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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 10:09          10,805 subscribers           May 6, 2010
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THE EDITOR'S DESK, by Moira Allen 
THE INQUIRING WRITER, Using Brand Names, by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: Editing As a Profession, By Aline Lechaye
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers, And Now, Please Welcome...
by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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We Never Think It Will Happen...
I was going to use this editorial to discuss some of the variations
on "how to insert a copyright symbol into your text" that alert
readers sent in response to my "Writing Desk" column in the last
issue.  But then I received an e-mail from my sister with the
ominous title "Really Bad News..."  Turns out my sister's fine, but
the house of one of her best friends just burned down.

She writes that her friend "...has lost all her birth, death,
wedding certificates, all the paperwork in connection with her
husband's death, title on the house and car, and the mountains of
papers in connection with all the various government assistance
programs that her daughter is on. Replacing all that is going to be
a mind-numbing headache."  Her friend has also lost family photos,
and many other treasured papers.

So here I am, back to remind my readers about the power of the
scanner.  We never think this can happen to us.  But it can.  The
good news is that you can preserve nearly everything that is most
essential and/or most precious to you, as long as it's scannable.

Let's start with your most important papers.  Just ten minutes with
a scanner, and you can create digital backups of birth
certificates, marriage licenses, home and car titles, and any other
vital legal documents that would be difficult to replace.   (While
you're at it, consider pulling all the cards out of your wallet or
purse and scanning them, back and front, for the record.)

Consider scanning any important medical records and copies of
prescriptions.  While your doctor and pharmacy can look these up
for you, it will save time if you need to get a prescription
refilled fast, in an emergency.  My sister's ongoing reports of the
aftermath of the fire have been full of surprises--including the
fact that the insurance company representatives advise one NOT to
use prescriptions that have been through a fire, even if they seem
undamaged; they may be contaminated by smoke (which can include
toxic smoke from burnt plastics and chemicals) or altered by the
heat of the fire.  

Scan your business records (expenses and income) and your tax
records.  Each year, when I've finished with my tax preparation, I
scan all the records that I'm using to support my tax filing --
including my writing business income and expense records -- and
save this info as one giant PDF file.  Scanned records ARE
considered valid by the IRS.  In the old days, I scanned the paper
copies of the tax returns sent to us by our accountant; this year,
I used Turbotax, so I automatically have an electronic version of
the forms I've filed.  I keep physical files for the past three
years, knowing I have electronic backups of everything older.

Scan any writings, clips, and research information that isn't
already electronic.  Nowadays, it's rare for us to have manuscripts
in hard-copy only, but if you still have older works that were
created on a typewriter, scan them.  

Scan your photographs!  Whenever someone loses their home to a
fire, the phrase we hear most often is that they mourn the loss of
the family photos -- the wedding album, the pictures of the kids,
the pictures of ancestors and long-dead family members.  Now, I'll
grant you, scanning your complete collection of photos CAN be
time-consuming--but once it's done, you never have to worry about
losing that precious collection.  Plus, you can make a few extra
CDs or DVDs and share your collection with the rest of the family. 
At the very least, scan the photos that you would most hate to

If you're scanning only a few important documents and/or photos, a
flat-bed scanner will usually do the trick.  If you have slides,
consider investing in either a dedicated slide scanner (those that
handle 35mm slides and negatives are fairly inexpensive now); if
you have larger format slides, well, things do get a bit more
complicated.  If you have prints only, or don't want to bother
scanning negatives, a flatbed will do the job.

If you have a lot of paper files that you'd like to scan -- perhaps
because you'd like not only to protect them but to get some room
back in your file cabinet -- consider investing in a sheet-fed
scanner.  I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap, and though it's a bit pricey,
it has served valiantly for more than four years and has scanned
literally thousands of documents.  The ScanSnap gives you the
option of scanning a multi-page document (such as your tax forms)
and saving it directly as a PDF file, or saving it as a JPG.  (One
small note, though: It doesn't make as good-quality image scans as
a flatbed scanner, so if you're scanning photos or artwork, a
flatbed will generally work better even though it takes longer.)

Once you've scanned your papers, files, archives and photos, make
back-ups of this data.  Make CDs or DVDs and make sure that copies
are stored OUTSIDE YOUR HOME.  There's no point in "protecting"
your materials electronically if the electronic files are at the
same risk as the originals.  If you or your spouse has a separate
office, keep a copy of the backup disks there.  Or, send them off
to a relative to keep for you.  

Working on a novel, an article, or an important story?  Back up
your work every night on a flash drive.  Better yet, if you have a
web site, create a password-protected directory (so that its
contents can't be accessed by anyone else) and upload your
work-in-progress each night.  That way, if anything does happen,
your latest work is protected.  If you don't have a web site, there
are several places that offer free or very inexpensive web storage
space.  Periodically make backups of your electronic work and store
THOSE away from your residence as well.  I maintain an "archive"
folder on my computer, and use it to store copies of whatever I've
just worked on, changed, updated or created.  Then, once a week, I
transfer the contents of the archive folder to an external hard
drive--and once I have enough material, I create a pair of backup
CDs or DVDs, one to store at home and one to store off site.

My sister acknowledged that she does have her "grab and go"
briefcase with all her important papers -- but that if she didn't
have a chance to grab it (if, for example, a fire broke out in her
home when she was somewhere else), she'd be, well, in a word,

Most of us, thankfully, will never face a disaster that destroys
our home -- and our work.  But we can get a lot more peace of mind
out of knowing that we're PREPARED for the worst, than out of
simply hoping that it won't happen to us. 

-- Moira Allen, Editor


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THE INQUIRING WRITER: Using Brand Names, by Dawn Copeman

Last month Bonnie Stout wanted to know about the copyright
implications of using brand names in her work. She wrote: "I have
written a short nonfiction article and am using the brand name
Advil both in the title and in the body of the article.  It is a
short, humorous piece. My question is:  Can I freely use the brand
name?  Do I need any type of approval?  The title of my article is
'The Advil Generation' and substituting ibuprofen just doesn't cut
it for me."

Author Sara Robinson had this advice for Bonnie.  She wrote: 
"I believe to answer Bonnie Strout's question that if she puts the
registered trademark symbol after Advil(r) the first time that she
will be fine.  She does not need permission as long as she
cooperates in helping to 'protect' the registered trade name.  If
Advil had achieved common enough usage to become vernacular, like
Kleenex, then it would be simple.  However, Advil is still a
protected name."

C.J. Hynes is of a similar opinion.  Hynes said: "The author needs
to check on the website http://www.uspto.gov to see if Advil is a
registered trademark, which I suspect, it is. In that case, if she
uses Advil she needs to put the R in the circle behind it, even if
it is a humorous piece. Intellectual property is something to be
very careful about when writing."

I know that this is an issue that could crop up for any of us, so I
did my own research on the matter. I looked into the matter of
brand names or as they are known in the UK, trademarks, on both
sides of the pond and discovered that whilst using brand names in
your work is easier than you think, it is still something you might
want to think seriously about. Many sites on this issue recommend
that if you are going to use a brand name in say a nonfiction
article, that you take legal advice and get insurance to protect
yourself in case the company that owns the brand doesn't like it.
However, other sources of advice seem to disagree.  Pearson
Publishers, for example, states that brand names, slogans and trade
names are not protected by copyright law, but only by trademark law
and therefore, you can use them in your works.   

Is this getting clear?  No? Well, this is as clear as I could make

1. You don't need permission to use brand names in fiction.  The
only thing you must ensure is that your work could not possibly be
seen as suggesting you are in any way linked to the brand or being
promoted by the brand.  

2.  Some names are now effectively nouns in their own right and
no-longer have the protection offered by a trademark and you can
use these freely.  Common examples are Ford, Hoover, Biro,
Band-Aid, Xerox etc. 

3. You also don't need permission to use a brand name in a
nonfiction piece. But you must make sure you use the brand name
correctly and although you don't need to use the symbols (R) or, in
the case of the UK, (TM) after each instance of the word, you do
need to ensure the word stands out from the rest of your text,
either by changing the font or using italics.  When using a brand
name, check your publisher's guidelines.  Most style manuals do not
recommend using the symbols (R) or (TM) at all, but simply suggest
you capitalise the brand name every time you use it. 

4. And yes, you can be critical of branded names or trademarked
names if you are writing a nonfiction article that is comparing or
criticizing or evaluating a range of similar products. 

However, if you do use a trademarked or brand name in your work,
copyright lawyers suggest that you always write a disclaimer at the
bottom of your article that lists all the brand names used, who
owns the brand names and states that you have used the brand names
without permission.  You must also make it very clear that your
work is by no means being sponsored by or linked to the brand name. 

For more information on using brand names, I suggest you visit the
following sites:   

Nick Daw's Writing Blog, which has a link to the Pearson Prentice
Hall Author's Guide on Copyright and trademarks. 


All Experts http://tinyurl.com/2vp4pk5

Now, this month's question comes from the enigmatically named AP.
AP wrote "I am trying to get started in nonfiction writing.  Some
of the guidelines I've looked at state that I need to know Chicago
Style, others AP.  I come from Australia and want to write for
international markets, which style should I learn and how do I set
about it?"

If you can help AP, then send me an email with the subject line
"Inquiring Writer" to editorial"at"writing-world.com

Plus, we're also running out of questions, so if you have a burning
issue that you'd like us to resolve, email me with the same subject
line to the same address. 

Until next time, 


Copyright (c) 2010 Dawn Copeman


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Story-Telling Site Up and Running
A few months ago we carried a call for submissions from
Smories.com.  We are pleased to inform you that the story-telling
site for children, with all the stories read by children, is now up
and running with over 50 stories.  New stories wanted each month. 
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American Polish Imprint Doing Very Well
Terry Tegnazian, a lawyer in Hollywood, is not the most obvious
person to start up an Anglo-Polish Publisher of works relating to
the Second World War, but this is exactly what she did.  Aquila
Polonica started publishing books in fall 2009 and already has 30
books in print, some of which were in English and out-of-print,
others more recent works. To find out more about Aquila Polonica
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GUD Journal is open to submissions
Gud publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry.  The magazine is
published twice a year and is now seeking submissions for the
Spring 2011 edition.  Check out their guidelines. 

GoNOMAD Seeking Travel Articles
GoNOMAD prides itself on providing excellent, entertaining,
informative and unique travel articles and research about
destinations, activities and experiences. No glossy magazine fluff,
no standard guidebook descriptions, no promotional hype; just
honest, accurate, well-written and detailed articles and
destination guides that speak to an educated, curious and
well-traveled audience.

They are currently trying to fill in gaps in their story library
and want additional features about the following places: 
Countries: Angola, Benin, Gambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania,
Mozambique, and Maldives. Lebanon, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Ghana,
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia. 

States: Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee,
West Virginia, Arkansas, DC, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan,
Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Idaho.

View website for more information. 

Suite 101. Need More Writers
Suite 101.com needs more writers.  You must be able to write a
minimum of ten 400 word articles every three months.  You are paid
for your articles and there seems to be a residual payment scheme
where you can continue to earn from your articles all the time they
are online.  For more information visit: 


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FEATURE:  Editing As a Profession
by Aline Lechaye 

There are certain people who just CAN'T write. They can make the
simplest idea into a complicated tangle. There are also people who
can mess up a sentence so badly that you don't know where it starts
and where it ends. These people (and there are surprisingly many of
them) are the ones who hire writers to aid them with their writing. 

How do you know if you're cut out to be a proofreader? If you have
a fairly good command of spelling and grammar rules and have time
to read, you're good to go. A degree in English is a plus, but not
always necessary.

Editing jobs come at many different levels. There are the simple
proofreading gigs, where all you have to do is spell-check and
punctuation-check. Then there are harder forms of editing work
where you might be expected to correct readability and style, and
sometimes even help with fact-checking. 

How Hard Is It?
You've proofread your own work before--you go over your sentences,
tweak the weird-sounding ones, correct the misspellings, and take
out needless words. How is that different from reading other
people's work? 

The most important difference is that when you're reading something
YOU wrote, you know what's going on because you know how your mind
works. But when reading a piece by someone else, you may be
confused by the other person's logic or thinking process and
consequently find yourself unable to comprehend what it is they're
trying to say. 

Secondly, with your own articles and stories, you can delete or add
paragraphs as you please. But when editing, you're not allowed to
add or take away anything that the piece itself does not call for
(unless your client has specifically asked you to edit the CONTENT
of the piece.) You have to work with someone else's sentence
patterns. If a paragraph is perplexing, you have to straighten it
out. Some of the topics covered may be unfamiliar to you, which
only makes it all the harder. 

How to Read
Got an editing job in your in-tray but don't know where to start? 

First, skim through the piece quickly, and correct all the obvious
mistakes: misspellings, wrong verb tenses, and so on. (If your
client only requires a quick spell-check, then your job is pretty
much done here.) 

Now go through the piece again. Read the first paragraph. You
should read the first paragraph carefully because it should
(hopefully!) help you to get an outline of the rest of the piece as
well as the writer's reasoning process. Is the meaning clear to
you? Do you know what the writer is saying? The first paragraph of
nonfiction pieces are usually an introduction to what the piece is
going to say, so it has to be ESPECIALLY clear. 

Go on to read the rest of the piece. You'll have to use your better
judgment on some points. Sometimes you have to move sentences
around to make the whole piece understandable. Sometimes a
convoluted paragraph can be converted into a bullet list, for

Finally, skim the whole piece again, making sure it holds together.
Check to see that there aren't incorrect "leads," like saying there
are three reasons for something, but only giving two. Check the
grammar again, as well. Sometimes, after I make changes, I forget
to change the verb tenses concerned, so I get sentences like, "Our
company ARE a fun, challenging..."

If you're further expected to check the content, a trip to Google
would be a good place to start, though you may have to pay a few
visits to the library or to online forums to find really expert

What Not to Correct
Yes, there are some things in a piece that you should not correct. 

You should not correct wrong INFORMATION. (Unless you're asked to
do so, of course.) What's wrong information? Things like 1+1=3. Why
not? Because sometimes the information may be something technical
that you THINK you know, but don't. You can, however, give the
client a kindly reminder. 

Keep an eye out for the "wrong" spellings that aren't really wrong.
The names of drugs or scientific equipment, for instance. I once
corrected about fifty "misspellings" before I realized that it was
the abbreviation of an insecticide's name. 

However, there are those people who persist in believing that "a
lot" is spelled "alot". How do you know if the misspelling is wrong
or not? You can ask your client to provide you with a glossary.
(Don't laugh; there are thoughtful corporations who do prepare
glossaries for first-time buyers of their product. It never hurts
to ask.) Or you can try Google, the ever-helpful. As a last resort,
you can highlight the suspicious phrases and go over them with your
client one by one. As a rule, if you come across more than three
misspellings of the same word, you should highlight that as a
possible non-misspelling. 

Where Do I Start?
Where can you get proofreading jobs? You could sit in your chair
waiting for the friend of a friend to be introduced to you, but
that might take forever. If you want a job, you'll have to go out
and look for it. 

Search for mom-and-pop printing shops, especially ones located near
colleges. Students often get their term papers or theses printed in
stores like these. Approach the printers with your resume and ask
if they'd be interested in adding "editing services" to their
windows. You may have to pay them a percentage of your earnings as
a referral fee.  

Pick up the phone book and call up local nonprofit organizations.
Nonprofits print a lot of promotion material, and they all need to
be proofread before they go out. In my experience, nonprofits are
also the ones that pay the most reasonable fees. 

Snag a copy of your local newspaper or magazine and call or email
them to see if they need a writer to help them edit. The fees for
these jobs tend to be lower than otherwise, but you do get plenty
of hands-on experience. 

Don't forget to get "proofreader" or "editing services" printed on
your name cards. Who knows, that person you met at the party just
might be your next client. 

Non-English-major-turned-writer? Drop by your old professor's
office and see if he or she needs a "secretary." Professors are
typically swamped with written work: student papers, scientific
papers, and reports of their own research, and they all need to be
read and corrected. Since you're familiar with the terminology, you
have a distinct advantage over the other proofreaders or
copy-editors out there. Plus, your services can be billed to the
school under "expenses," so the professor wouldn't be paying for
your work out of his own pocket. (Oh, and a little tip: sales reps
bearing catalogs are often in and out of professors' offices. Take
a look at the catalogs, and look up the websites of the companies:
you'll get the newest information on equipment and scientific
products, AND you never know when the companies might be looking
for a copywriter or a technical writer!)

And the Pay?
Proofreaders are usually paid by the thousand-word, or by the hour.
Rates per hour can be anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on the
job. It's best to ask for per-our rates because some short pieces
may take you four or five hours to straighten out! 

Further reading:
A proofreader's forum. Ask questions and get answers here. 
A starting point where you can find new markets/clients/jobs. 


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

Copyright (c) 2010 by Aline Lechaye

For more information on proofreading visit
http://www.writing-world.com/basics/proofread.shtml and 


WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of 
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Free Stuff for Writers: And Now, Please Welcome...

By Aline Lechaye

Your publishers have asked you to promote your books by talking to
your target readers. Some corporation has asked you to discuss the
concepts you've written about. You've self-published and are
considering a tour to talk about your work.

You want to interest your audience. Speeches are boring, you
decide. You want to show some pictures. Perhaps a video or two.
Charts. Yeah, charts are good. Statistics always speak louder than

So, you won't give a speech. You'll give a presentation. You'll
SHOW your audience what the book is about instead of just TELLING
them. It shouldn't be too hard to do that. Just get a few slides

Where do you start?

This month, I'll first introduce you to four free online editors
that you can use to make your presentations. 

Go to Google Docs (http://docs.google.com/) and click on
"Presentation" (under the "New" tab in the top left corner) to get
started. The editor layout is similar to that of PowerPoint. You
can insert pictures, videos, charts and tables, and even work on
the presentation simultaneously with friends or colleagues. One
drawback of Google Docs Presentations is that they don't allow you
to make animations on your slides, which can be disappointing for
those who like "flashy" effects. 

Another online slide editor you can consider trying is SlideRocket.
This site has cool animation effects. The editor itself looks a
little bit like Keynote. You can use the insert plug-in button to
add quotes, word definitions, and even Twitter feeds to your
presentation. Drawbacks? Limited slide themes. Also, the editor
sometimes takes a while to load if your Internet connection is on
the slow side. Sign up for a free account at 

A friend of mine calls 280 Slides (http://280slides.com/)
"Presentations for Dummies." If you consider yourself technically
challenged, this is the site for you when it comes to making
slides. All editing tools are laid out at the top of the editor,
and you can download your presentation in PowerPoint 2007 format as
soon as you're done. 

Feel like doing something daring? Leave the slides at home and make
a "prezi" at http://prezi.com/. The site lets you put images,
ideas, and videos together to form a virtual mind map you can use
to illustrate your speech. You can zoom in or out on the details as
needed, and connect the dots between ideas to show the overall
view. It's fun to use, and there are tutorials and examples on the
website to help you get started. Additionally, the "prezi" can
easily be embedded to your blog or website.

But, wait. Why do you need these online editors? You already have
Microsoft's PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote installed on your
computer. What's wrong with those? 

Online editors are easy to access when you're on the go. Some of
them have interesting features built in that PowerPoint and Keynote
don't have. You can save your slides online and work on them with
two or three other people at the same time. 

But don't worry. We'll get to PowerPoint and Keynote next month.
You'll learn where to download add-ins, and also get some
slide-creating tips. 


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

Copyright (c) 2010 by Aline Lechaye


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The List of Slang Dictionaries
An excellent selection of slang dictionaries, including links to
sites on street slang, Internet slang, hip hop, sports slang,
international English slang and much more.

Lots of useful articles and tips on script writing, including
issues of content, format, and more.

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Hundreds of pages of advice on how to write a song, song-writing
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Life Sentences, by Gioya McRae,

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on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
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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 2010 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
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Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
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For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor