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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 11:06           12,360 subscribers           March 17, 2011
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
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by Dawn Copeman 
THE WRITING DESK: Formatting Novels, by Moira Allen
FEATURE: Evaluating a Novel's Plot and Scenes - by Frances Beckham
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
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* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.

Black Dogs and LOL Cats
It came as a huge surprise to me.  I thought I was suffering from
Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I did
not think I was depressed. 

I mean, surely I would notice feeling depressed?  Surely I would,
well, you know, feel sad, weepy or blue?  Apparently not. The fact
that my body had slowed down, and weakened, that my concentration
had been blown to pieces and my ability to think became clouded in
a fog are all textbook symptoms of clinical depression.  Feeling
sad doesn't really come into it. 

I had, in layman's terms, overloaded my system.  I had tried to do
too much for too long and something has to give.  In my case, as in
all cases of clinical depression, it was my limbic system that
crashed.  I think I prefer the old-fashioned term of nervous
breakdown, because basically, it was my entire nervous system that,
er, broke down. 

I'm slowing fixing it.  Very slowly. I was first diagnosed way back
in August when my husband, in a very kindly way, suggested that my
weakness might be all in my head.  At first I was furious!  Did he
think I enjoyed having no energy or not being able to remember how
to access the Internet? But then he said, no, he knew I really was
weak and tired but that the cause could be mental rather than

I went to see my GP and he confirmed it.  I had all the symptoms of
a clinical depression.  He couldn't tell me I had it before I
suggested to him that I might have it because, apparently, that's
the way the NHS works regarding depression. 

So I took my Prozac and took my time for myself and spent a lot of
time in the sunshine - when we had any.  I cut back on my
commitments and started to feel, well, normal. 

Just two weeks ago I had a relapse.  No surprise really.  I've been
doing too much again.  The odd extra bit of tuition here, the odd
piece of copywriting, all too soon it meant I was working all the
time without really noticing it.  My body noticed however.

So now, I've stopped doing almost everything.  I only teach in the
primary school for four hours a week, I've stopped all my private
tuition and I've re-started Yoga and taking time for me.  Silly
things like listening to music whilst cooking, taking an hour off
each day to read or play games, listen to the funny music at "The
Fump" (http://www.thefump.com/) or laugh at LOLCats. 

But most of all I've had to accept that no matter how much a
workaholic I used to be, no matter how much I used to be able to
achieve in a day or week before, those days are gone.  If I try to
be that person again, the black dog will come and bite me.  Instead
I have to tame the black dog and learn to live a simpler, more
contented way of life. 

I am very lucky in that I now have the chance to re-evaluate my
life and work out what I want it to be.  If your life is not what
you want it to be, take time to do this for yourself too, before
the black dog bites you. 

If you are suffering from depression, I recommend two picture
books, one for you and one for your family: "I had a Black Dog" and
"Living with a Black Dog." They are short, succinct and incredibly
useful.  I also recommend moodgym (
http://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome), which offers online cognitive
behavioural therapy. 

Apparently, depression is common amongst creative folks.  Some say
it helps with creativity, others that it is a necessary evil.  I
say depression is a safety valve, to ensure we don't overdo things.
 I'm not exactly delighted to have a black dog, but it has made me
change the way I view life and for that I'm grateful.  

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor


editors contribute their unique news and views each year. That's
news and views to improve your chances to get published. Your first
two issues are FREE.  http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AE372


THE INTERNATIONAL RUBERY BOOK AWARD: An award for self published 
and independently published books. Three prizes. A prestigious
line-up of judges, including a Booker short-listed author. Winning
book is also guaranteed to be read by a literary agent. 


Congratulations to Our Drawing Winners

Thanks to all of you who entered our drawings for copies of Moira
Allen's "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer" and "The
Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals."  The drawings
are now complete, and the lucky winners are:

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer:

Kathryn Bales, Nevada
Jim Dubel, Maryland
Mary Anne Giangola, New Mexico
Ronald D. Kness, Arizona
Rapunzel Oberholtzer, Oregon

The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals:

Janette Busch, New Zealand
Jill Gibbs, Minnesota
Desmond Nnochiri, Nigeria
Gloria Smurlo, Pennsylvania
Shauna R. Viele, Kansas


services offered by Sigrid Macdonald, author of "Be Your Own 
Editor". Perfect your prose and ensure that your work is 
error-free, well-structured, readable and ready for publication. 
http://sigridmacdonald.blogspot.com (sigridmac"at"rogers.com). 


Christian publisher offering excellent royalty rates to fresh &
seasoned authors of Christian theology, fiction and lifestyle, or
writers of fictions exploring faith and morality issues. For
details visit http://www.blueboxpublishing.co.uk


The Writing Desk: Formatting in Novels
By Moira Allen

How does one format "thoughts" and scene breaks in a manuscript?
Q: I've been told that I should underline to show thought.  But
I've also been told not to underline or italicize anything in my

A: Typically, thoughts are indicated in a printed novel by the use
of italics.  Thus, when you're indicating thoughts in your
manuscript, you would need to either underline or italicize the
phrases that are thoughts (to distinguish them from dialogue). I
don't know where you've heard not to underline in a manuscript --
perhaps from a source that is thinking primarily of e-mailed
manuscripts.  On a hardcopy, and especially in a novel, underlining
is perfectly acceptable; you will also want to use italics now and
then for emphasis, and this is usually the way to indicate them.         
You can also choose whether you prefer to underline or actually use
italics.  If you are planning to submit your manuscript, you should
try to get hold of the submission guidelines for the publisher
you're targeting, and find out if they have a preference.         
However, publishers are far more interested in the quality of
writing than in the mechanics.  When your manuscript actually gets
to the typesetting stage, at that point your publisher will tell
you if they want it in a specific format.

How should scene breaks within a chapter be handled? 
Q: I've been told I should denote a scene break with the "#" sign. 
On the other hand I've been told to denote this by double spacing

A: Either system works.  However, double-spacing twice can be a
problem if, for example, your scene break happens to hit at the end
of a page.  There would be no way to tell by the spacing that the
lines beginning on the next page are part of a new scene.  Thus, I
prefer to use a symbol.  I personally use three asterisks, bolded
and centered, like so:
*   *   *

How do I format internal monologue and flashbacks?
Q: I am writing a third-person novel centered on a protagonist who
frequently engages in flashbacks, which have various combinations
of action, dialog and internal monologue, speaking out loud to an
empty room, and actively engaging in internal monologue. I am
having difficulty formatting the flashbacks and internal monologue
to separate them from these other elements. Any recommendations for
the formatting of these items?

A: Typically, internal monologue is indicated by the use of
italics. This is the most common approach to indicate that
something is a "thought" rather than a "spoken phrase".
        "I wish she would hurry," he said.  
        I wish she would hurry, he thought.
Flashbacks are trickier.  You could use italics if they are short,
but if they are long, it's usually better to separate them from the
preceding text with a blank line, or something else to indicate a
break in the flow -- such as a line with three asterisks centered
(* * *), then format the flashback as normal text.
Copyright (c) 2011 by Moira Allen


WRITING COMPETITIONS - One-Page Story (300 word) and Poetry (200 
word). Firsts get 1,000 each and the best 10 published in the 
Fish Anthology in July. Chris Stewart judges the One-Page and 
Brian Turner the Poetry. Entry online 14. Close March 31. 
Details at http://www.fishpublishing.com info"at"fishpublishing.com


evaluation! Discover what you can do to make agents and publishers 
sit up and notice you. Get a detailed critique of your book.
See http://www.stephaniekain.com 


Bloomsbury USA Enjoyed Best Year Ever in 2010
2010 saw profits rise at Bloomsbury USA by 160% to just over $2
million.  Sales rose 1.6% to just over $31 million of which eBook
sales were $2.3 million.  Bloomsbury now has 1800 eBook titles and
will continue to expand its range, as it believes that eBooks will
continue to grow. For more on this story visit: 

HarperCollins UK Also Considering EBook Lending Limit 
Following the news last issue that HarperCollins in the US was
limiting the number of times eBooks can be lent out by libraries to
26, it seems that a similar move is also under consideration by
HarperCollins UK. For more on this story visit:

Cornish Bookseller Finds Rare Du Maurier Stories Online
Ann Willmore who runs a bookshop in Cornwall has long been a fan of
Daphne Du Maurier and has spent many hours searching for her 'lost'
short stories.  These include stories that were mentioned by Du
Maurier in her autobiography but were not in print in the UK.  By
searching online Willmore found some of the rare short stories in
magazines published in the USA and UK in the 1930's.  The collected
short stories will shortly be published in a new anthology.  For
more on this story visit: 


SPRING FEVER On-line Poetry Contest! Prizes 50, 30 & 25 plus
publication in print anthology. ONLY 100 ENTRIES ACCEPTED! Entries
close 21st March, 2011 - http://www.writelink.co.uk/springfever


Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. Write a poem, 30 lines
or fewer on any subject and/or write a short story, 5 pages max.
on any theme, single or double line spacing, neatly hand printed
or typed for a chance to win cash prizes. Visit
http://www.dreamquestone.com for details!



EatingWell Magazine Calls for Food Features
EatingWell is the only national food magazine that focuses
exclusively on eating healthfully (our motto: "Where Good Taste
Meets Good Health"). We are the preeminent magazine resource for
people who want to enjoy food that is delicious and good for them.
Our readers are interested not only in cooking and nutrition
science, but also in the origins of food and social issues related
to food networks. They appreciate eating culture and traditions.
They are well-read and discriminating -- yet they don't take
themselves too seriously.

EatingWell's "voice" is journalistic and authoritative; it speaks
to both men and women. We cover nutrition with a newsy,
science-based approach. Our recipes emphasize high-quality
healthful ingredients, simple preparations and full flavor.

We are freelance friendly and pay up to $1 a word.  Check out
website for detailed guidelines. 

Angry Robot Seeks Novelists
Angry Robot is a global imprint dedicated to the best in modern
adult science fiction, fantasy and everything inbetween.
British-based but selling worldwide, their mission is to produce
books that appeal to everyone, from post-Dr Who and Xbox fans to
long-time genre enthusiasts.  They are holding an open-door
throughout March where you can send them your unsolicited
manuscripts.  All books must be science fiction, fantasy or horror.
 No children's books or uncompleted manuscripts.  Works should be
between 70,000 and 130,000 words. 


Children's Books Wanted by Phoenix Books
Phoenix Books are looking for picture books, fiction, poetry and
non-fiction for children aged 3 and upwards. They will consider
books of all genres for all ages. 


Want your novel to be represented by A.P. Watt?
Want your short story to be published by Ether Books?
Want professional feedback from The Literary Consultancy?
Come to http://www.circalit.com, a portal for professional writers.


ALLBOOKS REVIEW is THE review and author promo source for POD
AUTHORS as well as traditionally published authors.  Authors
around the world use our service. Great coverage for your book
for 12+ months. Our complete review and author promotional
package is less than $50 and includes entry in the Allbooks
Review Editor's Choice Award. http://www.allbookreviews.com.


FEATURE: Evaluating a Novel's Plot and Scenes 
By Frances Beckham

After months of hard work you have finally completed your first
novel. Think of your novel as a puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle is
equivalent to pieces of the plot and the various scenes in the
chapters. When they are put together, they create a big picture,
the novel. However, if your chapter scenes and plot -- the puzzle
pieces -- are ill-shaped and ill-formed, they cannot fit together
properly to form the big picture.  Before attempting to publish the
book, do a careful review by asking yourself the following

Is The Plot Original Enough?
When rereading the novel, mark anything that you have read before
in other books, or seen in a movie. Next, list them on a separate
sheet of paper; then, for each one, write down notes on how to make
them different from what you have seen before. For example, in your
story your protagonist is an orphan boy who attends a special magic
school to learn how to become a wizard.  Sound too much like the
Harry Potter books?  Consider how you could change the essence of
the plot. Instead of an orphan, make the protagonist a boy with
busy parents who send him to a boarding school, unaware that it is
an exclusive school for children who are monsters in human form.
Making such notes and brainstorming changes can train your mind to
think more creatively.

Can Readers Predict What's Going To Happen Next?
As you tell your story, are you revealing too much information? 
Can the reader see the resolution of a problem long before you
actually get there?  Telling the reader too much can bore him. It
does not allow readers to utilize their imaginations and feel a
sense of mystery and suspense.
Make notes on areas where you have given too much detail. Make
changes that will hook the reader and tease her mind. Make the
reader believe the story will go one way, then introduce an
unexpected twist.
Is The Plot Boring?
Even though your plot may be unique, it may be boring. Boring plots
typically include long scenes, rambling dialog, overly detailed
descriptive narratives, and little action. Correct this by
shortening the dialog and focusing it on the plot. The mood of the
conversation should fit the mood of the scenes in the chapters. For
instance, if the scene is comical, the dialog should be comical. If
the scene is serious, the dialog should be serious. Keep in mind
that dialog should always be supportive to the plot. Liven up the
story with unique situations and events that can add more
Don't overdo it, however. Give the reader some down-time between
exciting action scenes. Do this by incorporating chapter scenes to
appeal to different emotions. Use some comedy, some drama, some
suspense, and some mystery to support the plot. Take your readers
on an emotional rollercoaster ride.

Is The Plot Too Complex?
Making the plot complex (too many subplots, too many flashbacks, or
too many dream sequences) can confuse the reader. A complex plot
can lose focus of the main point of the story. It can make it
difficult to develop a resolution. Some writers who are experienced
can create complex plots. However, for new writers, it is best to
keep the story simple.

Is The Plot Too Shallow?
Sometimes new writers get too caught up in making their story
exciting and so interesting. They get caught up in the action,
symbolism, witty dialog, and slick descriptions, but lose the
focus, the meaning, and the purpose of the story. When reviewing
your novel, ask yourself, "What is the meaning of the story? What
is the purpose? What is the story about?" If you cannot see meaning
and purpose in your plot, then the plot is shallow. Begin to think
of ways to refocus the plot on its purpose.

Is The Plot Believable?
Readers need to buy into the reality of your story even though it
is fiction. If it sounds farfetched and unrealistic, most readers
will have a hard time connecting with the story. In your notes,
consider what you can do to make a "hard to believe" event more
believable, more "possible" within the context of the story.  

Is The Sequence Illogical?
This relates to the order of chapter scenes and events in the
novel. If you feel the current order is not right, consider ways to
rearrange them, change them, or delete them.

Is The Conclusion Satisfying?
Is the resolution is clear enough or logical enough? If you feel
unsatisfied with your conclusion, this is your gut feeling telling
you that it is lacking something. You need to determine what that
"something" is, and make sure it is part of your conclusion.
After reevaluating the plot, it's time to examine each scene.

Insert Yourself In Each Chapter Scene
For each scene, put yourself in turn in the shoes of each
character. Live what they live. Feel the emotions of the
characters. Act out their parts. Imagine the scenes step by step in
your mind. Visualize them and let them play out like a movie with
you in it. Doing this helps a writer to see weaknesses in the
characters' personalities, lack of focus on the plot, weakness in
the dialog, and the length of detail in the description. As you
envision the scenes in your mind, jot quick notes. Allow the scene
to play out in alternate ways from what you originally wrote. 

Examine Each Scene Ending
Scenes should end in a way to make the reader want to read more.
End a scene:

The moment a major decision is about to be made;
When a terrible incident happens;
When something bad is about to happen;
When a strong display of emotions happens;
When a question is raised with no immediate answer.

Enhance the Core
The "core" relates to the purpose of the scene. After reading each
scene, ask yourself the following questions: What is the scene's
purpose? Why does it exist? Determine whether the scenes are in
line with the plot. If the core is weak, strengthen it.

Adjust the Pace
Long, lagging scenes that require little action can be very boring.
To speed them up, use a plot-focused dialog. A short verbal
exchange leaves a lot of white space on the page and gives the
feeling that the story is moving. Sometimes, conversely, scenes
need to be slowed down. Do this by including action and
descriptions that are relevant to the plot and move it forward.

Cut or Strengthen Weak Scenes
Often it is hard for a writer to critique his/her own work. When
reading through the novel, one often does not see the weak scenes.
So when reviewing your book, ask the following questions for each

Do characters do a lot of talking without much conflict?
Is a character's motivation undeveloped?
Is there too much introspection (characters examining their own
thoughts or feelings)?
Is there too little tension between characters?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, determine whether or
not the scene is necessary to the story. If it is necessary, redo
it. If not, cut it out.

By taking these steps to improving the plot and scenes in your
novel, you'll see those puzzle pieces come together to form the
"big picture" you wanted in the first place!


Frances Beckham is a writer of children's and young adult fiction
and resides in Washington State. She operates the Affordable
Proofreading & Critique Service for writers of film scripts and
novels. Beckham enjoys writing, whether it is scripts, books, or

Copyright 2011 Frances Beckham

For more information on plotting your novel visit: 

ARE YOU A WRITER WITH A DAY JOB?  Do you steal moments late at 
night or on your lunch break to write?  Then The Nighttime 
Novelist: Finish Your Novel in Your Spare Time, by Joseph Bates, 
is the guide for you, with techniques, mini-lessons, exercises 
and worksheets to help you get that novel finished. From Writer's 
Digest Books. http://tinyurl.com/28zl756


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. 



Writing Tips Today
Although this site is aimed mainly at college students wanting to
perfect their essay writing, this site has lots of useful articles
to all freelance writers.  One of the recent articles was on
finding content for your blog, or why most blogs are inactive. 

Gotham Writer's Workshop
This is part of WritingClasses.com but this site offers free
articles on many aspects of writing plus a free weekly newsletter.
I particularly enjoy the 'Tips from the Masters' section.

LolCat Literacy
For those of you who, like me, adore lolcats, here is an
interesting article on the effect (or not) that lolcat speak is
having on English and on the literary merits of lolcats.  The
pictures are great!


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. Newly updated for 2010, WRITING TO WIN
by Moira Allen is the one-stop resource you need for contests
and contest tips. Visit Writing-World.com's bookstore for details:


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: April 15 2011
GENRE:    Young Writers
DETAILS: US High School Students Grade 9 - 12, contest for poetry
and short stories.  Poetry: 1-3 poems; Prose: 1-3 entries, 1500
word maximum.   
PRIZE:   $200 in each genre   
URL: http://tinyurl.com/4qwdk67

DEADLINE: April 15 2011  
GENRE:   Nonfiction
OPEN TO: US residents who have not published a book or a national
magazine article on the topic.
DETAILS: Essays that explore the relationship between the human
spirit and the environment. Nonfiction essays, "whether with a
personal, scientific, or memoir bent." 2,500-4,000 words.  They
encourage "essays about life in the mountains of the northeastern
US. Wildness! Are you finding it where you least expect? Did you go
in search and it wasn't there? The Waterman Fund is seeking
personal essays about stewardship of wild places, whether through a
scientific lens or an encounter with wildness. What do we mean by
'the spirit of wildness?' Why is it so important to our lives? Or,
is it? Guy and Laura Waterman spent a lifetime reflecting and
writing on the Northeast's mountains. The Waterman Fund seeks to
further their legacy through essays that celebrate this spirit."
PRIZE: $1500 plus publication.    
URL: http://tinyurl.com/6fj352q

DEADLINE: April 18, 2011
GENRE: Short Stories, Poetry
DETAILS: The Birdsong Collective and Micropress was founded in
April 2008 with four goals in mind: to foster sustained
collaboration among artists, musicians and writers in the form of
an ongoing workshop; to continually encourage each other to produce
creative work; to host free, public events where members can
showcase works in progress; and to circulate members' creative
endeavors in a low-cost, easy to reproduce, and high-frequency
format. Birdsong members share commitments to social movements of
feminism, anti-racism, queer positivity, class-consciousness, and
DIY cultural production. These commitments inform our creative work
in many ways, ranging from the concrete to the theoretical to the
experimental. Poetry: Maximum 3 single-spaced pages; Prose: Maximum
1,500 words 
PRIZE:  $50 plus publication. 
URL: http://birdsongmag.com/contest/  

DEADLINE: April 20, 2011
GENRE: Short Stories/Nonfiction
DETAILS: There are approximately one billion international
travelers every year. One in every six people cross a border to
visit another country, and around 215 million people go on a
different journey.
Winning submissions will showcase unique voices, perspectives, and
original ways of thinking about TRAVEL. We are looking for:
1. Works that examine different aspects of travel (migration,
tourism, relocation, etc.)
2. Works that explore geographical and cultural boundaries.
3. Works that inspire people to think about responsible travel and
tourism. 500 words or less, must be previously unpublished. 
PRIZE: Winning entries will be exhibited at a festival in Bologna
and in New York City.  Other prizes to be confirmed.
URL: http://pentales.com/private/page/RYV3/20001

DEADLINE:  April 30, 2011
GENRE: Poetry
DETAILS:  The Spring 2011 contest is for poems about Apollo. One
poem, 30 lines maximum.
PRIZE:  $50 
URL: http://www.tapestryofbronze.com/OdeForm.html   

DEADLINE: May 1, 2011
GENRE: Short Stories, Poetry
DETAILS:  Poetry: 1-5 poems; Fiction: one story, 8,000 words
PRIZE: $150 in each category, $100 in each category.   
URL:  http://www.barton.edu/academics/english/crucible.htm 

DEADLINE: May 2, 2011
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO: Authors working on a second or third book of fiction who
do not have a publishing contract for the work.
DETAILS: Submit details of previously published work of fiction
plus 75 - 80 pages of current manuscript.   
PRIZES:  $7,500
URL: http://www.twc.org/resources  


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. Newly updated for 2010, WRITING TO WIN
by Moira Allen is the one-stop resource you need for contests
and contest tips. Visit Writing-World.com's bookstore for details:


SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent
Writers and Editors, the professional association with a
career-building difference. We partner with you to create a
strategic online presence with genuine credibility. You get a free
NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to
find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com!


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Upon the Breasts of Heaven, by Rick Zabel

A Nose for Hanky Panky, by Sharon Cook

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer (Second Edition), 
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 more than 100,000 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 2011 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
Back issues archived at

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Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
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For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor