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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 12:22         13,350 subscribers           November 15, 2012
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THE EDITOR'S DESK, Thanksgiving with a Twist, by Moira Allen 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Prayers, Promises and Prophecies, by
Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: How to Repurpose Your Rejection, by Isabella E.C. Akinseye
The Inquiring Writer: Creating Style Guides, by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
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Thanksgiving with a Twist

It's traditional, at this time of year, to write an article about
the importance of "giving thanks."  If you searched the web or
browsed the blogosphere about now, you'd probably find an endless
array of articles explaining why it is so important to be thankful
for what we have -- and to recognize and give thanks for the many
things we normally take for granted.  I've written such pieces
myself, often.

I've written them because I'm a firm believer in the importance of
gratitude.  I've seen the contrast between people who recognize
when they are well off, when they are blessed, when they have
reason to be thankful for the smallest things in life -- and people
for whom nothing in life is ever good enough.  You probably know
that other sort of person too -- the fault-finder, the nay-sayer,
the drama queen (or king) who can't wait to regale everyone with
tales of the latest disaster in his or her life.  I believe one
reason it's so important to be thankful is simply people who don't
know how to be thankful don't know how to be happy.

However, there's another side to "thanks-giving" that isn't talked
about so often: The issue not of giving thanks, but of receiving
them.  It stands to reason that if we have something to be thankful
FOR, we probably have someone to be thankful TO.  And while reams
have been written about the importance of thanking others, very
little has been said, it seems to me, about the importance of BEING
the sort of person who deserves to be thanked.

Yet this is an area in which writers are uniquely qualified. 
Writers are blessed with endless opportunities to bless others. 
The work of a writer isn't simply to put words on a page.  It is to
aid, to support, to encourage, to instruct, to inform, to
entertain, to guide, to inspire, to uplift.  Writers touch lives. 
Writers transform lives.  Writers change the world.

In fact, when I decided to Google that thought, I found so many
examples that it's impossible to list them here.  History is filled
with writers who used the power of words to call attention to
injustice, abuse, and danger -- and whose words have been
instruments of immense social change.  Think of Charles Dickens on
the workhouses, Mary Wollstonecroft on the right of women to be
educated, Harriet Beecher Stowe on slavery, Rachel Carson on the
environment... and the list goes on and on.  When one starts to
enumerate the social changes that have taken place as a direct
result of powerful prose, one starts to realize that many of the
blessings we take for granted today really are "thanks" to a writer.

The amazing thing about the written word is how MANY lives it can
touch.  A single article can reach thousands of readers.  Nor does
a work have to be a monumental tome of earth-shaking significance
to make a difference.  It can be as simple as a story that makes
someone laugh, a poem that makes someone cry.  Sometimes, we change
the world simply by enabling others to SEE, through our words, a
part of the world that they would never otherwise see, whether it's
the inner city or outer Mongolia.  

Another amazing thing about the written word is the infinite
variety of issues, subjects, and people it can address.  Somewhere
out there right now, someone is writing about how to master a
complex computer system. Someone else is writing about how to raise
goats.  Both of those pieces will give someone, somewhere, a reason
to be thankful.  Perhaps an even more amazing thing is that we will
probably never know that someone, or hear their thanks.  Writing is
the business of changing the world for total strangers, of planting
a crop whose harvest of thanksgiving we will actually never reap.

Today, our words can travel farther and faster than ever before. 
However, it seems to me that today, it is also very easy for a
writer to get lost.  It's so easy to get caught up in our blogs,
our Facebook pages, our Twitter feeds.  And for those of us who
resist the mire of social media, we're told, repeatedly, that we
simply MUST jump in.  We MUST blog, have a Facebook page, join
LinkedIn and MySpace and Tumblr, build a following on Twitter --
even if we have nothing better to Tweet than "Hey guys just caught
the latest episode of..."  (Seriously, I was just browsing some
writers' Twitter feeds, and on some, that was as good as it got.) 
We're told that "writing" is really all about "promoting," about
building a following and a platform and a brand.

Perhaps this is true, though, amazingly enough, writers have
managed to change the world in the past without the help of
Facebook, and I suspect will continue to do so in the future. 
Where I fear this leads us, however, is into never-ending demands
upon our time that result in a product for which no one, including
ourselves, has any reason whatever to be thankful for.  I suspect
this is why I have such a dim view of SEO writing, which is,
basically, the business of writing for robots.  Hundreds of writers
today spend thousands of hours cranking out thousands of carefully
crafted words that aren't even meant to be read by another human
being!  Besides being the equivalent of a workhouse for writers,
this is surely the ultimate "thankless task."

I'm certainly not saying that every writer needs to strive to be
another Dickens, or Stowe, or Thoreau.  However, in this season of
giving thanks, I think it might be wise to take a moment to ask
whether WE are giving other people a reason to thank US.  Am I
investing my time and energy into something that has the potential
to make someone's day?  If not, does it at least have the potential
to make MY day?  If it isn't even doing that, why am I doing it? 

The root of writing, for most of us, was most likely the desire to
be heard.  The heart of writing is learning how to give readers a
reason to listen.  When we achieve that, we can be certain that
somewhere out there, someone is giving thanks.

-- Moira Allen, Editor

This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained.  (For an author bio and complete
details on reprint terms, please visit 

Link to this article here:

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen 


Read by over 1,000 children's book and magazine editors, this
monthly newsletter can be your own personal source of editors' wants and
needs, market tips, and professional insights.  Get a FREE issue to
start. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AY529


Prayers, Promises and Prophecies
You probably know the Mayan prediction that the world will end on
December 21, 2012.  Perhaps you this makes you shake your head at
the folly of the gullible.  Perhaps you put stock in this and have
not bothered this year with any holiday shopping.  Whatever your
feelings, there's one fact to acknowledge: the prediction has
garnered headlines.  

People are intrigued by forecasts about the future. Because of
this fascination, stories brim with prayers, promises and
prophecies.  This column describes ways to use each to move your
fiction forward and to enhance your readers' entertainment. 

The first definition of prayer at http://www.thefreedictionary.com
is: "A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of
worship."  The definitions continue, but this suffices. 

A prayer offered by a character can serve several purposes in a
story.  First, if your character Joanna is making a point to pray
for something, then we have a good idea what she wants (if she is
praying for something that she does not want that is interesting as
well).  Her desire helps define the character and her priorities. 

Second, the ritual surrounding the prayer can show us the religion
and the society, and Joanna's relationship to these things.

Third, we learn a lot about Joanna's attitude towards her god(s),
another interesting character trait.  How deep is her faith
relative to those around her?  There's an expression that there are
no atheists in foxholes, meaning that under extreme stress,
everyone appeals to the divine for help (a group, the Military
Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, opposes the use of this

Fourth, a prayer sets off or emphasizes a thread in your story.  As
the storyteller, you get to decide how Joanna's prayer is answered.
 We'll return to this subject later. 

The Free Online Dictionary defines a promise as "A declaration
assuring that one will or will not do something; a vow." 

Promises are another great way to move your story along.  A promise
often pertains to something a character does not want to do, or
something a character will have difficulty doing.  Hence promises
are a great source of tension. 

Promises can be made solemnly, with oaths and rituals -- another
opportunity for your storytelling.  

A promise tends to be between two of your characters, giving you a
way to add depth to their relationship.  A promise is interesting
in that it shows both characters' values -- and how much they value
each other.  If your main character is making the promise, how
sincere is he?  If your main character is depending on the promise
being kept, how much faith does he have in the one making it? 

Then, of course, there is the question as to whether the promise
should be kept or not.  Again, we'll return to this later. 

Unlike prayers and promises, prophecies are less a part of everyday
life, so let's delve deeper into the Free Online Dictionary's
definitions.  A prophecy is: "(a) An inspired utterance of a
prophet, viewed as a revelation of divine will; or (b) A prediction
of the future, made under divine inspiration; or (c) Such an
inspired message or prediction transmitted orally or in writing."
There's more, of course -- there's always more! -- but for now that
will do. 

If you're planning to use prophecies in your story, you should take
advantage of them to develop a source of prophecy which is
interesting and entertaining.  There are many methods of
incorporating prophecies: prophets; rituals such as reading
entrails, tea leaves and casting lots; watching the skies for birds
and lightning; and sacred texts are but a few.  Of course if you're
writing historical fiction you should build on whatever was
actually used in your period. 

Poetry or prose?  With prophecies, you can have fun with the form
and use words and phrases outside your usual vocabulary.  In our
Tapestry of Bronze series, most of the prophecies are written in
verse.  Despite holding a poetry contest at our website, I've never
felt comfortable composing it, so my co-author Alice does most of
the rhymes. 

I must warn you that with poetry you take a chance.  A reader
confessed to me that he skips over poems whenever he can and I am
sure he is not alone.  You may not understand how readers can
ignore any of your carefully crafted words, but they do.  In one
sense this is understandable; they have picked up your work
expecting prose and may be averse to reading verse. 

When you insert prayers, promises and prophecies into your story,
you create many opportunities for plot and character development. 

Is the prophecy used to make decisions?  If so, the prophecy may be
as ironically cruel, as the Delphic Oracle that caused Oedipus to
leave his Corinthian parents (who had in truth adopted him) and go
to Thebes, where he ended up marrying his biological mother. 

Consider, too how your characters feel about prayers, promises and
prophecies.  Do they rely on them being fulfilled?  Or do they
scorn them?  Remember ill-fated Cassandra, who was cursed with the
gift of being able to see the future but never being believed when
she prophesied (I always wonder why, after she made several
accurate predictions, those around her did not accord her more
respect -- but that's a point for another discussion).  Other
characters may manipulate the prophecies themselves or the events
that follow, to make it look as if the gods favor their actions. 
In other words, they cheat. 

Another approach is to have the characters, and possibly the
readers, forget most of the prayers, the promises and the
prophecies.  They may be so caught up in the action that they
barely notice when events start coming true.  A twist on this is
for the predictions to be fulfilled -- but not in a manner that
anyone expected.  In prayers, promises and prophecies, the actual
words can be very important!  It's a case of cosmic fine print. 

That leads to an important question: SHOULD the prayers, promises
and prophecies in your stories come true? 

Certainly in real life prayers, promises and prophecies do not all
come true.  Enemies at war both pray for victory, but both sides
cannot claim success.  Life, alas, is full of broken promises.  As
for prophecies, how often have your fortune cookies and horoscopes
come true?  You may remember the ones that did, but what about all
those that proved completely irrelevant?  Or that were so vague
that they should not count? 

However, fiction is not real life, and if there is any place where
words should have power, perhaps it is inside stories.  Besides,
readers often turn to books because they want to spend time in an
orderly world.  They have a sense of satisfaction when prayers are
answered, promises kept, and prophecies fulfilled. 

You may choose not to have them all come true.  In one of the Harry
Potter books, Dumbledore explains that many prophecies are not
fulfilled.  On the other hand, if you introduce prayers or promises
or prophecies, you should decide how you want to treat them.  Most
deserve resolution; you owe your readers that much.  If you choose
to ignore them, at least ignore them on purpose. 

True story: a stranger once told me I had three wishes.  I did not
take him seriously, but thought, why not, what should I wish for? 
So later I formulated three wishes.  Within six months ALL of them
came true -- and they came true exactly as I had formulated them. 
A couple of them ended up causing me serious trouble!  It was a
case of life imitating art and it still makes me wonder. 

I wish all of you a safe and happy end of the year, and if the
Mayan end-of-the-world prophecy proves false, see you in 2013. 


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.

This article may not be reprinted without the written permission of
the author.

Link to this article here:

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Writer's Digest Community Site Closing Down
Writer's Digest has announced that the WD Community Site on Ning
will be closing down on November 30.  If you have content on the
site that you would like to keep, you need to copy it before this
date as the site will be closed down and removed completely.

Harlequin Offering In-House Blogger Role 
Harlequin is looking for a blogger who is passionate about their
teen imprint Mira to become an in-house blogger for the publishing
company.  If you're interested you need to move quickly and submit
a 500 word blog post before the 25th November.  For more
information visit:  http://tinyurl.com/ccfgv4j

Ebooks Make Up One-Fifth of Book Sales in US
22% of all books sold in the US in the second quarter of 2012 were
ebooks, according to a study by Bowker Market Research published in
Publishers' Weekly. The study also revealed that Amazon now sells
27% of all books in the US.  For more information on this story
visit: http://tinyurl.com/cz8k2hx


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Writing Jobs and Opportunities

Gothic Stories Wanted for Anthology
The Darker Edge of Desire -- an original anthology edited by Mitzi
Szereto. A trade paperback to be published by Cleis Press, USA
Publication date: Autumn 2013
Gothic literature has always possessed a dark attraction ripe with
the promise of the forbidden and the sensual. This theme has been
successfully explored in my anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe, but
with a far gentler touch. In The Darker Edge of Desire, I will take
the sexualized Gothic and ratchet it up a few notches into the
danger zone, opening the door into the darker side of lust and love
that only the courageous dare to venture through.
I am looking for atmospheric and high quality stories with a
distinct Gothic flavour that explore our more forbidden desires and
contain plenty of added kink. In these tales love and lust know no
boundaries, and all nature of being -- from vampires, werewolves,
shape shifters, ghosts, succubae and creatures we may not even have
heard of -- can be found. Think Red Velvet and Absinthe, but with
some very sharp edges!
Submission deadline: March 15, 2013 (I'll be selecting stories on a
rolling basis, therefore earlier submissions are strongly
encouraged, though I'll still consider stories that make it in by
the deadline).
Word count: 3,000 to 6,500
What I'm looking for: Well-developed story lines and well-crafted
prose told in a unique voice and containing interesting characters
and settings. Stories may be set in the past, present, or future.
Stories from female and male writers are welcome, as are those
written from the POV of characters of any gender and containing
characters of any sexual orientation.
Note that sexually explicit content is acceptable as well as a more
subtle approach; however, absolutely no stock sex scenes or
formulaic writing/terminology. Please refer to my previous
anthologies to get an idea of the variety and style of content I
look for. No excessive gore or violence. No reprints.
Payment: One-time payment in the range of USD $50-70 (payable on
publication) and 2 copies of the anthology.

Nonfiction Anthology Seeking Chapters
Women, Work, and the Web: How the Web Creates Entrepreneurial

Seeking chapters of unpublished work from writers in the United
States and Canada for an anthology. We are interested in such topics
as: Women Founding Companies Existing Only on the Web; Women Working
on the Web With Young Children or Physical Disabilities; Woman's
Studies Resources and Curriculum Development Webmasters; Women as
Founding Editors of Webzines and Blogs; Surveys/Interviews of Women
on the Web.

Chapters of 3,000-4,000 words (up to 3 co-authors) on how the
Internet has opened doors, leveled the playing field and provided
new opportunities for women, are all welcome. Practical, how-to-do-it,
anecdotal and innovative writing based on experience. We are
interested in communicating how women make money on the Web, further
their careers and the status of women. One complimentary copy per
chapter, discount on additional orders.

Please e-mail two chapter topics each described in two sentences by
November 30, 2012, along with a brief bio to smallwood 'at' tm.net 
Please place INTERNET/Last Name on the subject line; if
co-authored, paste bio sketches for each author.

Writing After Retirement: Tips by Successful Retired Writers
An anthology of unpublished 3,000-4,000 word chapters by successful,
retired writers (up to 3 co-authors) previously following other
careers than writing.  Looking for topics as: Business Aspects of
Writing, Writing as a New Career, Networking, Using Life Experience,
Surveys/Interviews on Retired Writers, Finding Your Niche, Getting
Published, Following Dreams Put on Hold, Privacy and Legal Issues,
Working With Editors, Time Management.

With living longer, early retirement, popularity of memoir writing,
this is a how-to for baby boomers who now have time to write.
Compensation: one complimentary copy per chapter, discount on
additional copies.

Please e-mail two chapter topics each described in two sentences by
December 30, 2012 with brief pasted bio to smallwood 'at' tm.net
placing RETIREMENT/Last Name on the subject line. If co-authored,
pasted bios for each.


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FEATURE:  How to Repurpose Your Rejection
By Isabella E.C. Akinseye 

'Quitters never win and winners never quit.' This rings true for
every writer who has ever faced a rejection letter. Even after
numerous publishing credits, one might still have that stubborn
piece that refuses to find a home after several rewrites and edits.
Rather than give up, sometimes a rejected piece just needs to be
repurposed to find its perfect fit.
Finding the Root Cause
While some articles only need to be tweaked and adjusted to make
the mark, others need to be given a totally new direction. But
before you go tearing your precious piece into shreds, take a
moment and reread the rejection letters. What are the editors
saying and, more importantly, not saying? An article may have the
perfect fit, but there might not be any room for it to be
published. Other times, the language and style used might not be
suitable for the intended audience. Has something similar been
published before or recently somewhere else? When no feedback is
provided, why not give the piece to members of your writers' circle
to read and critique? This could be done anonymously, so they
remain as objective as possible. You should also allow some time to
pass so you can reread your work with fresh eyes. For a fee, you
can have your work professionally assessed by a number of reputable
literary agencies that charge reading fees or offer editing
packages. All these tips can help you get to the possible root of
the rejection. With new insight, you can then adapt your article
and resubmit. If all that still fails, then you should consider
doing the following:
Change Media
Words are not just meant to be read, they are also meant to be
heard. There is a huge market for audio material ranging from audio
books to spoken word poetry. Perhaps that poem of yours is better
performed as a rap. You could explore your new made-up words that
are hard to express in written form but are easily spoken. 

I remember an exercise I once did on a writing course. It involved
descriptive writing: creating a setting and appealing to all five
senses. It did not have a real narrative. I forgot about it until I
was approached by a lady who worked with children who have had
problematic childhoods. She wanted to record some mental exercises
that would help them to relax, stir up their imagination and still
have fun. She already had material for us to record but I suggested
that we used my descriptive piece and infuse it with the exercises.
It worked and she loved it.
Change Genre
When it comes to stories, you can be flexible in the way you tell
them. The important thing is how you adapt them in order to attract
new markets. Your true-life story could be embellished and expanded
into a fictional story. You can even change the ending and let your
imagination run wild. Another example is to consider dramatising
the story. Perhaps your memorable Christmas experience would make a
punchy one act play. A self-help article could become animated
through the introduction of music, dance, costumes and special
effects through a short video. Always bear in mind that each new
genre poses its own pros and cons and this could affect the message
you are trying to pass across. Before you begin to consider
rewriting to fit a new genre, first nail down the essence or gist
of your piece and decide what you are willing to compromise on and
what you are not. 

If your true life story includes other people playing major parts,
you have to be careful when fictionalising it, as merely changing
names and the setting might not be enough. In some instances, it is
advisable to get the permission of people who might or might not be
comfortable with the way you portray them. For the writer, this
presents a creative challenge to retain the essence of the
characters while finding a way to make the story more generic
without losing your unique treatment.
Change Audience
Sometimes, the barrier between you and a successful submission is
the wrong target audience. New and experienced writers must always
do their research, and this goes beyond reading submission
guidelines and sample material. It is also about following some
unwritten rules. Different markets in different countries have
their own stance on what is acceptable and appropriate for a
specific age range. It might be okay to talk about sex in Young
Adult novel for a more general market, while religious markets
might be totally against it. 

Correctly Gauge the Readers' Ability
When it comes to writing for children, the content is just as
important as the style and vocabulary used. A difference of one or
two years could mean the difference between preschool reading and
early years 'school' reading. Even if the story has the same appeal
to both groups, the comprehension levels are different and the
choice of words must match the reading level. In this case, it is
very helpful to go through similar books for a particular age range
and make notes on style, sentence construction, picture/text ratio
and subject matter.  

Explore Multiple Audiences
It's also possible that an article you wrote might have multiple
audiences, some less obvious than others. I wrote 'How to Be a
Student Writer' with a broad audience of writers in general in
mind. Yet after multiple submissions to more general markets, I
decided to adapt the piece as a literary workshop for students at
my alma mater. Here, I broadened my target audience to both
non-student and student writers. I realised that the article was
too basic and too specifically targeted to what might only be a
small minority of the readers of a general writing publication. 
Another way to repurpose my rejected piece might be to submit to
student publications or rewrite it with a teacher audience in mind. 

Prune the Extras 
While I have discussed embellishing and expanding pieces in this
article, sometimes the opposite is required. Writers for younger
children have the hard job of making every word count. This
requires simplifying the story and sticking to only the parts that
actually drive the plot or concept further. For a nonfiction
self-help piece, you might be trying to advise on too many areas,
which could cause the reader to lose interest. 

If narrowing your work down makes you struggle for words, it means
that you still need to do more research. Go beyond the traditional
media of books and consult audio-visual sources, websites,
magazines, films and newspapers, just to mention a few. But be
careful not to put too much emphasis on sources that have not
been/cannot be verified and those that have not stood the test of
time. It is better to use them for illustrative purposes or to show
another perspective. When it comes to the academia market,
Wikipedia does not cut it. You are better off scrolling down the
page and researching the sources cited in the article.
What happens when you have put all these tips into practice and
still have no success? You have to think out of the box and
innovate. This could mean identifying a gap in the market and
creating your own niche genre, or merely spinning the wheel in
another direction.  A problematic submission that you are
passionate about and believe in could force you to exploit new
media. It might mean assembling your target audience physically or
in cyberspace and then finding a unique way of sharing your
material. If you are able to sustain the momentum and generate
enough demand, you will not only be grinning to the bank but more
importantly, you will become a specialist in the field.
Keep It for a Rainy Day
A writing sample is helpful to a jobseeker. It is always good to
have them, even better when they are published. However, some
writing samples can have become dated and no longer be as relevant
as they were when they were written. I was once commissioned to be
a guest Arts editor in Arik Wings, the in-flight magazine of Arik
Air. I interviewed a film director as well as five authors and did
a review of Sade's new album 'Soldier of Love'. Only the interviews
made it, even though I was still paid for all three. I was later
told that some advertising had come in and my review had to be
sacrificed. So when it comes to markets in need of music reviews, I
now have a solid one in the kitty. In the future, it could also
serve as a reference point for a more general piece on Sade as a
group and its music. 
If all else fails and you still want to get that rejected piece out
there, consider self-publishing. This can be done free on the
internet on a personal blog, Facebook or a website you run. You
could also invest your money and self-publish in print, audio,
audio-visual and e-book formats. You can go through reputable
self-publishing firms or do the work yourself or a hybrid of both.
This might be your best bet when it comes to personal stories such
as memoirs, biographies and family history, which are unlikely to
attract a publisher unless you are a celebrity or known public
figure or have done something extraordinary. The downside is that
it might cost you a lot of money and the only reward is the
satisfaction of sharing your story -- but for some writers, this is
Never Give Up
In a writing life, rejections are as common as a cold. In the
newbie days, a lot of your learning (even after doing courses) will
be on the job and the most valuable lessons you will learn are
about getting up, dusting yourself off and soldiering on. But even
for the experienced writer, new markets pose new challenges and no
matter how far you have gone, you never get 'there.' 

A rejected piece forces a paradigm shift. It is about seeing
solutions and new ways of pushing your creative boundaries where
others see problems. So before you start a new writing project, why
not revisit your old work and get inspired as you make repurposing
your rejections one of your writing resolutions for 2013? 

Isabella E.C. Akinseye is the Creative Director at Quill and Scroll
Creatives (http://www.quillscroll.com/), a creative writing,
editing and publishing firm based in Nigeria. She recently
graduated with a BA Education with English and Drama from the
University of Cambridge, where she wrote for The Cambridge Student,
became the editor of Aspire magazine and had her opinion piece
published in the international digital edition of the Times Higher
Education. Her work has appeared in True Love West Africa, Rivulet,
TW magazine, Exceed, Beyond Weddings, NEXT newspapers, Style House
Files and TIEC Group, among others. She co-runs the Bookaholic Blog
bookaholicblog.blogspot.com. She is currently working on her first

Copyright Isabella E.C. Akinseye 2012

This article may not be reprinted without the written permission of
the author. 

Link to this article here:

For more advice on dealing with rejection read:  


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: Creating Style Guides
By Dawn Copeman

Last month we had an unusual question from Brenda Proffitt. She
wrote: "I'm preparing a brief style guide for a large nonprofit
organization to help its staff create a uniform look for its
largest client, a government agency. The intent is to help them
look good, polished and professional. It will include specs for
fonts, sizes, headers and footers, etc. It won't be the typical
binder of technical details that ad agencies create for their
corporate clients. I'd love to see a few examples of what others
have done."

We only had three replies to this question, but my goodness, they
were good ones! John replied by saying that "the first thing Brenda
needs to do is to work out what materials need the style guide.  Is
she creating a style guide just for printed materials or for web
content too?  If she needs to create a style guide for the website,
then she will need to work with a graphic designer to ensure that
together they can develop a style that will work well on screen and
on printed materials."

He continued: "The second thing to decide is how in-depth the style
guide needs to be.  Is Brenda just developing a style guide for
headers, titles, fonts etc., or is she also developing a guide with
regards to spellings, abbreviation rules and standard layouts of
various communications such as emails, memos, quotes, letters,
etc.?  She really needs to find out exactly what the non-profit
wants from her in terms of the scope of the style guide. 

"This is a useful beginner's article for Brenda to read, which will
set out some of the first steps she needs to take in setting up a
style guide: 

Charlotte emailed to say that she "found the following guide
helpful when I was asked to create a style guide for my company:
http://www.intelligentediting.com/writingastyleguide.aspx. Be
warned though, it takes longer than I thought it would!  Be
prepared for many, many meetings while everyone agrees on what
should and shouldn't be in the style guide and what styles they
want to use."

She went on to explain that it took her around six months from
beginning to end to write the style guide, adding "you cannot
impose a style guide on people, otherwise they won't follow it. 
You must allow lots of time for consultation and make time to
listen to everyone.  Writing a style guide involves a lot of
compromises if it is to be successful.  Good luck!"

Finally, Craig emailed in to say that "Brenda might find the
following article useful, as it was written specifically for

This month we have a question from Charlotte, who replied to the
above question.  She wrote: "Until recently, I'd say sometime in
the past six months, I had no difficulty in writing.  I am a
commercial writer for an online company and spend my day writing
press releases, web pages, whitepapers, ebooks and manuals.
Recently, however, I have noticed that I am finding it harder to
motivate myself to work.  I am still writing, but the words don't
come as easily as they did before. I have read many of the articles
at Writing-World on dealing with writer's block, but unlike
freelancers I cannot switch to a different genre or activity; I
have to produce the words day in, day out no matter what. It's
taking me longer and longer to do my work; I'm working through
lunch and doing unpaid overtime just to meet my deadlines.  I'm
worried I might lose my job unless I can sort this problem out.  I
hope someone out there can help me."

If you can help Charlotte, email your response to me with the
subject line Inquiring Writer to editorial"at"writing-world.com.

Also email me if you have any writing questions or problems you
want to put to our community of writers from around the world. 

Until next time, 



Copyright Dawn Copeman 2012  

Dawn Copeman is a UK-based freelance writer, copywriter and
ghostwriter who has published over 300 articles on the topics of
travel, cookery, history, health and writing. An experienced
commercial freelancer, Dawn contributed several chapters on
commercial writing to Moira Allen's Starting Your Career as a
Freelance Writer (2nd Edition). She edits the Writing World
newsletter and can be contacted at editorial "at" writing-world.com
and at 


screenwriters attempting to beat the odds, publishing on Kindle
(for free) opens up a golden opportunity to get noticed and earn 
money. "Publish Your Screenplay on Kindle" by London Tracy



This is an incredibly useful site for anyone who likes to read or
write for children or young adults.  Run by Mary Kole, a senior
literary manager, the site has an interesting blog and offers all
readers the chance to put their questions to Mary. 

If you can't get to a writer's group or there isn't one near you,
then you might want to consider joining this site.  For every four
reviews you submit on others' work, you get three reviews of your
work. There is no membership fee. 

I have only just come across this blog and I am hooked.  Pub Rants
(short for publishing rants) is a refreshing and honest look at the
world of publishing by Kristin Nelson, founder of Nelson Literary
Agency. You will learn lots of useful tips here. 


SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent
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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:  December 31, 2012
GENRE:  Short stories, Nonfiction
DETAILS:  One story or essay, maximum 10,000 words, both genres
compete together for annual prize.   
PRIZE:  $250  
URL:  http://www.hofferaward.com/

DEADLINE:  November 31, 2012
GENRE:  Short Stories, 
DETAILS: short stories up to 1,000 words that were published or
self-published, in print or online, during the current calendar
PRIZE:  $500 
URL:  http://www.microaward.org/rules

DEADLINE: December 31, 2012
GENRE:    Short Stories 
OPEN TO: Authors with No Published Books: The Contest is open only
to those who have not had professionally published a novel or short
novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short
stories, in any medium.
DETAILS:  17,000 words max. Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Horror: All types of
science fiction, fantasy and horror with fantastic elements, are
PRIZE:  $1,000 first prize awarded each quarter; one of those
winners also receives the $5,000 annual "Gold Award" grand prize.
URL:           http://www.writersofthefuture.com/contest-rules
DEADLINE: December 31, 2012
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS:  3,500-5,000 words 
PRIZES:  $500, trophy and publication 
URL: http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/no-fee-rrofihe-trophy2012.html

DEADLINE: December 31, 2012
GENRE: Books
DETAILS:  Novel manuscript with a transgender protagonist. 60,000
words minimum. Gender of author is not relevant to the contest,
only the gender of the protagonist
PRIZE: $1,000 advance on royalties, plus $1,000 funding for book
tour in the US 
URL: http://topsidepress.com/contest/

DEADLINE: January 1, 2013
GENRE: Poetry
DETAILS: This contest looks for good use of meter and rhyme.
Traditional Forms: Poems should be written in meter and contain at
least some rhyme. No free verse. Submit 3-5 poems, maximum 50 lines
PRIZE:  $1000
URL:  http://classicalpoets.org/2012-poetry-competition/


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
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A Red Sea of Red Tape, by Larry Vandeventer

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Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Readers are welcome to forward this newsletter by e-mail IN ITS
ENTIRETY.  This newsletter may not be reposted or republished in
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unless otherwise indicated.

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial"at"writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen


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