused. I find this works for me and I hope it helps other
writers too."

Annette Snyder, a romance author, knows all about the problems of
revisiting works: "I have to write when I feel fresh, that's when
my best ideas come. I get up pretty early and write until I have
to go to my 'real' job. As far as the stories go, I have a novel
I'm working on right now, the first I ever wrote, that I've
basically started over using the first story as a rough draft
rather than a book.  I wrote it a long time ago, before I really
understood what a publishable novel was, so I'm incorporating
what I know now into what I wrote then and it's turning out to be
much better and closer to what might work for me...and readers."

Finally, a really useful tip from Mike Munsil, who advised Craig
to:  "Set yourself a timer for 90 minutes when you have that much
uninterrupted time available, and write the story. Give yourself
the goal to write the complete story in that amount of time, not
just the start. Write a skeleton, if you have to, but write the
complete story. This works. We've proved it at Liberty Hall,
where we have written over 1200 stories that way, in our

Okay, onto this month's question: do you, like Annette Snyder,
have a writing routine?  Do you have a time or a place where you
do your best writing?  What happens if you can't write at your
normal time or in your normal place? Does your muse leave you? Or
are you one of those people, like Stephen King, who can write
anywhere and at anytime? Email me your responses with the subject
"Writing Routine/Writing Places" to editorial"at"writing-world.com

Till next time,


For more advice on writing discipline 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 Tim Lehnert

Airline magazines aren't simply a way to pass the time on a long
flight - they represent real opportunity for freelance writers.
Despite contractions in the airline industry, in-flight magazines
still attract many readers, and they are largely composed of
pieces written by freelancers.

The readership for the magazines produced for major airlines such
as United (Hemispheres), Delta (Sky), and Southwest (Spirit),
numbers in the millions. In-flight magazines are usually
monthlies with publication lead times of six months to a year.
Pay rates average a dollar a word for the major carriers'
publications, and less for those produced for smaller airlines.

The primary audience for in-flight magazines is frequent flyers,
often business travelers. As a group, they tend to have high
levels of income and education. They are also savvy about
technology and business trends, as well as travel and leisure
pursuits. Moreover, Randy Johnson, Editor of United's
Hemispheres, notes that in-flight readers are traveling while
they look at the magazine; they are actual as opposed to armchair

In-flights are diverse. Like fitness, women's, or health titles,
there is considerable variation among publications within the
category. Travel pieces are a staple of in-flights, yet airline
publications also offer articles on technology, business, sports,
and food, as well as lifestyle trends. Some in-flights feature
celebrity profiles, fiction, humor and personal narratives, and
most have at least one or two regular columns.

In-flights are not static, "The only thing constant about
in-flights is that they are constantly changing - like any
magazine," says Tim Harper, a frequent contributor to Delta's Sky
magazine. "The editors always need more good ideas, more good
stories and more good writers, but there are always shifts in
focus or shape," says Harper, some of whose Sky pieces have been
collected in the book Doing Good: Inspirational Stories of
Everyday Americans at Home and at Work.

Breaking In
Prospective in-flight writers should understand the content and
tone of the magazine they wish to write for. Some in-flights
feature conventional travel pieces along with some business and
service pieces. Other publications aim more at cultural critique,
while still others have a breezy, flip tone heavy on celebrity
interviews and reviews of trendy gear. At the very least, you
should check out the magazine's website and contributor's
guidelines, if available, to understand what the editor might be
looking for. Even better, obtain a hard copy. Since in-flights
are not sold on newsstands, request a copy from the magazine's
publisher, ask traveling friends for their help, or visit your
local airport and see if you can snag several publications at

Like all magazines, in-flights have defined formats. You need to
figure out which parts of the magazine are open to freelancers,
and then tailor your pitch for a particular section of the
publication. "The biggest problem is that people do not get a
copy of the magazine before they query the editor," says Leslie
Forsberg, Senior Editor at the on-line publication Go World
Travel Magazine, and former editor of Alaska Airlines' magazine.
Sending a short story to an in-flight that does not publish
fiction is a waste of time, as is offering to write a column that
is penned by the editor of the magazine you are pitching.
Hemispheres' Randy Johnson prides himself on his magazine's
eclecticism, but stresses that the writer must still understand
the magazine before querying, "We're the customer, you're the
person who is selling the idea," he says. "We don't do the work
of selling it for you."

When querying an in-flight, it is crucial that you propose a
story on a topic or place you know well. "If you read a Hong Kong
restaurant story in Hemispheres, it will be by a Hong Kong
writer," says Randy Johnson. Editors don't want a pitch that
amounts to a simple recounting of your vacation. Hemispheres'
"Three Perfect Days" section proposes activities to fill three
days in a given city or area. According to Johnson, it is always
written by a local who has insight into not just tourist
attractions, but also the culture and feel of the place. "Beyond
wanting things that fit the format, what I really want are those
idiosyncratic distinctive ideas that a resident writer comes up
with," he says.

For the prospective in-flight writer, this means you can probably
scrap your upcoming maiden trip to Paris as a topic for query.
But people travel everywhere, and being a native of (or frequent
visitor to) Tampa, Edmonton or Pittsburgh can serve you well if
you have something insightful to say about these places. Leslie
Forsberg notes that certain less glamorous geographical regions,
as well as ones with fewer resident writers, offer opportunities
for the freelancer. If you do decide to cover a big tourist
destination, be specific. Tim Harper suggests that instead of
proposing a general piece on London, "Offer to do a story on what
it's like to walk through the Imperial War Rooms, with specific
examples in the query about what a visitor can see and learn."

In-flights receive many queries for travel pieces. Consequently,
former Alaska Airlines magazine editor Forsberg suggests that it
may be easier for a newcomer to break in by pitching an article
on a business or service topic. Forsberg notes that many people
want to write about vacationing in Hawaii, but not as many about
meeting planning. If you have experience in a particular facet of
business that can be applied to travelers, turn that to your
advantage. If you are not a known commodity, another way to
increase your chances of landing an article is to propose a short
as opposed to a feature. This assumes, of course, that you've
ascertained that the in-flight you are pitching doesn't write
their short pieces in-house. It may also be easier to break into
a magazine produced for a smaller airline, as opposed to the
higher circulation magazines which often feature "name" writers.

Finally, don't forget that the in-flight magazine market is
global. You need not limit yourself to North American
publications. There are many airlines based in English speaking
countries other than the US and Canada. Even airlines from
countries where English is not the primary language often publish
part of their magazine in English, or have a separate English
language edition.

In-flights Are Peculiar Beasts
The previous points apply to perhaps any magazine -- it always
pays to do your homework and know your market. But while they
share some similarities, in-flights are unlike newsstand
magazines in several ways. As a general rule, you should only
propose stories on destinations served by the airline you are
pitching. Don't offer an article on whale watching off the
Newfoundland coast, or where Chicago blues musicians go to catch
a show, if the airline you are querying doesn't go near these

It's also important to keep in mind not just where your audience
might be headed geographically, but where they are physically as
they look at the publication. "People who are reading the
magazine are enclosed in a metal tube at 30,000 feet," says Randy
Johnson. Not surprisingly, stories about "my scariest airplane
flight ever" are clearly out of the question. Johnson says he
welcomes provocative and thoughtful pieces, but not stories about
natural disasters, terrorism or other topics that might agitate
or upset people. And obviously articles about the inconveniences
and frustrations of air travel, or jibes at the airline industry,
are nonstarters. You wouldn't write a piece for a bridal magazine
suggesting that weddings are a big waste of money; similarly an
article that begins by describing your twelve-hour layover in
Dallas, and concludes by observing that flying isn't what it used
to be won't get you very far.

The in-flight magazine market is competitive, although not
impossible to crack. Tim Harper has written more than 100 pieces
for Sky, and in the 1980s and 1990s did many articles for
American Way. He got his start writing for in-flights over twenty
years ago when he was casting around for new markets and landed
an assignment with the publication of now defunct Trans World
Airlines. This acted as a springboard for future assignments with
other magazines. The best way to break in is to bring your own
expertise to a publication. Randy Johnson of Hemispheres came to
in-flight magazines from a background in writing about the
outdoors and nature. In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of
Hemispheres, he still writes freelance pieces and guidebooks,
primarily about hiking and backpacking in the Southeast US.
Johnson is also a co-author of The Age of Flight, which
celebrates seventy-five years of air travel at United Airlines.
Leslie Forsberg brought her experience at Sea Kayaker magazine to
her former post as editor at Alaska Airlines Magazine.

Even if you don't have a long list of publication credits or an
impressive resume, you can still break into the in-flight market.
How? Do your research - both about your topic and the publication
you are pitching, rely on your particular expertise about a place
or subject matter, and produce insightful, error free copy aimed
at a sophisticated audience of frequent travelers.

and Western US focus. Monthly. Contact: Managing Editor, Alaska
Airlines Magazine/Horizon Air Magazine, Paradigm Communications
Group, 2701 First Avenue, Suite 250, Seattle, WA 98121.

CONTINENTAL MAGAZINE. Continental Airlines' magazine. Writer's
guidelines and editorial calendar available online. Monthly.
Circ: 358,000. Contact: The Pohly Company, 99 Bedford Street,
Floor 5, Boston, MA 02111. http://magazine.continental.com

ENROUTE. Air Canada's magazine. Writer's guidelines available
online. Contact: enRoute Magazine, 4200 Boul. St. Laurent, Suite
707, Montreal, QC, H2W 2R2, Canada. http://www.enroutemag.com/e/

HEMISPHERES. United Airlines' magazine. Monthly. Circ: 400,000.
Contact: Hemispheres, Pace Communications, 1301 Carolina Street,
Greensboro, NC 27401. http://www.hemispheresmagazine.com

LATITUDES. American Eagle Magazine. Bimonthly. Contact: American
Eagle Latitudes, HCP/Aboard Publications, One Herald Plaza, 4th
Floor, Miami, FL 33132. http://www.eaglelatitudes.com

NWA WORLD TRAVELER. Northwest Airline's magazine. Monthly. Circ.:
293,000. Contact: NWA World Traveler, MSP Communications, 220
South Sixth Street, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

SPIRIT OF ALOHA. The magazine of Aloha Airlines. Bimonthly.
Circ.: 100,000. Contact: Honolulu Publishing Company, 707
Richards Street, Suite 525, Honolulu, HI 96813.


Tim Lehnert lives in Cranston, Rhode Island where he is a
freelance writer and stay-at-home father. He has an MA in
Political Science from McGill University, an MA in Writing from
California State University, Northridge, and BA in Political
Studies from Queen's University. His features, columns and
articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Christian
Science Monitor, the Montreal Gazette, the Providence Journal,
the Providence Phoenix, Rhode Island Monthly, The Writer, Today's
Parent and other publications.

Copyright 2007 Tim Lehnert


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                                                   by Kathryn Lay

Does the thought of sharing your personal life (the things that
happen to you, the events of your life and feelings that go with
them), make your blood run cold? If so, read no further.

But, if you find the idea of sharing what you learn and take away
from your life an enticing idea, you can probably write personal
experiences that will sell and sell again.

Personal Experience articles can be funny, touching, or sad. They
can give the reader information, inspiration, and show them how
lifeÍs messes and joys can bring about healing, learning,
laughter, and support.

Have you ever read an article that has touched you in a special
way? You think, "That happened to me" or "That's the way I feel"
or even, "Maybe I could write about my experience with..."

Someone else's story has communicated a feeling or emotion that
relates to your life, or has shown you know to solve a similar
problem. Personal experience articles can be humorous, sad,
informative, or thought-provoking. They remind readers how they
felt in a similar situation, or they warn others how to avoid a
problem. Many times, readers, learn how to cope with or overcome
similar events. And most often, personal experience articles
offer hope.

If something special has happened in your life that you think
would touch others, there are several ways in which you can turn
it into a publishable article. Personal experiences can be
written in as few as fifty words or run to several thousand. They
can be about big issues or small.

I've written about my false pregnancy, infertility, my daughter's
adoption, my husband's re-proposal and our second wedding, anger
issues, job losses, illnesses, cute things my daughter has said
or done, animal encounters, working with refugees, lost
friendships, my collection obsessions, the "joys" of moving,
volunteering, bickering nieces, and much more. Look at copies of
many magazines and you'll see personal experience articles,
stories, and essays. Most of the popular anthologies out now
(Chicken Soup, Chocolate for Women, Cup of Comfort, God Allows
U-Turns) are made up mostly of personal experience stories.

Here are the three most popular types of Personal Experience

1) Your Story.
This is an account of something you or someone close to you has
experienced that will interest other people--something they can
relate to or identify with. Your story may be as deep as
surviving a crisis or loss, as personal as understanding an
emotion, or as simple as the result of a momentary encounter that
leaves you changed in a small or a large way.

2) Real-life Drama.
Most people have not had the experience of being mauled by a bear
or surviving a plane crash, but the fact that someone else went
through this adventure or trauma and survived can make compelling
reading. "As told to" articles are one way to write someone
else's dramatic story. You must first, of course, get the
person's permission. The most difficult part of real-life dramas
are capturing the emotion and description as if you were there
when it happened.

3) The How-To.
In this type of piece, you share what you've experienced
emotionally and/or physically while you were pursuing a
particular goal, and show others how they might achieve a similar
goal. For instance, has an experience with your children,
friends, relatives, or even strangers, or your success in a new
venture, given you insight and information that would be valuable
to others? Use anecdotes, emotion, and firsthand experience to
write your how-to personal experiences.

How do you know if YOUR story can sell?
* Is it something that many can relate to, or only a few?
Example: A short humor piece told of the struggles with "one size
fits all" for bodies that don't seem to fit. Most women relate to
this humor and would rather laugh along with the author than feel
they are alone in their frustration.

* Does your story have a take-away message? In other words, when
the reader finishes your piece, will they have learned how to do
or not do something, how to handle a similar situation, or
understand their own feelings? In my "Be Angry And Sin Not", I
told about my experiences with anger and how I overcame them. It
was geared toward MY problem, in a way other readers with a
similar problem could learn something without feeling fingers
were pointing at THEM.

* Can you tell your story objectively? Sometimes we are too close
to an experience and the writing is over-emotional or stale with
an effort to hide from our emotion. For several years after my
false pregnancy, I couldn't write about it. I had to step away
and understand my feelings and how to express them first.

* Will your story elicit emotion from readers? Whether it's
laughter, tears, cheers, surprise, or the ability to relate; the
easiest stories to sell are those ones that editors and readers
feel some emotion towards. Whenever I write about any aspect of
my daughter's adoption, it sells and sells again. There are a
million adoption stories, and I've learned the areas of my own
that brings emotions to my readers.

Personal experience articles aren't necessarily about momentous
events. They might deal with a more common experience, such as
your relationship with your mother-in-law. Or in an informative
article you may explain how your runaway dog gave you an idea for
a new business. Humorous personal experience pieces are always in
demand. Most people can relate to the problems of moving. In an
article I wrote about my own moving experience, there was nothing
deep or life-threatening, yet readers could understand and laugh
along with my misadventures.

Some of my personal experience articles and essays have sold the
first time out; others have sold after ten or more rejections. As
with all writing, persistence and market research will increase
your chances of selling.

Writers of personal experience articles must be willing to open
their lives, their emotions, their thoughts. Does it bother you
to know that hundreds, thousands, even millions of readers are
going to take a peak into your life? Will it bother those you
write about or include in your writing? These are considerations
as to how personal you will get.

But when you open yourself in this way, you WILL reach others.
You may save a life, bring laughter, teach a truth or dispel a
myth, give instruction, build hope, take away fear, or give
someone the joy that there are others experiencing the same thing
as them and they are not alone.

If you enjoy reading personal experience articles, there is a
good chance you will enjoy writing them, and get satisfaction
from touching readers' hearts and lives.


Kathryn Lay has had over 1000 articles, essays, and short stories
published in magazines and anthologies such as Woman's Day,
Cricket, Guideposts, CHICKEN SOUP, and more. Her first children's
novel for ages 8-12, CROWN ME! is out from Holiday House Books.
She is also the author of The Organized Writer is a Selling
Writer, which can be purchased through her website at
http://www.kathrynlay.com. Her writing classes are offered online
at http://coffeehouseforwriters.com

Copyright  Kathryn Lay 2007

For more information on writing personal experience essays, visit:


WRITING IT REAL holds its Port Townsend, WA writers' conferencce
June 21-25 at the Harborside Inn.  Let Sheila Bender, Jack
Heffron and Susan Rich help you bring your essays, memoir,
creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry to the next level! Visit
http://www.writingitreal.com/#Conference or email



Writing for Young Readers, by Eugie Foster
An Interview with Judy Burke of Highlights for Children


Boost Your Bottom Line: Ten Ideas To Help You Work Smarter And
Increase Your Writing Income, By Mridu Khullar

Greeting Cards: Writing That's Short and Sweet,
by Marie Cecchini

Is Your Writing Feeling Boxed In? Try an Extreme Makeover to
Boost Your Creativity, by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant

The Mystery of Character, by Robert Wilson


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
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For more contests, check our contests database.

DEADLINE: April 15, 2007
GENRE: Short Stories
THEME: 2,500 words max on the theme of "cool"
PRIZE: $250
URL:  http://lighthousewriters.org/wildblueyonder.htm

DEADLINE: April 16, 2007
GENRE: Young Writers
LENGTH 600 to 1500 words depending on age of entrant.
THEME: Essay must focus on compassion and the working child
PRIZE: $1000, $500, $250
URL: http://www.oakseed.org/2007EssayContest

DEADLINE: April 20, 2007
GENRE: Poetry/Short Stories/Nonfiction
THEME: The topic for the 2007 contest is "Writing Canada: Telling
Stories with Soul"
OPEN TO: Christian writers worldwide
PRIZE: C$400
URL: http://www.thewordguild.com/contestsawards/novicecontest.html

DEADLINE: April 21, 2007
GENRE: Poetry/Short Stories
LENGTH: Story max 7000 words, poetry - none given
THEME: must relate to springtime
PRIZE: $100 and other prizes
URL: http://www.fanstory.com/contests.jsp#vdaypoetry2

DEADLINE: April 30, 2007
GENRE: Short Stories
THEME:  Write a story that starts with this sentence: "Never
again would they dare to call me insane."
LENGTH: 700 - 7000 words.
PRIZE: $100 and other prizes
URL: http://www.fanstory.com/contests.jsp#sentence2

DEADLINE: April 30, 2007
GENRE: Scripts/Screenplays
THEME: A sixty minute radio play on any subject you choose
PRIZE: £2500, broadcast of play by the BBC and trip to London
URL:  http://tinyurl.com/3amqmh

AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

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