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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 11:12           12,617 subscribers            June 16, 2011
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THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK: Getting Back to Basics, 
by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITING DESK, Increasing Writing Income, by Moira Allen
FEATURE: Plotting The Teen Romance, by Mindy Hardwick
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.

Getting Back to Basics 
To re-start my writing I've gone back to basics. Way back. Back to
writing with pen and paper in an attempt to try to reconnect my
brain and my creativity, to try and resolve the problem of the
blank screen. Many writers do it; many even still write their
entire novels by hand and then have them typed up, and being so
desperate to re-ignite my creative spark, I thought I'd give it a
go too.  And in doing so I discovered something quite shocking --
my handwriting is abysmal!

My handwriting really sucks.  It is hard to read, scruffy, and
what's more, I can't write for more than a few minutes without my
hand aching.  What's happened? I used to write essays thousands of
words long by hand.  I used to be able to write.  Now, of course,
like many of us, the only writing I do is on the computer.  I
word-process everything, or I send e-mails or texts.  Heck, I even
send e-cards now, so I never, ever get to write anything anymore
apart from my signature on the occasional check or printed letter. 

The fact that I can't write more than a sentence or two at a time
without pain is kind of hindering the creative output, I have to
admit. Still, it does give me plenty of thinking time!  

And unlike when I'm using my laptop, or my phone, I can now write
anywhere. Sure, I can take my laptop around with me, but it isn't
always practical to do so; I don't fancy typing at the side of the
pool whilst my daughter has her swimming lesson, but I can write by
the pool.

Using pen and paper has helped me to make the most of those little
gaps in my day.  Waiting, queuing, small gaps between lessons, I
now use them much more than I did before.  Before, I would think,
"Well, by the time I've switched the machine on and opened up Word,
I'll only have a few minutes.  It's not worth it."  Now I find a
few minutes is all I need to jot something down, to progress my
novel, to write the next paragraph in an article or to come up with
article ideas. 

I'm hooked.  It really has improved my writing; the block is
lifting.  Now all I have to do is work on improving my handwriting
so I can read what I've put and do more than a few lines at a time. 

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor



See You in the Funny Pages...
You can see an "interview" with Moira Allen, Editor of
Writing-World.com in... yes, the funny pages.  Specifically, in the
Bo's Café Life Cartoon series of Wayne Pollard.  Moira weighs in on
query letters, the wisdom of calling an agent, and mocha frapps:



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/AK007 

The Writing Desk, How can I increase my writing income?

By Moira Allen

Q: I have been freelance writing for about six months. I have a
hard time getting out the right amount of queries to receive enough
work, but not too much. I usually query magazines that pay about
ten cents a word or $100 an article, and I'd like to make about
$1000 a month. Can you offer me any advice to achieve the results I
am looking for?

A: This is one of the greatest challenges freelancers face.  Having
a set goal is the first step -- you've established how much you
want to earn.  Now, to figure out how to earn it...

The simplest way to approach this is to think of it as an equation.
You have so many hours you can work, you have a figure you want to
reach, and you know how much your "regular" markets are paying you.
So -- start the calculations.  How many articles can you produce in
a month?

If you want to earn $1000, you already know that you must write ten
$100 articles per month.  Can you do this?  To answer that, you'll
need to know how long it takes you to research and write an
article. Does it take you ten hours to produce a single article,
from start to finish?  If so, it will take you 100 hours to produce
those ten articles -- or, roughly, 25 hours per week.

Do you have that kind of time?  If so, then you can probably reach
your goal.  If you don't, however, you'll have to start playing
with the "variables."  At present, you only have two:
Amount of time per article and price per article

Thus, if you don't have 100 hours per month, you really only have
two options.  The first is to focus on articles that require fewer
than 10 hours of work.  The second is to focus on markets that pay
more than $100 per article.  If you can develop article ideas that
only require, say, 5 hours per article, you'll cut your writing
time in half and achieve the same income.  However, you can
accomplish the same goal by looking for markets that pay, say, $200
-- which means that those same hours will bring in twice as much
income.  (It also means that if you were ALSO able to cut down the
amount of time spent writing an article, you'd earn even more.)

When you're pitching to 10c/word markets, consider looking for
markets that want longer articles.  It doesn't take much more to
research a 2000-word article than it does to research a 1000-word
article.  (In fact, some folks, like me, find it easier to write
"long" than "short".)  The pay, however, is now twice as high: 
It's still the same base rate, but you're getting $200 per piece
instead of $100.

If you're pitching to $100 markets now, consider looking around for
markets that pay $150 or $200 for material of the same length.
Again, that doubles your pay without doubling your workload.

There's also another factor to consider: the issue of what is and
isn't in your control.  While you may be able to write ten articles
per month, can you sell them?  That's something you can't control. 
You never know when an editor will say "yes" rather than "no."  So
another factor you need to determine is your rate of success on
queries.  What is your current percentage?  (I track mine on a
spreadsheet, with four columns:  Submitted, Pending, Accepted,
Rejected.  By comparing the "accepted" and "rejected" numbers
against the total of submissions, I know what my acceptance ratio
is.)  If half your queries are accepted, how many will you have to
submit to reach your goal?

I firmly believe that the best way to reach a financial goal is to
maximize the value of your time.  It makes far more sense to spend
ten hours writing a $500 article than spending that same ten hours
writing a $100 article.  Of course, this means breaking out of your
current market "zone" and looking for new markets -- something that
can often seem intimidating.  But if your goal is to build to a
certain financial point, this is often the only way.

Copyright 2011 Moira Allen


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!


Bookshops Heading for Extinction Claims Politician
The Australian Minister for Small Business, Nick Sherry, has
outraged bookstore owners in Australia by saying that "in five
years, other than a few speciality bookshops in capital cities, you
will not see a bookstore." Two of Australia's biggest book chains
ceased trading earlier on this year.  For more on this story visit:

Bookstore sales rise in the US
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, April
saw sales of books rise by 1.8%.  This means that figures from the
first quarter of the year show book sales rising to $4.98 billion.
These figures do, however, include books sold when Borders closed. 
For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/3wvugzs

New Children's Series to be published only on Kindle
New interactive adventure stories based on "Treasure Island" and
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" are being published by Intellectual
property agency 1454 exclusively on the Kindle.  "BookSurfers," by
David Gatward, takes children on an interactive journey through
these classic stories.  The series is aimed at nine to twelve year
olds.  The original novels are included with the ebooks.  For more
on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/3sssfqu


how to negotiate agreements, choose pricing strategies, define
tasks, deal with difficult customers, and much more in "What
to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants"
(2nd Edition) by Laurie Lewis. In print and Kindle from Amazon
at http://tinyurl.com/setyourfees

FEATURE: Plotting the Teen Romance
By Mindy Hardwick

Falling in love is one of the most popular topics in young adult
novels.  But falling in love is complex, especially for teen
characters. A teen falls in love and, one minute, the world is
rosy. But, the next minute, everything can be dark and dismal. We
want to capture those emotions in our stories. However, we also
want to tell a story which has solid pacing and structure. So, how
can we structure and pace romance stories for teens? We can
understand the five stages to falling in love and craft our teen
romance stories using these stages.  

Stage One: Infatuation.  
One day everything is normal. Then, in the next moment, your teen
characters are thrown off balance by meeting each other. However,
don't be fooled. This initial meeting will not be enough to carry
your teen love story. Now the question to ask is: What will be the
obstacle for your two characters? A teen romance can't simply be
based around two characters who are falling in love.  There must be
conflict that, somehow, keeps the two characters apart. 
Conflict can occur one of two ways. Your characters may have to
battle outside forces who oppose their love, such as in the classic
Romeo or Juliet -- or in the novel Twilight, in which he is a
vampire and she is human.  Conversely, your two characters may be
at odds with each other. For example, in the teen novel 'Flipped'
by Wendelin Van Draanen, Julianna is madly in love with Bryce.
Unfortunately, he can't stand her. As the novel progresses, we see
Bryce fall in love with Julianna while she decides that she can't
stand him. Finally, at the end of the novel, both characters have
decided they just might like each other. 
When you are creating that first meeting, some questions to
consider are: How do your characters feel the first time they meet?
Why are they both in this spot at this moment? What character trait
do they each notice about the other?  This trait may initially be
something physical, but to create a satisfying teen love story,
your characters should also notice a personality trait. For
example, maybe your teen boy is working with younger children
coaching on a ball field. Your teen girl has a younger brother who
is playing on the team.  She notices how patient the teen boy is
with her brother. The girl realizes that she wants to know more
about this boy, which will lead them to the second stage. 

Stage Two: Flirtation. 
Your teen characters have met. Now, the flirtation begins. At this
point, accidental meetings start to occur. Your teens might
"accidentally" run into each other at school, parties, or other
social events.  As the flirtation progresses, your characters will
spend more time in proximity to each other. Perhaps, they might go
on a date and the all-important first kiss may happen. 

However, before you dive into that juicy first kiss, take a minute
to think about first kisses. How many first kisses go as dreamed or
expected? How many first kisses are just downright awful? As you
get ready to write that all-important first kiss scene, consider
the following: What fears do your characters have about the first
kiss? What expectations do your characters have? Are your
characters the first to kiss in their social group or the last? Is
it a bet or a dare that they will kiss each other? Where are your
characters during the moment of the kiss? Is it a planned kiss such
as after a date or dance, or is it unexpected in the middle of a
rain storm? What happens afterwards? Is it awkward? Is that moment
broken by a parent or younger sibling who walks in the room?
Carefully considering all of these questions will help you to craft
a realistic first kiss scene.

Stage Three: Friendship.  
Your story is moving along and your teen characters are now
progressing in their relationship. At this point, your characters
have kissed, perhaps had a couple dates, and are beginning to
reveal who they are to each other.  Now is the time to include a
scene or two in which secrets are revealed. Or, perhaps a long-held
judgment is reversed as your characters learn about each other. 
For example, your female character has always believed gang members
are bad kids, but now she's falling in love with a gang member. 

At this stage, it's very important to understand your character's
motives. One way to understand motive is to know why your
characters act and respond the way they do. 

Some questions you can ask to explore motive include:  What secrets
do your characters have? Why do they have these secrets? Who are
your character's worst enemies? Why? What single loss has made each
of your characters the people they are today? What happened in that
loss to change them? 

The friendship stage is the heart of your story. This is the stage
when your characters are deepening their relationship and preparing
for the next stage of commitment. Without a strong friendship, your
story will not be believable when the teen characters move into the
next level of commitment.   

Stage Four: Commitment.  
At this stage, your teen characters are ready to make a commitment
to each other.  Commitment may mean your characters decide to have
sex with each other. However, commitment can also mean your
characters decide not to have sex.  Whether your characters have
sex or not should evolve out of who your characters are, and not as
a means of sensationalizing your story. For example, in 'Perfect
Chemistry' by Simone Elkels, Brittney decides to have sex with Alex
because she hopes this will encourage him to leave his gang.  There
is a motive for Brittney to have sex with Alex and it evolves from
the characters and the plot. 

But sex isn't the only way teens can commit. Teen commitment can
also mean the characters decide to take a big adventure together.
For example, if the story has been about getting ready for a
mountain bike riding trip, now the big day has arrived and the
teens are ready to take on that adventure.
At this point in the story, there will be a moment of epiphany. An
epiphany moment means your characters realize something about
themselves that will change them from this moment forward.  

Epiphany moments often bring loss to your characters. The teens
realize they are changing and their friends are not. Or, the teens
may no longer be as close to family members. Instead, the teens are
closer to one another. The characters realize they have experienced
something that others have not. This experience has changed how
they see the world, which brings us to our final stage. 

Stage Five: Love. 
It is now time to take your story to the final stage of love.
However, unlike romances for adults, teen romances do not
necessarily have a happily-ever-after. In fact, most teen romances
will NOT have them. Why? The epiphany moment or moment of change
has occurred.  The teens are no longer the same people that they
were at the beginning of the story. Each teen has been changed by
this first love, and now the characters will find themselves pulled
apart by life events. For example, the teens may go to different
colleges, move, or sometimes a death may occur such as in
Jacqueline Woodson's teen novel, 'If You Come Softly.' The
important part of the final stage of love is that your teen
character has undergone a transformation. Neither character is the
same person as at the beginning of the story.  Their love for each
other has changed them, and now the story draws to a close.

Teen love can be complex. But writing about teen love does not
have be an exercise in confusion. If you follow these simple stages
of falling in love, you'll be able to capture your characters'
emotions while crafting a satisfying story arc.  Soon, you will
find a strong romance dancing from the pages of your story.

Mindy Hardwick's young adult romance, "Weaving Magic", will be
published by Muse-It-Up in 2012. Her contemporary romance short
story, "Winter Beach Treasures" was published on Moon Washed
Kisses, and a young adult romance short story, "The Ghost Plays
Ball" is published with Amazon Kindle. Mindy was a winner in the
Seattle RWA pitch contest for her entry, "Love's Last Whisper."  
Visit Mindy's website at: http://www.mindyhardwick.com

Copyright 2011 Mindy Hardwick

For more information on writing romance visit: 

An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what
is happening and show you how to self-publish your own ebooks.


A Guide to Verse Forms
This is a great site for all potential poets.  It contains advice
on all types of verse forms and help for anyone starting out in
poetry. It covers such a huge range of forms that any poet will
find it useful.

The Elements of A Novel
I wish I'd known about this sooner.  This site was set up by Peder
Hill to take you through the process of writing a novel as he wrote
one.  The site is excellent and well worth a visit no matter where
you are in your novel writing. 

Use this site to produce a free personalized publishing and
copyright agreement. Or follow the links for information on US
copyright law.


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: July 1, 2011
GENRE:    Nonfiction
DETAILS: This contest offers stipend and one-month residency at
Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks for a promising new
journalist or essayist whose work combines warmth, humor, wisdom
and concern with social justice. At least two articles, preferably
no more than 30 pages total, may be published or unpublished.   
PRIZE: $5000 stipend and month long residency at Blue Mountain
URL: http://award.margolis.com/   

DEADLINE: July 25, 2011  
GENRE:   Young Writers
OPEN TO: Authors aged 11 - 19.
DETAILS:  Maximum 2,500 words
PRIZE:  £2,500    
URL: http://tinyurl.com/6gzq2ec
DEADLINE: July 29 1, 2011
OPEN TO: Citizens of New Zealand
GENRE: Nonfiction
DETAILS: 6000 words max. Some connection to New Zealand culture
would be a good idea, though there is no set theme.  
PRIZE:  NZ$3000 
URL: http://www.otago.ac.nz/press/landfall/essaycompetition.html 

DEADLINE: July 3 1, 2011
GENRE: Young Writers
OPEN TO: Writers aged 11 - 17
DETAILS: Enter as many poems as you like. Deadline date is postmark
date, not received by date. 
PRIZE: Prizes include books, anthology publication, and tuition to
a writing course (for UK entrants only). Online entries accepted.   
URL: http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/fyp/  

DEADLINE:  July 31, 2011 (Don't enter before July 1, 2011)
GENRE: Books, Poetry, Nonfiction
OPEN TO: You are eligible if you were born in Kentucky or have
lived there for at least five years, or your book is set in or
about Kentucky.
DETAILS: They do not accept history, scholarly works, children's
literature, plays, genre literature such as romances, science
fiction, fantasy, mystery, or crime thrillers. Poetry: 48-100
single-spaced pages; Prose: 150-250 double-spaced pages
PRIZE:  Publication by Sarabande Books, a prestigious independent
URL: http://www.sarabandebooks.org/?page_id=1188  
DEADLINE: July 31, 2011
GENRE: Poetry
OPEN TO: US authors only.
DETAILS: Editor Nickole Brown says they are looking for "hybrid
work that uses the best elements of poetry and prose, and while we
appreciate experimental writing, we're hoping for a manuscript that
is grounded in narrative with a strong emotional pulse." At least
48 single-spaced pages. 
PRIZE: $500 and publication.


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants,
by Laurie Lewis

Who's Talking? Who's Listening? by Barb Joy

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.
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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,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor