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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 9:16           8,957 subscribers           August 20, 2009
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THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK - Patience is a Necessity, 
by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITING DESK, Worldbuilding - by Moira Allen
FEATURE: Feeling Guilty About Writing Too Much for Too Little?
Shed the Guilt, Discover the Rewards, by Susie Yakowicz
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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* Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter.
* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.

Patience Is Not a Virtue; It's a Necessity

In her last editorial Moira spoke of the importance of good grammar
when it comes to writing.  Grammar is indispensable when it comes
to getting clips and commissions, but another aspect of the writing
life is equally vital and that is patience. 

Over at newbiewriters -- yes I'm still there but that is a long
story -- I deal with new and beginning writers every day.  The
hardest thing for many of these new writers to grasp is that
patience is not just a virtue; it is a necessity if you are to
succeed as a writer. 

I have lost count of the number of times new writers have given up
on their career after a matter of weeks or months because they have
not yet had any success.  Some of them start to complain to me, or
worse, to the editors to which they have sent their queries or
submissions, because they haven't heard anything.  Some of them
start to get angry if they've had to wait a matter of weeks.  

Many of them are so convinced of the value of their article that
they don't even see the need to send a query letter first. So
convinced are they that they have just written the best article
ever on this particular topic that they don't see why the editor
won't just want to buy it exactly as it is, never mind whether or
not it fits in with the house style or length. 

Some of them write diatribes to me condemning the whole writing
world as a sham, a closed business and an area where they believe
no newcomers can ever succeed.  

But writing is a craft and a trade and one that has to be learnt. 
True, a very talented few do find homes for their first queries to
top magazines on their first attempt.  But they are the exception,
not the rule.  The rule, however unpleasant it may be, is that most
of us need to keep slogging on, churning out ideas and well crafted
queries day after day, week after week and even month after month
before we get any nibbles from editors. 

Writing is not a get-rich quick scheme. For most of us it is never
a way to get rich at all, but a calling, a need that we have to
satisfy by patiently improving our craft and slogging on. 

Whilst many of us experienced writers know this in our hearts, we
too can be affected by a lack of patience.  If we have previously
found homes easily for our work, the current slowdown and its
effect on sales can be a shock to our system.  We can feel
affronted that we are being dealt with as amateurs and get angry
and lose any chance of goodwill with that particular magazine, or
we can patiently keep on working, realising that there is no such
thing as an easy sale in this economy.  

Patience and a determination to see things through will not only
help us through the current hard times but, as we keep on silently
working away and being professional and patient with editors, it
will also help us in the good times too. 

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor

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


THE HERO'S JOURNEY: Ever wanted to be able to structure a
best-selling story or novel around your character's hero/heroine?
The Hero's Journey is the way to do it. 


THE WRITING DESK - Worldbuilding, by Moira Allen
Q: When writing sf/fantasy, should I build my world or develop my
plot first?

I am trying to write this book which is a fantasy and at the moment
I am stuck.  The thing that is holding me back is I am trying to
figure out if I have to have the culture, geography and little
details on things like dress, language and what-not FIRST or if I
should just write and go back and flesh out the details.  Being the
perfectionist that I can be, I think I want all the details
first... but I also am beginning realize that I am losing the
feeling of the story waiting for the details to come through. 

A: As you correctly noted, you could spend forever putting together
the details of your world -- what people wear, what they eat, etc.
-- and never get your novel written. On the other hand, if you
haven't worked out some of these details in advance, you'll find
that as you write, you may have problems with consistency.  You may
also find that you don't know where things are -- for example, you
may want a character to move from point A to point B in your world,
but if you haven't defined the geography in your own mind, you
won't know what that journey entails.  Will your characters travel
through forests, across rivers, over mountains? Will the
countryside look the same on the way back?

Worldbuilding is important.  I have very little patience with
novels that don't take care in building a "real" (i.e., realistic)
world. Many fantasy novels don't; they rely on the idea that the
reader already has a mental image of what the classic western
medieval fantasy universe looks like.  Often, that image is wrong
-- in the heads of both the writer and the reader.  I like authors
who do their homework.

One step you may want to take is to look at some novels that do a
very good job in worldbuilding.  George R.R. Martin's "Clash of
Kings" books come to mind (A Game of Thrones is the first of three,
with a fourth on the way). Kate Elliott also does some exquisite
worldbuilding in her "Jaran" novels (which are technically SF but
read more like fantasy).  You might also try The Golden Key, by
Elliott et al. - another fascinating example of building a
believable culture.  (On the flip side, don't read Anne McCaffrey
for world-building -- if you start to examine her world, you find
that it ends up full of contradictions as the novels progress. 
Good story, bad planning.)

Another step to take is to define the aspects of your world that
will be most important to your novel.  What people wear is probably
going to be of minor importance -- but issues of geography,
culture, and weapons may be very important.  What are the social
structures of your world?  How do people of a higher class relate
to those of lower classes?  If your world has uppity peasants,
you'll need to explain why they don't just get gutted the first
time they sass a lord.  How are social customs maintained?  I.e.,
what is the justification for the power of the upper classes?  Is
it religious (God made us noble), or simply through might and
Fantasy readers are often well versed in weaponry, so you'll want
to make sure that the weapons you use are consistent with one
another -- and workable.  For example, no woman is going to pick up
a broadsword for the first time and start swinging it for an hour,
and then put it down just slightly winded.  A heavy sword can weigh
20 to 40 pounds -- try slinging even a ten-pound sack of potatoes
in the air for any length of time and you'll get the idea.  Find
out how weapons work -- is it really that easy to stab someone or
cut off a head?  If you don't know, you can be sure you'll run into
a reader who does (and will eagerly point out your lack of
knowledge).  How heavy a bow can a woman draw, if she has never
drawn a bow before?  And what can she do with that bow?  What kind
of bow is needed to pierce armor?  (And what does this mean to your
social structure?  Armor-piercing arrows and longbows were decried
by the church when they were first invented, because they allowed
commoners to kill knights in armor -- something that seemed to
violate the social order imposed by God.)

The types of questions you'll need to ask are many -- and you may
find that it's not so much a "writing" class that you want to look
for, but a class that will help you develop the type of world and
culture you want to create.  For that, you may want to poke around
online and look for more specialized classes that address some of
the specific fantasy-writing issues you're looking at.  

Another good idea: Join a discussion list or newsgroup related to
fantasy writing.  One of the nice things about such a group is that
it will generally have a host of experts on things like weapons,
and these folks are often willing to answer intelligent questions. 
What they won't do is go too far with a person who isn't doing
their own homework.  

Anyway, to get to the main question, whether you should write first
and fill in details later -- the answer is really, "can you
maintain a consistent story line without certain details in
advance?"  In some cases you can; in others, you probably can't. 
You'll know when you find yourself "blocked" because you really
don't know the answer to a question like "what's on the other side
of that hill" or "what kind of weapon will your heroine use to
defeat an enemy and how will she use it."  One option is to write
until you hit a block like that, and then do some research.  Or,
again, define the most pressing "detail" questions first -- the
things that are really going to matter in terms of plot -- and
"worldbuild" your answers before getting started on the actual

Meanwhile, it's always a good idea to do some other things, like
the articles and short stories you mentioned.  Getting out of your
novel and into a short story can really be an eye-opening
experience, because suddenly you can focus on something completely
different from the all-consuming world of the novel.  

Copyright (c) 2009 Moira Allen


TAKE COMMAND OF YOUR NOVEL--Bring a Novelist's Boot Camp to your
writing group! As featured at RWA National, Love is Murder
Mystery Con, RT, Duckcon SF Convention, and many more! Full- and
half-day workshops available. Find out more at


The Fight Over Google Book Search Continues
The National Writers' Union has stepped into the fight with Google
over its plans to digitize all books and reproduce them online. The
Union, which represents 1,500 freelance writers, is extremely
annoyed by the terms that seem to have been agreed between the
Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers and Google
to settle the 2005 lawsuit.  The National Writers Union says that
this deal is "grossly unfair" to all writers.  For more on this
story visit:  http://tinyurl.com/mtma5b

Dan Brown Set to Revitalise Ebooks?
Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol," could according to his
publishers, help to increase the popularity of ebooks.  The book,
which comes out on September 15, already has one of the largest
print runs in publishing history with 6.5 million copies, and in
what many see as a publishing first, it will be made available in
digital format on the same day. It is hoped that the demand for
this book will help to revitalise interest in ebooks and ebook
readers. To find out more about this story visit: 

Recession a Boom Time for Romance Authors
Yes, the economy is sluggish and book sales across the board are
down, but for romance writers the gloomier real-life is, the higher
their sales figures go.  Last year romance outstripped all other
genres to be the number one bestseller. According to this very
interesting article, romance authors can earn up to $100,000 per
book and many of them 'fell' into writing accidentally. For more on
this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/q4hsea


Stories Without Traveling, by Jack Adler, specialist in consumer
travel reporting. Examples of published articles, sample topics,
how to develop a specialty, write queries, use your background and
area plus much more. 288 pp, $14.95.  


CROSSxCHECKING: Editor with over 10 years experience with online
publications! Critiques of writing strengths and weaknesses -
readings & exercises - line/copyedits. Don't take our word for it.
Read one of our critiques at http://crossxchecking.blogspot.com


Golf Writers Wanted
GolfLink is looking for freelance golf writers to contribute to its
website.  Pay is between $15 and $20 per short article and payments
are made weekly.  For more on this job, including how to apply
visit: http://tinyurl.com/prlpgh

Expert Auto Writers Wanted
Are you an auto industry insider? Can you predict auto trends
months before they hit the public? Are you a car fanatic who loves
to write about everything cars, cars, cars? 

We are a web content company looking to hire freelance car writers
to write dozens of newsletter articles a month on brand-specific
car models for very demanding, car-savvy clients. You need to have
a thorough understanding of the auto industry, be able to speak car
talk, and have time to research the latest car trends. You will
need to articulate your findings in well-written articles of 750
words or less and motivate readers to visit dealerships. 

The right candidates can tailor their writing to connect with
specific car buyers -- whether it's a safety-first Volvo driver or
a trendy BMW metrosexual. The ability to meet tight deadlines and
perform one to two rewrites is a must. 

Pay is competitive and there is steady work for those who can prove
they are the right fit. Please send your resume to the address
below and include three links to car-related writing samples.

Racy Pages Surprise Anthology
Nearly everyone loves surprises -- especially sexy ones. A surprise
can make you feel special, cared for, and if it includes
anticipation, tingly in all the right places. Surprises can be
planned and carefully executed or completely unexpected, but the
irresistible thing they all have in common is that split-second
jolt of adrenaline when you realize things are not what they

For this anthology we are seeking erotic fiction, rhyming poetry,
and 100 word flashers.  The deadline is December 1, 2009
Stories in this anthology will capture the sensations of surprise
-- even if the surprise isn't a good one. Your story should be
crafted to arouse, yet contain layers beyond the sex scenes.
Language should be explicit and the heat level the same as that
found in other contemporary erotic anthologies. Stories that appeal
to men and women in their 20s and 30s are preferred.

A variety of themes are welcome, including: urban life, the strange
and weird, rural settings, ethnic characters, humor.  In addition
to short fiction, we are looking for rhyming poetry and 100-word
flashers to include in the anthology. Stories will be previously
unpublished and most will fall between 1000-5000 words
Payment is $100/story, $50/poem, and $10/flasher, plus two copies
of the book. 

Send submissions pasted into an email or attached as an .rtf or
.doc with SUB at the beginning of the subject line. Please include
your real name, pseudonym, your bio, and your mailing address with
your submission.
Email submissions to: surpriseanthology [at] gmail [dot] com


UNPUBLISHED GUY - The Sir John Franklin of fiction writing. 
Follow this *nearly serious* journey to getting published and
learn from his failures. In this week's diversion unpublished guy 
searches for a suitable writing contest for his aberrant writing.

FREE Article-Writing Course Orientation. Taught by 35-year veteran
writer and author Patricia Fry. Learn how to establish an
article-writing career. Promote your nonfiction book through
magazine articles. First lesson of this 6-week online
article-writing course FREE - no obligation to sign up. For more
information: http://www.matilijapress.com/course_magarticles.htm 
Questions? PLFry620"at"yahoo.com


FEATURE: Feeling Guilty about Writing Too Much for Too Little?
Shed the Guilt, Discover the Rewards

By Susie Yakowicz

You receive a meager check in the mail for a piece that took weeks
to write and months to sell. Suddenly, your stomach twists and your
mind fills with remorse. You know the feeling well. It's guilt, and
it comes on when you think you've spent too many hours writing for
too little in return. Last week, it struck after a particularly
long writing session that yielded less than a paragraph. Maybe I
should be doing something more worthwhile, you tell yourself. Maybe
I'm just wasting time.
Sound familiar? If so, rest assured that you're not alone. Every
writer has probably felt this way at least once. (Imagine how J.K.
Rowling felt scribbling the night away as a single, broke mom.)
Luckily, there is good news. Although guilt can lurk inside you and
threaten your writing future, it can't do any harm if you don't let
it. In fact, by learning to overcome that unfounded notion that
you're wasting time writing so much, you can shed the guilt once
and for all--and discover the rewards. Here's how: 

1. Think of your writing as a calling. 
You can't feel guilty about spending time doing what you were
destined to do. If you are "called" to write, then you should write
-- often! So go ahead. Give yourself all the time you need. And
don't worry about what you aren't getting in return. Instead, take
stock of what you are getting, especially those things that
inspired you to write in the first place: fulfillment, increased
knowledge, an outlet for creative expression, joy. Some day your
inventory could include a steady income or your name on a
best-selling book cover. For now, though, strive to improve your
writing. The better you get at your calling, the more success
you'll have down the road.  

2. Make a list of goals, short-term and long-term. 
A short-term goal can be as simple as sending out requests for
writer's guidelines, whereas a long-term goal might be finishing a
book manuscript or receiving a contract. The point is, by making a
list of goals and working your way down that list, you'll be able
to see how "unwasted" your time really is. With each item you cross
off, keep in mind that many people never reach even one of their
goals. Be proud, then, of all your accomplishments -- they lead to
big rewards. Another thing about goals is you can never achieve too
many of them. Once you finish one list, start tackling another.
It's a surefire way to keep guilt at bay.

3. Don't be afraid to tell people that you're a writer. 
Maybe your work has appeared in dozens of magazines or maybe you're
still waiting for that first acceptance. Either way, you write --
plain and simple. Why fret about spending so many hours trying to
be a writer when you actually are one? So if you're keeping your
craft a secret until you have big credits to back you up, try doing
this: Tell everyone that you're a writer now. It can't hurt, but it
can help justify your time and, in turn,  alleviate your guilt. The
best part? By spreading the word, you might make some important
contacts or discover something new to write about. You could even
be offered an assignment or a speaking engagement. The
possibilities are endless once you go public.

4. Realize that, as a writer, you are being productive. 
According to the latest Wasting Time Survey conducted by
Salary.com, the average company employee spends 1.7 hours per day
on nonproductive activities, including socializing, surfing the
net, and taking long breaks. What makes writers different? For one
thing, most of us don't have coworkers around to distract us.
Besides that, the writing process takes time, which means we have
to make good use of every quiet hour in our day. Serious writers do
just that, even if it sometimes seems like we don't. Truth is,
whether you're cranking out pages at breakneck speed or taking an
hour to construct the perfect lead paragraph, you are being
productive. Next to the average company employee, you have no
reason to feel guilty. 

5. Consider all the people who can benefit from your writing. 
Most writers don't write for themselves; they write to be read by
others. And sometimes writers get more readers than they realize
--even when it comes to the unpaid projects. For example, if you
write and distribute a family history, not only will immediate
family members read it, so will extended family members and
possibly friends. If you donate your book to a historical society,
many more might use it for research. Likewise, one children's story
published in a nonpaying e-zine can entertain and enrich thousands
of young people. The beneficiaries of your writing alone make the
time spent on it worthwhile, not wasted.

6. Share your talent through volunteer work. 
While we're on the subject of unpaid projects, probably the most
guilt-quenching thing writers (or anyone for that matter) can do
with their time is volunteer work. And it shouldn't be hard to
find. Does a local nonprofit organization or church need help with
its newsletter? Can you start one for your neighborhood? You could
also inquire about volunteering at one of the schools. Teachers
love it when writers come in to give a talk about what they do or
work with the students. Even telling family and friends to feel
free to call you with their writing questions is a worthy gesture.
Helping others with their writing needs also helps you, by giving
you visibility and a meaningful way to share your talent. 

One more thing. Remember the old adage "persistence pays off?" It
applies to writers too. Not only will your dedication and long
hours make you a stronger writer, you will also gain confidence and
respect, which can only increase your chances of becoming
successfully published, over and over. So get rid of the guilt and
get back to the keyboard. It's time to write!


Copyright (c) 2009 by Susie Yakowicz

Susie Yakowicz is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.
Her articles have appeared in dozens of publications for children
and adults. She has also written and published four historical
books. For more information, please visit her website at 

For more information on coping with the writer's life 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.



This is a great blog all about getting started as a writer online.
Written by Allison Whitehead, it shares tips and advice from her
own writing career.  Allison writes full time now, but started off
fitting in writing around her job. Check it out. 

WebSiteTips - Web Content
This is an informative site with tutorials and articles on how to
write web content, useful if you do want to write online.  

This intriguing site invites the world to co-write a novel.  It is
an interesting experiment where participants submit a "snippet" of
no more than 140 characters, and the best snippet is appended to
the unfolding story each day.  No personal information is
necessary, and there is no cost to participate.   


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: September 7, 2009
GENRE:   Short Stories
DETAILS:  Write a narrative piece, 1000 words maximum, in text,
video or audio format.
PRIZE: $250 and your story becomes the foundation of a movie
produced by TalentTrove.com. 
URL: http://www.talenttrove.com/whatsyourstory.

DEADLINE: September 13, 2009
GENRE: Nonfiction 
DETAILS: Travel article on Italy, in style used by Arttrav.com, on
a subject they have not already covered. 1000 words maximum. 
PRIZE: Various, see site for details. 
URL: http://www.arttrav.com/contest/

DEADLINE: September 30, 2009
GENRE:   Short Stories
DETAILS:  Do you love writing science fiction?  Then get your word
processors ready for the Computer Love Contest!  Write a science
fiction short story (under 3000 words) featuring the theme
"Computer Love."  Find a way to combine that warmest and fuzziest
emotion, love, with something cool and mechanical, and the rest is
up to you!
PRIZE: 1st $100 Amazon.com gift card, 2nd $50 Amazon.com gift card
URL: http://www.scribophile.com/contests/computer-love-contest/

DEADLINE: October 1, 2009
GENRE:  Poetry and Short Stories, Young Writers,
DETAILS: The contest has different categories of entry with
different maximum word counts for the short story:  middle school
1000 words, high school 1500 words, college 2000 words and adult
2500 words.  Stories can be on any theme.  There are no style or
length restrictions in the poetry contest. 
PRIZE: Cash prizes to be finalized. 
URL: http://www.autumnbookfestival.bravehost.com/contest.html

DEADLINE: October 1, 2009
GENRE: Erotic short Fiction
OPEN TO: 18+
DETAILS: Vampire-themed erotic short story between 500 and 4,000
PRIZE: Top 3 will receive $25 gift certificate and $10 payment and
be published online.  Next 11 also will be published and receive
URL: http://www.oystersandchocolate.com

DEADLINE: October 15, 2009
GENRE: Young Writers
OPEN TO: Ages 13 - 19
DETAILS: Honor a veteran by writing their story; 1000 words or
PRIZE: 1st prize is a 2010 summer camp experience, titled MISSION
QUEST at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia.  2nd
prize, $50.00.
URL: http://www.americanvetpowerof1.com/


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Democracy vs. Theocracy: The President and the Senate Will Decide
YOUR Future, by JoAnn MacDonald

Einstein's Question, by Steve and Deja Whitehouse

Ginger High, by Melissa Burmester

No Teachers Left Behind, by HBF Teacher

Perfect World: The First Chapters, by Gerry Hines

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.
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