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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 9:10            7,939 subscribers            May 21, 2009
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THE WRITING DESK - Portfolios, by Moira Allen
FEATURE: What Can A Good Editor Do For You, by Patricia L Fry  
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

EARN AN MFA IN WRITING through the brief-residency program at 
Spalding University in Louisville, KY. Call (800) 896-8941x2423
or email mfa"at"spalding.edu and request brochure FA90. For more 
info: http://www.spalding.edu/mfa
WRITERSCOLLEGE.COM has 57 online courses. Prices are low. If you 
can reach our web site, you can take our courses.
WRITE CHILDREN'S BOOKS. Learn how to become a published children's
book author.  Train with an experienced professional writer.  Free
writing aptitude test.  http://www.writingforchildren.com/G6454
skeptical at first, but today I average $75-$150 an hour writing 
for this lucrative but little- known market. Best of all, it gives 
me the freedom I need to focus on my first love: writing fiction.
* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
* Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter.
* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.



Your Voice is You

I don't know about you, but I hate the sound of my voice.  But
whilst there is nothing, apart from elocution lessons, that I can
do about my voice, I CAN change my writing voice.  But is that a
good idea?

I tried, recently, to write in a different voice because, well, I
was fed up with my writing voice.  Familiarity breeds contempt and
all that, so I thought I'd try a change.  Big Mistake.

I could not write as flowingly as usual in my 'new' voice.  It just
didn't work.  It seemed stilted and awkward and, to put it plainly,
it was simply no fun to work with. I found that if you try and
change your voice, you might succeed for a while, but it will
become increasingly harder to maintain the false voice.  In short,
you won't succeed by writing in any other voice than your own.  

And let's not forget, our voice is what our editors and readers are
used to.  None of us would like it if we found our favourite author
was suddenly writing in a completely different style. 

It takes us a long time, as writers, to find our voices, but once
we have them we need to remember that no matter how tedious or
dreadful our voices sound to us, whether written or spoken, our
voice is a HUGE part of what makes us US.

That's not to say you can't do things to improve your voice. After
all, singers do vocalisation exercises and we can do similar things
for our writing voice: work on grammar, try writing in different
genres, etc.  But when you've found your voice, don't try and mess
with it; otherwise, writing disaster will follow.   
-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor


CHILDREN'S WRITERS COMPETITIVE EDGE - 12-page monthly newsletter 
of editors' current wants and needs - up to 50 each month.  Plus 
market studies and genre analyses loaded with editors' tips and
insights into subjects and writing styles they're looking for 
right now.  Get a Free sample issue.


CROSSxCHECKING: Learn what you do wrong, and what you do right.
Critiques - writing exercises - line/copyedits - formatting.
Mention THIS AD for a special introductory offer:


THE WRITING DESK - Portfolios, by Moira Allen

How do you present samples of your work for an interview?

Q: I'm a journalism major and have a question about presenting my
work samples -- how do you suggest doing it? I've heard from
several prominent writers that leather binders with plastic page
sleeves are the way to go, but I can't find one anywhere. I've been
to OfficeMax and similar stores but have found none. Do you know of
any online stores I could buy one from? 

A: This is a good approach.  The binder and the page sleeves come
separately, and are often in very different parts of an office
supply store.  You can find excellent plastic sleeves now (forget
those old ones with the black paper inside) -- you can choose from
clear and non-reflective, light-weight and archive quality.  I use
archive quality, non-reflective sleeves, as these last longer and
are easy to copy through -- i.e., I can put the sleeve straight on
the copy machine to copy or scan my materials, so that I don't have
to remove them and handle them more than necessary.  Also, use the
sleeves that have the extra "hole-punch" strip on the side, rather
than those that are punched directly into the sleeve; that way, you
never have to put holes in your samples themselves.

Leather binders are a bit more difficult, and this is probably
where you're having a problem.  I bought mine probably 15 years
ago, and would hate to have to replace it, as leather binders are
now hard to find and very expensive.  You won't find them in the
"binder" section -- you'll find them in the briefcase/portfolio
section.  They often cost as much as $30.  Be sure to check the
quality of the binder rings -- you don't want to have a binder that
is loose, that lets your pages slip out, or that has rings that are
slightly offset and end up putting crimps in your sleeves.

When you put it all together, put your most impressive samples up
front, and the rest toward the back.  Since you're a journalism
major, I assume you're writing for newspapers; it's usually a good
idea to cut out your article and arrange it attractively so that it
will fit on an single sheet of paper (or several, if it is a long
article) and then photocopy it, rather than trying to use the
original.  Newspaper does not "keep" well, and articles are so
often strung out in long columns and continued across several
pages, which gives you a bunch of little odd-shaped bits.  When you
cut-and-paste it into a single page, it makes it much easier for
someone to read and review when glancing through your portfolio.

This type of portfolio also works well simply as a way to safely
archive your material.  Eventually, you'll probably want one
"display" portfolio that you take on job interviews, and another
simply for archiving your work.  (That one, of course, doesn't have
to be leather!)  It's also a great ego-boost!

Copyright (c) 2009 Moira Allen


WRITE MORE, WRITE BETTER by mastering the psychology of writing 
as well as the craft. Jurgen Wolff's book, "Your Writing Coach"
(Nicholas Brealey Publishing) takes you from idea through to
publication. Get it at Amazon, B&N or your local bookstore. For 
more information, go to http://www.yourwritingcoach.com



Get Involved with the Write Stuff 

Writers are being asked to support The Write Stuff, a reality TV
show where fourteen writers can compete for a book contract, an
extensive marketing plan, and other stuff. For writers and writing
communities there is a praise page where you can leave a comment
and your pic. There is also a page where authors who spread the
word and support the show can be listed with their link added. Blog
about it, add the link, tell your members, etc. Your name can be
added either by contacting Cyrus Webb, the host, at cawebb4"at"juno or
at Eller1236"at"aol.com.  Tell them what you did to help support the
show, who you are (author, publisher, etc.), and what link you
would like added. So far the show has over 100 markets in 44
states, so most people should be able to see it. There will be
other seasons and more opportunities for new writers to get a
start, not to mention more public awareness of how tough this field
is. Scott Sigler, the podcaster and newly minted NYT bestselling
author, now has a guest appearance. The judges are authors and
publishers and others. http://www.thewritestufftv.com/

Sue Grafton to Receive Top Mystery Writer Award 
Sue Grafton has been announced as the winner of the "First Lady of
Mystery" Award at the International Mystery Writers' Festival.
Grafton, who has also been named "Grand Master" of the Mystery
Writers of America, will receive the award at the festival, which
takes place at the Riverpark Center, Owensboro, Kentucky from
August 11 - 16.  The festival will also see the performance of four
Agatha Christie plays that were originally written for the BBC. For
more information on this story visit: http://www.newmysteries.org/

New York Times to Start Charging for Online Browsing
It appears that the end is in sight for free online browsing of the
New York Times. The management of the paper is said to be
considering two methods of charging, with the final decision to be
made at the end of June.  For more on this story visit:



Red Bull Searching for New Reporters 

Red Bull Reporter is a nationwide search to find the best young
music and culture writers, sports writers, filmmakers,
photographers and presenters, giving them the chance of a lifetime:
to use their skills and indulge their passions as a Red Bull
Reporter. The most talented young media makers could be selected
for one of many exciting assignments - each designed to give them
an amazing experience as a working member of the media - covering
world-class sports, cutting-edge music and innovative culture
events.  What's more, Red Bull events happen all over the world and
we'll be dispatching Red Bull Reporters out there to cover them!

Current assignments up for grabs on http://_ HYPERLINK
"http://www.redbullreporter.com" __www.redbullreporter.com_ include
a Paddock Pass to the Formula One Grand Prix at
Silverstone; a journey to the far North of Scotland to cover the
O'Neill Highland Open; backstage access to the Liverpool Sound City
festival to cover the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage; and the tough job
to cover the Red Bull Paper Wings paper aeroplane contest final in
Salzburg, Austria. Many more amazing assignments to be announced

Second Chance - Extended Deadline
We are accepting submissions for "LifeBytes... Real Stories of
Dating" (est. publication date Fall 2010).

Who doesn't love sitting around with friends and family over coffee
or a cocktail sharing stories about life, work and love? LifeBytes
is interested in YOUR online dating story. Make a cup of coffee or
stir up a cocktail and tell us your cyber dating adventures - the
good, the bad and the ugly! "LifeBytes... Real Stories" will be a
compilation of the true stories that singles love to share about
the ups and downs of searching for Prince (or Princess) Charming.

We are looking for evocative stories that can be funny, poignant,
provocative, scary, weird, sexy, edgy or happy. We're looking for
the full range of experiences that make online dating such an
adventure. Writers whose work is chosen for publication will
receive payment for their story in the range of $50-$100 (word
count-dependent). Our extended deadline is September 15, 2009.

For complete submission guidelines please visit our website at:

iPulpFiction.com - Looking for New Authors
iPulp publishes short genre fiction from authors such as Elaine
Alphin, Ben Bova, Royce Buckingham, Orson Scott Card, Bruce Coville,
David Lubar, and Gary Phillips. iPulp stories are 6,000-8,000 words
in length and can be read on a Mac, PC, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Because iPulp is committed to the resurgence of short genre fiction
and the introduction of new authors, we started the "New Voices"
program. We have assembled a network of editors and manuscript
readers to search for original stories by talented writers and
recommend the best stories for publication on iPulpFiction.com.

For our 2009 slate we are looking for middle grade, young adult, and
adult stories in these categories:

Mystery: Classic & Whodunits
Mystery: Noir & Hard Boiled
Sci-Fi: Society & Technological
Sci-Fi: Space & Other Worlds
Romance/Chick Lit

We will publish only a limited number of titles in each category
year, so competition will be rigorous. iPulp is particularly
interested in acquiring young adult and adult romance and chick lit
stories. We are looking for professionalism in submissions.
New Voices stories will appear with those of award-winning authors.

New Voices authors receive the same royalty rate as name authors --
40%,paid monthly.


Writer in Residence Vacancy London
Eltham College is seeking a published poet, novelist or playwright
to be a writer in residence and work with the English Department
for one term, three days a week. This part-time residency will
start in September 2009. 

This is a wonderful opportunity to be involved in encouraging and
teaching writing with creative, talented and enthusiastic students
across the age range (11-18). 

Further details are available from: 
Headmaster's PA
Eltham College
Grove Park Road
SE9 4QF.
Tel: 020 8857 5827

Contact Email: lbr"at"eltham-college.org.uk 
Deadline June 15 2009-05-16


FEATURE: What Can a Good Editor Do For You?
By Patricia L. Fry

Are you ready to start showing your manuscript around to
publishers? Are you sure? Is every i dotted and every t crossed? Is
your fiction story easy to follow? Is your how-to book
well-organized? Even if you feel inclined to respond with a
resounding YES to these questions, I still encourage you to hire
another pair of eyes. And make sure that those eyes belong to
someone who has a good track record as an editor.

What's the downside? Hiring an editor may delay your project by a
few weeks. And it may cost you $1,000 or more. But without an
editor, your manuscript could just end up a perpetual reject --
never having a chance to shine. 

Why Hire an Editor
Contrary to what many new authors want to believe, publishers will
not wade through a messy, disorganized, poorly written manuscript
in hopes of finding a good story in there somewhere. A blockbuster
story or a great nonfiction book idea will go unnoticed if the
writing stinks. Publishers want to see neat, clean, well organized,
well written manuscripts. With today's high level of competition
and limited publishing slots, hopeful authors must give the best
presentation they can. Hence, one of the biggest mistakes you can
make is not having your manuscript edited before sending it to an
agent or publisher. 

Even if you are self-publishing or going with a fee-based POD
publishing service, it's still a good idea to hire an editor to
take one last look at your manuscript. You may not realize it, but
once you've finished your book, you've lost your ability to be
objective. You've looked at the manuscript so many times -- you are
so familiar with it -- that you are now seeing what you want to
see. You've ceased noticing problem areas, even blatant mistakes.
Besides, you are accustomed to your way of speaking and writing. It
seems right to you. But is it appropriate in today's commercial

Do you have any idea what an editor could do for your manuscript? I
know two first-time authors who landed contracts with major
publishing houses only after getting editing help. One of those
manuscripts needed extensive work while the author of the other one
simply required some lessons in structuring more effective

How to Choose an Editor
If you've never worked with an editor before, you may feel
inadequate in choosing one. Hire an editor with whom you can easily
communicate. Locate one who has a track record. Read client
testimonials, ask for references and request a sampling of the
editor's work. Discuss fees and the time element. The best editor
for your project is someone who is familiar with your genre and/or
who knows something about the topic of your book.

What Could Possibly Be Wrong With Your Wonderful Manuscript?
What are some of the most common problems, mistakes and oversights
that editors (and, unfortunately, many publishers) see in
manuscripts today? Here's a list of 20 things that a good editor
looks for and often finds in manuscripts written by first-time or
otherwise inexperienced authors. 

1: Errors in using possessives. Heed the following:

It is the girl's ball. (The ball belongs to a particular girl.)

It is the girls' ball. (The ball belongs to more than one girl.) 

The ball belongs to those girls. (No need for an apostrophe.)

2: Inaccurate use of contractions. Read and learn:

"It's" is the contraction for "it is" or "it has." (It's hot today.
It's never been hotter.)

"Its" is the possessive form of it. (The butterfly spread its wings
and flew away.)

"Your" means this belongs to you. (This is your shoe.) 

"You're" is a contraction for you are. (You're terribly sunburned.)

"Whose" is the possessive of who. (Whose horse won the race?)

"Who's" is a contraction for who is. (Who's coming to dinner?)

3: Instances where the wrong words are used ("could of" instead of
"could have," for example.)

4: Redundancies. Some examples of redundant phrases are:

ISBN number 
two twins
widow woman
unmarried old maid
old, ancient antique

5: The overuse of words. A surprising number of writers use the
same words two times or more in a sentence or a paragraph. For
added interest, vary your choice of words. 

6: Too many sentences in the passive voice. Write stronger
sentences by using the active instead of the passive voice. For

Passive: He was taken into the police station.
Active: The officer arrested him on the spot and drove him directly
to the police station.

7: The overuse of clichés. It's tempting to use clichés in your
writing. I happen to like some of these familiar old sayings. But
they do make your writing rather stale. Find fresh ways to say
things such as:             

In the nick of time.
Let the cat out of the bag.
It's as plain as the nose on your face.

8: Qualifiers that weaken sentences. Many writers overuse what I
call qualifying words and phrases such as "very," "really," "in
other words," "on the other hand," "it seems to me," and so forth.
Here are some examples showing how these words and phrases can
weaken potentially good sentences:
9: Outdated phrases. Most of us glom onto favorite phrases and they
become part of our vocabulary. It's unwise, however, to make them a
part of your manuscript, unless, of course, they're used in
dialogue. If you can't think of fresh terms, use a thesaurus. 
10: Punctuation problems. First-time authors often lack punctuation
skills. And it is no wonder, because things keep changing. The rule
used to be two spaces after a period, question mark, colon and
other end-of-sentence punctuation. Today, it is one space. Get used
to this in everything that you write. It won't take you long to
make the switch. 

In America, quotation marks generally go outside of other
punctuation. When you see quotation marks inside the punctuation,
it may be a work generated in Europe or Canada. There are
additional rules when you're quoting inside the quotes. Keep a good
style manual nearby and use it.

The "em" dash used to dangle between two words. Now, the em dash
--which is traditionally the width of an M -- stretches between the
two words and connects them. To accomplish the em dash, type your
word, type two dashes, type the next word. The em dash is formed
when you hit the space bar after typing the second word. 

11: Muddy writing. Many authors today are what I call muddy
writers. I spend a lot of time trying to teach my clients to write
with more clarity. I tell them, "Write it so that someone from
outer space will grasp the meaning." Muddy writing occurs when the
author tries to say too much in one sentence. I consider it muddy
writing when the sentence doesn't make sense or is unclear. 

12: Incomplete sentences. Hey, that is one -- an incomplete
sentence, that is. And more people than you can imagine use them in
their manuscripts. In dialogue, it is generally okay. But
otherwise, make sure that you write complete sentences every time,
all the time. 
13: Lack of variation in sentence length and style. Good writing
includes sentences of many lengths and styles. Vary your sentences
for more pleasant reading.

14: Unnecessary words. Most writers are too wordy. Maybe this is
because we love words. It's sometimes painful to eliminate words
from our perfect manuscripts, but this surgery is often necessary.
As authors, we're often so attached to our work that we can't
identify, let alone, omit the superfluous words. A good editor,
however, is objective and can easily and skilfully do the trimming.
Following are some usually unnecessary words and phrases. Eliminate
these from your writing and see how much more effective it is:

As a matter of fact
It could happen that
It is interesting to note
It is possible that
In all likelihood 
Of course

15: A writing style that is confusing to the reader. Some authors
love to impress their readers with their extensive vocabulary. In
most cases, you'll only manage to confuse them. If you hope to go
mainstream with your manuscript, you'd better consider your
audience. Most readers do not want to work at reading. They want
the time they spend reading to be educational and/or enjoyable,
relaxing and entertaining. What tends to confuse readers or turn
them off? Unfamiliar words and complicated sentence structure.
16: Problems with the way dialogue is presented. Authors, I urge
you to read the type of books that you write. If it is fiction,
notice how the dialogue is handled. Here are two important rules
for using dialogue:

- Start a new paragraph when changing speakers.
- Use quotation marks to clarify that dialogue is taking place.
- Make sure the reader knows who's talking by adding speech tags. 
- Vary the speech tags. 
- Use appropriate attribution or speech tags in order to set the

17: Discrepancies in tense and person. Choose the tense and person
for your story or nonfiction book and stick to it. Most how-to
books are written in second person: you. Of course, it's okay to
shift to first or third person (I, me, my, we or he/she, they) when
offering an example or sharing an anecdote. Most novels are written
in first ("I" or third ("he/she") and the past tense; some are
written in present tense. Discover what works best for the material
you're writing and then maintain that tense/person throughout. When
you change tense or person, do so with clarity. The last thing you
want to do is confuse your readers.

18: Inappropriate paragraph breaks. Inexperienced writers often
create paragraphs that are much too long. They don't know where to
break them, so they don't. Here's a rule of thumb: Start a new
paragraph when you introduce a new topic, shift to a different time
or place, a new person begins to speak or you want to create a
dramatic effect. 

19: Transitioning troubles. Another difficulty common to new
writers is making an appropriate transition from one topic to
another -- from one paragraph to another. Seamless transitions help
to make your story seem more fluid. If you want readers to continue
along with your story, you must build adequate bridges designed to
lead them from scene to scene or from point to point. Sometimes all
it takes is a word or a phrase. In other instances, you'll want to
add a sentence to assist the reader in easing from one subject or
scene to the next.

20: Problems with organization. While some authors have natural
organizational abilities, others just don't know how to establish
the proper order of things. How important is the organization of a
book? You tell me. Would you like to read a suspense story wherein
the secrets are revealed before the mystery is presented? And you
would not appreciate a book on how to build a log cabin that has
you putting the roof on before the walls are up. If you are not
sure if you've organized your book in the most logical,
reader-friendly way, study books like the one you're writing. Then
hire a professional -- preferably an editor who is familiar with
this type of book.
As you can see, there's a whole lot more to think about when
writing a book than just writing down your thoughts or ideas.
Before sending your manuscript out to your choice of publishers,
make sure that your story or nonfiction work is ready to read. Hire
a pair of professional eyes to give it that final coat of polish. 

Copyright (c) 2009 by Patricia L. Fry

Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN. She is also the author of
The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. Read excerpts
from the many 5-star reviews this book has received this year at
http://www.matilijapress.com/mediacoverage.html. Order the revised
edition of this 366-page book AND the accompanying "Author's
Workbook" at http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. Visit
Patricia's informative blog at
For more advice on how to edit your pieces visit:  


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.



OurSimpleJoys - Writing
This site has some useful articles on aspects of the freelancing
life plus a good section for aspiring writers.  

Unpublished Guy
Parodies, nonsense, and other fiction related diversions for
procrastinating writers. Whether you are a casual or more active
writer, this site will meet your procrastination needs and ease you
into the writing mindset.

Poetry Through the Ages
An informative site that explains the history of poetry, introduces
its 18 forms and invites visitors to have a go and writing a poem
in each form.


CAN'T GET PUBLISHED? Be a Well-Fed Self-Publisher and make a 
living! Control the process and timetable. Keep the rights AND 
most of the profits.  Here's the step-by-step blueprint used to 
create a full-time living from ONE book!  By the award-winning 
author of The Well-Fed Writer. http://www.wellfedsp.com



This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers.
For a guide to more than 1000 writing contests throughout the
world, see Moira Allen's book, "Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide
to Writing Contests"

DEADLINE: June 1, 2009
GENRE:   Poetry
DETAILS: 1-3 poems, maximum 30 lines each on an urban or rural
theme. 1 submission per entrant, original works only. 
PRIZE: £300
URL:   http://www.coleridgepoetryprize.co.uk/index.html 

DEADLINE: June 30, 2009
GENRE:   Short Stories
DETAILS:  Science fiction, fantasy and dark fantasy stories of up
to 17,000 words.
PRIZE: $1,000 for first place. $750; $500.
URL:   http://www.writersofthefuture.com/rules.htm

DEADLINE: June 30, 2009
GENRE:  Short Stories/Nonfiction
DETAILS:  Original creative fiction and nonfiction written in
either English or Polish on any theme, 3000 words maximum
PRIZE: £100 & publication in an anthology. Two prizes, one for
English and one for Polish submissions.
URL:  http://tinyurl.com/p3dprb (Scroll down past the Polish for
the English version. 

DEADLINE: July 1, 2009
GENRE:  Poetry/Short Stories
DETAILS: 4,500 max poem or short story based on the Canda Verses.
There is no limit to the number of submissions per person.
PRIZE:  $50 and publication
URL: http://thecandaverses.wordpress.com/candaprize/

DEADLINE: July 1, 2009
GENRE:   Nonfiction
DETAILS:  Essays or nonfiction articles that combine warmth, humor,
wisdom and concern with social justice. Submit at least two
articles, preferably no more than 30 pages total. Work may be
previously published. 
PRIZE $5,000 stipend and one-month residency at Blue Mountain
Center in the Adirondacks
URL:   http://www.margolis.com/award/ 

DEADLINE: July 31, 2009
GENRE:  Short Stories
DETAILS: Write a 1000 - 3000 words short story on any ONE of 5
photographs and submit it in accordance with the rules for site
members or non-site members outlined on the web page. 
PRIZE: $100, books as second prizes plus promotional opportunities
particularly for bloggers 


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, by Ruth Mossing

Omnibus, by Sheri McGathy

Phone Call to SINATRA, by John Costello
Find these and more great books at

Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know:
just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach 60,000 writers a month with your product, service 
or book title, visit


Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com)

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial"at"writing-world.com)

Copyright 2009 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
Back issues archived at

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Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor