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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 9:23          9,839 subscribers        December 3, 2009
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: by Moira Allen
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Review of the Year, by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE:  Slang and How to Sling it, by Randall Platt
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers, by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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Giving Thanks

I was going to try to whip together a traditional holiday homily
for this issue of the newsletter -- best wishes for the season and
all that.  Then Dawn sent me an article about the goings-on in her
part of the world, and I found myself looking back rather than
forward.  Or perhaps back AND forward...  Back to the Thanksgiving
celebration of a week ago, and forward to the season we associate
with hope and good-will and the sort of gifts that can't always be
wrapped and put under a tree.

This Thanksgiving, my husband and I were deeply aware of the many
things we have to be thankful for -- chief among them being the
fact that we are once again living in the United States.  As most
of you know, we spent 15 months in England, pursuing (but not
precisely living) a lifelong dream.  Those 15 months made us
appreciate so many things that, as Americans, we take for granted.

Freedom, for example.  One thing I've always taken for granted is
that if a civil authority (e.g., the police) wishes to enter my
home, a warrant is required to do so, issued by a judge and only on
presentation of "just cause."  Not so in England!  Any number of
"civil authorities," including social workers, council
representatives, "wheelie bin police," and quite possibly the
vegetable seller down the street can legally enter one's home for
any number of reasons (including things like whether you're
importing an illegal variety of potato -- which admittedly wasn't
something we worried about overmuch).  

The latest furor, however, has arisen over a proposal to allow
authorities to enter the homes of parents who are home-schooling
their children, to "inspect" the premises and ensure that they are
"safe" for this very "vulnerable" segment of the population.
(Apparently a child is considered unsafe in the home only during
"school" hours, as there has been no proposal to invade the homes
of parents who send their children off to a public or private
school.)  But it gets even better; now the British government has
proposed to require any parent who wishes to home-school a child to
undergo a criminal records check, to ensure that the parent has "no
record of violence against children." (Again, evidently only
parents who choose to teach their own children are considered
potential child abusers; just HAVING a child isn't enough to arouse
official suspicion... yet.) Oh, and by the way, the parent has to
pay for a criminal records check, to the tune of approximately $300
(last time I looked; it may have gone up by now) -- imagine paying
your government just to prove you have the right to educate your
own child!

Did I mention that our beloved newsletter editor home-schools her
daughter?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a potential criminal
on our staff, one who has already flagrantly defied the law of the
land by swapping child-care with a friend. (Yup, this is illegal in
England, because friends who swap child-care are receiving a
"benefit" for offering such care -- that benefit being getting
their OWN child cared for in return -- and they are therefore
operating a "business" without a license.  Presumably, too, it's
illegal to watch your friend's child without undergoing a criminal
background check -- because ANYONE who is involved in any sort of
business or volunteer activity that might get them within 100 yards
of a child must have one!)

So, looking backward, I am thankful beyond words that I live in
this country, which has such interesting little things as a
Constitution and a Bill of Rights.  But what, you may be wondering,
does this have to do with WRITING?  Well, a lot, if you think about

Because writing is, at the most fundamental level, about freedom. 
Countries that wish to restrict the freedoms of its citizens
invariably get around to restricting the freedoms of writers.  One
of those things that I DO take for granted is the freedom to write
what I want, without fear of having someone knocking on my door
late at night -- or worse, without the fear that someone has a
right not only to knock but to enter, without a warrant or anything
resembling "just cause."  

Governments that don't like freedom don't like writers -- because
writers have this nasty tendency to tell the world all about what
their governments are doing.  Frankly, I sometimes get tired of our
press complaining nonstop about our government -- but I will never
get tired of the fact that the press CAN complain!  

There is no power on earth as important as the freedom to be able
to say, and write, whatever you wish.  There is no gift so great
for writers to celebrate in this holiday season as the freedom that
we have, at least in this country, to WRITE.  That freedom means
that we have the power to speak up about things that we don't like
-- and the power to demand and make changes to the world in which
we live.  It is the gift that makes the difference between being
"citizens" rather than "subjects."  Many of us may never feel the
need to exercise the full power of this gift, but we should never
forget that we have it.  And we should also never forget those who

It's also something that we can pass on.  Whenever you help someone
develop their writing skills -- whether it's your own child, or a
total stranger that you've met through an Internet writers' group
-- you're passing on more than just the ability to craft a better
sentence.  You're passing on a gift of freedom.

Happy Holidays!
-- Moira Allen, Editor


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THE INQUIRING WRITER: Review of the Year, by Dawn Copeman

Back in January I asked you what steps you were taking to protect
your writing business during the recession.  As the year draws to
an end I wanted to know how the year has been for you.  Has it been
as bad as you feared?  Has it been worse or better than predicted? 

For most of us, it seems that this year has been tough.  "How has
the year gone? Horribly--and most of my writer friends agree,"
writes Star Lawrence.
"These stupid content mills have sprung up in the writing world:
Demand, Hub Pages, Suite 101, Internet Brands, Triond, Helium, etc.
to propagate the $2 story. Two dollars! Or even $15! Of course this
is now lowering the bar -- I had a major medical trade cut my fee
in half -- said they looked at the ads and no longer have to pay
'New York prices,' as they put it. 
"I am sole support of my family; used to make $50K. Now make
$12,000 and that is with 7-8 hrs a day of querying, calling, and
"So... no... This has not been a neat year and we are never going
back to neat years."

Things haven't gone as planned for Roberta Baxter either.  She
wrote: "My writing has seen a tough year. At the beginning of the
year, it looked like I would get to write three children's books
for a nonfiction publisher. After a couple of rounds of proposals,
they decided to hold off on the books. They said they wanted to
explore online possibilities and that they might come back to
publishing the books. So far, they haven't.
"One of my best markets is a couple of trade magazines. Both of
them had big cutbacks in their ad revenues, so they cut back on
articles. I usually write 5 or 6 in a year, but this year it's only
been 1.
"I have researched and queried many other markets--spent more time
on that than on actual writing this year. I think that things are
starting to look up. I hope so, as I'm sure other writers do as

Other writers have found that whilst the year has been tough, it
has not been as bad as they feared.  "2009 hasn't been a bad year,
but I certainly can't say it's been great," wrote Murray Anderson.
"I managed to keep all my regular clients but finding new and
profitable ones has definitely been harder. Finding new clients has
certainly required more querying and reaching out and I've found
advertisers aren't as good at replying to my applications.

"I haven't changed my fees at all (and no one has asked me to) do
anything like that. From a financial perspective, my income is
essentially the same as last year -- so not bad; however, over the
years I have become accustomed to my writing income going up about
20% year over year and this year it certainly won't.

"Having said that, I believe there is some light at the end of the
tunnel, since in the past month I have been contacted by two
clients who I worked with in previous years, asking me if I was
interested in taking on projects.

"Hopefully 2010 will be the year when things get back to normal
(whatever that is)."

Another writer who has found things are not going as badly as she
feared is Alice J. Wisler.  She wrote: "I waited for 18 months for
'Rain Song', my first novel, to be published, and when it finally
was in October 2008, we were in the middle of a recession! 

"'Will anyone buy my novel?  Will it sell enough to cover my
advance?'  Yes, I worried. 
"The novel sold, as well as the second, 'How Sweet It Is,' which
came out this spring.

"However, I do encounter folks at book events who love to come for
the dessert-decorating parties I give (theme from 'How Sweet It
Is'), but can't afford a copy of the novel at $13.99.  Regardless,
someone must be spending because both novels have sold over 27,000
copies each. Meanwhile, I have increased the number of speaking
engagements (especially the ones that pay), and also advertised my
grief-writing online courses much more this year. While the royalty
checks are nice, and the bulk of my income, I want to have other
means of income, too.  I have a contract for books three and four,
and am grateful for that.  By the time these next novels come out,
maybe the financial course of our country will be sailing

These stories are similar to many others I have heard this year;
writers having to work longer hours and vary what they do in order
to make the money and even then not making as much money as usual.
But it hasn't all been doom and gloom. Well, not in New Zealand,
anyway, as Deidre Coleman writes. 

"Well, I'm delighted (albeit a bit cautious about tempting fate by
expressing my delight) that this year has been a great one for me.
I've had plenty of work -- sometimes too much -- and have even had
to subcontract other writers to help me meet deadlines. In October
2008 I left a steady position as a contract copywriter for a
below-the-line ad agency to go out on my own. It wasn't entirely my
decision and I was somewhat anxious about how I'd make ends meet. 
"The last few months of 2008 went surprisingly well and I took off
6 weeks over the Xmas holiday (I live in New Zealand so it's also
our summer holiday and my daughter was off school). February 2009
arrived and school began so I was ready to get back into things. I
got in touch with all my old industry contacts asking for work --
alas, nothing. I started to panic a little, but decided to use
February to get my website up and running. Fortunately, from March
this year it's been full steam ahead with little let-up. 

"I've established good relationships with three different
publishing companies and secured regular work through them --
writing features, subbing, editing contract publications,
proofreading, and managing advertorial showcases. I also do
editorial management 3 hours a week for one of my long-standing
clients. I've been in touch with a number of graphic designers I've
worked with previously and they always let me know if they have
writing work for me.
"I think it's a result of this network of contacts that I've worked
hard to set up, that I've got so much work this year. I believe
that in recessionary times companies are a lot more likely to hire
a freelancer (whether it be a copywriter, designer or photographer)
on a short-term contract than to have full-time staff sitting at
their desks doing nothing for weeks on end.
"I was recently offered a full-time job by one of the publishers I
work for, but I turned it down. While I frequently work late into
the night and on the odd weekend, I MUCH prefer the flexibility and
satisfaction of being my own boss. I can go to my kids' sports days
or zoo visits and pick them up from school and preschool.

"I hope I'm not alone in having enjoyed a great 2009 work-wise.
Perhaps the recession hasn't hit as hard in New Zealand. Here's
hoping that 2010 will be great for everyone!"

I echo your last sentiment Deirdre. 

And thinking of the New Year, it's time to think up some New Year
Writing Resolutions.  Can you think of any for yourself or for
writers generally?  What will yours be?  Email me with the subject
line Inquiring Writer at editorial"at"writing-world.com

Until next time, 


Copyright (c) 2009 Dawn Copeman

UNPUBLISHED GUY - Where Fiction Writers Go to Procrastinate.
*Nearly serious* diversions with a healthy dose of educational 
schadenfreude. In this week's diversion unpublished guy sifts 
through the relics of a fiction writing and publishing disaster. 


AS YOUR WRITING COACH, I provide detailed and honest critiques,
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New Legal Advice Center for Online Journalists
The Berkman Center's Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP) announced
today the public launch of its Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), a
new pro bono initiative that connects lawyers and law school
clinics from across the country with online journalists and digital
media creators who need legal help. Lawyers participating in OMLN
will provide qualifying online publishers with pro bono and reduced
fee legal assistance on a broad range of legal issues, including
business formation and governance, copyright licensing and fair
use, employment and freelancer agreements, access to government
information, pre-publication review of content, and representation
in litigation.
For more on this story visit: 

Press Freedom Report 2009
Reporters without Borders has published its annual review of the
state of press freedom around the world. In a week where we have
seen 29 journalists massacred in the Philippines, two freelance
reporters released after being held hostage for 15 months in
Somalia and the murder of a director of a radio station in Mexico,
we need to reflect that freedom of the press is not something that
everyone enjoys and is something we need to guard closely. 

Is Wikipedia Losing Editors?
According to a study by a university in Madrid, Wikipedia lost more
editors in the first three months of 2009 compared to 2008.  In a
report in the Daily Telegraph Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of
Wikipedia denies the claim and says that editor numbers are just
stabilising. For more on this story visit: 


WRITE FOR MAGAZINES! Order your copy of the eBook "The Weekend 
Writer: Launch Your Writing Career (Part-time)" for only $11.99. 
You'll learn to write query letters, juggle writing with other 
work & secrets from other weekend writers. To order, Visit 
http://www.weekendwriter.net. Sign up for the free newsletter 
and get a FREE essay markets report!


Promote your latest book. Get feedback on your latest article.
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Teacher-Writers Wanted
TeacherWriters has immediate work openings for writers and editors.
These are exciting positions but they are selective about the
writers and editors they accept. Applicants must either be
teachers, have a teaching education, or have worked as a teacher to
be accepted. Contract Per Project earn $14 to $30/hour. View
website for more information. 

Yoga Journal Calls for Submissions
Yoga Journal is seeking submissions for several sections of its
magazine, including: (1) Yoga Diary. This is a first-person
250-word story that appears in our front-of-the-book Om section. A
Yoga Diary tells about a pivotal moment in the writer's yoga
experience. (2) Om. This front-of-the-book section covers myriad
aspects of the yoga lifestyle. These short (150- to 400-word)
reported pieces are largely freelance written. This department
includes Yoga Diary, a 250-word story about a pivotal moment in
your yoga practice. (3) Eating Wisely. A popular, 1,400-word
department about relationship to food. Most stories focus on
vegetarian and whole-foods cooking, nutritional healing, and
contemplative pieces about the relationship between yoga and food.
(4) Well Being. This 1,200-word department presents reported pieces
about the integration of a regular yoga practice and health. E-mail
a well-written query to queries"at"yogajournal.com. Payment depends
upon length of article and experience and is made within 90 days of
acceptance. http://tinyurl.com/ykzbbq5

Descant Wants Ghost Stories                                        
Canadian title Descant turns ghost hunter and dares to explore the 
murky connectionsbetween life and death, science and superstition, 
folk beliefs and fictions. They are looking for apparitions of all 
kinds for a special issue 'Ghosts and the Uncanny.' Do you have 
paranormal poetry? Are you haunted by the past? Do you have a ghost 
of an idea? Perhaps you'd like to address the role of ghosts in
literature and film. They want to document the existence of ghosts,
both literal and metaphorical, on their pages. Descant pays a $100
honorarium upon publication. Deadline: March 01, 2010. View website
for more details. http://www.descant.ca/submit.html

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


WRITER'S RAINBOW ONLINE WORKSHOPS focus on blog building, the 
creative process, the writer's platform (new!) and generative 
writing classes. Flexible schedule, easy format, affordable. 
Taught by creativity coach, author and editor Tamara
Sellman. http://writersrainbow.wordpress.com/online-teaching.


FEATURE: Slang and How to Sling It
by Randall Platt

Warning: Salty language ahead!

Okay, all you fiction writers out there -- listen up: We don't
speak in black and white. We color our language with slang. It
might be regional slang, slang of our own creation, or some catchy
saying we just heard on television. Makes us feel a part of society
to speak the speak, no matter how much it might make our kids
cringe. So, how better to color our fictional characters than to
give them their own, individual way of speaking?

It goes without saying that the first thing we need to do is be
time-appropriate. It doesn't do to have our Victorian hero say,
"Dude, I totally tanked that test but hey, it's my bad for crapping
out on class. My old man is, like, going to totally go ballistic,"
any more than we have our 1990's kid say, "Oh bollocks, cousin
dear! Drat my cavalier ways in study! I am afraid I have failed and
Pater shall be ever so cross."  All of us recognize those errors.
Hopefully we also see how slang can make our characters very
stereotypical.... which is just as dangerous a pitfall as using the
wrong slang for the period. 

Let's look at our 1990's kid. What if he is the son of coal-miners?
What if he's a football jock?  What if he's seldom been off his
family's Texas cattle ranch? He sure as heck won't talk like a
Valley kid. So now we have to give him a language appropriate to
the setting (and the age of your reader -- expletives toned down
here, but imagine your own replacements at will.)  "Dang, my
daddy's gonna crap his pants," the Texas boy might confess to his
friend. "He'll ride me hard and put me away wet, he'll be so
spittin' mad." Or the jock might say, "Dude, my ol' man finds out I
wiped out on that test, he'll punch my lights out."  Perhaps the
coal-miner's son would say, "Momma's gonna take me to the shed for
bein' so all-fired ignorant and Daddy's gonna say, 'hay-ll, son,
you don't need to spell to haul coal." All three not only pull you
into their individual way of speaking, but they make a compelling
statement as to their situation. All examples are of a kid who has
failed and of the family retribution awaiting him. Sure beats
writing, "Alex failed the test and knew it wasn't going to be easy
telling his folks."

Location, Location...

So, finding the right word or expression for the right era is the
first step. Then you have to fit the location into that era.
Finally, you have to find a language for the type of character you
have created. If your heroine is Southern and it's the 1920s, it
won't do to echo Scarlett O'Hara. You need to find reliable sources
of the culture and the times to understand the language of that
time. Magazines are a wonderful source of information but are fast
disappearing. You can also rely on dictionaries from that time
period, which many times offer a separate listing of new words. For
slang and expressions defined in a regional manner, you should get
thee to a reference library and ask for THE DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN
ignores American regional slang.)  Lastly, there are a ton of slang
books on the market and you need to find one that provides the
dates the term came into the written lexicon. 

I love the fun, regional "how we say it" books and Internet sites,
but many times can't verify the terms and I have no way of knowing
if a very clever author coined the slang and expressions or if it
truly is a way of saying things in Podunk, USA. So be sure to check
with a viable source. Along these lines, much of the "language" of
the western, which we assume to be time-appropriate to the late
19th century, was conceived in the writers' rooms of movie and
television studios in the middle of the last century. So you could
use it if your western takes place in 1955, but not 1855.

In my latest novel, HELLIE JONDOE, I had to learn the vocabulary of
street gangs of New York, 1918. For something as specialized as
this, I turned to fiction of the latter 19th century, culling books
for speech patterns, accents and criminal slang. The toughest part
of the task was to stay on task -- I was reading to research and
not to get too involved in the story. Then I researched the words I
found to make sure the novelist had not made them up. Once I could
verify a word or expression with a nonfiction source (such as, in
knew I could use it with impunity.

Making a List, Checking It Twice
What works best for me is to create a vocabulary list for my
characters in order to keep their own way of speaking consistent
throughout my project. How does my heroine swear? What is her
unique way of speaking? Does her interior thought match her
language or does she swear to herself and speak perfectly to
others? Does she use slang to fit in or because that's the way she
was raised? Is she a criminal who speaks cant to communicate slyly
with her cohorts? The way we speak is a part of who we are. Do we
drop 'g's to appear "country," do we avoid 's's because we have a
terrible lisp, do we sling the latest slang to appear "in the

Once I have my era, my setting, and my characters formed, I then
create a database of their own interesting ways of speaking. If my
hero would NEVER swear, but would like to, I have to come up with a
list of curses that get the point across but will not offend. I
keep this consistent by referring to the list of words and
expressions I have "assigned" him. This business-like, database
approach keeps me writing faster and keeps my characters
consistent. This is a technique I picked up when writing a series
in which the same, very odd, characters reappear. No one really
wants to go back and reread their last book just to cull it for
idiosyncrasies and speech patterns. Set up a database and
manipulate it all you can. My own such database has resulted in
over 35,000 entries in my own slang dictionary, Slangmaster.

When "Real" Isn't Enough
Now, you have given your character wonderful speech patterns and a
marvelous vocabulary of slang and expressions. Fantastic!
Wonderfully colorful character, right? This is where I backtrack on
everything I have already suggested -- you may be right as rain
about the slang your character slings, you can be spot on about the
era and the situation your story is set in -- BUT, if it pulls a
reader out of the story even for an instant to question it, it HAS
to go. I learned this the hard way. If an editor questions whether
or not someone actually said "finger on the pulse of" in 1960, if
you can show that editor the movie (High Society) where that
expression was expressed, if you can get a panel of Supreme Court
Judges to uphold that finding, you STILL need to let it go. Why?
Because if the editor stopped editing to question it, your readers
will stop reading to question it. And our job is to keep readers
reading. So don't argue. Change it to "knows what's what" or "knows
which end is up" or have your totally unique character say
something totally unique -- something you have made up.

Here's a perfect example -- In my first published novel, THE FOUR
ARROWS FE-AS-KO, I have a mentally challenged character continually
saying, "a pair a nently." This drives my hero crazy -- what is a
nently and why does he need a pair of them? Then he figures out
this less-than-luminous lad is really trying to say "apparently."
From that point on, and in the subsequent two novels in the series,
a pair a nently is my hero's way of stating the obvious. "Well, a
pair a nently, the sun rises in the east." And that became the
catch phrase my readers associated with the Fe-As-Ko series of
humorous westerns. Now, I didn't intend that nor did I argue with
the swing of things. When someone emails me with "a pair a nently"
in the subject line, I know which of my novels they have been
rummaging around in. And with these three novels soon out in audio,
I am hoping for scads more lovers of "a pair a nentlies!"

Our language is continually evolving, especially in this day of
instant communication. Whereas a hundred years ago it might take a
slang expression ten years to enter the written lexicon, now it can
happen literally overnight. A character in a television show can
utter something slangish on Monday and by Wednesday, the entire
Internet culture might be uttering the same thing. And it can
disappear just as quickly, making our jobs as writers --
chroniclers of the culture, if you will -- even more difficult,
even more important. We need to be keeping not just our eyes open,
but our ears open as well.

As Carl Sandburg said, "Slang is a language that rolls up its
sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work."  It was true then
and it is true today. So slang on and in good health... but keep it
true and keep it honest. 

More Information:
Cassell's Dictionary of Slang - Jonathan Green, editor
Oxford English Dictionary - online subscription
I Hear America Speaking - Stuart Berg Flexner
Speaking Freely - Stuart Berg Flexner
Listening to America - Stuart Berg Flexner

From A-Bomb Juice to Zonked - 1813 Slangisms About Rot Gut,
Guzzling and Puking Your Brains Out (With a Few Nice Drinking
Toasts) - by Randall Platt, available at 


Randall Platt writes fiction for adults and young adults and people
who don't own up to being either. Platt's YA novels have won state
and national awards, two are optioned for feature film, and three 
are just out in audio. Platt's series of humorous westerns, known as 
the 'Fe-As-Kos', are still in print and are also out in audio. 
Platt's first novel, THE FOUR ARROWS FE-AS-KO, was filmed as PROMISE 
THE MOON. Just out to great reviews is HELLIE JONDOE, a YA novel 
about street kids, orphan trains, and the Flu Epidemic of 1918. 
SLANGMASTER.COM is Platt's ongoing celebration of the color of our 
language. We don't speak, nor should we write, in black and white. 
For information about her many books, visit 
http://www.plattbooks.com/ For information about her Slangmaster 
series, visit  http://www.slangmaster.com

Copyright (c) 2009 by Randall Platt


FROM A-BOMB JUICE TO ZONKED - 1813 Slangisms about Rotgut, 
Guzzling, and Puking Your Brains Out (plus a few nice drinking 
toasts). Randall Platt presents the first Slangmaster e-book. 
Why? Because we don't speak in black and white. Learn more about 
the color of our language at http://www.slangmaster.com.  Use 
the right word, for the right era and occasion, every time!


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By Aline Lechaye

Yes, 2009 is nearly over, and it's that time of the year when I
find it hard to concentrate on my writing. From making out shopping
lists on December 1st to the midnight countdowns on the 31st, there
are just too many excuses to not sit down and write. That's why
this month I've included some freebies that aren't related to
writing: keep reading to get three free Christmas audio books
(including Dickens' famous "A Christmas Carol"), two
computer-locking security software programs, writing ideas for next
year, and a free 750-page (yep, that's seven hundred and fifty
pages) eBook on writing. 

You know that working long hours at the computer is bad for your
eyes, but somehow when you start to write you just can't seem to
remember to take a break. Why not download Eyes Relax, a software
that reminds you to stop and rest your eyes every few minutes? You
can manually set the break lengths and break types (long or short
breaks), and there's also a parenting mode (with password
protection features) that freezes the computer when it's time for
you to rest. By the way, this is a nice tool to install on your
kid's computer when "Stop playing that video game or I'll give your
computer away!" no longer has any effect. Download the software at:

Ever had your toddler or pet type gibberish over your work while
you were busy elsewhere? Install Kid-Key-Lock to avoid future "free
writing" scenarios. You can choose to lock only a few keys or all
mouse and keyboard keys while you're away from your computer. The
keys only regain function after you type in the correct password
combination. Download at http://www.100dof.com/kidkeylock.html. 

Thinking about article ideas for the upcoming year? Try 
which has a great collection of seasonal writing prompts for all 
seasons, as well as for special occasions. And try out EasyStreet 
Prompts, a widget which fuels the muse with cartoons: 

Speaking of ideas, maybe what that novel you've wanted to finish for 
ages needs is a good plot twist. Drop by 
http://futureisfiction.com/plotpoint/index.cgi?  and see if they can 
help you. After all, "writing stories is just a long series of 

Planning to get an iPod this Christmas? Set up your Christmas 
playlist to include: 

* The Little Match-Seller (Hans Christian Andersen): I personally 
don't think of this as a "Christmas" story as such, but it is a 
heart-warming classic. Right click and save it at 

* Twas the Night Before Christmas (Clement Clark Moore): Play this 
for your kids as they lie awake wondering when Santa's going to show 
up. Right click and save at: 

* A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens): Think about your own 
Christmases past, present and future as you listen to this Dickens 
favorite. Download the mp3 file only, or get the plain text file if 
you think you'll feel like reading the story again sometime. 
Get it at http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/book.jsp?id=152 

Got some free time on your hands over the holidays? Download a 
750-page eBook by mystery writer J.A. Konrath, The Newbie's Guide to 
Publishing Book, which includes highlights from his blog of the same 
name, and covers the basics from writing to publishing to promoting. 
Get it at: 

And that's it for this month. Merry Christmas, and come back next 
month for more writing freebies!


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who resides 
in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye"at"gmail.com.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Aline Lechaye


COPY EDITOR - line-by-line editing for spelling, grammar, typos,
punctuation and repetitive words in fiction, nonfiction, short
stories, biographies, query letters and book proposals. Critiques
also available. $2 a page. Write to sigridmacdonald"at"rogers.com 
or visit http://sigridmacdonald.blogspot.com



Six Questions For...
Jim Harrington has set up a new blog in which he will publish a 
series of interviews in which editors list, in excruciating details, 
all that each editor desires in his/her stories.  The blog went live 
on December 1 with Six Questions For Nathaniel Tower, Founder and 
Editor, Bartleby Snopes. A sampling of other participants includes: 
Anderbo, Apollo's Lyre, Black Velvet Seductions (publisher of 
romance novels), Boston Literary Magazine, Camroc Press Review, 
dcomP, Dew on the Kudzu. 

Deep Underground Poetry
This site, originally set up in 1999, has re-launched and already 
boasts 700 members. It features the original and uncensored work of 
online poets. Members can submit their writing and leave comments 
and critique. There are also private messages facilities, profile 
creation and forums.

Ultimate Style Guide Source
The ultimate resource guides for MLA, APA, Chicago and CSE styles. 
An incredible collection of links to resources relating to the major 
style guides, including books, upgrades, tutorials, programs, sample 
papers, guides to citation and style and more. 


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. 


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

I'm Not Talking Too Fast, You're Listening Too Slow 
by Spencer Barnett

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.


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
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