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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 12:13        13,355 subscribers               July 5, 2012
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: A Happy Announcement, by Moira Allen 
NEW COLUMN: Crafting Fabulous Fiction - 
The Writer's Marathon, by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: Make Your iPhone a Writer's Notebook, by Lisha Cauthen 
FREE STUFF FOR WRITERS: Finding the Cool, Part 1, by Aline Lechaye 
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers                    
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A Happy Announcement...
We are pleased to announce the launch of a new column in this
issue: "Crafting Fabulous Fiction," by Victoria Grossack.

It isn't always easy to find great articles on fiction, possibly
because folks who write fiction don't, as often, write articles
ABOUT fiction.  And folks who are wildly successful as fiction
authors tend not to have TIME to write articles about how they got
there.  (It isn't because they don't want anyone else following in
their footsteps, honest!)

So imagine my delight when Victoria contacted me out of the blue,
looking for a home for her extensive series of articles that once
appeared on the Fiction Fix website.  I read one and loved it; I
read two and was hooked; I read three and decided, "It's column

"Crafting Fabulous Fiction" will appear in every issue of Writing
World, until... well, until Victoria runs out of ideas, which I
hope won't be anytime soon.  The first installment appears below. 
I hope you'll find it useful, no matter what sort of fiction you
write (or aspire to write) -- and perhaps even if you don't write
fiction at all!  

Victoria studied creative writing and English literature at
Dartmouth College (New Hampshire).  She wrote a number of short
stories and articles over the years, but found that her writing
improved dramatically when she joined an online critique group. 
Receiving criticism was useful, she found -- but being tasked with
PROVIDING criticism was even more helpful.  "While critiquing, I
discovered WHY it was important to write a sentence a certain way,
to choose one phrase instead of another."

She was soon promoted to facilitator of the group, and began to
write e-zine articles based on her experiences.  She then moved on
to teaching classes at Coffeehouse for Writers, covering such
topics as historical fiction, characterization, story structure and
more.  (For those who'd like more in-depth help, she still teaches
classes at http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/courses.html)

Victoria is also the co-author, with Alice Underwood, of the
"Tapestry of Bronze" series of novels, which are based on Greek
myth and set in the late Bronze Age.  The series includes Jocasta:
The Mother-Wife of Oedipus; Children of Tantalus; The Road to
Thebes; and Arrows of Artemis.  By the way, Tapestry of Bronze runs
a biannual poetry contest, honoring a different Olympic god each
time; the competition is free and has a category for writers under
age 18.  (For details, visit 

Victoria writes that she is an American currently living in Europe,
married, with children. (She didn't mention if she has cats!)  Her
hobbies include gardening, hiking, bird-watching, and feeding
physicists; she says that she's pretty good at math, German and
French.  If you have questions or comments about her column, you
can reach her at tapestry (at) tapestryofbronze (dot) com.

To clear the way for Victoria's new column, we're discontinuing my
own "Writing Desk" (at least for now!).  We will continue to run
Dawn Copeman's "Inquiring Writer" and Aline Lechaye's "Free Stuff
for Writers."

And finally, to my American readers, Happy 4th of July! Stay cool!

-- Moira Allen, Editor

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen 


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NEW COLUMN: Crafting Fabulous Fiction
By Victoria Grossack

The Writer's Marathon: Seven Challenges to a Successful Series

The first novel may not be done yet, so transforming it into a
series may seem like far-flung fantasy. Still, most writers dream
of having not one successful book but a whole set of them. This
article looks at the particular challenges of creating a successful

Series give great benefits to readers: they can return to a world
which they enjoyed, and satisfy their continuing curiosity about
beloved characters. Writers benefit, too: they don't have to start
from the creativity process from scratch, and book two may be
easier to sell than book one. Publishers are also happy in being
able to make an easy decision about which book to publish -- the
one that already has an established audience, of course -- and rake
in the spoils. So, a successful series is worthwhile, for all
parties concerned. But it's an enormous task, with special pitfalls
that happen only when writing a set of interlocking books. Before
you embark on the greatest of marathon writing projects, you should
be aware of the challenges that make a series of books more
difficult than stand-alone projects.

Challenge # 1: The story takes a long time to complete 
With a story spanning several books, there is always the
possibility that the readers or even the authors may never get
there. Real life intervenes. Twelve years passed between Jean
Auel's publication of The Plains of Passage and The Shelters of

Decades went by between the third and fourth books of Asimov's
Foundation series. Would-be authors should ask themselves if they
have the interest and the stamina for such a long journey. 

Challenge #2: The books mean a more constrained universe for
One of the biggest challenges is that the author, in book two, must
live with the consequences of the book one. It may mean having to
do without a character that the author killed -- although some
authors get around this by bringing characters back. For example,
Tolkien brought Gandalf back in book two of Lord of the Rings,
although one could characterize Gandalf as "missing in action,
presumed dead" after his disappearance in the first volume.

Challenge #3: The author has to remember many details
An interlocking series means a complicated journey, and the author
needs to remember many details or face being scolded for
self-contradiction. Changed spelling and changed attitudes are
reasons for some fans' dissatisfaction with Jean Auel's latest book.

Other series approach this pitfall differently. Instead of making
the stories interlocking, they have the same characters without a
real continuation of the plot. Many detective series are like this.
(Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, for example;
although there is some continuity, if you come up with reasonable
estimates of their ages at the beginning, they would have to be
centenarians by the last book. Or, Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew, who,
at least when I was reading them, was forever eighteen.) A series
may be constructed even more loosely and be either a return to the
same universe but without necessarily the same protagonists (Anne
McCaffery's Dragonriders series) or even simply moving on to
descendants and successors (Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome
and Noah Gordon's Physician series).

Challenge #4: Each book should stand on its own
Face it, some books don't stand alone. For example, Tolkien's The
Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the trilogy The Lord of
the Rings, really does not work by itself. Fortunately during the
latest filming of it, the producers made all three parts together,
so that the moviegoers would not be faced with an incomplete

Other books, even when they leave some issues unresolved, manage to
give the reader a sense of completion at the end of each volume.
J.K. Rowling does this with the Harry Potter books by having Potter
and his friends achieve a difficult task in every volume. Even
though the danger still lurks, our heroes have triumphed for the
time and can breathe more easily. She also concludes each volume by
sending Harry home to Privet Drive at the end of each instalment.
Harry is on summer vacation, which means a holiday for everyone,
including Ms. Rowling.

Challenge #5: The same but different
One of the most challenging aspects to writing a series is keeping
the interest of the readers from one book to the next. The author
scored a hit with book one; what does he do in book two? If he uses
the same formula as in book one, some readers will complain that
it's too similar to book one. If he strays from that formula, other
readers will complain that the book is too different. As readers
have different tastes in this regard, authors will likely not
please everyone.

The author has a particular challenge when following the same
protagonist from one volume to the next. If the main character has
fallen in love and gotten married -- something which happens at the
end of many books -- then the marriage, the consummation of a
relationship, can't happen again in the next without undoing the
ending of the previous story. 

If the hero has learned and mastered all challenges by the end of
book three, what remains of interest for volume four?

J.K. Rowling has her own technique for the same but different
conundrum. Each volume follows a single school year at Hogwarts,
giving each book the same setting and much of the same structure.
But in each successive book Harry Potter is a year older, with more
mature concerns and greater challenges in the battle between good
and evil.

Challenge #6: What to do with back history
If the author has a devoted following, another big question is the
back story. When writing book four, should the author assume that
the readers are intimately familiar with books one through three?
How much rehashing should the author do? Will repetition of
previous information bore faithful readers? Will lack of the
information confuse the newcomers?

Again, this is a situation where the author probably won't be able
to please everyone. In the second Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling
faced the problem that not all of her readers would understand
Quidditch, the game played on broomsticks. But Harry, as one of the
players, did not need to relearn the game himself. Rowling solved
this problem by having Harry explain the rules of the game to a new

Challenge #7: More issues to resolve
This can be a plus and a minus. The writer who has more things to
write about is less likely to suffer from writer's block. And the
readers can content themselves with more story. Still, the books
can grow longer and longer.

One reason the Harry Potter books became more and more voluminous
as they progressed was simply because there was more story to tell,
more characters to catch up on from one book to the next. Even bit
characters needed a few words so that their development could

What Price Success?
Many series are "successful" without dealing successfully with all
these elements -- that is to say, the series are financial
successes. But some of the readers will be disappointed; they will
complain that they have been betrayed by the author and the
publisher and that the standards have been lowered to make more

Making more money is an understandable goal. Still, it should be
possible, though not easy, to have a successful series which
continues to please readers -- more of the readers, anyway -- by
meeting the challenges above. Before you decide to go to distance,
consider the difficulties, and how to overcome them.

A version of this article appeared at the Coffeehouse for Writer's
Fiction Fix. Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English
Literature at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and
articles in publications such as Contingencies, Women's World and I
Love Cats. She teaches a variety of writing classes at 
http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/courses.html.  Victoria
Grossack is the co-author of the Tapestry of Bronze series
(Jocasta; Children of Tantalus; The Road to Thebes; Arrow of
Artemis), based on Greek myths and set in the late Bronze Age. 
Besides all this, Victoria is married with kids, and (though
American) spends most of her time in Europe.  Her hobbies include
gardening, hiking and bird-watching.  Visit her website at 
http://www.tapestryofbronze.com, or contact her at tapestry (at)
tapestryofbronze (dot) com.   

Copyright 2012 Victoria Grossack


NEED HELP WITH YOUR STORY? Fiction Writing Guides are designed to
help beginning fiction writers.  As much or as little as you need.
From an award-winning author.


Erotic Book Sales Reach Impressive New High
Fifty Shades of Grey has become the fastest adult paperback novel
to reach sales of one million copies in the UK. Last week alone,
sales of each book in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy were over
200,000 copies.  For more on this story, visit: 

Simon & Schuster Books to feature QR codes on their covers
In case you are unaware, a QR code is a strange, black and white
pixelated imaged you can often find on postcards or brochures.  You
scan the QR code with your smart phone and you are taken to a
website.  Now publisher Simon & Schuster is going to put QR codes
linking to author websites, newsletters and email sign up lists on
the back of all their books.  For more on this story visit: 

Walmart Converted Into a Huge Library
I'm a Brit, but even I know how big Walmart stores are, so as you
can imagine, this former Walmart store in McAllen, Texas, is a
huge, huge library.  It is, in fact, America's largest
single-storey library and covers the size of two football fields. 
I wish more Walmarts and in the UK, ASDAs, could be turned into
libraries.  For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/bt9kkdo


FEELING PRESSURED TO PRICE A JOB? Follow the 3-step process in
Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price
NOW. This brief e-book is by the author of the award-winning What
to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants.
Get it now at http://tinyurl.com/86qfupw


Writing Jobs and Opportunities
Kirkdale Press Open to Submissions
Kirkdale Press is on the lookout for writers who captivate
Christian audiences through fiction or non-fiction. If you're ready
to publish your complete, edited manuscript, now's the time to find
out if you could be the next Kirkdale author. 

Pill Hill Press Open for Flash Submissions
Pill Hill Press is open for submissions to its Flash anthology for
2013 and its Flash Horror Anthology for 2013.  Full writers'
guidelines can be found on their website: 

BootsNAll Seeks Travel Articles
BootsNAll is currently seeking articles that relate to Indie
travel.  They pay for all their features.  Full guidelines can be
found here: 

FEATURE: Make Your iPhone a Writer's Notebook
By Lisha Cauthen

You can do a lot more with your iPhone than fling birds at pigs and
list groceries.

Make it a writing tool.

Writers have always struggled to capture their fleeting genius,
especially when it comes at awkward moments. Sometimes you come up
with a perfect character name, chapter title or premise while at
your day job. Maybe you want to whip through a paragraph of your
WIP while in line at the DMV. Don't depend on a misplaced notebook,
lost scrap of paper or sweaty palm. Catch your thoughts with the
one item you're almost never without: your cell phone.

If you use the Notes app that came with your phone for writing
memos, it's pretty much the equivalent of scribbling your pearls of
wisdom on gum wrappers. Here are some apps more tailored to a
writer's needs. I've categorised them into Simple, Bells, and

-        Lumen Note 
A virtual scratch pad for when there's no time to categorize your
thought. Just get it down. Lumen Note saves it for reference on
your laptop, later.

-        Documents Free (Mobile Office Suite)
Bare bones. Write text. Stick it in a folder. The end. Can sync
with GoogleDocs for backup.

-        Werdsmith
The free version has space for 24 ideas; the paid version has
unlimited space. Enter the title of the project, and then flesh it
out as much as you want. Werdsmith will keep track of word goals in
percentages, moving finished projects to a "briefcase." No backup

-        ScatterBrain
Drop each idea into its own notebook. Then color-code your
notebooks, perhaps by genre, age group, fiction/non-fiction,
submission market, etc. Set deadline reminders. You can organize
your notebooks by date, title or color, and if you still can't find
what you're looking for, there's a search function. You can share
your brilliance by SMS or e-mail, and can back up your information
on Scatterbrain's cloud.

-        Microsoft OneNote Mobile for iPhone
You must set up a Windows Live SkyDrive account ahead of time, but
then you'll have all your fantastic ideas backed up automatically.
And the app itself comes up fast on your iPhone, very clean. You
can add photos if you wish and the notebooks are searchable.


Pictures are a great way to archive information. Photograph pages
in research books at the library instead of photocopying. Shoot
pictures of historical plaques or business cards. Snap an
inspirational scene, a person who looks like your villain, the
house your main character might live in, a turn of phrase that you
love on a sign.  (But, writers, we have to be careful not to be
-        NoteMaster
This app takes a little work to grasp. Once learned, NoteMaster
captures notes or pictures, and lets you annotate over the picture.
Bullet, number and checklists are available. You can also sync your
stuff to GoogleDocs.  

-        Scribe
Each idea turns into a notebook where you can toss in text,
pictures, sketches and video. Your notes are automatically
geotagged at origination. While Scribe doesn't back up your
information, it's simple to email the whole package to yourself.
Easy interface.


Not all creative brains wrinkle the same way. That's the beauty of
writing, and that's the beauty of apps. Here are some with special
-        Jot it Down!
Can't get over the itch to write things down? This is the app for
you. Choose a color background or use your own photograph. Then
select a pen color and width, and write with your fingertip. E-mail
yourself or post to Facebook or Twitter. Very. Simple.

-        MyScript Memo
Jot your idea down with your finger. Then you can convert your
script into typed text and Gmail it to yourself. You can also leave
your information in script if you like, and make sketches. SMS,
Facebook, Twitter, Evernote compatible. I have to say, I thought I
had a wizard in my phone when I saw it convert my handwriting to

-        Verses -- a notebook for creative writers
Okay, picture book peeps and poem people, this one's for you. Comes
with a rhyming dictionary. Yes, indeed it does. Never get slowed
down in the midst of perspiration/inspiration again.

-        TinyVox Pro
TinyVox Pro "tapes" your recordings and files them in mp3 notebooks
that look suspiciously like cassette holders. These can be short
memos, interviews, concerts or ambient sounds. Maybe there's a
conversation going on behind you between some teens whose voices
you would love to capture. (Again, watch the creep-factor.) You can
also open the files and add to them. Then you can store them in
SoundCloud, e-mail them, post them to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr,
etc. VERY user-friendly.


-        Evernote
Takes a little time to learn, but you can make a note, put it in a
notebook, tag it and search it. You can add a voice memo and/or
photos. Searchable, sendable. And your notebooks will be accessible
from your Evernote account on any device you give access
to--computer, phone or tablet. 
New apps hit the market every day. Most are of a negligible price,
and often go free for limited times. Find the one that fits your
needs. Don't let your genius slip away.


Lisha Cauthen is a YA writer of novels for guys that girls like to
read too.  She is a card-carrying KS SCBWI AdCom member, Sunflower
Scoop Editor, HWKT Bon Vivant, and iPhone apps diva. You can find
out more about her at:

Copyright 2012 Lisha Cauthen  

For information on useful technology to aid writers, check out the
Inquiring Writer Column from June 2012 here: 


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Free Stuff for Writers: Finding the Cool, Part 1
By Aline Lechaye

Yes, it's summer. It's hot. You want to sleep in a fridge. Or,
failing that, you want to sleep in the pool. Write? Seriously?
There's no way you can write. Your muse is at the beach like
everyone else, getting a tan and building sand castles. 
The best way to combat the heat? Find some cool things to take your
mind off it. Take a look at some of the coolest sites on the world
wide web. Who knows? They might even generate some ideas to write
1.        Not Exactly Rocket Science (Discover Magazine) is a science blog
written by science writer Ed Yong. His interesting, insightful, and
humorous articles are bound to give you food for thought. No
science degree required. (

2.        Another cool science site to look for is BBC Science. (
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/). Catch up on the latest science
news, watch video clips on all areas of science, and even take part
in ongoing experiments. This site also promotes upcoming science
shows on the BBC.

3.        Yes, maybe you were the kid who fell asleep in science class and
drooled on the desk besides. (Don't feel bad. We've all been
there). But science really doesn't get much cooler than this.
Discover how your mind is fooled by your eyes at this Mind Lab
built by the Japanese Science and Technology Agency. Content
includes videos, trials, and detailed explanations. Kids and adults
alike will be fascinated by the optical illusions -- it'll be as if
a museum just walked into your house. (
http://jvsc.jst.go.jp/find/mindlab/english/index.html). Note: this
site uses flash components, so make sure you've got the latest
version of your flash software installed, and that you have a
steady internet connection. 

4.        Want to go somewhere different on your summer vacation this
year? Why not go to the moon? http://wechoosethemoon.org/ is an
interactive recreation of the Apollo 11 Moon Mission. Listen to
radio transmissions, watch videos, and browse through pictures of
the space equipment. Take the eleven-stage journey and walk on the
Moon from the comfort of your own armchair. Even
non-science-fiction fans will be impressed at the authenticity of
it all. (Note: this site uses flash components, so make sure you've
got the latest version of your flash software installed, and that
you have a steady internet connection.)

5.        See your characters in your mind's eye? Draw their faces with
the help of monoface (http://www.mono-1.com/monoface/main.html).
The site starts you off with a randomly generated face. You can
click to change details of the eyes, nose, mouth, and hairstyle.
(Strangely, you can choose to have different left and right eyes.)
There are over 750,000 possible combinations! You can also stop by
the monoface gallery to see faces that have been created by other

We'll be back next month with more cool sites to help you through
the summer, but if you'd like to find more cool sites right now,
you might want to check out Cool Site of the Day (
http://www.coolsiteoftheday.com/). This is a site that collects and
shares cool sites on just about every topic. Plus, the free
magazine section (http://coolsiteoftheday.tradepub.com/) has plenty
of free magazine subscriptions and technical documents that you
might find worth downloading.  

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

Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye


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


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NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to
find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com!



Awesome Blog of the Month!
Courage 2 Create, by Ollin Morales
OK, I admit - I was a bit tired when I came to this site, so how
could I not be intrigued by the current lead article on the
importance of rest? There's lots of information for the weary
writer here, whether you seek rest or tips to revitalize your
energies. This is a blog full of inspiration and empathy -- it's as
much (or more) about surviving (and thriving in) the writer's life
as about how to be a better writer. Easy to navigate, too, with
many excellent guest posts.

Writers' Guidelines
This is a fantastic site for checking out the latest writing
guidelines for ezines, newsletters, magazines, periodicals and

Freelance Folder
I have only just come across this site and it is a haven for
working freelancers, especially copywriters and others seeking
writer for hire work.  Full of useful articles and blog posts, it
is now in my bookmarks.

The Writers' Site
This is a great site where you can find all sorts of information on
different genres and areas.  Check out the How to Write Tips and
you'll find advice on erotica, science fiction and fantasy, crime
and horror all from experts in their fields. 

To Win" is completely updated for 2012, featuring over 1600 contest
listings for writers worldwide.  The 2012 edition has more than 
450 NEW listings.  You won't find a more comprehensive guide to 
writing contests anywhere.  Available in print and Kindle editions.
Print: https://www.createspace.com/3778183
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B007C98OUA/peregrine


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Holiday Affair, by Annie Seaton 

A Kilo of Chocolate Sprinkles, by Wayne Pollard

Shadows and Dreams, by Joseph Lucilla

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 2012 Moira Allen

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