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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 12:18        13,388 subscribers          September 20, 2012
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: What Do You Want on Your Tombstone? by Moira
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Portraying Your Characters' Thoughts,
by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: Writing Obituaries, by Jeanine DeHoney
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Compiling Anthologies, by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
WRITING CONTESTS WITH NO ENTRY FEES                                
The Author's Bookshelf 
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author. Writing books and stories for children is a great place to
start.  Learn the secrets 1-on-1 from a pro writer. Train online or
by mail. Free Test offered. http://www.writingforchildren.com/H3146
* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
* Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter.
* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.
DON'T GET SCAMMED!  Choose the right Self Publishing Company for
your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing
company and the questions you should ask.


What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?
Sandwiched as it is between an ad about "avoiding deathbed regrets"
and an article on writing obituaries, it seemed that this issue's
editorial just had to address a similar topic.  What DO you want on
your tombstone?  It might seem a somewhat morbid question, but it
is a question that is particularly apt for writers.  Because,
basically, the reason many of us became writers in the first place
was to be REMEMBERED.  We want to create something that will live
on after us.

Few things in this world are more enduring than words.  Today's
most influential religions are based upon words written down 2000
years ago, and more.  To be sure, other things have survived that
long; you can go to a museum and gaze upon a statue, or a pot, or a
piece of jewelry, or even the mummified corpse of a king, and any
number of other fascinating items that have endured for thousands
of years.  But the point is, you DO have to go to a museum to do
so.  To read words that were written thousands of years ago, you
can simply step into the nearest bookstore -- or, nowadays, visit a
website or download them into your Kindle.  

Chances are, you grew up with stories written at least a hundred
years ago.  I can remember, in second grade, sitting in a corner of
the library discovering the tiny gem-like books of Beatrix Potter. 
I grew up on E. Nesbit, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, and
a hundred other writers who had turned to dust before I was even
born. Those books, too, can still be found in an instant today. 
Some of the most memorable films ever made are based on books
written more than a century ago.  

I said in the opening paragraph that one goal many writers have is
to be "remembered."  But in many respects, that's not quite true. 
A politician, perhaps, wants to be remembered for his deeds.  A
writer wants to be remembered for his (or her) words -- or, more
accurately, wants those WORDS to be remembered.  And it is the
words themselves that stand the test of time.  I can tell you
"whodunnit" in any number of Agatha Christie novels, but very
little about Dame Christie herself (although, I confess, I did
enjoy her archaeology memoir, "Come, Tell Me How You Live").  I
know much more about Oz than I do about L. Frank Baum; I could
describe the landscape of Narnia far more easily than the life of
C.S. Lewis.  And this, I suspect, is exactly what those authors
would have wished.  Authors die; their creations live. 

So what might a writer hope to hear in his or her obituary?  Here
are some thoughts that come to mind...

"Your words changed my life."
"I will never forget the character you created."
"Your words inspired me/encouraged me/helped me."
"I wish I could go and live in the world you created."
"I could read that book a hundred times."
"I HAVE read that book a hundred times."
"Does this mean no more of your books?"

I can also think of some things that I probably don't want to hear
in my obituary:

"Wow, what a cool Facebook page!"
"Is it too late to 'Friend' you?"
"Loved your Twitter feed!"

I don't know whether I'll ever craft a novel that endures for a
hundred years or more.  But as a writer, I do have an idea of what
I'd like to see on my tombstone.

"No regrets." 

-- Moira Allen, Editor

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen 


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What Are They Thinking? Portraying Your Characters' Thoughts 
One of the advantages that the medium of written fiction has over
other forms of storytelling -- such as film and theatre -- is that
novels and short stories allow readers easy access to characters'

Now, I'm not saying that other literary art forms NEVER let us
experience the inner workings of characters' minds. Who doesn't
know some of Shakespeare's great passages? Consider Hamlet's, "To
be or not to be," Richard the Third's, "Now is the winter of our
discontent," and the balcony scene in Romeo & Juliet: "Romeo --
wherefore art thou Romeo?" These all give us wonderful insights to
the characters' minds. But they are soliloquies -- the character is
speaking ostensibly to him- or herself -- and thus, some would
argue, there is an air of the artificial about it, because people
normally don't speak so long and certainly not so eloquently aloud
to themselves (although in Romeo & Juliet, Romeo happens to be
conveniently eavesdropping -- but this is not something that Juliet
realizes at the time). Therefore, soliloquies are not always used
and the chance to learn what the characters are thinking is often
not possible. In theatre, the emphasis is more on dialogue than
anything else and so what the spectators experience is

In film, thoughts are occasionally given -- perhaps by the reading
aloud of a letter, or by showing the character not speaking but
having his voice speak anyway. In "Annie Hall," Woody Allen showed
a conversation between two parties with subtitles. But in film, the
emphasis is on the visual, and internal thoughts and occasionally
even the dialogue are sacrificed, to make room and time for chase
scenes and special effects. This is not a complaint, mind you; just
an observation. 

So, if we really want to experience characters' thoughts -- and
what could be more intimate, than to see into another person's
mind? -- we're best doing it in regular text, i.e., the printed
page (or an audio version of the same). But showing characters'
thoughts is tricky. Here are two issues that need to be addressed: 

* How do you make sure that the reader knows that these words are
part of a thought and not either dialogue or part of the regular

* How do you make sure that the reader knows which of your
characters is doing the thinking? 

There are a host of other issues that could arise, but this is a
little column, so let's limit its scope. 

How you meet these challenges depends very much on other choices
that you have made for your story; nothing happens in a vacuum. In
particular, the PERSON and POINT OF VIEW are critically intertwined
with how you show your characters' thoughts. 

Distinguishing Thoughts from Everything Else 
Thoughts are like dialogue in that they are associated with
individual characters and that they can be given verbatim. They are
different from dialogue in that the rules surrounding them aren't
as concrete as the rules governing dialogue. In other words, the
grammar gendarmes probably won't come out to get you when you do
one thing instead of the other. On the other hand, some techniques
are smoother than others. 

So, let's work through some examples. 

A. John stopped in front of the long, steep staircase and said, "I
can do this." 

The above is dialogue, as is made obvious by the quotation marks
and the word "said" -- used to attribute the speech to John.
Instead of saying these words aloud, John could think them. In that
case, you could write: 

B. John stopped in front of the long, steep staircase and thought,
"I can do this." 

This is awkward, because quotation marks are generally used to
signal dialogue. Another technique is to employ italics. So here's
another possibility: 

C. John stopped in front of the long, steep staircase and thought,
*I can do this.*

I've even seen, in print, options B & C combined to create writing
like the following: 

D. John stopped in front of the long, steep staircase and thought,
*"I can do this."*

Now, I'll interject some opinions. I am not keen on using italics.
I think they should be used sparingly, because italics, I believe,
tire the reader -- especially if you have a lot of interior
monologue. They're distracting, and, I believe, should be saved for
special occasions. 

There's also something else to realize about italics: they imply
that you are giving the exact thoughts, in other words, word for
word. The same thing goes for the use of quotation marks. But if
you're using the first person or a third person intimate, you don't
have to write it this way. You can imply it. Let's go through a few
more possibilities. 

E. John stopped in front of the long, steep staircase and thought,
he could do this. 

Notice that the entire sentence is now in third person and the verb
in the thought has shifted from the present tense CAN to its past
tense COULD. 

F. John stopped in front of the long, steep staircase. He could do

In version F, we have removed the word THOUGHT altogether and
turned the single sentence in the earlier examples into two
sentences. The first sentence, "John stopped in front of the
stairs," is important because it lets the reader know who is doing
the thinking. 

Then, as we are in third person intimate, we slide very naturally
into John's optimistic self-evaluation of his stair-climbing
ability in the next sentence -- in other words, into his mind and
feelings -- even though the word THOUGHT is not to be found. 

G. I stopped in front of the long, steep staircase and thought, I
could do this. 

In example G, I've switched to first person. Although there's
nothing really wrong with the sentence above, in a way, there's a
redundancy of meaning. In first person, nearly everything -- unless
explicitly shown to be otherwise -- is a thought of the narrator's. 

H. I stopped in front of the long, steep staircase. I could do

In example H, can you almost sense the quick intake of breath as
the narrator looks at the long steep climb and decides to tackle

We've come up with eight different versions of representing almost
the same thing. Some methods may be better, some may be worse;
others will or will not suit depending on what you're trying to do.


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


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For details visit http://forensics4writers.com/the-book



Crime Writers' Association Launches Manuscript Assessment Service
Aspiring crime writers can now submit their manuscript directly to
the Crime Writers' Association for assessment and appraisal. For
more on this story visit: 

Orion Group Launches The Murder Room
The Orion Publishing Group has launched THE MURDER ROOM, a
dedicated website which makes out-of-print and hard to find classic
crime novels available as eBooks. THE MURDER ROOM  brings together
some of the finest writers of crime and thriller fiction - names
like James M. Cain, Anthony Price, Jim Thompson and George V.
Higgins, whose books have inspired a new generation of writers. It
launches with one hundred and fifty titles, with another hundred
available before the end of the year.  For more on this story
visit: http://www.themurderroom.com/

Increase in Fiction Sales in the UK
The total invoiced value of digital fiction books increased by 188%
by value in January-June 2012 in comparison to the same period in
2011. Children's digital books and digital non-fiction books also
increased by 171% and 128% respectively during the same period.
Overall digital sales of general consumer titles (including
fiction, non-fiction and children's) increased from 30m to 84m
between January-June 2011 and 2012. For more on this story visit:


Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a 
Price Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants.
Get it now at http://tinyurl.com/86qfupw


Unlike other websites for writers, Burrst focuses on sharing
short pieces of fearlessly written fiction. Each day members can
post one 'burst' of 1,250 words or less to be read, listened to,
liked and commented on. Find out more at http://burrst.com/about/


Writing Jobs and Opportunities

Stories Wanted for Anthology
Arlene Uslander, co-author of the award-winning anthology, The
Mystery of Fate: Common Coincidence or Divine Intervention? is
soliciting stories for a new fate book. 

This one will focus on animals: how different kinds of animals
change, and even save human's lives and vice versa, often because
of an act of fate (or what you consider to have been an act of

Anyone who thinks they might have such a story, please contact
Arlene at uslander.arlene at gmail.com. A portion of sales of the
book will be donated to animal rights and rescue organizations.

Call for Teaching App Projects
The Teaching Apps Project (TAP) is an international competition
event to help facilitate the creation, development, and sharing of
teaching apps for mobile devices. The purpose of TAP is to create
an open source library of lesson plans and resources for mobile

Interested individuals or multicultural teams submit "teaching app
profiles" for professional review during the open submission period
called a Competition Cycle. There are competition cycles every
ninety days beginning January 1, 2013.

Each teaching app profile is judged and awarded points based on its
applicability to mobile teaching. The profile receiving the most
points during the cycle receives a first place award for the school
of the participant. Additional awards for individual participants
are also available.

For participation guidelines, go to http://mobileteaching.org/ and
follow the link in Article Resource Section 7


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FEATURE: Writing an Obituary:
How Your Words Can Heal The Grief-stricken 
By Jeanine DeHoney

When my mother died, I knew not only as her daughter but as a
writer whom she was proud of, that I would be the one to write her
obituary. Though full of grief, I wrote one that was simple yet
eloquent in the way it celebrated her in her many roles as a woman.
When my girlfriend lost her daughter a few years ago, she asked me
to write her daughter's obituary. Again I knew I had no choice. Her
pain was immeasurable and if I could ease it by handling the
memorializing of her daughter, I could not decline. 

Words can be a balm for those who are grieving, especially words
that are written. As writers we can use our skills to write
obituaries not only for loved ones but for those who may not know
how to craft words as well and as skilfully as we do. 

You can also help yourself.  According to "Freelance Writing Pay
Rates -- How Much Money Do Writers Make" by Laurie Pawklik-Kienlen
(which appeared in the blog "Quips and Tips for Successful
Writers"), writers can make from $35 to $225 per project writing
obituary copy.

Even if you see this as a money-making opportunity, however, I hope
you first and foremost see it as a means to use your writing to
help the loved ones left behind.  Your writing can give them words
that can be inked into their psyche and wrapped around them like
their grandmother's patchwork quilt, long after the mourners have
gone and the last condolence card has been read. Hopefully these
will be words family members can hold onto on those days when
sorrow overwhelms them. Your words, like those I wrote for my
mother and my girlfriend, should be carefully chosen to celebrate a
loved one's life. 

If you are considering writing an obituary -- whether for family or
friends or as a freelance writing opportunity -- here are some tips
to help you. If you need more help, you can also find many
resources online, including templates.

1. Meet with the family of the deceased when they have the time to

Planning a memorial service or funeral is time-consuming. Meet with
the family at a time when they have some "down" time, perhaps at
the dinner table. Listen to their stories, because even in their
grief there are bound to be humorous recollections that you can
interject into the obituary. Perhaps the loved one got a nickname
for doing something outlandish, or loved a certain snack so much
that they would trek to the local store in rain or sleet when they
had a craving for it.  Or perhaps they had a laugh that was so
contagious it would set a room full of people laughing as well.

2. If you do not know the person you are writing about, ask to look
at something tangible the person owned and loved. Ask to see
photos, mementoes, postcards from a recent trip, etc. This will
help you focus on the person's passions and dreams and what they
celebrated in life.

3. Ask family members to give you three key words that show the
essence of the deceased person. Because you have a limited amount
of wordage to work with, make sure those three words are embodied
in your description of the person. Ask the family if the loved one
had a favorite poet or hymn or saying. You may want to insert it in
the obituary. 

4. Get the correct spellings of family members' names, schools they
attended, and correct dates of events such as births or deaths.
Double-check with another family member as a back-up. I need more
than two hands to count the number of funerals I have attended in
which someone did not fact-check a date or misspelled a name. 

5. Choose a quiet haven to write in. Turn off your Blackberry and
let the answering machine take your messages. Turn off the clamor
so that you can envision the person you are writing about and
welcome their memory into your own heart. 

6. Don't break all of the rules. Most obituaries are cookie cutter
speeches, containing certain information. Don't break all of these
time-honored rules. More importantly, honor the family's traditions
and wishes. If the family wants it straightforward, don't write an
obituary that is too flowery, glowing with adverbs. 

7. Make sure you include the basics before taking poetic license: 

Full name of the deceased, including nickname if any, date and
place of birth, date and age at death, cause of death if family
agrees, parents' and siblings' names and whether they are alive or
deceased. Spouse, children, and grandchildren's names. The family
may also 
want you to include other close family members or close friends.

Schools attended -- high school, college, or university -- and any
military service and awards, or other notable achievements. 
Employment history. 

End with an uplifting quote and inspiring scripture verse.

8. As writers we know the importance of proofreading our
manuscripts -- and even after the tenth time we may still find an
error. Don't be lax about proofreading the obituary. Just because
it isn't lengthy doesn't mean an error or two might not escape your

9. Put your writer's ego aside. Be humble as you write. Think about
the family and how you can weave your words to honor their loved
one.  Obituaries are not about impressing people with your style of

10. Be empathetic but professional. You have a job to do as a
writer, so you may have to step away from the emotions of the
family members to do it.

11. After you have finished writing an obituary, take a moment to
celebrate your life and your loved ones. Writing an obituary may
cause you to dwell a bit upon your own mortality. Don't. 

Instead, think about all you have to be thankful for and count your
blessings for even the smallest things you awaken to each morning,
and all the blissful writing projects you have yet to write.


Jeanine DeHoney is a freelance writer, wife, mother, and
grandmother. her writing has appeared in several magazines and
blogs, including Bella Online, Mothering.com, Grand Magazine,
Writing For Dollars, The Write Place At The Write Time, 50 to 1,
Listen Up, Literary Mama, Together newspaper, Shine Journal,
Guardian Angel e-zine, and Kraze Magazine.  Her essays have
appeared in "Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul,"
the Whispering Angel anthology "Living Lessons," and "The Perfect
Pair, an anthology about women and shoes.  She is presently a
contributing writer to Esteem Yourself E-magazine.

Copyright 2012 Jeanine DeHoney

For more advice on breaking into specialist freelance markets,


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


The Inquiring Writer: Compiling Anthologies
By Dawn Copeman

Last month we had an unusual question from Maxine Holmgren.  She
wrote: "I want to create an anthology of inspirational stories.  My
question is how do I find submissions?  How do I get people to send
me their stories?  And, very important, what legal forms are
necessary, such as permission to use, what rights to acquire, etc.
And, since I can't pay for stories, what incentive, such as how
many copies of the finished book to offer them, author discounts,

Compiling anthologies is a specialist area, one in which experience
counts, but that doesn't mean you should be put off compiling your
own anthology.  I do suggest, however, that you also contact
experienced anthology authors like Arlene Uslander, for more
detailed advice. (uslander.arlene at gmail.com)

However, in general, you need to decide upfront what reward or
incentive you will offer people who give you permission to use
their stories.  

Decide if you are going to give them a free copy or copies of the
book and if in addition to this, you are going to offer those
discounts on buying additional copies. 

Then you need to reach out and find writers to submit their stories
to you.  You can post on writers forums and put out a call for
submissions for your anthology.  Make sure you specify that the
only reward will be the satisfaction of publication.  In many
cases, writers will be happy for the 'clip' and the ability to say
they are published. 

You need to clarify in your mind exactly what type of inspirational
stories you want to use. People inspiring people, pets inspiring
people, events etc.  This will give you some guidance for the type
of stories you want. Check out Amazon to see if there are already
anthologies on your topic before committing to it. 

As for rights, what you need to do is to make sure you have a
simple contract drawn up that specifies that in return for
publication and a copy (# of copies) of the anthology, the author
is giving you publication rights of that particular story.

Then when the submissions come in you need to read them and edit
them carefully.   A good anthology fits together perfectly, with
one story leading seamlessly into another, reinforcing the theme of
the anthology as a whole.  Again, it might help to read other
anthologies to see how others have done this. 

I hope this helps. 

This month's question comes from Annie who wants to know how
writers use Social Media to get writing jobs.  She wrote:"I have
read articles on using social media to get writing jobs, but I'm
still not entirely sure how to do it.  Do any of your readers use
social media such as LinkedIn to get jobs and if so how?  Do you
need a premier account?  Can you use Face book professionally?"

If you have successfully used Social Media to get writing jobs, can
you help Annie?  

Email your responses with the subject "Inquiring Writer" to
editorial@writing-world.com.  Also we are running low on questions,
so if you have a question to put to our community, email that too. 

Until next time, 




Obituary Writing Tips
For those of you who want to learn more about how to write
obituaries, we suggest this site as a good starting point.

Here to Create
This site, about all things creative, has a great section entitled
102 Resources for Fiction Writers, which is a great treasure trove
if you are struggling with you characters. 

Where The Map Ends
This site is aimed at Christian writers of speculative fiction and
fantasy. If you sign up to the newsletter you get a great ebook
entitled "The Horrific But True Psychological Stages of Writing a
Novel."  The site is full of useful resources, articles and tools. 


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This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless 
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers. 
For a guide to nearly 1600 writing contests throughout the 
world, see Moira Allen's book, "Writing to Win: The Colossal 
Guide to Writing Contests" 
DEADLINE:  September 20, 2012
GENRE:  Nonfiction
DETAILS:   3000 words max.
PRIZES:  $50, $25  
URL:  http://www.scribophile.com/contests/back-to-school-contest/

DEADLINE: October 15, 2012
GENRE: Poetry
DETAILS: All poems must be titled. Do not use "Save the Frogs" as a
title. We welcome any poems that mention frogs, salamanders, newts,
toads, caecilians, amphibians, and/or Save the Frogs! Categories
are under-13, 13-17, and 18+.  Submit 1 - 2 poems. No length limit. 
PRIZES: $100 Grand Prize across all age categories, 
Winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for the Save the Frogs!
online store and become an official judge of next year's contest. 
Winner in each age category (under-13, 13-17, 18+) receives prize
of $50 plus $30 gift certificate. Winners published in anthology
and on website
URL:  http://www.savethefrogs.com/poetry/index.html#submit

DEADLINE: November 30, 2012
OPEN TO:  African writers, defined as someone who was born in
Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or
whose parents are African.
GENRE:    Poetry, 
DETAILS:   Submit 10 poems 
PRIZE:  $3000 and publication
URL:  http://www.africanpoetryprize.org/

DEADLINE: November 30, 2012
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO: Citizens of the British Commonwealth who are under age 35.
Winner must use the prize money for foreign travel. 
DETAILS:   Published or unpublished first novel "of a romantic or
traditional nature" 
PRIZE: 10,000

DEADLINE: December 17, 2012
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO: 18+ authors with no published works of fiction
DETAILS: Mystery/Thriller: Competition is for a crime novel where
"murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the
story." 60,000 words minimum. 
PRIZE: $10,000 advance against royalties 


To Win" features over 1600 contest listings for writers worldwide. 
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
Forensic Science For Writers, by Phillip Jones 

The Musical Adventures of Professor Anacrusis I: 
The Surround Sounds of Music, by Chrissie Tetley 

Superhero Origins & Mystique: The Quest for Superhuman Solutions, 
by Karl C. Hendrixsen (Kindle)

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@writing-world.com) 

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial@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