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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 8:08          6,433 subscribers    August 7, 2008

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The Editor's Desk
FEATURE:  How Writers Can Score Press Trips, by Roy A Barnes
The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers
FEATURE: Fewer Words Mean Bigger Bucks, by Shaunna Privratsky
PRODUCT REVIEWS:  by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: I Love to Write Day, by John Riddle  
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                                  FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

Patience is not only a virtue, it is essential

Another short editorial from me, I'm afraid, as this issue is
longer than usual.  Like most writers I am an avid reader.  My
favourite books are crime novels.  I love all varieties of this
genre, from police procedurals to cosies. I'd love to write in this
genre too, so I absorb as many books as I can in an attempt to
improve my understanding of the rules and structure of this type of
writing. I was reading one recently, "Silent As The Grave", a
thoroughly enjoyable story set in Victorian England by Deanna
Raybourn, which has a direct bearing on last month's Inquiring

Last month, as you may recall, we had replies to Marion's question
regarding the difficulties she was experiencing in getting her
novel accepted by an agent. Now this particular crime novel was
excellent, so much so that when I'd finished it I turned to the
author's acknowledgements page to find out if another was in
progress, (it is and will be published in January.) On this page
was the usual thanks to the agent, but what astounded me was the
fact that this book had been touted around by her agent for over
two years before being accepted!  This, ladies and gentlemen is the
sad, but true fact about getting published today.  It takes not
only talent and hard-work, but a lot of patience. 

Until next time, 

                       -- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor

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					By Dawn Copeman

Before we get down to this month's question, I have some comments
from Marion Ottoway who posed last month's question on getting her
work accepted by an agent. 

Marion wrote: "I subscribe to a newsletter called Writer's Relief
and posed the same question to them about what it means to market a
novel in a query letter."  She went on to say that she found their
response "was very to the point. I found that the responses you
published in your newsletter were interesting in that a lot of the
responses were geared to guessing at what I was doing wrong. I
already did all the right things as suggested but still got the
same response that 'how would I market your book?' I suspect I
received a form letter now like a lot of other authors who have
done all the mandatory homework with this in mind. It is quite
likely that I have dotted all my 'i's' and all my 't's' but the
query letter probably never got a read in the first place. That in
itself is encouraging if not a little discouraging because nothing
short of a letter bomb will be getting the attention of agents or
publishing companies claiming they are open to new unpublished
authors then complaining that they are too overworked to stand
behind that claim. I think I will just keep on writing and quit
having a nervous breakdown about what I am not doing right. It has
little relevance in this game given I have already done what needed
to be done to get noticed the advised way. Publishing is a crap
shoot and I'm just going to have to keep on gambling like everyone
else that an overworked manuscript reader and query letter
responder is having a good day."

Okay, now last month Beth wanted to know if we had any tips on
organizational skills regarding editing and rewrites. You have once
again come up with a variety of ways to help her.   

Donna Cook emailed to say "I also have different copies of the
manuscript, but not like that.  When I'm done with the first draft
and ready to start the second draft, I save a copy of the first
draft but re-label it 'second draft.'  That, then, becomes the
document I work in.  I make all my corrections and revisions in
this document as I work from beginning to end.  I can change things
without worry, knowing that if I think the first version is better,
I can always go back to the original document and get it.  But I
rarely do that.  The revisions are almost always better.  I also
have a file I label 'cut and save just in case.'  (My file names
tend to be pretty specific otherwise I forget what's what.)  This
file is for stuff I'm deleting from the second draft that I know
isn't in the first draft.  For example, let's say I filled out and
revised a scene, but then later decided to take the scene in a new
direction.  I want to save my work, just in case I change my mind,
so I put it in that other file.  This enables me to hit that delete
button without worry.  I rarely go back to stuff in that file
either.  I've come to think of it as a graveyard for my darlings. 
You know that great quote "'kill your darlings.'  If there's a
sentence or paragraph that I just love, but I know it needs to go,
I'll send it to the graveyard.  Once I'm at the end of the second
draft, I repeat the process.  I save a copy and re-label it 'third
draft."'  That now becomes my primary document that I'm working in.
 I never go back and change anything in the other documents.  I do
all my work in the most current document (it sounds like that's
where you're running into problems).  The other files are just
there in case I want to go back to the original version of a scene.
 In that case, I would copy the revised scene into the graveyard,
just in case.  Then copy and paste the original scene into my most
current document and go on from there.  I don't think I've ever
actually had to do that, but it makes me feel more secure knowing
the option is there."

Shaunna Privratsky has a similar system.  She writes: "I have a
very simple, fool-proof way to deal with edits.  I start with a
document, then each time I edit it, I re-title it with a letter of
the alphabet and resave it.  Sometimes I get up to g or h before it
is perfect or ready for submission!  When I want to retrieve it, I
just look for the document with the latest letter. I then go back
and delete all the earlier versions to save space.
"For example:  the first version of a document might be: The Big
Boom. The subsequent documents would be: The Big Boom b, The Big
Boom c, The Big Boom d  etc. I hope this helps!"
Marjorie Rommel however, has a different system altogether.  She
wrote: This is probably anathema to the computerized world of
contemporary writers, but having worked as a newspaper
reporter/editor for many years, I became -- and remain! --
convinced that nothing beats a printed copy for drafts, edits,
rewrites, versions, and archiving. It's just too easy to lose
everything you've got in a power or computer failure, the hands of
an easily distracted editor, or the ravages of time, which does not
respect old software.

"Computers are wonderful when they work, but truly dangerous when
they don't. I do not trust them. More often than you want to know,
I was able to fill an otherwise blank newspaper page because I had
hard copy in my bottom drawer. I learned all this the hard way. The
losses were significant, and painful. If I could give new writers
only one piece of advice, it would be PRINT IT OUT!!!

"Sadder but wiser, I now keep everything pertaining to a subject or
story, including bits of research, correspondence with editors, my
own and others' thoughts, in a physical folder in a physical file
drawer, each folder marked with the general subject matter (i.e.
POISON). All drafts, edits, and rewrites, each dated and timed
(POISON 8/14/65 V1a), (POISON 11/10/84 V5 final), with the earliest
on the bottom - even if it was scrawled on a McDonald's bag. All
versions, each titled somewhat differently (POISON: The Day the
Dogs All Died 11,000-words 12/22/04 V7c) and kept in its own folder
within the larger container.

"At the top of each version, draft, edit, or rewrite, is a brief
statement of how this version differs from the others. A character
or scene added or subtracted, new information and/or ideas about
the story arc, a new slant for a specific market, etc.

"While I can write quickly on deadline, and in very few drafts --
often no more than one or two -- in my own creative work I'm such a
slow writer that my pieces often go through 45 or more
drafts/edits/rewrites in 20 years before I'm satisfied, and may
eventually morph into at least a half-dozen versions (different
lengths, different angles, for different markets), so keeping
things straight is a serious preventative for anxiety, lost sleep,
extreme frustration, and missed opportunities.

"Also in that version folder I keep a list of submissions and
acceptances, publication dates, editors, etc., and where possible,
a copy of the published piece.

"This may sound like a lot of work -- it is, though it's far easier
to set up at the beginning than to attempt organization later --
and believe me, the first time you try to find the draft you're
looking for, you'll know it was worth the trouble."

Finally, talking about rewrites, Valerie Lawson emailed to say:
"What helps me to rewrite is to make it a game. As I work with
children's stories, my word count is much smaller than a novel, but
very important for saying just what needs to be said. Say the book
should be no more than 1000 words (but it would be even better if
it was 700 words). I have written 2000 words. I've realized that
one must not hold their words to close to their heart so they will
be free to slash and burn. I challenge myself to cut out 100 words
(in that day) and it actually becomes kind of fun to see what words
have to go. I don't let the day go by without getting rid of those
pesky 100 words.  The next time I sit down and look at my
manuscript, I do the same - usually the next day or week. I've
found it so amazing to see how wonderfully the book shapes up.
"I guess to sum it up, don't love your words too dearly and make it
a game to get rid of them."

This month we are back to the topic of agents again, but this time
we have a very precise question for you from Suzan.  She wrote: "I
would like to know if it is better to seek a literary agent for a
book for young children or to try publishers directly."  What do
you think?  Do you have any experience in this area?  Let us know
at editorial"at"writing-world.com subject line Inquiring Writer. 
If you have any questions or problems to put to our writing
community, email me at editorial"at"writing-world.com with the subject
line Inquiring Writer.




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Write with Nick Hornby
The Forever Story needs you. On the 30th of June, 2008 Nick Hornby
wrote: "For the first nineteen years of his life, Johnny Razor
wasn't Johnny Razor at all. He was Malcolm Weatherly, and he was
born in Mile End Underground station on the night of 17th September
1940." These are the opening 35 words of The Forever Story. A story
that will be written, not by one author, but many.  For every
single contribution to the story Talk Talk (a phone and internet
company in the UK) will donate 1 to Treehouse, a charity to help
children with autism. The Forever Story wants to reach their
donation target of 50,000 and to do that they are offering people
the opportunity to write alongside some of the world's most
well-known and respected writers and celebrities.  They already
have the support of Nick Hornby, Robert Harris, Tom Sykes and David
Mitchel with more writers and celebrities poised to contribute. If
you want to join in, all you need to do is to add 35 or so words to
continue their community-driven epic. To join The Forever Story
visit http://www.theforeverstory.co.uk   

Plagiarism still alive and well, unfortunately.
A website in the UK, Mygazines.com has come under fire for
blatantly copying content from magazines. The PPA, a UK association
to promote and protect magazines, has warned its members to watch
out for their content being illegally copies after it discovered
that Mygazines.com was illegally reproducing content from many of
its members including Haymarket, IPC Media, Hearst, CondeNast and
Economist magazines. The legal teams on these magazines have also
been informed. For more information on this story visit: 

Digital piracy targets textbooks
Where once it was pop songs and videos that were illegally
downloaded, it seems the latest target for digital pirates are
textbooks. The New York Times reports that with some textbooks
costing up to $210 new and $110 used, students are now turning to
download illegal copies instead. For more information on this topic
visit: http://tinyurl.com/6x6oj3

Hachette stops publishing audio-books on cassette
Hachette has announced that it will no longer produce audio-books
on cassettes, joining other publishers such as Random House and
Macmillan who have also removed audio-books on cassettes from their
ranges. In 2006 cassettes accounted for 7 % of all    sales in the
$923 million audio-book industry.  The reason for the demise is a
lack of demand from high-street retailers but cassettes are still,
however, popular with libraries.  For more information on this
topic visit: http://tinyurl.com/5qu53l 

Why Book Covers by Female Authors All Look The Same
Controversy is raging amongst female authors who have discovered
that their publishers are putting 'chick lit' style covers on all
their works.  It seems that any book written by a woman is now
being subsumed into the chick-lit genre regardless of its subject
matter or genre. Fay Weldon and Rosy Thornton are just two of many
female authors who have issues with the way in which publishers are
producing and marketing their books.  For more on this story visit:

Man Booker Longlist is announced
The thirteen books that make up the Man Booker Dozen have now been
announced.  Many pundits believe that Salman Rushdie is the
favourite for the 50,000 prize with his novel "The Enchantress of
Florence."  Rushdie has, of course, already won the Booker before
in 1981 with "Midnight's Children" which was recently voted the
best Booker prize winner of all time in a public vote to mark the
40th anniversary of the competition. To see who has made the
long-list and who will be judging the contest visit: 


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FEATURE: How Writers Can Score Press Trips

By Roy A Barnes

For travel writers, it's challenging to recoup the cost of their
trip expenses with sales of articles.  Writers can save much if not
all of their expenses (and thus, net more from their writing while
getting new ideas) when they participate in group or individual
press trips (also called FAM {for Familiarization} Trips), where
the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) of a city or region (or
the Public Relations firm who handles their account) pays some or
all of the writer's trip expenses like air, hotel, attraction fees,
and meals, or gets the local venues to "comp (make it
complimentary)" the charges.  These organizations do this to
encourage writers to write about the attractions they wish to see

Writers wishing to attend press trips need to realize a lot of
competition for these exists, as well as the expectation that
article(s) based on these trips will be published.   Here are some
tips on scoring a press trip:

Have Published Clippings
Many CVB/PR firms won't even consider writers unless they have
published travel clippings, which are weblinks or hard copies of
your travel articles.  At times, this isn't even enough as the
published clippings or potential editorial interest has to be from
certain print magazines that focus on specific areas of travel or
newspapers with a minimum circulation.  Other CVB/PR firms will
consider travel websites.  In this case, ask the online editor for
the monthly/yearly unique visits the website gets.  If the
numbers/demographics are impressive, you might draw interest from
the CVB/PR firm.

For writers who have only non-travel-themed clippings, don't fret. 
Think of the publications you've been published in.  Many of them
publish travel-themed articles based on their covered subject
matter.  Some or all the venues or personalities covered in a press
trip could make for a feature article(s) that inspires reader
visits.  It never hurts to ask editors you've built up a good
relationship with if they'd consider a travel tie in article. 
Asking doesn't cost anything.

Subscribe To Online Travel Newsletters and Cold Call
Three free online sites regularly announce press trips:  




As for cold calling, the first two all major expense paid press
trips I attended came about because I cold called via email two
CVB's for cities I was interested in visiting.  It's easy to find
the CVB of a certain region in the United States just by Googling
the name of the geographical area and adding "cvb" after it.  When
I cold call, I inform them I am interested in visiting their area,
show the CVB/PR firm some of my online clippings as a travel writer
(and include readership statistics if possible); furthermore, I ask
if they host press trips, what expenses are covered, then go from
there.   Don't expect to score a press trip with every cold call. 
You may not get any interest, or the CVB/PR firm may only offer to
pay a fraction of the expenses, etc.  If you're comfortable with
footing some of the major expenses, then it's more likely you'll be
able to secure a press trip.   And remember, your writing-related
expenses incurred on the press trip could be eligible for tax
purposes, though it's best to check with the IRS and/or your
accountant for specifics.

If the CVB/PR firm doesn't have any group or individual press trips
planned, study the area's literature (ask them to send you a free
media kit) or website and propose your own ideas.  Many of the
online sites for a city or region have a "Media" page, where you
can read press releases, get story ideas, and learn about any
upcoming press trips.
Make The Proposal With A Letter of Assignment
A letter of assignment is a letter from the editor of a publication
that states the editor is willing to consider an article(s) about
the subject matter of the press trip.  

What does a letter of assignment contain?  A letter of assignment
basically contains the contact information of the publication's
editor, greetings to the CVB/PR official, and states that you have
been a contributor to the publication and that he approves of you
going on this trip to write up the things outlined.  It can state
what expenses are to be covered.  

Speaking of expenses, many publications will not publish articles
that come as a result of sponsored travel (that is, some or all
your expenses on the trip were covered).  Make sure you know the
publication's policy in advance.   You may even be able to work
with the CVB/PR officials for "press rates".

What will CVB's approve of in publications?  It's best to propose
your letter of assignment to the CVB/PR official from
publication(s) that match the venues they want to promote via your
writing.   For instance, it wouldn't be wise to propose asking for
a letter of assignment from the editor of an outdoors publication
that focuses on skiing, hiking, and rafting when the press trip
you're interested in features a fine dining tour of the Boston area.

Making A Proposal Without A Letter of Assignment
If you can't get a letter of assignment from the editor you've had
publishing success with for one reason or another, it's not
necessarily a lost cause.   Don't misrepresent yourself, but use
your past publishing successes to let the CVB or PR official know
that you can get articles published, and that you'll do your best
to submit to editors.  Now, this may lessen your chances of landing
the press trip, since a letter of assignment/interest carries a
higher probability of getting published because the editor knows
what you're going to write about and you've had past success with
the publication.   

If Accepted, Do Your Absolute Best To Attend
Remember, the CVB/PR firm has spent a lot of time and especially
money (if they paid your airfare to come) in arranging your trip. 
The least writers can do is make sure they show up, sans something
extreme.   A number of CVB/PR firms are now making writers
sign/acknowledge agreements to where if they don't show up, they'll
be responsible for paying the airfare.  This does make the writer
accountable.  But one thing a writer should never agree to is to
sign an agreement guaranteeing publication nor would I ever sign
such an agreement which I've heard does come up in rare instances.

The reason is this: a letter of assignment itself doesn't guarantee
publication.  What it does is signify that you've had works
published, that the editor likes your past work, and has faith that
your press trip will be able to produce at least one article for
the publication as long as the writer's work falls within the
editorial guidelines.   But sometimes things happen, like the
publication ceases or goes on hiatus, the editorial staff changes,
and the new editor may not be interested in publishing articles
that were commissioned from the previous editor.  Your article(s),
even with rewrites, might not impress the editor enough to justify
publishing it.   CVB's do know that these things can happen, but
for the most part; the letter of assignment is like a stronger
assurance that they'll see an article(s) in publications that cater
to their desired audience.

Get To Work On Those Articles As Soon As Possible
I make sure I use my press trip down time at the hotel to catch up
on my emails, draft and write the articles from the current press
trip I'm on.   Don't procrastinate.  Show the CVB/PR firm that
believed in you that you are reliable.  The longer it takes to
submit an article, the longer it could take to see it published and
the longer it will take to potentially re-sell your work elsewhere
if you are allowed to after publication.

A Warning To Schemers
Believe it or not, I've read via travel writers' message boards
about schemers out there who manage to sweet talk their way onto a
press trip without any intention of writing or submitting articles.
 Not only is this morally wrong, but those who do that won't get
away with doing this very long.  CVB/PR officials are a part of a
big grapevine, and those people who misrepresent themselves or who
don't do their best to see that an article(s) gets published will
have their names zipped around on that grapevine. 

Closing Thoughts
Press trips are a wonderful opportunity for writers to take
advantage of because travel expenses are covered in much the same
way a corporate business traveler's are for his line of work.  It's
just that the corporate suit is spending time in a lot of meetings
while travel writers can savor interesting and colorful foods,
people, activities, and venues around the globe!  But to repeat,
there are really no free lunches in this world, and press trips
apply in this regard, too.   They are a means to gather more
writing ideas and getting more travel articles published, which can
put more money in your pocket.  But they should only be sought
after if you're responsible enough for the task! 
 Copyright (c) 2008 by Roy A Barnes

Roy A. Barnes writes from Southeastern Wyoming.  His travel-related
articles for pay have appeared at such venues like Transitions
Abroad, Live Life Travel, Associated Content, Go World Travel,
Northwest Prime Time, and The Traveler.  He's contributed to
writing-themed publications like The InkSpotter News, Writer 2
Writer, The Willamette Writer, The Dabbling Mum, Writng for
DOLLARS, and more. 

For more information on travel writing visit: 


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Comprehensive site that covers everything you need to know about
song writing.  Interviews, advice on copyright and agents and a
free weekly newsletter with the latest industry news.

Kid Magazine Writers
This is a great site for anyone who wants to write for children. It
has a normally monthly newsletter, currently on hold for health
reasons and the site also offers market news and tips on writing
for children.

This site has loads of tips.  Unfortunately sometimes when you
click on a link for "more information" you're taken to one of the
author's products -- but there's still plenty of free stuff to help
a beginner get started, including prompts and basic format guides.

A site dedicated to helping writers find research sources online --
loads of info!

Screenplay Coverage Criteria
A screenplay evaluation firm has posted its criteria and key
analysis points for screenplays.

The Pram in the Hall
A new blog for writers who balance work with family life it has
useful tips and makes for good reading in the five minutes you have
to spare.  


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FEATURE:  Fewer Words Mean Bigger Bucks
                        By Shaunna Privratsky 
Put your writing on a diet!  In On Writing, Stephen King says the
most important piece of writing advice he was ever given was "cut
everything by 10%." For example, if you write a 3,000-word short
story or article, leave out 300 words.
How do you know which words to excise?  In addition to unnecessary
adverbs and adjectives, pare down overlong description, rambling
dialogue and any redundancy.  Less is more when you are trying to
sell your work.  

Quality writing is streamlined and says exactly what the author
intended.  Learn to spot the potential trouble spots and you'll be
able to eliminate excess words quickly and easily.

Description is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, telling
description is the backbone of stories and adds dimension and
depth.  Yet too much dulls the reader's interest and can lead to a
hasty rejection.

How much is too much?  Practice, reading and intuition comes into
play.  Read your piece aloud, concentrating on description.  Do you
take three paragraphs to describe the heroine's flaming red hair
and china-blue eyes?  Have you written over-enthusiastically about
all eighteen rooms of your haunted mansion?  Have you failed to
provide adequate details about your hero?  Are we left wondering
about his background or motivation?  

No matter how brilliant your portrayals, overdoing it spoils a
perfectly fine story.  Anything that stops the flow should be
eliminated.  To get a feel for description handled properly, read
some of your favorite author's books.  See how a published writer
balances on the hairbreadth between too little and too much.

Dialogue is another tricky area.  A conversation without direction
will snuff out the spark of your story.  Use dialogue to advance
the plot or situation, reveal character traits and back-story.  Cut
any extraneous words or conversations that don't have a purpose.

Listen to real-life conversations to get a feel for genuine
dialogue.  Eavesdrop in crowded malls, restaurants or coffee shops.
 People generally don't speak in complete sentences or with perfect
grammar.  Read your discourse aloud and listen for stilted
sentences or drawn out conversations that go nowhere.

Expel any redundant phrases or sentences you discover.  Saying
something twice, even if you rephrase it with different words, adds
needless weight.  It also weakens the original statement.  Cutting
out unnecessary words makes your piece more succinct and ready for

The danger of redundancy is that you're repeating yourself.  You
are saying the same thing in different words.  You are paraphrasing
yourself.  Although you vary the individual words, the meaning is
essentially the same.  In short, you sound like a broken record or
a CD with a scratch.

Whew!  That is the most redundancy I've seen since I was a newbie
writer.  The preceding paragraph is a prime example of what NOT to

Redundancy is sometimes the hardest to root out and destroy.  You
may start a paragraph with a great statement, but before moving on
to your supporting points you feel you should explain the statement
a bit further, just to make sure your reader understands what you

It is like saying the sky is blue.  That is to say, it resembles my
favorite pair of worn denim jeans.  Not too dark, but just slightly
faded with soft white clouds wisping across it.  

The previous paragraph would begin much stronger and lighter if you
simply stated "The denim blue sky sported wispy white clouds."  The
verb is active, the description minimal but specific and you have
removed all redundancy.

How do you avoid the trap of redundancy?  Simply state what you
mean the first time.  Start with your point or idea, and then back
it up with supporting facts.  Don't belabor the point as if you
were trying to imprint it on your audience's mind. 	

It may take a few rounds of revision to spot redundancy in your
manuscript.  A fresh set of eyes may spot it easier.  Look for
telltale phrases like; "in other words", "what I meant was", or "to
put it another way."

Another reason to avoid redundant phrases or words is it insults
your reader's intelligence.  In effect you're telling them they
aren't smart enough to figure out what you're trying to say, so you
spell it out for them.  Again.  A big redundant "no-no."

The final reason to cut redundancy is this: it shows you are an
amateur.  Professional writers learn to streamline sentences and
avoid the excess of redundancy.

The next time you edit your work, remember to watch out for rotund
redundancy and get rid of it faster than a melting, 967-calorie
chocolate eclair.  Don't let your message go to waste.  

Cutting the fat from your manuscripts needn't be a painful process.
 As you make your final revisions, review your use of adverbs and
adjectives.  Balance your description, and dialogue for a pleasing
flow.  Expel any signs of redundancy.  You'll be left with a
manuscript in fighting trim, ready to submit and earn you a sale. 
Fewer words really do mean bigger bucks.      


Copyright (c) 2008 by Shaunna Privratsky

Shaunna Privratsky is a fulltime author with over 400 published
articles as well as the editor and publisher of The Writer Within
Newsletter.  Learn 1,000's of more writing tips in Shaunna
Privratsky's book, 'Pump Up Your Prose' Sign up to The Writer
Within Newsletter at http://shaunna67.tripod.com We're a paying

For more information and advice on fiction writing visit:

LitMatch - Literary Agent Search and Submission Tracking
Take the confusion out of finding an agent with our comprehensive
agent search. Track and compare response times with other users.
Always 100% FREE: http://www.litmatch.net?ref=ww


You Can Write a Novel Kit, by James V Smith, Jr.

This is not a book to pick up and read through at random.  Nor is
it a book that will allow you to simply read it cover to cover and
then forget what you read.  This book takes some work, which is
quite apt really as writing a novel also takes some work. 

This book is in fact a complete write a novel kit.  James V Smith
Jr, himself an author of five novels and three nonfiction works,
takes you step by step through the process of crafting a novel,
from choosing character names,  developing unique characteristics,
choosing a title, deciding if your story is sellable or not, plots,
subplots, dialogue, scenes, scene transitions and editing.  But,
unlike many other books on this topic, he doesn't leave it there. 
He not only gives examples from his own work: rough draft errors to
final polished pieces, he also provides you with a series of
notepads and instructs you to work on your novel as you read along.
 There are five notepads in all: scene development, major
character, minor character, revision and chapter log.  These pads,
together with Smith's advice as you work along, really does help
you to get your novel into shape.  Is this an easy book to read?
No.  Is it one that will actually help you to write a novel?  Yes,
if you are prepared to accept that writing a novel is hard work and
actually sit down and start to do it. 

Having worked through this kit, I found it, as a very 'green'
novelist, an invaluable resource and one I will probably rely on
for some time to come. 

Next month I will be reviewing Research Wizard Pro.

Do you have a review of a writing book or product? Do you agree or
disagree with my reviews? If you want to share your reviews with
others then email me with the subject line 'reviews' to


FEATURE:  I Love To Write Day

                                          By John Riddle
In the spring of 2002 I was driving from my home in Delaware to the
Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's conference in Asheville,
North Carolina, where I was scheduled to speak  My oldest daughter,
Bonnie, was in the car with me; she was a college student at the
time and interested in attending some of the workshops.  Even
though she was already a published writer, she knew the value of
learning more about the craft of writing.

As I was passing through the Richmond, Virginia, area, I was
thinking about a magazine interview I had to do the following week.

Normally I am the one interviewing someone and then writing an
article, but this time I was going to be the subject of the
article.  Writer's Digest magazine wanted to do a profile of me,
highlighting my success in writing for so many Websites over the
past few months.

When I worked in the fundraising field a number of years ago I
loved planning big special events. One time I tried to set the
Guinness Book of World Records by having the largest number of
people dance the "Twist" in one location. I even got Chubby Checker
to tape some Public Service Announcements to help promote the
event. As a writer and author, I knew I needed a Website, and when
I came up with the name I Love To Write.com, (that site has evolved
into I Love To Write Day.org) it wasn't long before the idea of
holding the 'world's largest party for writers' came about.

I told Bonnie to "remember this moment," because I "officially
declared" November 15 to be I Love To Write Day, and I knew that I
Love To Write Day would be a success.  

However, never in my wildest dreams did I believe how successful it
would become!  About two weeks after the conference was over, I
established the I Love To Write Day Website and began sending out
press releases to media outlets all across the United States.  I
also sent information to schools, bookstores and libraries.

About ten days later I started getting numerous media requests for
interviews and more info about I Love To Write Day.  And the
response from schools was absolutely overwhelming.  By the time
November 15 rolled around, over 11,000 schools all across the
country had signed up to hold special ILTWD events and activities. 
Bookstores, libraries, churches, community centers and even a few
malls joined in the fun.  When USA Today published an interview
with me on the first ILTWD, my phone didn't stop ringing, and I
lost track of how many e-mails I was receiving.

The Governors of 9 states have officially proclaimed November 15 as
I Love To Write Day in their states, and urge all of their
residents to find time to write and celebrate the day.

My goal for I Love To Write Day is simple: people of all ages are
encouraged to write something.  A poem, a letter, an essay, start a
novel, finish a novel...the possibilities are endless!

Hundreds of people e-mailed or wrote to me shortly after the first
I Love To Write Day.  They shared samples of what they had written,
and how they enjoyed writing again.  Unfortunately, many people
have stopped writing, and the thought of putting words on a piece
of paper (or a computer screen) can be a frightening experience.

I urge everyone to remember how important writing can be.  Spend
some time writing something today.  You don't have to set a goal of
writing a novel (unless you have wanted to write one for a long
time); just write something that is short, and meaningful to you.

Writing can be fun, but also challenging. People need to be
challenged, and writing is but one of many creative ways to express
yourself. I am very excited because more I Love To Write Day
activities are being planned all across the United States. For many
people, that will be the beginning of their writing career. 

I Love To Write Day has the potential to launch the career of the
next John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King or Toni

Please visit the official I Love To Write Day Website at
http://www.ilovetowriteday.org and learn how you can join in the
fun.  When people become stronger writers, they become better
communicators...and everyone wins!


Copyright 2008  John Riddle


Sandra Miller gives us advice on how to cut down our word counts.

Hank Quense wants us to think about a character's motivation.

Plus we'll have your responses to the Inquiring Writer and more
product reviews. 

Your next issue will appear in your inboxes on September 4th.



TheFictionWritersJourney.com is the website of writing coach and
novelist, Emily Hanlon. Emily demystifies the writing process with
her two pronged approach of teaching technique and unleashing
creativity. She offers coaching, workshops, and TeleSeminars and is
holding a weekend retreat in Litchfield, CT May 2-4. Emily also
offers two Mentoring Programs: Creativity as A Wellspring of Life
and Writing Your Story, Creating a Tapestry of Your Life: Memoir
Writing as a Healing Journey. If you are looking for help on
writing technique or unleashing your creativity, explore these
TeleSeminars from Emily Hanlon, now 50% off.



========================================================= This
section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless otherwise
indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers.

DEADLINE: August 15, 2008
GENRE: Fiction, poetry
DETAILS: Contest for previously published erotic short
stories/poems of exceptional literary quality. 
PRIZE: $1000 fiction, $300 poetry
URL:  http://www.rauxafoundation.org/rauxaprize/
EMAIL:  rauxaprize"at"yahoo.com

DEADLINE: August 18, 2008
GENRE:  Poetry and Short Stories
DETAILS:  Any genre accepted, except Romance or Erotica. Short
stories should be 500-3000 words. Poems may be any style, up to 30
lines. We welcome and encourage both new and established writers to
enter. Please send all submissions either pasted in e-mail body or
as .Doc attachments only.
PRIZE: First, Second and Third Winners for each category receive
free Critique of their work and publication in our online magazine.
Runner-Ups are also considered for publication
URL:   http://www.LiteraryMagicMag.com 
EMAIL:  literarymagic"at"gmail.com

DEADLINE: August 18, 2008
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO: US writers aged 35 or younger.
DETAILS: Contest for published books or books scheduled for
publication during 2008. Open to novels or collections of short
stories, no children's books. Entries must be submitted by agent or
PRIZE:  $10,000
URL: http://tinyurl.com/6x88dn    
EMAIL:  jadrien_steele"at"nypl.org

DEADLINE: August 31, 2008
GENRE: Short Stories, poetry, screenplays, nonfiction
DETAILS: Short horror contest. Any form of short horror writing up
to 5000 words max.
PRIZE: Publication in printed anthology.
URL:   http://tinyurl.com/5mp3gj
EMAIL:  submit"at"shortstory.us.com 

DEADLINE: August 31, 2008
GENRE: Nonfiction books
OPEN TO: UK and Irish citizens or authors who have been resident in
the UK for at least 3 years who are working on their first major
commissioned work of nonfiction.
DETAILS: Submit cover letter with project description, copy of
publishing contract from publishing house in UK or Republic of
Ireland, plus synopsis or draft chapter and a letter from their
PRIZE:  10,000, 2x 5000 each.
URL:   http://www.rslit.org/jerwood.htm

DEADLINE: September 20, 2008
GENRE:  Short Stories, Nonfiction
DETAILS:  1500 words max on fictional or real-life events. Maximum
five entries per person. Open to all nationalities and ages.
PRIZE:  1000
URL:    http://www.toowrite.com/details.asp


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers


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Omnibus, by Sheri McGathy

Out of Time, by Cliff Ball

Unleash Your Writing Muse, by Tamara Hanson

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Copyright 2008 Dawn Copeman
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