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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 9:22          9,758 subscribers         November 19, 2009
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THE WRITING DESK: Writing Contests, by Moira Allen
FEATURE: Yoga, Stretching and You, by Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz
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.


Different Strokes

I was at a party recently where I met another writer.  She is a
very successful gardening writer with several regular columns in
major newspapers and magazines and with a few books under her belt.
As she is in her early thirties I assumed she'd been writing since
university and asked if she had a journalism degree. 

It turned out that she'd only been writing three years.  She chose
gardening writing because it interested her and she wanted
something she could fit in around the children. So she came up with
a few article ideas and sent them to the major newspapers and
magazines because no-one had told her that beginners shouldn't. I
told her I was impressed with her achievements and she said she was
a "great believer in the follow-up phone call."

What?  I couldn't believe it!  This was the one thing I had been
told never to do -- to ring up an editor to see if they liked the
query.  But because this writer didn't know then 'rules' she didn't
know she was breaking them. 

No-one had told this writer that they couldn't approach a publisher
with a book idea and only a few clips under her belt, so she did
and got a book deal.

I wondered, as I made my way home, whether we sometimes let the
'rules' of our craft get in our way, whether we use them as excuses
for not pushing ourselves harder. Whether we hide behind the rules
and tell ourselves that we can't possibly approach this market, or
write this book because (fill in the blank). 

Of course there are some rules we need to stick to. Yes, we should
always ensure our queries are well written and appropriately
targeted.  Yes, we need to produce grammatically correct and
correctly spelled work.  But no, we don't need to limit our
horizons.  If we honestly think our work is good enough for a
market we've never tried before, that we've considered out of our
league, we should submit it. If it's good enough, as this writer's
was, it will get published; if it isn't, it will get rejected and
we'll need to work on our craft some more.  
I had asked her if she'd ever had any rejections. She said of
course she had.  Some people had said she'd never make it as a
writer.  She said she just ignored them and carried on writing and

Speaking with this writer reminded me of the words of Sinclair
Lewis, who wrote: "It is impossible to discourage the real writers
-- they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write."

But it also reminded me that there is no one way to make it as a
writer and the only thing that successful writers have in common is
that they always persevere. 

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor


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THE WRITING DESK: Writing Contests, By Moira Allen

Should you bother with writing contests at all?

Q: What is your opinion on writing contests?  After reading through
some of the sites you suggested, I'm not sure!

A: Different folks have different opinions.  Some people say that
one should never bother with contests that charge an entry fee, but
I don't agree; many reputable contests support themselves (and
their prizes) through such fees.  Literary and poetry contests, in
particular, exist only because they charge a fee.
On the other hand, other contests charge fees just to rake in the
money -- so it's important to be sure that you have some idea of
who the contest is run by.  Is it the first contest that has ever
been run?  Or has it been going on for several years?  Is it run by
an organization or panel, or by an individual?  I saw an ad for a
contest the other day that promised $10,000 in prizes -- but it was
run by one person, who would do all the judging, and who planned to
build the purse from entries.  I didn't think that sounded like a
good deal at all.
Some contests also charge what I consider excessive fees -- I'm
willing to go up to $10, but $25 seems ridiculous.  On the other
hand, an organization to which I belong charges $15 ($10 to
members), and I submit every year (a) because I know who they are
and that they are honest, and (b) I usually win in at least one
category!  I also know of a reputable organization that charges
$45, which seems a bit steep under any circumstances -- but I do
know that they aren't a scam.
My bottom line is: Never submit to a contest unless you've done
some research.  But don't be scared off by folks who are afraid of
any contest that charges a fee.  Submit to contests that match your
interests, your expertise.  For instance, if you write sci-fi,
don't expect to impress the judge of a literary contest (and vice
Why do contests ask that you not put your name on the manuscript?

Q: I scanned through several contests available; each one demands
an entry fee and then asks for the author to NOT place his name on
one or more of the submitted copies requested. I don't understand
that request. How does one know if it's a scam?

A: The request to not put your name on a contest is standard --
this is actually known as "contest format," in fact.  The purpose
is to provide no identifying information to the judges that might
bias them toward (or against) a submission.  You'll find that most
contests do have this requirement.
I won a contest, but can't get my prize.  What do I do?
Q: In the fall, I entered a fiction contest. The judges were
well-known, distinguished authors.  I won first prize in the
"unpublished" category, which carries a $500 prize. The stories
were published online.  The editor informed us we were now eligible
for our awards... which would be presented at an awards banquet. He
stated in his e-mail that for those who could not attend, he would
mail us our checks. However, he kept asking us to accept "stock" in
the magazine, instead of the advertised cash prizes. After more
than a week passed and I'd received no check, I contacted him and
asked when we could expect payment. He said he never said he'd send
payment on a particular date, had several "deals" in the works,
that the magazine generally pays its writers in stock not cash,
that he had no money to pay the prizes, and that I should just be
patient. I sent him a copy of his own e-mail stating he'd send out
checks. He didn't reply. After I contacted a board member of the
university from which the contest is run, the editor sent me an
e-mail saying I was slandering him and damaging the reputation of
the magazine and to "desist." I understand that to advertize a
contest with cash awards, accept entry fees through the mail and
then cash them, but not pay the prizes, may be a form of mail

A: You assume correctly in that it is illegal to publicly advertise
cash prizes in a contest, announce the winners, and then fail to
deliver the prizes.  I do not know whether this qualifies as "mail
fraud" (though it seems to fall within the definition thereof). 
However, filing the mail fraud forms is not likely to get you your
money, even though it may put this person out of business.
Your best bet is to contact a lawyer who can handle this type of
issue and have the lawyer formally request your payment.  Often, a
letter on a legal letterhead is enough to scare an individual into
making payment.  You can, of course, pursue the matter further --
but actual legal proceedings would likely cost more than your
You could also pursue this matter in small claims court.  I don't
know what the cap is (and it may vary from state to state), but
$500 is certainly within the bounds of small claims court.  The
problem is, you would have to do so (I believe) in the state in
which the defendant resides, rather than in your own state. 
However, I could be wrong about this -- check with the small claims
court jurisdiction in your area to find out complete details.  As
you have quite a good "paper trail" to substantiate your claim,
this could be the easiest route to reclaiming your prize.
BTW, I have seen a case of this kind in a "People's Court" type of
TV show, which is hardly what I'd consider the best sort of legal
advice, but it did reinforce my statement above that one cannot
legally advertise a prize and then fail to deliver that prize to
the winner. 

Copyright (c) 2009 Moira Allen

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UK Government Pushes Ahead With Big Brother Plan 
The Home Office has confirmed that it intends to push through
legislation so that it can keep a record of every phone call from
cell phones, every text message sent and received, every email sent
and received and every webpage visited by every member of the
population. So be careful what you send to friends in the UK as it
could well be read. The measure, which seriously infringes our
rights to privacy under European Law and which is opposed by even
the Information Commissioner, is being pushed through under the
auspices of preventing terrorism.  For more on this story visit:

New Site Set for Fashion Freelancers
The Online Fashion Agency will not only carry trade and consumer
news about the fashion industry, but will also carry a section
called the Talent Pad, where freelancers can promote themselves in
order to gain commissions.  The site is also looking for
freelancers who want to gain experience in writing fashion, retail
and business articles. To find out more on this story visit:

Agreement Reached In Google Online Book Settlement
It was a close-run thing, but Google and the Author's Guild just
managed to meet their deadline of midnight on Friday November 13 to
reach a settlement.  Under the agreement the Google Books program
would only apply to books published in the US, the UK, Canada and
Australia as these have a similar legal heritage and publishing
practices. Any copyright holders who had their book published or
filed for copyright by the 5 January 2009 will be covered under the
new agreement.  For more on this story visit: 


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Rock & Gem Magazine Call For Submissions
In particular they are looking for field-trip and step-by-step
articles on all aspects of rock collecting.

Quilters Newsletter Seeking Articles
Quilters Newsletter is a specialized publication for quilt lovers
and quiltmakers. Its domestic and international readership of
approximately 200,000 includes professional and nonprofessional
quiltmakers, quilt collectors, historians, and teachers. They
welcome article submissions. Rates depend upon what they buy. View
website for details.

Ocean Magazine Call for Submissions
Ocean publishes stories, articles, essays, and poems about the
ocean -- scientific, creative, environmental, recreational,
spiritual -- in keeping with its celebration and protection of our
ocean. Next submission deadline: January 15 2010. 


feedback and revisions.  Hone your skills through online courses, 
personal mentoring, free lessons and loads of tips on developing 
original, well-crafted writing from novelist/university instructor/
mentor Pearl Luke.  http://www.be-a-better-writer.com


FEATURE:  Yoga, Stretching and You
By Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

Most writers do not sit in cafes writing their hearts out on paper
napkins or hide away in garret apartments pounding on old
typewriter keys.  In fact, once the computer age dawned, we found
ourselves spending hours sitting in front of computer screens, lost
in our stories and articles.
If you're like me, hours of sustained keyboard work may leave you
with tender hands, an aching neck, tight shoulders and eye strain,
not to mention the throbbing hips and stiff knees.  As a former
practitioner and teacher of yoga and now an office manager
responsible for the well-being of the office staff, I've learned a
few techniques to ease those aches and pains.
While ergonomically designed work-spaces will ease some of the
discomfort, this is only the beginning.  Even if your chair is at
the right height, your keyboard situated so your wrists are flat,
and your monitor just at the right eye level, you may still find
yourself fatigued at the end of a long work session.         

The human body is designed to move.  When it's confined, muscles
tense up, and this causes blood flow to be reduced.  Staying in one
position too long may cause not only stiffness and soreness, but
even numbness.  
To keep your mind alert and your body healthy, make yoga stretches
part of your work practice.  Yoga is an ancient practice designed
to bring your body, mind and spirit into balance. Its practice
involves physical postures (asanas) to maintain the body, mental
techniques (meditation) to discipline the mind, breathing exercises
(pranayama) to increase energy, and relaxation techniques to reduce
stress. While you may not be interested in becoming a dedicated
yoga practitioner, many of the warm-up stretches used in yoga
classes are beneficial to those of us with sedentary jobs. Plan
your work time so that you can take breaks to do the following
exercises.  Some you can do them sitting at your desk while others
should be practiced standing up. 
Hand and Wrist Tension
To relieve tension in your hands and wrists, begin by holding one
hand in a fist in front of you; slowly open each finger in
sequence, then close slowly in sequence.  Repeat once slowly, then
repeat once quickly.  Repeat the entire sequence with the other
hand.  Finish this exercise with both hands held out in front of
you and repeating the above sequence.
Next, hold both hands in front of you, limp-wristed.  Circle one
hand clockwise slowly several times, then counter-clockwise slowly.
 Follow this quickly in each direction.  Repeat with other hand,
then with both hands.
Lastly, with your hands held in front of you, separate and
straighten your fingers until you can feel the stretch.  Hold this
position for ten seconds.  Relax your hand, then bend your fingers
at the knuckles and hold for ten seconds.
Arm and Shoulder Tension
Now that your hands are loosened up, try one or more of the
following arm and shoulder exercises.  Rotate the right shoulder
forward four times, slowly, inhaling on the first rotation and
exhaling on the second.  Follow this by rotating the right shoulder
backward four times, slowly, again inhaling on the first rotation
and exhaling on the second.  Then, with normal breathing, rotate
the right shoulder forward four times quickly and backward four
times quickly.  Repeat all of the above with the left shoulder. 
Complete the exercise by repeating the entire sequence with both
shoulders at the same time.
Inhale as you raise the top of your shoulders toward your ears
until you feel slight tension in your neck and shoulders.  Exhale,
breathe normally and hold this position for three to five seconds,
then relax.  Repeat two to three times.
With your fingers interlaced behind your head, and your elbows out
to the side, pull your shoulder blades toward each other to create
tension in the upper back and shoulder blades.  Hold for ten
seconds, then relax.  Repeat five times, breathe normally.
Hold your left arm, at shoulder height, with your right hand
between your wrist and elbow (do not push against your elbow). 
Stretch your left arm to the right side of your body.  As you
stretch to the right, slowly turn your head to the left.  Inhale as
you turn your head, hold for five seconds, then exhale as your head
returns to center and your release your arm.  Repeat with your
right arm, held by your left hand, as your head turns to the right.
Interlace your fingers in front of you, inhale, then straighten
your arms with your palms facing away from you and exhale.  You
should feel the stretch in your arms, and upper back through the
shoulder blades.  Now inhale again and stretch your arms above your
head with your palms still facing away from you.  Hold for ten
seconds, exhale and lower your arms to your sides.
Neck Tension        
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and eyes
closed.  Perform the next exercise very slowly, deliberately and be
very relaxed.  Use slow deep breaths.  Keep your shoulders limp and
free of tension.  Lower your head, bringing your chin toward your
chest.  Inhale and raise your head, tilt it back as far as
possible, keeping your mouth closed.  Gently open your mouth to
allow the head to tilt back a little farther.  Close your mouth,
exhale and return your head to your chest. Do not stretch to the
point of pain.
With your head held straight, inhale and lower your head sideways,
bringing the right ear towards the right shoulder.  Exhale and
return your head to center.  Inhale and lower the left ear toward
the left shoulder.  Exhale and return your head to center.  Hold
the stretch for about 10 to 20 seconds.  Do not overstretch. 
Perform two to three times on each side.

Waist and Side Tension
For a quick side stretch, you can do a modified spinal twist while
sitting in your chair.  Sit with your left leg bent over the right
leg.  Place your right hand or forearm against the outside of the
upper left thigh.  Inhale and raise your left arm in front of you
to shoulder height.  Now exhale as you bring your left arm around
behind your chair.  Follow your arm with your head.  If possible,
bring your left hand around the back of the chair to touch the
right side of your waist.  Don't overstretch, just go as far as you
can.  Breathe normally as you hold the position for about fifteen
seconds.   Inhale as you raise your left arm.  Exhale as your bring
your arm and head around to front center.  Repeat on the right
Knee And Hip Tension
To release strain in your hips, stand up with your arms by your
sides and your feet spread apart so they are in line with your
hips.  Inhale while bringing your arms to shoulder height, thrust
your pelvis slightly forward, exhale as you stretch to the left,
then bring your right arm over your head and parallel to the floor.
Your left hand will rest against your thigh or below your knee for
support. Hold for ten counts, breathing normally.  Inhale as you
return to a standing position. Exhale bringing your hands to the
side.  Repeat as you stretch to the right.  
Next, follow the above exercise, but allow the pelvis to rotate.
This time, inhale, bring your arms up to shoulder height, exhale,
twist at your waist and bring your right hand down to grasp your
left ankle, turn your head and look up at your left arm which is
straight up, rather than parallel to the floor.  Breathe normally.
Inhale up, exhale arms down. Repeat to the right.
A popular stretch for the hips and knees is done by getting down on
your hands and knees.  Keep your back flat.  Inhale as you raise
your head and right leg, exhale as your bring your head down and
bring your right knee towards your nose. Return to starting
position. Repeat by stretch using your left leg.  
To release tension in your knees, stand up, then move to a sitting
position, with your hands resting on your knees. Using your hands
to guide your knees, rotate your knees in five small circles
clockwise, then five small circles counter-clockwise.  Repeat the
exercise making larger circles.  Do five slow circles of each,
followed by five fast circles. Use normal breathing throughout the
Feet and Toes
Take off your shoes and stand up.  Inhale as you raise your arms in
front of you, parallel to the floor.  Raise up on your toes, hold
your breath and tiptoe 90 degrees to the left, then tiptoe back.
Exhale, then lower your arms and heels to the floor.  Repeat by
tiptoeing 90 degrees to the right.
Eye Strain
Complete your stretches and relaxation with these simple eye
exercises.  Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight,
your head level and unmoving.  Breathe normally throughout the
Begin with your eyes gazing straight ahead. Look up to the right as
far as possible, then swing your gaze to up left as far as possible
and return to center.  Next from center look right as far as
possible, then left as far as possible and return to center.  From
center look down right as far as possible, then to down left as far
as possible and return to center.  Repeat each three times and
return to center.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply and rest.
Starting with your gaze at down right, swing to up right and back
three times.  Then go to down center, swing your gaze up center and
back three times. Finish by starting your gaze at down left and
swinging it up left three times. Close your eyes, take a deep
breath, release, and rest.
This time you will shift your eyes from upper right to lower left
and back three times, then from upper left to lower right and back
three times.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax.
Lastly, rub your hands briskly together for several moments till
they feel warm, then cover your closed eyes with your warm palms. 
Slide your hands downward and gently caress your eyelids with the
tips of your fingers.  Do not apply any pressure.
While many exercise routines tout "no pain, no gain," with yoga
stretches, you work to avoid pain.  Only stretch as far as is
comfortable.  If something hurts, stop immediately.  If you have
persistent, ongoing pain, check with your doctor before performing
any exercises.  When performed properly, these exercises will help
to clear your mind, loosen tight muscles, and ease your aches,
giving you the ability to work your craft, stress-free.


Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 80 articles, 60 
stories, two e-books, a chapbook, and her stories have been
included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and 
children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children's 
publications and non-fiction work has appeared in a variety of 
writing, parenting,and young adult print magazines and on line 
publications.  Her writing blog 
is available at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/
Her middle grade novel Ghost for Rent, in trade paper back is
available at 
and as an eBook at
http://store.fictionwise.com/servlet/mw?t=book&bi=8656&si=42. Her 
chapbook, Dragon Sight, is available at Dragon Sight
Copyright (c) 2009 by Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

For more information on keeping healthy whilst you write visit: 

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The Self-Editing Blog, by John Marlow
One of the clearest and most readable selections of editing,
grammar and usage tips that I've come across in a long time.  It
has some great articles on "using the wrong word" that I wish some 
of my favorite authors (or at least their copyeditors) had read.

This site has a very useful free advice section that covers writing
fiction, poetry, books, manuscript lengths and finding agents. 

A site where you can post you work for feedback but also one that
has many articles on the craft of writing and carries many
interviews with famous writers.  


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 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: November 30, 2009
GENRE: Books
DETAILS: All books, short stories, television shows, and films [and
plays] in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are
eligible in their respective category if they were published or
produced for the first time in the U.S. during this calendar year.
Books from non-U.S. publishers are eligible if they are widely
distributed in the U.S. and are readily available on the shelves in
brick-and-mortar stores for the first time during the judging year.
Works should be submitted by the publisher, but may also be
submitted by the author or agent.   
PRIZE: Prestigious award
URL:  http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=Edgars-Forms

DEADLINE: November 30, 2009
GENRE: Short Stories, Nonfiction 
DETAILS:  It may deal with a travel journey to a new place, time
travelling, revisiting one's past, visiting a lost love or a new
one, or an inner journey. Travel reports can be as much about one's
internal navigation of their emotions as a physical voyage. Or
maybe you want to narrate about your imaginary journey to Mars?
Story no longer than 25 BookRix pages.  You must register as an
author to enter the contest, but registration is free. 
PRIZES: $1000, $500, $300 
URL:   http://tinyurl.com/ydgraho 

DEADLINE: December7, 2009
GENRE: Books
DETAILS:  Submit the first chapter of your NaNoWriMo novel.  
PRIZE: $50 Amazon Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card 
URL:  http://www.scribophile.com/contests/nanowrimo-09/

DEADLINE: December 21, 2009
GENRE:  Poetry 
DETAILS:  "Edgy, exciting poems touching in any way on Jewish
women's experience." Contest is open to both male and female
authors, but entrants should familiarize themselves with the
magazine, which is geared toward Jewish women. Entries need to have
both feminist and Jewish content.  Submit 1 - 3 poems, max 100
lines each.
PRIZE: $150 
URL:  http://www.lilith.org/writers.htm  

DEADLINE: December 31, 2009
GENRE:   Short Stories
OPEN TO:  Authors with no published novels or short novels. 
DETAILS:  17,000 words max short fantasy, sci-fi or horror story.  
PRIZE: $1000 each quarter, one winner also receives annual $5000
grand prize        
URL: http://www.writersofthefuture.com/index2.htm

DEADLINE: December 31, 2009
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS:  5000 word max story which must pertain to a facet of the
Thoroughbred industry (horse racing, breeding etc).   
PRIZE: $600, $300, $200 winners published in magazine. Honorable
mention winners who are published will also receive a cash prize 
URL: http://tinyurl.com/y86vtyx

AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

The Public Domain Publishing Bible - by Andras Nagy

Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests - 2010 
by Moira Allen

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.


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

Copyright 2009 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
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