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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 8:10          6,737 subscribers   October 2, 2008

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The Editor's Desk
FEATURE:  Making Your Future Out of the Past: How to Break into the
Burgeoning History Market, by Sean McLachlan
The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers
FEATURE: Give Me a Meter and I'll Take a Foot,  by Tami Krueger
THE WRIITING DESK - Using real people as characters, by Moira Allen
WRITING CONTESTS with no entry fees
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                                  FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

No News is Good News

Just a very short note from me as I'm busy enjoying my most
creative and productive time of the year. But I did have time to
put together a bumper edition of the newsletter for you.  We have
advice from Moira, a guest 'article' from Sigrid MacDonald in the
Inquiring Writer regarding copy-editing and two information packed
articles on poetry writing and breaking into the history market. 

People assume the history market is a hard one to break into, but
luckily for me, when I was a beginner, I didn't know that, and it
was one of the first markets I got into.  Read Sean's article and
you could break into this interesting area too. 
Until next time, 

                       -- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor


12-page monthly newsletter of editors' listings of "manuscripts
wanted"- the edge you need to sell and publish more now.  Get a
Free issue.


                                By Dawn Copeman

Last month two readers asked your advice on getting into
copy-editing and proof-reading.  Reader one has been working with a
newspaper and wanted to become a professional proof-reader and
reader two has a degree in journalism and wanted to become a
copy-editor. You have been very generous with your advice and once
again there have been too many replies to list them all here. 

Quite a few of you, including Laura, are of the opinion that the
only way to break into proof-reading and copy-editing is to
cold-call potential clients. Laura writes: "I think that the best
way is to be direct and contact the potential client myself,
explaining how I can help them. Of course, you then risk putting
the prospect on the defence ('I must have a cr*ppy site') or
alienating them with a cold call or email they did not want to
receive. I know, Peter Bowerman says a huge percentage of people I
contact will say 'no' to my services. That said, there must be a
way to reach people without waiting years to be found. Is there a
better way?"

Well, you could target a niche audience; a 'supportive' former
lawyer emailed in with this advice: "Try a big law firm; they might
need someone to review briefs." 

Another anonymous contributor emailed to say that: "Colorado has
the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA). This
association is a great place to advertise your skills, whether a
writer or editor. There might be a similar association in which
they can become involved. Also, they might use some of the social
writing sites such as John Kremer's site on www.ning.com to get the
word out. Good luck to both of them."

"To find work as a proofreader," wrote Angela, "there are some
freelance sites where you can apply or bid for jobs, such as Elance
or Odesk.  I would also recommend creating your own portfolio site
with some basic information about yourself, your skills and your
experience.  Many writers do this via a Blog site such as Blogger
or Wordpress, and you can create a visually interesting profile
site in just a few minutes.  Update it regularly with recent work,
and use the link in all of your email signatures as 'advertising'.

"To beat the vicious circle of getting published, getting clips,
and building a career in the writing world, I started out by
writing free copy for websites and magazines.  I basically
contacted some publications that had subjects I felt I could write
about, and asked if they would like content or contribution
(research, interviews, quotes etc).  You are most likely to get
accepted if you can offer an Editor something - perhaps your
experience in a particular field, or a great letter.   Many
websites and blogs are crying out for high quality content and
no-one needs to know whether you were paid or not, you can add all
of the clippings to your resumé.   Try writing some pieces for
Orato.com to showcase your talent and get feedback from readers."

Sarah R, however, is not so upbeat about the opportunities for
gaining work in this area but she does offer sound advice. She
wrote: "Proofreading jobs are hard to come by. Almost every job
I've ever had that had 'proofreading' as a key word in the job ad
really entailed copy editing as well.

"As for the person looking copy editing work: one way to build up a
portfolio is to volunteer, even if it's just for your neighborhood
association's newsletter. Another way to get some samples is to
write for Web sites like Associated Content or eHow. They're low
paying, but it gives you some published work samples that you can
use when you apply for copy editing jobs. Finally, does your reader
know that there is an organization specifically for copy editors,
The American Copy Editors Society? http://www.copydesk.org/"

Amailuk J emailed with this advice: "Writer two: You have a very
strong background. You should stop wondering and jump into the
fray. Try seeking out different publications where you could post
your articles. The Internet is a good place to start. The Newbie
newsletter is another option. Sign up for free newsletters. 
"Having a degree unfortunately does not guarantee that you can
write, let alone edit. Don't bank too much on it, use the skills
you learned thereof and get your hands dirty. Your
service/abilities will best be appreciated that way. Do not
necessarily look for paying jobs, the objective here is to build a
portfolio. The more writing (free) you do the faster and more
likely you are to build the portfolio you are going to need. Count
pay articles if any as a bonus, the non paying articles are an
investment you won't be disappointed with. Thereafter, your foot
will surely be in the door!"
Karen Brown has been in the same position as our two readers and
she suggested that "Your questioners should look into taking a
course offered by the United States Department of Agriculture
called 'Introduction to the Editing Process.' It's an online course
(self-paced, distance learning) which cost, when I took it a couple
of years ago, $350. Students have eleven months to finish the
course. When they finish, they may choose to take, or not to take,
a three-hour, open-book, monitored exam--which they can take at the
local library or several other places. Students earn three
post-graduate credits for this course (again, if they choose to do
"I loved the course, learned a lot, and had a wonderful instructor,
Grace Krumweide. I also managed to complete the course in less than
eleven months, but that is undoubtedly because my children are
grown and I am not otherwise employed. I highly recommend this
course. I am not searching for employment, but I have used the
education I gained to financial advantage."
Our final advice on this topic comes from someone who works as a
proof-reader and who fully understands the industry.  Sigrid
MacDonald kindly emailed me with the following article to share
with all the potential copy-editors and proof-readers out there. 

"Shortly after I wrote my second book, a local publisher asked me
if I was interested in working as a copy editor.  I had never
considered that but eagerly agreed.  My writing was good and I had
always loved English class; I'm also an inveterate reader, so I
thought that this combination of writer and reader would make me an
excellent editor -- I was wrong!  It took at least twelve to
eighteen months to brush up on my skills, and to learn the basics
of editing and publishing before I became a true professional.
"When in doubt, the first thing that I always do is head off to the
library.  I chose several grammar books and one interactive grammar
DVD, and started plugging away at them.  Then I purchased a copy of
The Chicago Manual of Style, and read it chapter by chapter.  All
the questions that I had about when to use a comma, to capitalize a
certain word, or to say, 'the black-and-white tablecloth' versus
'the black and white tablecloth' were answered there.  The Chicago
Manual also has a lengthy section on words that tend to confuse
people, such as when to write 'everyday' and 'every day,' or 'like'
instead of 'as if.' (E.g., 'She seemed like a good person' is
correct but 'She felt like her brother didn't appreciate her' is
not -- better to say, 'She felt as if her brother didn't appreciate
"I also learned certain tricks to minimize the possibility of
making mistakes.  Initially, I did all my editing online because
it's easy to do it that way; it's also easy to miss an error on the
screen!  Now I read a story or manuscript over once carefully
online and make corrections using Word's tracking device. Then I
print a hard copy and read it slowly, away from my desk.  I do a
keyword search on certain words that have concerned me in a
particular manuscript.  Let's say that my client has referred to a
small town in India several times.  I want to make sure that the
word is spelled exactly the same way throughout the manuscript, and
my spell-check has probably told me that the word is incorrect, so
I'll add it to my vocabulary and then keyword it.  Often, I
increase page size to one hundred and fifty percent, so that I have
a very clear view.  And I always put a piece away for several days
or hours, if I've been working on it for a long time, in order to
establish distance from the material, which helps me catch mistakes
that I may have missed initially.
"Finally, I joined an editors' association to keep up with the
latest news in the business, and have an opportunity for
"One thing that I've found extremely helpful is to spend time
talking to clients before I start editing to determine exactly what
they want me to do.  Of course, I'll correct obvious errors in
spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Frequently, I'll look at the
redundant use of words, as well, and when I'm doing substantive or
stylistic editing, I examine structure, flow, and organization. 
When I talk to clients about their work, they often say that they
want me to look for something in particular -- perhaps it's their
tendency to use run-on sentences or to combine too much information
in one paragraph.  And I continually ask clients for clarification
while I'm working on their book or short story.  I never assume
that they mean to say a certain thing; if I'm not absolutely
certain about the meaning of a sentence, I ask.
"I've been editing for several years now and enjoy it very much. 
My advice to both copy editors and proofreaders is to study the
tools, and be patient with themselves while they're learning." 
Sigrid Macdonald, Author and Editor, Member of Ottawa Independent
Writers, Member of Editors' Association of Canada,

This month we have a question from Karen Snyder who wants to know
if any of you "use voice recognition software (such as Dragon
NaturallySpeaking) and if they do, does it work?  Do they like it
or is it a waste of money?" 

Do you have a reply? If so send it or any other questions or
problems to put to our writing community, to
editorial@writing-world.com with the subject line Inquiring Writer.



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Attack on house linked to Muslim book
The house of the British publisher Martin Rynja was firebombed at
the weekend in what, the New York Times report, is believed to be
an attack on the forthcoming publication by his publishing company
of a novel about a wife of the prophet Muhammed. Random House in
the US had already pulled out of publishing the novel, "The Jewel
of Medina" by Sherry Jones, after it was warned that the novel
might cause a backlash by Muslim extremists. Despite the attack,
the UK launch of the book is set to go-ahead.  For more on this
story visit: http://tinyurl.com/4ybd8k

Bloggers in the US get liability insurance
US organisation the Media Bloggers Association has developed
Bloginsure, a new liability insurance policy for bloggers.  The
aims of the policy are to give bloggers similar levels of
protection as journalists working in more established media areas. 
The policy will cover parties against allegations of copyright 
infringement or invasion of privacy as well as defamation claims.
For more on this story visit:

Bollywood Writers go on strike
Following their American counterparts at the beginning of the year,
Bollywood writers have joined dancers, stars, actors and
technicians in an indefinite strike over poor wages and working
conditions. According to the Washington Post over 100,000 people
are on strike and insiders are worried. For more on this story
visit: http://tinyurl.com/47xdhg (You might need to register to
read Washington Post online, it is free.)

End in site for scareware scams?
Microsoft has joined forces with Washington State's Attorney
General and issued lawsuits against people who frighten consumers
into buying fake software. The scareware scammers send a fake error
message onto a user's screen claiming that the user's computer is
not working properly and needs a new piece of software installed to
make it work again.  Usually they use technical terms such as
'registry problems' and 'corrupt files in registry' and offer
'registry restore' programs to the users.  These programs are, in
fact, useless.  For the scammers it is a lucrative scam.  To find
out more on this story visit:

Creative Writing can teach morals
Creative writing, which is being added to the English Language A
Level syllabus for the first time this year, can help young people
learn about morals and life skills according to author Fay Weldon. 
Until now, there has been no formal teaching of creative writing in
UK schools, apart from in primary schools where children are
encouraged to learn the structure of stories and to attempt to
write their own.  Weldon believes that by encouraging young people
to think about others and how they would behave could influence
their own methods of behaviour. To read more on this story visit: 

Sony launches new e-book reader
The future of the paperback is once again being debated as Sony
launches their new, very powerful e-book reader
in the UK. The Sony reader is smaller than a hard-back and has a
battery capable of storing over 6,500 pages of text.  They are
being sold at over 200 Waterstone's book stores and users will be
able to download thousands of titles from the Waterstone's site. 
For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/67ez3e 


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FEATURE: Making Your Future Out of the Past: 
How to Break into the Burgeoning History Market

By Sean McLachlan

Many writers rush about looking for the latest trends or events, or
wrack their brains trying to find new twists to old ideas. While
the publishing industry always rewards the new and innovative, it's
good to remember there's a vast storehouse of fascinating stories
waiting for you in the past. History is a strong seller and offers
a great way to break into magazine and book writing. Many
newspapers and magazines are open to historical articles, and there
are numerous periodicals that specialize in history. This can
kick-start your career and send you up the ladder from local
newspapers to magazines to small and midlist presses and beyond!
Here are some things to remember.

What Sells, What Doesn't
Some historical subjects sell better than others. Local history
tends to have a small potential market, but state history flies off
the shelves, at least in that particular state. Military history
does well, but interest varies depending on the specific topic.
While Civil War and World War Two tend to be big sellers (just how
many books and articles are there about D-Day?), World War One and
the Mexican-American War attract less attention. Biographies about
unknown people tend not to attract editorial interest unless they
can be linked to greater events, like some previously little-known
contributor to the writing of the Constitution. Articles on
important figures such as Henry VIII need to be done from a fresh
angle, or bring to light new research and discoveries.

Finding Interesting Twists
History writing should not simply be a rehash of old stories told a
hundred times before. This is where primary sources--original
letters, diaries, and other documents--become your best asset. Look
for interesting details that earlier writers haven't emphasized.
Did you know St. Louis was planned and laid out by a 14 year-old
boy? Or that an altar to the pagan goddess Victory stood in the
Roman Senate for years after the empire had supposedly converted to
Christianity? Odd facts such as these add zest to your narrative
and are remembered by your readers long after most of the names and
dates have faded from their minds.

Get Known as a Specialist, but Remain a Generalist
Building up expertise in a field will not only make it easier to
write articles and books, but will get you more of them. It's best
to choose a topic you are passionate about so your interest doesn't
flag, and also make sure it's a topic sufficiently broad to allow
you to look at it from different angles in various markets. For
example, I started researching Missouri history for Missouri Life
magazine, which led me to write a general history of the state, a
collection of interesting tales from its past for young adults, and
a book on its outlaws. This research also informed a book I'm
working on about Civil War guerrillas (of which Missouri had the
deadliest) and my next novel, which takes place in 1864 in central
Missouri. By being open to writing about all periods and aspects of
the state's history, it has become a bit of a cottage industry for
me as well as leading to related books and articles on broader

Think of Spinoffs
Chances are you'll gather far more material than you can include in
your final article. Don't let that research go to waste! You can
use these bits of information for other articles. If you've written
a book, breaking off some of the information for magazine articles
is a great way to market your work and gain some extra money and
clips. You might even have enough material for another book,
perhaps on a specific aspect or period you didn't have the space to
cover fully the first time around, or maybe you can rework the text
to a different market, such as young adults.

Learn about your Resources
Much of what you need for research may be closer than you think.
University libraries usually have thousands of books on history,
and with interlibrary loan you can get books from other
institutions that your library doesn't have. Also check out the
state, county, or municipal historical societies for their
collections of books and primary sources. Original diaries,
letters, and newspapers are goldmines of interesting information
and stories. Read widely in your chosen field so that you know what
has been covered and what hasn't, which sources are reputable and
which aren't, and who is publishing in your subject. Also don't
forget other historians, both professional and amateur. Re-enactors
and park rangers, while usually not specifically trained as
historians, are often very knowledgeable about certain subjects and
eager to share their expertise. For example, Carolyn Bartels,
a.k.a. "The Civil War Book Lady", specializes in Civil War in the
Trans-Mississippi theatre and gains her information through a large
network of professional and amateur historians, re-enactors, and

Build off your Magazine Reputation
Newspapers and local and regional magazines are usually hungry for
historical pieces. By getting some acceptances there, not only will
you get a regular market for your work, but valuable clips you can
show book publishers. This can tip the balance between an
acquisitions editor saying no to an unknown writer and saying yes
to one with a proven track record. You also have the advantage of
creating working relationships with periodicals editors that can
lead to assignments for stories outside of history. Lise Hull got
started writing a travel column for Ninnau, the North American
Welsh newspaper. Her first piece was on Welsh castles, followed by
several articles on the subject for that and other publications.
These clips helped her land the first of several book contracts
based on her knowledge of the British Isles and castles. Now she
has publishers contacting her.

Be Aware of Controversy
History is a contentious field. Scholars and laymen alike argue
incessantly about who was the better president, what culture was
more advanced during a particular period, and so on. Some topics,
such as Islamic history or labor history, can be minefields, but
that does not mean you should shy away from them. Just be aware
that when you write about these topics to back up your work with
solid research. That won't save you from attacks by hostile readers
and fellow writers, but if you write what you believe and stick to
your guns, you will gain a reputation as a solid writer, and
nothing encourages sales like a bit of controversy.

Market Listings
Below are several history magazine markets, including one market
that publishes ten magazines. All of their websites have detailed
contributor's guidelines. It's generally best to query with a
proposal rather than spending the time writing an article they may
not be interested in. And, as always, read the magazine before

Renaissance Magazine: A magazine targeted towards re-enactors of
the Late Medieval and Renaissance periods. While they do publish
straight history articles, it's best to have articles be of direct
use to re-enactors. Such articles in the past have included pieces
on costume, armor, and the culture of the period. Average feature
length 2,000 words. Pays $.10/word on publication. Prefers
Address; One Controls Dr., Shelton CT, 06484
Email: editortom@renaissancemagazine.com 
Website: http://www.renaissancemagazine.com

Reminisce Magazine: Dedicated to preserving the memory of the
America that was, this magazine mostly publishes first-person
nostalgia of life in the U.S. before the days of computers and
strip malls. Much of the material is from the 1940s and 50s, but is
not limited to this time. Has various sections such as "Motoring
Memories." Maximum length 750 words. This is a photo-heavy
publication, so having an old-time photo will help your
submission's chances. Nonpaying market, but a good way to turn a
cherished memory into a nice clip.
Address: Reminisce, 5927 Memory Lane, Greendale WI 53129
Email: editors@reminisce.com
Website: http://www.reminisce.com

American Heritage: Devoted to American history, the editors
especially like articles showing how the American experience is
different from that of other countries, and with some link to the
present. Past articles have included profiles of prominent and
unknown Americans, military history, technology, entertainment,
culture, even an article on how pizza became so popular. Max length
6,000 words. Rates vary, pays on acceptance.
Address: Richard Snow, 90 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011
Email: mail@americanheritage.com
Website: http://www.americanheritage.com

Smithsonian Magazine: Covering the natural world and history, this
is a tough market to break into. The most open sections are the
departments, especially The Back Page, a humor section. Other
departments open to freelancers include Phenomena & Curiosities
(science and nature), Points of Interest (Americana), and Presence
of Mind (opinion essays). Also accepts features up to 4,000 words.
Likes offbeat subjects and profiles. Submit through online query
form only. 
Website: http://www.smithsonianmag.com

Weider History Group: Publishers of ten magazines including
America's Civil War, American History, Aviation History, British
Heritage, Civil War Times, Military History Quarterly, Military
History, Vietnam, Wild West, World War II. They have a constant
appetite for well-written, popular level history that is exciting
to the general reader. Note that British Heritage is moving away
from straight history articles, but welcomes articles that have a
historical bent showing how British culture became what it is
today. The military magazines prefer new angles on big subjects, or
coverage of little-known aspects of past wars. Payment varies, pays
extra for photos.
Address: [Magazine] Story Idea, 741 Miller Dr. SE, Suite D-2,
Leesburg, VA 20175
Email: see website for individual magazine's emails.
Website: http://www.historynet.com

Copyright (c) 2008 by Sean McLachlan

Sean McLachlan has Master's degrees in archaeology and journalism
and has published numerous history articles in Ancient Egypt,
British Heritage, Missouri Life, Renaissance Magazine, and other
markets. He has written five books on history, his first being
Byzantium: An Illustrated History (Hippocrene, 2004). His latest
project is Guerrilla and Partisan Ranger Tactics of the Civil War
for Osprey Publications. Visit him at http://www.seanmclachlan.com.

For more information on history writing visit: 
http://www.writing-world.com/freelance/localhistory.shtml  and

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This site is run by Angela Booth, a freelancer with over 30 years'
experience. Great information site for all aspects of freelancing
including copy-writing, as well as product reviews and a fantastic
accompanying blog. Be sure to follow the link to her WritingHacker
site too.  

Enter to win writing contests. Get writing tips and writing help.
Share your poetry, short stories, screenplays, articles, music
lyrics, and writings of all types. Read, rate, and review writings.
Join the writing now! 

Author MBA
A very handy site for all you budding authors.  It not only has a
stack of articles featuring q&a with top agents, but also has free
articles on boosting your career too.  

A very supportive community for people looking to take part in
NANOWRIMO or any other crazed writer who needs some discipline to
get themselves writing.  You don't actually have to write a book,
you can write articles, poetry, whatever and get support through
the forum.  If you need some help to get down and write, check this
site out. 

Internet Writing Workshop
This site provides a forum but also emailed discussion lists,
critiquing services and workshops on all aspects of writing. 
Simply sign up to the specific areas you are interested in. 

The Poetry Market Ezine
Does what it says on the tin.  A free monthly ezine with poetry
markets, reviews of poetry books and useful poetry resources.


WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of
writing markets if you subscribe this week. Discover almost 2,000
writing markets from USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australasia.

FEATURE:  Give Me A Meter; I'll Take A Foot
                                       By Tami Krueger

There are poetic conventions that poets who study the craft could
benefit from. One such convention is the use of meter.  Meter is
defined as a system of stressed and unstressed syllables that
create rhythm in metered verse.                                    
The traditional units of stressed and unstressed metered verse are 
called feet. There are usually the same number of feet in each line 
of metered verse, as well as the same type of foot pattern 
throughout the poem. 

Determining the metrical foot of a poem is termed scansion, and
there are only six types of classical feet needed in order to
determine the scansion of a line of English verse. 

The chart below may help illuminate these classical feet. 

The two rows on the left are the terminology and the two columns on
the right demonstrate their definition. Using this guide while
reading a few favorite poems may help the poet better understand
how meter is achieved in a poem.


Iamb        Iambic          da-DUM                   Except, The deer
Trochee        Trochaic          DUM-da                   Asking,Lost it
Anapest        Anapestic          da-da-DUM            Understand,   
Dactyl        Dactylic          DUM-da-da           Heavily, Talk to me
Spondee        Spondaic          DUM-DUM                  Heartbreak, faithful
Pyrrhic        Pyrrhic          da-da                   In the, On a

An Iambic foot in a line of poetry is a metrical foot consisting of
an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.  An example
of the iamb can be found in the poetry of Shakespeare (such as
Sonnet 18), John Donne (Holy Sonnet XIV), and many other classical
English poets.                                         

The stanza below is taken from a poem written by Edna St. Vincent
Millay, titled "Renascence" and is a good example of the iambic
foot.  The symbols  ~  and  /  represent unstressed and stressed
syllables respectively. 
~     /     ~       /       ~           /     ~      /
All  I  could  see  from  where  I  stood

 ~         /         ~         /      ~         /    ~     /    
Was  three  long  mountains  and  a  wood;

A trochaic foot is the opposite of an iambic foot in that it
consists of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.
It is a foot that is rarely perfectly followed throughout a poems
entirety.  Longfellow's "The Song Of Hiawatha," with a few
diversions into iambic, spondaic and pyrrhic, is one of the few
poems that come close.  Also counted among these rarities is Edgar
Allan Poe's "The Raven."  The exception to this observation is that
the trochaic foot is fairly common in children's rhymes.

 /   ~       /   ~      /  ~     /
Eeny, meeny,  miny,  moe 
     /      ~   /  ~    /      ~     /
Catch  a  tiger  by  the  toe 

The anapestic foot is a foot that is made up of two unstressed
syllables followed by a stressed syllable, such as in sev en teen. 
Very few poems consist of a strict anapestic foot.  Some such
poems that are written in anapestic foot are Lord Byron's "The
Destruction Of Sennacherib," as well as Will Cowper's "Verses
Supposed To Be Written By Alexander Selkirk, During His Solitary
Abode In The Island Of San Fernandez:"
~      ~      /   ~    ~      /       ~    ~     /
From  the  centre  all  round  to  the  sea,
~   ~     /       ~    ~    /       ~      ~      /
I  am  lord  of  the  fowl  and  the  brute.  

The dactylic foot is characterized by one stressed syllable
followed by two unstressed syllables.  Tennyson's, "charge of the
Light Brigade," is one of the most popular poems written in
dactylic foot.

    /   ~     ~         /    ~    ~
Half a league, half  a league
   /     ~      ~      /     ~
Half  a league onward,
The spondaic foot is one in which both syllables within the foot
are stressed.  It would be confusing at best to literate an entire
poem consisting of purely spondaic feet due to the complete stress
on each syllable.  For this reason, the spondee is usually used to
break up another foot such as the anapest.  The example below is
from Gerard Manley Hopkins'  "Pied Beauty."  The second line is
marked by Hopkins to note the spondee  

"Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim."

Sometimes referred to as a dibrach, the pyrrhic foot contains two
unaccented syllables.  Due to the monotonous, or redundant sound,
the pyrrhic foot is not used to construct an entire poem.  Much
like the anapest and the dactyl, the pyrrhic is often found within
the framework of the poem, but does not make up the entire

For instance, Lord Byron's "Don Juan," contains a fine example of
pyrrhic feet:

"My way is to begin with the beginning."

Determining the scansion of poems is a good way to learn about
meter and foot in poetry.  This is helpful for poets who strive for
a deeper understanding of the craft of poetry, with the additional
benefit of fostering a greater appreciation for those who practice
the art of metered verse.


Copyright (c) Tami Krueger 2008

Tami Krueger (tamikrueger@aol.com) is a freelance writer living in
Oregon, USA.   She has had articles published in "18th Century
History," and is a contributing author for the magazine
"Brandlady."   She has authored one book of poetry and is currently
spearheading a website that showcases historical female characters:
For more information and advice on poetry writing visit:

CAN'T GET PUBLISHED? Be a Well-Fed Self-Publisher and make a
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THE WRITING DESK - Using Real People as Characters
                                by Moira Allen

Q: Can I use real people's names in a work of historical fiction? 
If the story approximated a real life event, would you have to
obtain permission from the family?  My question refers to something
that happened more than one hundred years ago.  Much of it is
documented, but the story itself is fictionalized.

A: I believe that issues of "right to privacy" cease to apply after
a person is dead.  These issues only apply to living individuals.
Similarly, one cannot defame or libel a dead person; that
protection only extends to living persons.

Thus, I believe that it is completely acceptable to write about
real (dead) people in a historical context; you would not have to
obtain permission from the family.  Also, writing from documentary
sources even further reduces your risk, as you're working from
publicly available material.

The one exception on using "written" materials is using letters.
Letters are covered by copyright.  Letters written by a living
person are owned by that person, and can't be used without
permission (which is why a writer was sued for using the letters of
J.D. Salinger without Salinger's permission).  This applies even if
you are the recipient of the letters -- only the writer of the
letters can authorize their publication. I believe that copyright
ownership of letters may pass into a person's estate, just like any
other copyrighted material, but I'm not absolutely sure.  However,
copyright of letters would be governed by the same copyright
expiration rules as any other copyright, so if you happened to have
a packet of family letters that was 100 years old, you could use
them with impunity.

Q: Do I have to get permission to write about an actual event in

I'd like to include a real event -- a Kentucky Derby -- in my
story.  Do I have to get permission to do so?  The events were
covered in the newspaper.

A: Generally speaking, there are no laws against referencing actual
events in a work of fiction.  In fact, a great deal of fiction
references actual events, historical events, etc.  Accuracy is
important, but you do not have to have "permission" to make such a
reference.  If the names of the horses and of the jockeys are on
public record, you can use them as well.

The question is how you intend to use them.  If you intend to use
this information in the "background" of your story, then you have
no problems.  For example, let's say that your novel is about a
couple who attend a race at Churchill Downs on a particular day. 
The story is about the couple -- let's call them Mary and Joe --
and what they're doing.  Maybe they're initiating a romance, maybe
they're solving a murder; it doesn't matter.  On that day, they go
to the races, where certain horses are running, ridden by certain
jockeys. It's a historical detail that lends realism to your story.
 However, the story isn't about the horses, jockeys, race, etc. --
it's about whatever is going on with your characters, who just
happen to be there.

On the other hand, if you're trying to include elements of the race
in your story -- e.g., one of the jockeys becomes an actual
character -- then you have problems.  There are laws about writing
about living people -- most people are protected by privacy laws
and cannot be written about without their permission.  So it would
be unwise to incorporate one of those actual jockeys into your
story by, say, having Mary or Jo enter into a fictional
conversation with this person.  If you're writing a murder mystery,
I certainly wouldn't make one of the real-life jockeys a suspect! 
(You could probably get away with the horse, however...)  If the
story actually involves the race, or jockeys at the race, invent a
fictional jockey who happens to be on the scene for any necessary

Note the difference here -- one example is using the Derby as a
historical background to a fictional scenario.  Since anyone could
look up that historical event and get the same information, it's
"public record" and you can certainly write something like "Mary
cheered until she was hoarse as Jockey So-and-So swept to the
finish on Faster-than-Light."  You can describe the horses, the
jockeys, the race, whatever.  Mary could even walk through the
stables before the race, admiring the horses, nodding to the
jockeys.  You can include known details that might have appeared in
other historical accounts -- maybe one of the jockeys has a
well-known habit of spitting, or carrying something for luck, and
Mary happens to see him putting his good-luck charm into his
pocket.  Just don't bring them into the fictional side of your
story, by turning them into characters that directly interact with
your fictional characters.

Copyright (c) Moira Allen 2008


Michelle Acker talks us through the benefits of joining a critique
group and Sean McLachlan is back to talk about E-Books from the
publisher's point of view. Plus Moira Allen dispenses valuable
advice in The Writing Desk.

Your next issue will appear in your inboxes on November 6th. 



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

DEADLINE: October 7th, 2008
GENRE:  Poetry
DETAILS: Any type or genre of poem, 500 words max.  
PRIZE: $50 Amazon gift card
URL: http://www.scribophile.com/contests/ 

DEADLINE: October 16, 2008
GENRE: Books
DETAILS:  Open to any professional or non-professional writer,
regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a
published traditional mystery, and is not under contract with a
publisher for publication of a traditional mystery.   Manuscripts
must be original works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten
pages or approximately 60,000 words).  See site for definition of a
traditional mystery.
PRIZE: $10,000 advance against royalties.
URL:  http://tinyurl.com/449kqa
DEADLINE: October 31, 2008
GENRE:  Short Stories
DETAILS: 4000 words max horror or Halloween story
PRIZE: $50 Amazon gift card
URL: http://www.scribophile.com/contests/ 

DEADLINE: October 31, 2008
GENRE:  Nonfiction
THEME:  The Best Advice I Ever Had, 750 words max.
PRIZE: $10 for no fee contest.
URL:   http://www.fundsforwriters.com/annualcontest.htm
EMAIL: hope@fundsforwriters.com

DEADLINE: November 1, 2008
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO:  US citizens and residents only.
DETAILS:  All writers applying for the Dzanc Prize must have a
literary work-in-progress they can submit for review, and present
the judges with a Community Service Program they can facilitate.
Such programs may include anything deemed "educational" in relation
to writing and much take place in the US.
PRIZE:  $5000 to be distributed in two payments.
URL:  http://www.dzancbooks.org/dzancprize.html
EMAIL:  info@dzancbooks.org

DEADLINE: November 1 2008
GENRE: Short Stories, Nonfiction, Poetry
OPEN TO: US Citizens.
DETAILS:  Book length unpublished manuscripts. Poetry prize open to
US citizens, prose and genre open only to legal residents of
Minnesota or NYC. 
PRIZE:  $1000 and standard book contract
URL: http://www.mnstate.edu/newriverspress/


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