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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

                    http://www.writing-world.com

Issue 9:24          9,928 subscribers        December 17, 2009
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SPECIAL NOTICE: Please DO NOT REPLY to this e-mail; any messages 
sent in reply to the newsletter are deleted. See the bottom of 
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IN THIS ISSUE:
=================================================================
 
THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK: by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITING DESK: Motivation, by Moira Allen
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING
WRITING JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES
FEATURE: Mindplay, by Peggy Bechko
HUMOR:  Santa Baby for Writes, by Cathy Hall  
WRITING CONTESTS WITH NO ENTRY FEES
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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FROM THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK
================================================================

Excuses, Excuses
--------------------

My daughter wanted to write a book for her grandparents for
Christmas.  She's written books before so one would have thought
that this would not be a problem.  This time, however, she had a
deadline.  She needed to have written it before we visited her
grandparents last weekend.  

Did a deadline help?  No, it didn't.  I would tactfully suggest to
her that she might want to work on her book and would get one of
the following responses: "But I've only got half-an-hour, it's not
worth starting," or "I'm busy right now.  I'll do it tomorrow" and
the one I could most identify with, "I don't feel like writing
right now."

Do any of these sound familiar? Have you ever used these excuses?
Be honest now, have you? I know I have. I have been putting off
writing my novel for these self-same reasons for over two years. 
Yet I know that if I just spent even fifteen minutes a day on my
novel, I would eventually have a finished novel to work on.  

So, of course, my daughter missed her deadline and after drying her
tears when she finally realised this, we set a new deadline for
Easter and talked about, you've guessed it, how if she does a
little each day she'll soon have her book.   

My daughter is now aiming to finish her book for Easter and I'm
aiming to write alongside her.  Who knows this time next year I
might actually have something written too - if I'm not too busy :)!
  
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor

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THE WRITING DESK: Motivation by Moira Allen
=================================================================

Q: I have brilliant thoughts, but no energy or inspiration.  What
can I do?

I am 21 years old and I am sure that I can be a very good writer
and this isn't just my opinion . The funny problem is that I have
no energy and I have no inspiration although I have brilliant
thoughts. This really depresses me because this IS my dream.

A: The problem you describe is not so uncommon.  The word you're
looking for, I think, is not so much "inspiration" as "motivation."
You have lots of ideas, but you don't have the drive to sit down
and put those ideas on paper.
        
I would bet that one problem is that you are already a busy person.
Are you in college?  If so, you probably have a lot of homework and
writing assignments to do as it is, and you may be finding it
difficult to sit down to "creative" writing after having to do so
much "required" writing.  Do you work?  Again, it's often very
tough to find the energy to write after a full day on the job. 
These are problems every writer faces.
        
Another problem may be the expectations you have of yourself.  You
have brilliant thoughts, and that's great.  But do you expect your
writing to be brilliant?  You may have concerns that what you put
on paper isn't going to live up to the brilliant ideas in your
head. This, again, happens to most of us:  We can "see" what we
want to say, but it never seems to come out that way.
        
Do you feel that when you try to write, you must produce something
worthwhile, complete, meaningful?  Do you expect yourself to sit
down and write an entire story?  Try writing with no particular
goals -- writing scenes, exercises, bits of dialogue.  Remind
yourself that the first things you write may not "measure up" at
all to what you dream of writing.  That's also the way it is for
most of us.  Our first efforts are rarely that good.
        
Writing is like any other skill; quality comes from practice.  No
one would expect you to pick up a paintbrush for the first time and
paint a masterpiece.  They would expect, instead, for you to daub
some color hesitantly on a page, and maybe produce something that
bore some faint resemblance to the ideas in your head.  Same with
sculpture, music, or any other art, craft, or skill.  The gap
between what you imagine and what you can create in the beginning
is often huge and dismaying.
        
The only way to cross that gap is to sit down and write.  Don't
worry about how good it is, or whether it measures up.  Don't worry
about whether you can sell it, or whether anyone else likes it. 
Start getting those words on the page, even if only a few at a
time, and you'll find that it quickly gets better and easier. 
Don't ask anything of yourself except the time required to put down
the words.
        
Time is the key -- motivation and discipline are the tools.  You
can wait forever for that feeling of "inspiration", of burning
desire, to strike.  One day you'll wake up and realize you got old
and it never did.  Writing does not hover overhead, waiting to
bless us; it must be captured, with a net, and wrestled forcibly
onto the page.  We have to tell the muse, "heck with you, I'm going
to write today whether you show up or not!"  And then sit down, and
do it, even when we feel like slow, boring hacks.
        
Discipline will help you carve out a period of each day for
writing, any kind of writing.  Try to start with 15 minutes of your
day.  (In time, you'll find it hard to stop, but right now, it's
hard to start.)  Find exercises or ideas that you can "play with"
without placing heavy-duty expectations on yourself.  Write not for
the sake of creating a specific product, but simply for the sake of
exercising this skill.
        
Consider taking an online writing course that requires homework.
Nothing "motivates" like having someone else tell you that you must
write a certain number of pages in a week!  Suddenly you can no
longer afford to wait for inspiration; you must write anyway!  And
that's when you find that inspiration really isn't something that
strikes from above, but something that you dredge up out of
yourself only when you have made the commitment to seek.

Copyright (c) 2009 Moira Allen

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*****************************************************************

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING
=================================================================
 
Computer Program Lets You Write With Your Brain
-----------------------------------------------
Scientists in Florida have developed a computer program which
enables users to write letters on a computer screen just by
thinking about them. For more on this story visit: 
http://tinyurl.com/ykcp5w3

Textbook Author One of Decade's Best-Selling Authors  
--------------------------------------------------------
The fifth best-selling author in the UK over the past decade is
unknown to many of the book-buying public.  Yet Richard Parsons has
sold over9 million books and achieved sales of over 48 million. 
He has even outsold crime writers Ian Rankin and Patricia Cornwell.
For more on this story visit:  http://tinyurl.com/ydtjp7k

Authors Have Unique Literary Fingerprints
-------------------------------------------
According to the Journal of Physics, they have developed a
calculation which enables them to identify an author' work.  By
looking at the number of different words used, compared to the
length of the work, they can find the "fingerprint" of the author. 
For more on this story visit:  http://tinyurl.com/ydggsua

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WRITING JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES
=================================================================

New Book Publisher Seeks Submissions
--------------------------------------
Dream of Things, a new book publisher, seeks submissions for books
on 15 topics.

"Think 'Chicken Soup' but with wild rice, thicker stock, more meat,
lots of veggies, and cilantro and tortilla chips sprinkled on top,"
said Mike O'Mary, founding dreamer of Dream of Things. "We're
looking for inspiring, heartwarming and/or humorous stories that
make you think - a little easier to swallow than Chicken Soup, a
little easier to digest than Best American Essays."

Topics for the 15 books in development include holiday stories,
stories of forgiveness, Internet dating stories, awe-inspiring
travel stories, humorous travel stories, stories about great
teachers, customer service stories, stories that exemplify
teamwork, and others. See "Workshop Projects" on 
http://www.dreamofthings.com for more details. New writers are
encouraged to submit stories.
  
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LAST CALL FOR ENTRIES: DREAM QUEST ONE WRITING CONTEST
Write a poem, 30 lines or fewer on any subject or write a short
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to win cash awards! Prizes: Writing - $500, $250, $100. Poetry -
$250, $125, $50. Entry fees: $5 per poem, $10 per story.
Postmark deadline: December 31, 2009.
Visit http://www.dreamquestone.com for more info!

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FEATURE:  Mindplay 
=================================================================
By Peggy Bechko
Excerpted from "Out of Thin Air"

A most wonderful thing your mind. It is capable of amazing things.
It can be serious and somber, playful and creative, reflective and
introspective. It can also lead you in endless, frustrating circles
where nothing is accomplished.

For most people, whether they put it all down on paper or only let
loose in day (or night) dreams, the mind can create amazing worlds.
And, it frequently does. Guided by its owner or spinning along on
its own...busy, busy, busy churning out thoughts.

Have you daydreamed a story? Not necessarily a complete tale
beginning to end. Perhaps you've created a pleasant or exciting
place in your mind to which you escaped? Everything was there
wasn't it? At that time, in that place, you knew all you needed to
know. There were, no doubt, people, animals, colors, tastes,
smells, and impressive sights. In that state the 'dreamer' (you)
attains a near trance.

A writer soon enough discovers writing is not really a physical act
which combines original thought with the motor process of putting
the idea down on paper or computer. Rather, writing is a state of
being, a time to get into the zone and learn to draw others along
with you to that new world you've created.

Now don't panic. It's simple. Probably among the simplest things
you ever do if you'll just let go a little. Before we get down to
the nitty gritty of writing think a while. Daydream. Relax. Sit
back. Enjoy it. You don't have to put any pressure on yourself. You
don't have to be anywhere else. Just let your mind go. Think about
the mind thinking about itself. Go circular. Now, what other animal
can do that? What other animal would want to? Think we're a little
crazy? I always have thought so.

Okay, so now realize a good writer, a good teller of tales, inserts
him or herself into that circle of thought and creation. Really
gets into it. The writer can, and does view the tale from the
inside out. In that trance-like state the writer/storyteller
wrapped in that circle doesn't stand back from the action to merely
observe. Instead she or He experiences the story right along with
his or her characters. Then the writer puts that experience into
words. Sort of like a movie playing in the writer's head, your head
that you must project outward.

It's the way I wrote for many years, especially when I started. I'd
imagine my hero or heroine, an interesting and exciting local, and
a nearly insurmountable problem headed in his or her direction. I'd
usually set up a sheet for each character (name him or her - and
we'll get into the importance of character names later) I was
starting with; add more description and information as the story
came together. 

Usually I would write the story as I went. I didn't outline until
years later, after I'd written, and had published, several novels.
I simply let go the restraints of my mind and created a new 'world'
and kept notes of the evolution. When I was writing I would live in
that world with my characters and watch with interest what they
would do next. I would feel and react with them or inject myself
into the role of the main character or one of the lesser ones.

Once I faced down the blank page and put first words to paper the
flow would begin. Images formed in my mind as the story took on
shape and direction. Words then spilled rapidly on to the page.
Characters took on lives of their own. Then I'd use those character
sheets to keep track of them, to make sure they remained true to
themselves. You'd be surprised how confused you, as story-teller,
can become when you get wrapped up in different aspects of your
creation. Don't let that happen to you!

Since your mind has access to pretty much all your past experiences
in the form of memories, you can relate to your characters. For
example, it's an action story. An Indiana Jones type character is
running for his life, heroically struggling to save the day. 

You draw on your own past experience to give the episode color.
Remember the rush of a roller coaster ride? How about that moment
when you fell off your bike? You probably haven't been chased by
bad guys, but maybe that school bully had an impact. I think you
get the point here. Use what you have available and expand on it.

It's a bit like a word association test. Every word you dredge from
your mind and put down on paper has a meaning, a memory, for you.
The trick is to remember it means something or touches on a memory
for your reader as well. And, while it may not have the exact same
meaning to you both, there's a lot of common ground out there.
So you want to use your own memories and responses to trigger
similar ones in others. To accomplish that it's important to choose
those which fit the overall mood of the scene and the evolving
plot. I mean we don't relate well to cotton candy and balloons if
we're talking murder here. Usually you don't bring in a hideous
monster if you're writing a love story - unless you're writing a
very unusual love story.

TRY THIS: Your first shot at ink slinging. Grab a sheet of paper.
Look at the list of short phrases or words below and write down
some memories each brings to mind.

Skateboard
Car cruising the neighborhood 
Ice cream on a hot day 
Holiday lights 
Frosty glass 
Too tight clothes
Ear piercing
Anything else piercing
A bad storm

A few more?

Cotton Candy
Roller Coaster 
Smell of Popcorn
Chocolate
Smells of Spring
Magnifying Glass View 
Bully 
A Horse
Your Dog

Still a little hesitant? Unsure? Here, I'll give it a kick-start.

A PIMPLE: It itched. Absently, Sam scratched the bump rising
alongside his nose and flinched as a swift, hot pain darted along
in the path of his fingernail. He looked at himself in the mirror
with impatience. The pimple was still there. Red, swollen and
painful. In fact, it was bigger than he remembered it being only a
couple of hours ago. Hesitantly he reached for his sister's tube of
make-up that lay on the counter.

Get the idea? Well, hey, I didn't say I was going to write the
great American novel here for you, just an example. A kinda, sorta,
do it this way and expand in your own directions.

Not many can forget a painful pimple. The pinch, the sting, the
itch. And worse, who can forget the appearance? It's never as bad
as the person sporting it believes but who can convince him or her?
How many can remember carefully applying skin tone makeup and
powder trying to conceal the redness? (come on now, guys, I know
you've done it too, on some desperate, special occasion). The point
here is all you have to do is mention that word, 'pimple' - shudder
- and everyone instantly relates.

Remember, people want to feel, smell, and taste your stories.
Depending on what play of emotions you choose, where you want to
lead the reader, that pimple scene could go in any direction.
Comedy: how about the hero going to great lengths to conceal it
only to have something embarrassing happen? High drama: Is there a
murderer coming up behind our hero when he can fixate on nothing
but the offending pimple? Poignant: is the hero painfully shy and
the blemish making his world even more constricted?

Allow your mind free rein as you develop your story, tap into your
personal emotional pool and come forth with the details which make
the world you've constructed more real. By touching the readers'
memories, their emotions, you, the writer, are able to draw them
into the world of your creation and for a while forget their own
everyday world. The better you do it, the better your story.

So in your role of storyteller, you must set the emotional tone. If
the scene you've set is one of fear and suspense, you must reflect
that in your choice of words. We don't talk about fluffy bunnies
and cute kitties if we've set the stage for possible disaster.

For example, somebody creeping up behind the hero with an upraised
knife. But may I add an UNLESS here: That is, UNLESS, that fluffy
bunny or cute kitty would add to the suspense. Have you noticed in
movies and books that you can depend on the plot including a cute
and cuddly family pet which predictably gets killed and thus leads
up to the rest of the 'horrifying' action? Okay, that works, to a
point. Problem is the predictable part.

I've seen it so often the minute I spot a loving dog or cuddly cat
or the daughter's pet rabbit I expect to see it fricasseed in the
next scene (or one closely following). And here I add a suggestion,
DON'T DO THAT! If it's a scene which is necessary by all means,
include it, but try to surprise us, give it a new twist. Don't let
us, the readers or the viewers, say, "well, there's Bob the dog,
guess he'll buy it in the next few pages (or next scene)."

Because that's another place the memory and emotions lead us. We
basically remember everything we've ever seen. A knee-jerk reaction
ensues if we've seen something too much. We've created a box in our
minds and out pops that darn memory when we least want it. I as the
reader/viewer, don't want to react that way to 'Bob the dog' and
his apparent fate, but it just happens when I'm confronted by
something I feel I've seen before. I might add I'm ever so grateful
when somebody does throw in a new twist.

So my advice is to remember the mind when you write. Yours and all
those minds out there waiting to buy into your creation. The mind
can be mighty sneaky. 

And one more thing while we're talking about writing the story, the
pace and getting it down on paper. There's a sort of rhythm to
writing. Most writers find they have stretches of intense, high
octane, write-it-down fast periods coupled with times of calm and
others of near boredom. So here's another trick. 

Consider you've been on a writer's high, writing like crazy getting
your story down. Okay, good. Now, once that long, lovely run
unfolds, find a calm, good place to wrap it up, a place where
you're in the zone, moving at a more moderate pace after that swift
burst, moving forward toward the next explosive rush of
inspiration. 

When you're in that place, coasting, the next acceleration just in
sight, is the time to stop and for the time being put the pen aside
or close down the computer. If you pick a 'calm' to stop after an
exciting run it'll be all that much easier to start again later.
You'll be excited, eager to begin again. Trust me on this. 

There'll be times when you're writing, any kind of writing,
journaling, fiction, articles, whatever, when you'll write on
through those dips of calm to another peak, maybe a few times,
maybe many times. That's when the inspiration has you by the throat
and drags you forward through clear pool and bramble bush and it's
a time worth latching on to with all your might. Ride the wave,
feel the rush, then, I still say, find that place of calm with the
next rush just over the horizon to lay your pen to rest. 

If you cut off at a peak it's frustrating. If you cut off at the
shallowest part of the trough at the base of that peak it's almost
boring to get started again. This applies to writing in general,
journaling when you're spilling your life onto a page and to
fiction when your characters take control.

It's as important for you as a writer to engage yourself as it is
to touch your audience. If you're bored, so will your reader be
bored.

More Information:
--------------------
http://www.creativewritingprompts.com/# A Writer's Digest site full
of writing prompts. Just roll your mouse over the number, read the
prompt and then write!

>>--------------------------------------------------<<

Peggy has published novels in several genres, western, romance and 
fantasy as well as in hard copy (hard cover and paperback) and
Ebook  formats. The books have been published with Doubleday, 
Harlequin, Pinnacle and Thorndike Press as well as The FictionWorks 
online and others. She has additionally written complete spec 
screenplays, optioning them domestically and abroad. Peggy is also 
an accomplished ghostwriter, and has published articles in a number 
of areas.
Visit her site at: http://www.newwriterguide.com or her blog: 
http://www.PeggyBechko.blogspot.com

Copyright (c) Peggy Bechko 2009

For more information on getting started in fiction writing visit: 
http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/index.shtml

****************************************************************

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****************************************************************

HUMOR:  Santa Baby for Writers
=================================================================
By Cathy C. Hall 

(Baboom, baboom, baboom, baboom)

Santa Baby,
Just slip a contract under the tree
For me
Been an awful good girl,
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa Baby, add three or four zeroes, even two, 
Will do.
I'll wait up for you, dear.
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the things I've missed.
Think of the rejection I've already risked.
I may have to get a job,
If you don't check my Christmas list.

Santa baby, I want a book of my very own
Alone.
No anthologies will do.
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with an agent
Heav'n-sent.
An angel editor, too.
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With sparkly web promotion, just for me.
I really believe I'm good enough.
Let's see if you are good enough, too.

Santa Baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
Oprah on the phone for me.
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.
Hurry down the chimney
Tonight.

>>--------------------------------------------------<<

Cathy C. Hall is a humor columnist and freelance writer
lucky enough to live in Georgia. Her columns, essays and 
articles appear in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and e-zines. 
She also writes fiction for adults and children. So if you've ever 
worked or lived with Cathy, or even said hello to her in the
grocery store, you'll probably end up in her writing. Get the 
particulars at Cathy C.'s Hall of Fame 
(http://www.cathychall.blogspot.com).
Or visit her website at http://www.cathy-c-hall.com.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Cathy C. Hall 

****************************************************************

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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*****************************************************************

THE WRITE SITES
=================================================================

The Writer's Resource Centre
--------------------------------
A useful Australian site with articles, interviews with authors, 
contests and a free monthly ezine. 
http://writersworld.com.au/

Photo.Net: Learn
-----------------
If one of your new year's resolutions is to take photos to
accompany  your articles, this is the site for you. It can be a bit 
unwieldy to navigate but this site has everything you need to learn 
how to take professional photos in all sorts of settings.
http://photo.net/learn/

Blood At The Source
---------------------
A great resource site for would-be mystery and crime writers. 
http://www.barbarafister.com/BloodattheSource.html

*****************************************************************

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.  
http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

*****************************************************************

WRITING CONTESTS
================================================================= 

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" 
(http://www.writing-world.com/bookstore/index.shtml).

BOOKRIX WINTER POEM CONTEST
------------------------------
DEADLINE: January 15, 2010
GENRE: Poetry
DETAILS:   When you think of wintertime, you probably think of 
curling up on a cosy armchair with a good book and hot cocoa in 
hand. This year, let your imagination and wordsmith powers take
over and join our latest free poetry writing contest,"Winter & 
Poems". You must register as an author to enter the contest, but 
registration is free. 
PRIZES: $800, $500, $300 
URL:  http://tinyurl.com/yav9sq9   

SUMMERFIELD G ROBERTS AWARD
-----------------------------
DEADLINE: January 15, 2010
GENRE: Poetry, short stories, nonfiction and books
DETAILS: Literary manuscripts or published books that "best
portrays the spirit, character, strength, and deeds of those who 
lived in the Republic of Texas" (1836-46). Entries may be fiction, 
nonfiction, poetry, essays, plays, short stories, novels, or 
biographies (all genres compete together).     
PRIZE: $2500
URL:  http://www.srttexas.org/sumfield.html  

CAREER TRANSITION STORIES
--------------------------
DEADLINE: January 30, 2010
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS:  Tell the story of a person who has been through career 
transition. It could be from school to the workforce, position to 
position, or from career to career. Capture their victories, 
failures and emotions, and distil their lessons to assist others
who might seek to learn from their experience. Your story should be 
fresh, original, insightful, and engaging. 800 - 1200 words max. 
Multiple entries permitted. 
PRIZE:  $500
http://www.worklifegroup.com/contests/career-transition-stories/  

NATURE POETRY COMPETITION
------------------------------------
DEADLINE: January 30, 2010
GENRE:  Poetry 
DETAILS:   Nature poetry, 1 - 3 poems, max 30 lines each.
PRIZE: $350, $250, $150
http://www.friendsofacadia.org/events/poetrycompetition.shtml  

AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB FICTION CONTEST
---------------------------------------------
DEADLINE: January 31, 2010
GENRE:   Short Stories
DETAILS: 2000 words max piece of short fiction featuring dogs of an 
AKC-registrable breed or a breed listed in the Miscellaneous class.
PRIZE:  $750, $500, $250 and publication in AKC Gazette and Family 
Dog magazines.
URL:  http://www.akc.org/pubs/fictioncontest/

HIGLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN FICTION CONTEST
----------------------------------
DEADLINE: January 31, 2010
GENRE: Short Stories
OPEN TO: Anyone 16+
DETAILS:  Write a children's story based on your family. Stories
may be any length up to 750 words. Stories for beginning readers 
should  not exceed 475 words.  
PRIZE: 3 prizes of $1000 or tuition for the Highlights Foundation 
Writers Workshop at Chautauqua.   
URL: http://www.highlights.com/highlights-fiction-contest 
 
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AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers
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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

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