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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 11:23           12,825 subscribers         December 1, 2011
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MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
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IN THIS ISSUE:
=================================================================
 
THE EDITOR'S DESK: Deck the Halls... and Clear the Decks, 
by Moira Allen 
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Using another Writer's Ideas, by Dawn Copeman
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING 
FEATURE: Mining the Rejection File for Gold, by Ann Brandt 
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers: Spreading the Cheer, 
by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
=================================================================
Deck the Halls... and Clear the Decks!
--------------------------------------

It was rather disconcerting to munch on Thanksgiving turkey and
realize that, within the next four or five days, I needed to write
my "Christmas" editorial!  Somehow, even though I've now wrapped up
my fall decorations and dragged FAR too many boxes of "Christmas
stuff" out of the closet, I'm finding it hard to get into the
"Christmas spirit."  

Possibly it's because, as everyone seems to comment, this year
seems to have flown by.  I used to believe that this was simply a
symptom of "aging" -- the older one gets, the faster the years seem
to pass.  Forget about how "time flies when you're having fun." 
Time flies when you're getting old.  But this year, I've heard the
same complaint from people of all ages.  (Well, adults of all ages;
I haven't conducted interviews of anyone under age 10.)  

I suspect that it's not a matter of getting older, but of getting
busier -- and we are ALL getting busier, no matter how old (or
young) we are. It seems that the more "time-saving" gadgets we
acquire -- handheld devices that enable us to simultaneously talk
to three different people, surf the web, set up tonight's TV shows
to record and, quite probably, wash the dishes and walk the dog --
the less time we have.  If we can now do five things in the same
amount of time that was once required for one, we now feel we MUST
do five things instead of one.  And so, following that logic, we're
now doing twenty-five things where once we did five, or fifty where
we once did ten, and so on.  Time flies when you haven't any!

Which perhaps explains the spirit that I do find myself "in," which
may or may not be precisely a "holiday" spirit.  While I absolutely
love Christmas, I always find myself just a little bit impatient to
get it out of the way so that I can move forward, into the year to
come.  This is a time of year when I start to feel like "closing
out" the old year so that I can start fresh. 

This year, I find this mood expressing itself in a desire to "clear
things out."  On the home front, I'm cleaning clutter from closets
and cupboards.  (Wow, did THAT turn out to be an alliterative
phrase...)  Books I no longer want are going into the "sell on
Amazon" pile; books that have sat far too long in that pile are
going into the Goodwill box.  Tasks that have gathered dust for
months -- file this, scan that, sort the other -- are being cleared
away.  I can actually SEE the surface of my computer desk!  

I'm also clearing out my project lists.  I found not just one but
THREE "to-do" lists on my computer, and spent an afternoon sorting
through them, striking off the things that either had been done or
never WOULD be done.  I now have one, admittedly rather long, list
-- but instead of looking back at all the things that HAVEN'T been
done yet, this new list looks forward, at the things I genuinely
WANT to accomplish in 2012.  

And this, I think, would be a good way for any writer to address
this turning-point of the year.  Take a day, or two, or however
many you need, and take a look around.  Look at the piles of
clutter that have gathered around your workspace.  If there are
things that seriously need doing, get them done so that they no
longer continue to "loom" into the new year.  If there are things
that are more in the "I should probably do this, but I'm not sure
when" category, consider tossing them straight into the recycle
bin.  

Do you have a stack of books that you feel you "should" read,
because, surely, they'll make you a better writer or a better
person?  Think about how much good they might do someone else --
and how relieved and refreshed you'll feel when their presence is
no longer a guilty reminder of something you think you "ought" to
do.  Do you have an inbox full of e-mails that haven't been
answered in months?  Anyone who hasn't heard from you in that long
has undoubtedly figured that they won't -- so start deleting.  

Take a look at your project list, and take note of those that have
been on the list for months, if not years.  If you haven't gotten
to them by now, chances are that you never will -- but as long as
they stay on your list, you're going to feel guilty about them.  So
take them OFF the list.  If you have projects that just need a tiny
bit of effort to finish up and tidy away, see if you can get them
off your plate altogether.  

In short, grab a broom.  Make this holiday season a time to do the
proverbial "clean sweep."  Sweep out the odds and ends, the
shoulds, the maybes, the sooner-or-laters, the one-days.  Trim the
to-do list as well as the tree.  Deck the halls and clear the
decks.  

And maybe, just maybe, next year won't seem quite so cluttered.

Happy Holidays from Moira and Dawn at Writing-World.com!

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Gifts, Offers and Administrivium

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What's a holiday newsletter without a gift?  (Well, shorter, for
one thing...)

OFFER #1: in the spirit of clearing out my cupboards, I've decided
to give away ten copies of my book, "The Writer's Guide to Queries,
Pitches and Proposals."  All I'm asking for is the cost of shipping
($3).  To make this simple, the FIRST ten folks who respond to this
offer (AND fork over the $3) get the books.  If you live outside
the U.S., let me know in your e-mail where you live, and I'll let
you know what shipping will cost.  To get your book, send an e-mail
to "editors@writing-world.com" with "FREE BOOK" in the subject
line.  

OFFER #2: I am in the midst of updating "Writing to Win: The
Colossal Guide to Writing Contests" for 2012.  Writing contests are
a wonderful way to get your work noticed -- and this book is the
most complete compilation of contests anywhere.  It lists at least
1000 competitions in the U.S. and around the world, for poetry,
short fiction, nonfiction, books (published and unpublished),
children's literature, screenplays, and translations.  I expect to
have the new edition finished by the end of the month, but I doubt
it will be available until mid-January, so... anyone wanting to get
in on the action before then can pre-order the book for a discount
price of $10.95.  (I plan to make the book available in Kindle
format as well, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way
to set up a pre-order for that.)  To order your copy, go to
http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/contests.shtml.  And as a
bonus, I'll make sure that anyone who pre-orders gets the January
listings electronically, so that you won't miss out on any
competitions.

AND NOW A CORRECTION: In the last issue we incorrectly indicated
that our feature article, "Preparing a Fiction Grant Application,"
was written by Kathleen Ewing.  It was actually written by
Elizabeth Creith.  Kathleen's article will appear in a couple of
months.  Sorry, Kathleen!  However, this is a reminder to ALL
writers out there to PUT YOUR BYLINES ON YOUR ARTICLES!  

Finally, remember that, in the spirit of "clearing the decks" for
the holidays, we only publish one newsletter in December... and
this is it!

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YOU WILL NETWORK WITH 30+ EDITORS
Over 400 editors contribute their unique news and views each year.
That's news and views to improve your chances to get
published.Monthly newsletter. Get 2 issues FREE.  
http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AK213 

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The Inquiring Writer: Using Another Writer's Ideas
=================================================================
By Dawn Copeman

Last month we had an interesting question from Amanda H. Geard. 
She wrote: "I read a story by a writer a while ago -- one of the
stories I critiqued on a site called Critters.org -- and the writer
of this
particular story had a cool idea I'd like to use in an upcoming
story I still want to write, although I won't write it the same way
he used it in his story. Is that an acceptable thing to do, use
another writer's idea, but changing it in your own story? Or will
it be better if I ask the writer for permission to use his idea in
my story before I write it? What's the right thing to do here?

"Please advise, as I'm in two minds about it, and don't want to
start the story before I know what to do."


"To provide an answer to Amanda's dilemma," writes Janis
Hutchinson, "She needs to be more specific about what 'kind' of
idea it is. If it's something you find happening in life already,
then it would probably be okay. If she spelled it out a little
more, it would help other writers facing the same problem."  

Other writers also feel that they would like to know a little bit
more about Amanda's dilemma before being able to give a complete
answer.  

Katherine Swarts emailed to say it is "Hard to answer this without
knowing the nature of the 'idea.' Reuse of items that could be
described by that word range from such basic plot points as
'boy meets girl--boy wins girl' (definitely not copyrightable) to
the duplication of multiple characters down to their names (an
infringement suit waiting to happen). 

"I'm going to guess that the point under consideration here falls
somewhere between, such as an ingenious solution to a mystery; if
I were in that spot--or if I had any doubt at all--I would
definitely check with the original writer first, and add a note
that I will consider lack of response a 'yes.' All you can ever
lose by that approach is a few days.

Kate Ashby is of the opinion that Amanda should not use the idea at
all, but if she does, she should definitely get permission.  She
wrote: "I assume if the writer had it on the site Critters.org for
critique it hasn't been published yet.  Please ask any writer if
you can use his/her idea. It's their idea and not morally right for
you to take it even after a considerable length of time. I would
want you to ask me if I was that writer. It is frustrating and not
fair, to find out later, that someone who saw your work on a site
for critique stole the idea.

"Of course if that writer has already had the idea/story published
and it's out there then it's still stealing but less of a crime.
They have pride in being first. You and others will know that you
had it second."

Christine Venzon advises Amanda to proceed with caution. She wrote:
"Regarding Amanda's question about using another writer's idea for
her own story, I would say it depends on how much she values her
online relationship with this writer (they can get pretty personal)
and also how similar her idea is to his. But also consider that he
may have borrowed his concept from another source, and was
doubtlessly influenced by something he read, saw, overheard, etc.
in forming it. Ideas, after all, can't be copyrighted. No one can
claim an idea as truly and wholly his own."

That's a very good point, Christine.  I know that in the world of
nonfiction we all seem to come up with similar ideas at the same
time and it's often a case of who can get their query to the editor
first as to who gets the commission. If there are only seven, 37 or
101 basic plots (the numbers vary according to different sources)
then having a truly original idea is very, very rare.   

Tunji Ajibade wonders whether Amanda wants to borrow the idea or
the voice of the writer. In which case there is no problem at all
as that is how many writers start out and then move on to develop
their style.

But Leona Wisoker thinks that Amanda does want to borrow the idea
and has some excellent advice concerning this for all writers of
fiction.  She wrote: "This hits a common misunderstanding among
beginning writers. Many people are afraid to submit to writing
groups, online or off, precisely because they're afraid of their
ideas being stolen. The reality is: in most instances, ideas aren't
protected. As long as your method of expressing that idea is
substantially different, your language, characters, plots, etc,
then it's no problem. 

"For example: 'horses can talk.' There's an idea that's been done a
zillion times over and never raised a protest. A character whose
mother is a psychopathic nurse and father is a pot-smoking
carpenter, and they move from America to New Zealand to Alaska, and
have certain life-changing adventures along the way--that isn't an
idea, it's a plotline. That's not steal-able, even if you rearrange
it into New Zealand to Spain to Russia (unless that difference
significantly changes the actual events of the story). Any one
segment of that plotline is an idea: a character whose mother is a
psychopathic nurse, for example, is not a protected item. As long
as the actual character is different (for example, if the original
nurse appears cold and snooty and the 'stolen' one appears warm and
bubbly, which changes significant aspects of the plot line in and
of itself) -- you're safe. 

Also, it largely depends on how generic or specific the idea you're
considering 'stealing' is; there are surprisingly few really, truly
original ideas. If you dig a bit, you'll probably find other
published examples of that idea being used in fiction (or even
nonfiction!), at which point you're totally safe swiping 
it -- again, as long as you make sure you're not just copy and
pasting his work into yours (which is plagiarism)... and as for
asking permission, I see that as having two possible results: he's
flattered and says yes, or he gets paranoid and starts watching
your work like a hawk, ready to haul you into court on the least
suspicion. The risk from the latter, given that you won't be doing
anything wrong, outweighs the benefit of the former. It is
worthwhile, though, to contact the author, compliment him on his
ingenuity, and ask *where* he got that idea from, to see if he
pulled it from real-world research or personal events or such. Just
be sure to phrase the question with care to avoid sounding like you
want to steal his idea... and of course, I'm not speaking as one
familiar with legal matters, just as a fellow writer. So I make no
claim to infallibility."

Thank you to all who answered in response to Amanda's query.  I
hope that helped. 

Now onto this month's question, which comes from me.  It's the end
of the year and if you had a time-machine and could travel back and
change one thing about this past year, one writing-related thing,
what would it be?  Would you go back and tell yourself to submit
that query?  Would you sit yourself down and make yourself stick to
a word limit on your novel every day?  Would you have backed up all
your work and thus not lost it all when your computer crashed?  

I want you to think about the one thing you wish you could change
about last year, or the things you are going to do differently in
2012.  What would or will your change be? 

Email me at editorial@writing-world.com.

Until next time, 

Dawn 

Copyright 2011 Dawn Copeman

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING
=================================================================
Book Sales Rise in UK but are mixed in US in run-up to Christmas
---------------------------------------------------------------- 
Black Friday weekend saw sales of books in Britain increase by
5.5m last week as British shoppers finally started to buy
Christmas presents.  In the US some stores saw sale rises of up to
40%, whilst others had flat sales or even a dip in sales.  For more
on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/d3zl5rp and 
http://tinyurl.com/bwrdtp7

Self-Published Authors Not Impressed with Penguin Imprint
---------------------------------------------------------
For many it might seem glamorous, getting your book self-published
by Penguin, but many self-published authors are not at all happy
with Penguin's new self-publishing imprint.  They say that Book
Country is expensive and takes too much in royalty fees.  For more
on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/c4saqbl

British Library Gives Digital Access to 18th Century News
---------------------------------------------------------
If you are planning a historical novel, need to do some research
for a nonfiction piece of are just plain nosy, then the British
Library's digitization of part of its collection of 18th and 19th
Century newspapers will be of interest to you.  The Library has
digitized 4 million pages of news coverage from all sorts of
newspapers.  Searching the archive is free but there is a charge to
view the content.  For more information visit: 
http://tinyurl.com/c66csnp

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EVERYHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SETTING FREELANCE FEES! Find out
how to negotiate agreements, choose pricing strategies, define
tasks, deal with difficult customers, and much more in the award-
winning "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

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Writing Jobs and Opportunities
=================================================================

Calliope Open to History Articles
---------------------------------
Calliope is a magazine aimed at children aged 9 - 14 and covers
world history. They have a regularly updated editorial calendar on
their site and are on the lookout for a variety of articles,
stories and activities. Pay is up to 25cents a word. 
http://www.cobblestonepub.com/guides_CAL.html

Science-Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy And Mystery Stories Wanted
--------------------------------------------------------------
Earthbound publishers are open to submissions of short stories up
to 500 words max, for which they pay 5c a word, and also stories of
up to 3000 words for their anthologies.  See site for full
guidelines: 
http://www.earthboundfiction.com/submissions#!__submissions

The New Writer Magazine
-----------------------
Welcomes "forward-looking articles on all aspects of the written
word that demonstrate the writer's grasp of contemporary writing
and current editorial/publishing policies. This may include
interviews and personality profiles but we are not looking for
introspective pieces on 'Why I Write...' or how to come to terms
with writer's block and the rejection slip, biographies or opinion
pieces. Articles should be 500-1,000 words although features up to
2,000 words and mini-series would be considered if the idea is
submitted initially by letter giving a brief outline." 20 per 1000
words.
http://www.thenewwriter.com/guidelines.htm

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WRITING CONTESTS. The ten best entries from each will be
published in 2012 Fish Anthology. *Short Memoir* ($2500):
Judge David Shields; Ends 30 Jan. *Flash Fiction* ($1300):
Judge Michael Collins. Ends 20 March. *Poetry* ($1300): Judge
Billy Collins. Ends 30 March. http://www.fishpublishing.com/

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

FEATURE:  Mining the Rejection File for Gold
===============================================================
By Ann Brandt

Saving your rejected manuscripts can provide a chance to look at
your work from a greater distance in time, allowing opportunity for
revision or rework. Sometimes these documents offer topic ideas,
other times new angles on a topic. Often you will see how you could
have written the piece better or with more care. Occasionally you
might find a manuscript that has been rejected and is almost good
to go. This process of mining the rejection file can be stimulating
and lucrative -- worth the time spent -- but you need to accomplish
this task in steps. 

Step 1. Sorting and Evaluating: 
-------------------------------
When looking at a manuscript in your rejection file, consider where
the piece has been sent, how many times it has been rejected, and
what you were trying to convey to readers. Think about the topic
addressed in this piece. Then ask yourself these questions:  
        
What were you trying to give to the readers? Is there any part of
this piece that you could use now? Has your writing style and
mastery of grammar improved since you last viewed this piece? If
you were to use this article today, what would you do to it? 

Years ago I got quite a bit of mileage out of an inspirational
piece. Eager to sell more in that genre, I accumulated a sizeable
collection of rejected manuscripts. During the last mining
operation I clipped them together and slipped them into the back of
the file with a note to pursue that endeavor some time in the
future. The time it would take to revitalize content and contacts
is not worth it to me at this moment, so the whole batch of papers
remains relegated to a file I call "Some Day."
        
In my rejection file is one story I have written in many different
ways -- long, short, three or four different angles. Finally I
chopped it mercilessly and sent the shortened version to a
particular Christian publication, saving all the articles with the
copious amount of paper that had been used to come to that point. I
couldn't quite bring myself to discard all those thwarted efforts,
so another batch went into the Some Day file.
                                                         
When considering future use of a particular rejection, ask yourself
if the topic still holds your interest enough to keep writing about
it. Is the topic outdated or no longer relevant in today's market?
One example is a dog magazine that had published a couple of my
essays. Not only did the magazine cease publication just after I
sent in a third essay, but I noticed other publications for pet
owners had begun offering stories requiring extensive research and
interviews. In my last rejection file mining operation, I set aside
all my dog essays for future use in my blog.  

Conversely, is this topic hot on the market now? After trying
sporadically to peddle an article on acupuncture, I recently had
success. Everything I have read lately about markets indicates that
readers want more information on health. With extra and updated
research on a couple of health related topics that were rejected
years ago, I plan to mine that section of my file vigorously.

Have you gained additional knowledge or expertise that would help
you refine and market the piece? Most of us progress both in
writing style and in creating topics, gaining a better idea of
which editor expects what kind of subject and how he or she would
like it handled. Going through the rejection file can be an
exercise in sorting ideas for querying or submitting to editors;
their needs sometimes change with time.  
        
This sorting process is beneficial both for creating ideas and for
gauging your progress as a writer. For example, things that you
wrote years before might not be considered in your publishing plan
now. However, all the items in your rejection file offer something
to build on as you read and sort. 

Step 2. Selecting topics. 
-------------------------
Is a topic in greater demand than when you first sent it out?
Perhaps its day had not yet arrived. Set aside manuscripts with
this topic to examine and consider further. If the material in a
rejected piece contains information that you may need for something
in progress at the moment, mark or highlight and set it aside. A
note 
of caution: If you had researched a topic expressed in a rejected
manuscript, check the sources to be sure the piece is still
relevant and accurate before you mark it for future use. 
        
Are you still interested in this topic? Do you have more to say on
this topic? Have you gained further information? Do you feel more
confident in handling this topic now? Does this topic tie in with
anything you are presently doing or thinking of doing? Have you
thought of different angles to handle this topic? Have you found a
market appropriate for this topic, one that you would query or
submit material?
        
Step 3. Discovering reasons for rejection. 
------------------------------------------
This part is tricky and involves a bit of guesswork. Sometimes the
reason for rejection has nothing to do with your writing. Timing
plays a big part in whether your writing is accepted or rejected.
Perhaps your material has been covered at length in the target
publication. If you are fortunate, the editor has commented on the
returned piece and offered that information. (Hopefully, you
submitted something else to that editor ASAP.) In any event, during
this mining process, make a special note of that editor and how he
or she delivers rejections. 
        
Another possible reason for rejection was that your approach to the
topic missed the mark on what the editor wanted. Again, you might
have been fortunate to receive a sentence or two regarding this
problem. Bear in mind, however, that workloads in most publishing
houses are increasing while staff is decreasing. If you have filed
your rejection without submitting further, now is the time to
reconsider and take a fresh look at your writing. Many editors
respect perseverance in their writers, and you can establish a good
working relationship by exhibiting willingness to produce what
editors need. If a manuscript has landed in your rejection file
under these circumstances, by all means pull it out, redo it
according to what is needed, and resend it. If a lot of time has
elapsed since you have corresponded with this editor, include a
brief note.
        
Sometimes, though hopefully not often, you have misread or failed
to read the publication's guidelines. In some cases this can be
fixed by reformatting or tweaking of verbiage. In a highly
competitive freelance market, you need to follow directions
closely. Check the current guidelines for any changes. Put yourself
in the editor's place: If two excellent pieces are under
consideration and one has not been submitted according to
guidelines, the correctly submitted piece will be accepted. 
        
Step 4. Gathering material. 
---------------------------
After you have chosen what is immediately useable, what you want to
put aside for future use, and what you need to discard, get started
on the topic that interests you the most. Think of your rejected
piece as a rough draft. Now we come to the gold in your files. Pick
out two or three of the most promising pieces, chosen according to
what you want to write about next. You might find yourself using
content from more than one rejected piece to create a new
submission. You might want to submit something to an editor who has
published some of your material since rejecting a story and with
whom you have established a rapport. 
         
Rejected manuscripts contain a wealth of content waiting to be
reshaped and resent. They can inspire, inform, and -- best of all
--earn money in their new incarnations. 
 
>>--------------------------------------------------<<

Ann Brandt has learned to use her rejection file as a writing tool.
She is the author of two books, both based on her experiences with
rare diseases. "A Caregiver's Story: Coping with a Loved One's
Life-Threatening Illness" was inspired by caring for her husband as
they battled and survived brain cancer. Visit Ann at
http://www.annkbrandt.com/.

Copyright 2011 Ann Brandt

For more advice on taking positives from rejection visit:   
http://www.writing-world.com/life/rejection.shtml
****************************************************************

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

THE WRITE SITES
=================================================================
Simile Stack
------------
Looking for the perfect comparison?  This site lets you search for
similes based on keywords (or submit your own); in the results, you
can then click on tags that will lead you to more ideas.  Might be
a good story-starter page!
http://www.SimileStack.com
 
The 12 Days of Christmas for Writers
------------------------------------
I couldn't resist this one! This is a mini-blog on Seeing Creative,
a very useful site for writers and photographers.  Check it out
over your 12 days for some useful writing tips. 
http://tinyurl.com/bl5lnt2

QueryTrackerblogspot
--------------------
This is a blog that is just full of useful hints and tips on all
sorts of writing. Well worth a visit but be prepared to spend a
while there! 
http://querytracker.blogspot.com/

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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. Now being updated for 2012, WRITING TO WIN
by Moira Allen is THE one-stop resource you need to find contests
around the world.  SPECIAL UPDATE: During the month of December
only, you can pre-order the 2012 edition for $6 off the regular
price - go to http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/contests.shtml to
order your copy. Offer expires December 31.

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

Free Stuff for Writers:  Spreading the Cheer
================================================================= 
By Aline Lechaye

NaNoWriMo is officially over. You wrote, you wrote, and then you
wrote some more. Good for you! Now all you have to do is deal with
the writing hangover, and look forward to Christmas. (Or you could
get started on your next novel... or not.)

'Tis the season to be happy: spread the joy to friends and family
using free e-cards! Use 123greetings.com's Facebook application to
send free cards or Christmas/New Year party invitations to your
Facebook friends. Go to http://apps.facebook.com/greeting_cards/ to
enable the app, select a card, pick the friends you want to send
the card to, add a message (up to 140 characters), and then click
send. Yes, you could simply call, or text, but where's the fun in
that?

Capture important moments with your camera this Christmas and turn
them into amazing collages using the following websites.
(If you want, you can also upload some photos that inspire you and
make those into a collage. Print it out and keep it somewhere near
your writing space, then watch your creativity soar!) 

Photovisi (http://www.photovisi.com/) is one of those wonderful
things that make you speechless with awe. It's a web-based
application (read: nothing to download and install). Go to the site
and click on the "click here to start!" button. You'll be taken to
a page where you can choose from dozens of cool templates for your
collage. Once you've chosen your template, you can upload photos
from your computer or webcam to the site. You can also add text or
crop the photos as needed. Finally, click on "Finish" and you can
either save your finished collage to your own computer, or share it
with your loved ones. 

Shape Collage (http://www.shapecollage.com/) is another easy to use
collage creator. The online version can be found at 
http://www.shapecollage.com/online. You start by entering the URLs
of your photos (it seems that they don't have an option for
uploading photos directly from your computer as yet). If you're
feeling bored, or just want to see what a finished collage looks
like, click on one of their sample links to the right of the page.
Next, choose the shape you want your photos to form (heart, star,
butterfly, or simple text), and click "Create". You can then save
the collage or share it through social networking sites or email.
The (also free) software version supports Mac, Windows, and Linux,
and can be downloaded at http://www.shapecollage.com/download. 

Picture2Life (http://www.picture2life.com/) has some of the best
photo-editing tools out there. Upload photos from your computer or
online photo sharing sites and bring them to life: make them into
collages, animations, or go to http://www.picture2life.com/Apps/
and make a statement using the "Mask Your Photos" app. Finished
works of art can be downloaded or shared through Facebook, Twitter,
Flickr, and email. Sign up is free, but registration is not
required to use the site, so feel free to look around before you
take the plunge. 

Lest we lose ourselves and forget that we're writers, here's a free
online creative writing course, set up by Fiona Veitch Smith.
Topics covered include "How to write a short story", "Writing
dialogue", "Poetry: how to write poems", and much more. Drop by
http://creative-writing-course.thecraftywriter.com/ to get started. 

Merry Christmas, and happy writing!

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

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

Copyright 2011 Aline Lechaye

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Copyright 2011 Moira Allen





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