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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 13:03          13,220 subscribers         February 7, 2013
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Are You Doing the Right Job? by Moira Allen 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Interjections and Profanity, 
by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: How to Write an In-Depth City Logistics Article, 
by Barbara Weddle
FREE STUFF FOR WRITERS: Waking the Muse, by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers

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Are You Doing the Right Job?

Recently I received an e-mail from a writer friend who had recently
published a new book, and naturally was quite excited about it. 
She sent me a detailed description of the book, and finished with
the following statement: 

"Here's the blurb.  I hope you find it interesting.  If not, I'm
failing in my job."

When I read that line, I wished I could reach out across the miles
and give that friend a quick hug.  Then, I would have sat her down
and given her a heart-to-heart talk -- not about whether or not she
had "failed," but about just what, exactly, "her job" really was!

Clearly, she felt that "her job" was to convince me that her book
was so exciting that I just couldn't resist reading it.  The blurb
was well written, and I have no doubt that the book is also well
written.  Her previous book was short-listed for a prestigious
award, so I have no doubts as to her ability.

But did the blurb make me want to rush out and buy the book?  No. 
Does that mean that the writer "failed"?  Again, no.  What it means
is that this writer is confused as to what her "job" actually is.

To understand why, let's look at another type of scenario.  Think
for a moment about the classic "breakup" sequence... boy meets
girl, boy dates girl, boy leaves girl.  "It isn't you," he assures
her.  "It's me."  As an exit line, it's corny -- but in the world
of writing, it's a line that we authors need to keep in mind.  If I
don't like your book, there's a very good possibility that it isn't
you.  It's me.

This particular writer prepared an excellent, detailed blurb that
did a fine job of describing the characters in her book, the
conflicts between them, and the general thrust of the plot.  When I
read it, I knew immediately that I would NOT particularly care to
read the book -- because it's just not the right kind of book for
ME.  It may, however, be exactly the right kind of book for YOU, or
your neighbor, or my cousin, or... well, any number of people.

Where this writer has gone wrong is in believing that it's her
"job" to be able to convince "absolutely anyone" to read her book. 
The problem is, there's no such thing as a general,
one-size-fits-all novel.  And it's lucky for us writers that there
isn't.  It's to our great advantage that the world of readers is
composed of people with hundreds of different tastes, interests,
and preferences.  Even within a specific genre, such as mystery or
romance, the divisions are legion.  One mystery reader may prefer
cozy, another hard-boiled noir.  Within the "cozies," one may adore
any offering that includes recipes or craft tips, while another may
be annoyed by detectives who spend more time cooking (or crafting)
than sleuthing.  One romance reader may loathe vampires but have a
thing for ghosts; another may abhor historicals but gobble
contemporaries by the score.  

As a writer, your "job" is not to convince a vampire-loathing
romance reader that YOUR vampire romance is the one that will
change her mind.  Your job is to find the readers who already love
this type of novel, and convince them that your novel is to vampire
romantics what "70% cocoa" is to chocoholics.  If, along the way,
you "convert" a reader to the genre, that's great -- but it's also
gravy.  It's not your primary "job."

The purpose of good PR is not to sell your book to the world.  It's
to sell your book to the audience for which you wrote it.  No
matter what you write, you already know a lot about your potential
reader -- because that reader shares a lot of interests with you. 
If you write mysteries-with-recipes, you know the sort of taste
sensations that are going to delight a reader, because they're the
same sensations that you can't wait to whip up in your own kitchen.
If you're writing a novel about a collector of rare books, you
know exactly what sort of literary rarities will set your readers

Some people say that you should write about "what you know."  Some
people say that getting published is all about "who you know."  But
in a very real sense, "who" you know is based on "what" you know. 
When you start to identify what sets your book apart, what makes it
special, what makes it chocolate to a chocoholic, you're also
identifying WHO will love your book.  Your "job" is to write a book
for that person.

Your job is also to remember that if someone doesn't like your
book, or choose to read it, very possibly it's not you.  It's me. 
I'm just not ready for the latest vampire-chef-detective novel
(with recipes).  But someone out there undoubtedly is.  Find them,
write a book they can't resist, leave them begging for more -- and
you have definitely done your job!
-- 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:

Over 400 editors contribute their unique news and views each year.
That's news and views to improve your chances to get published.
Monthly newsletter. Get an issue for FREE.  


Interjections and Profanity


What do your characters say when they're angry? Or upset? Or
expressing some other and intense emotion?  How do they speak when
they're angry and upset with each other?  In this column we'll
discuss the expressions used in interjections, and how they can be
used to develop voice, story and character. 

An "interjection" is one of the eight parts of speech (the others
are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and
conjunctions).  In many respects, the interjection refers to the
"other" category of parts of speech -- those words that don't fit
into one of the other seven categories.

Wikipedia gives the following definition:

"An interjection or exclamation is a word used to express an
emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker. Filled pauses such
as "uh, er, um" are also considered interjections. Interjections
are typically placed at the beginning of a sentence."

Wikipedia goes on to explain how interjections are used: 

"An interjection is sometimes expressed as a single word or
non-sentence phrase, followed by a punctuation mark. The isolated
usage of an interjection does not represent a complete sentence in
conventional English writing. Thus, in formal writing, the
interjection will be incorporated into a larger sentence clause." 

Interjections, although they are not used much in formal writing,
are frequently used in dialogue, and if you are writing fiction,
you will probably be writing dialogue, or narrative that has the
rhythm and sound of dialogue.  Hence, spending some time thinking
about interjections can be useful.

Interjections have several roles in your writing.  They can be used
to convey information. They can be used by your characters to
express emotion. They can also be developed to show the setting and
the individual voice of your characters.

Greetings and Information
"Hello."  "Good-bye!"  If you combine greetings with a name,
reminds or informs your readers of who is in the scene and whether
they are coming or going.  The greeting can be useful by indicating
the time of day as well.

You can also use your choice of greeting to indicate the country or
language.  If you are setting your story in Germany but you are
writing in English, you can start a bit of dialogue with "Guten
Tag, Fraulein Schmidt," and then continue the rest of the passage
in English.  "Ciao" could indicate that your story is in Italy or
that your characters speak Italian, or "ciao" could mean that
you're writing about cool characters (or characters who think
they're cool).

Some greetings in other languages indicate more than they do in
English.  "Au revoir" indicates good bye but also that the speaker
expects to see the listener again; "Adieu" is a more permanent
farewell -- in which the speaker expects never to see the listener
again, which is why when you translate it literally you come up
with "to God."

Interjections are wonderful for expressing emotions; here are a few

Surprise.  Wow!
Disgust.  Yuck!
Alarm. Oh, no!
Pain.  Ouch!
Admiration.  Great!
Shock.  Oh, my God!
Disbelief.  Really!
Comprehension:  Aha!
Hesitation.  Um...   
Stalling.  Well, well.
Salutations: Hi!
Toasts: Cheers!

In fact, these interjections are extremely useful for helping you
to show instead of to tell -- a goal worthy of several more
columns, so I will give only the briefest example here.  Instead of
writing, "Riley was surprised," you could write, "'Wow!' Riley
exclaimed."  The former is telling; the latter, showing.

Interjections can speed up the pace of your story.  They do this
because they are frequently expressing intense emotions, as above,
or because they're followed by exclamation points, which are
naturally exciting.  Sometimes they stand alone as sentences. 
Shorter sentences  usually mean that the story is moving quickly.

Voice of Your Characters
Varying your interjections is a way of making sure that your
characters have different voices.  This may take a conscious
effort, because many of us are not aware of how we use these
interjections.  For example, I am awed by how J. Michael
Straczynski wrote nearly all of the Babylon 5 episodes -- 92 out of
110, over a five-year period -- now that's productivity!  Still, I
could tell that a single writer was in charge because the voice
changed little from one character to the next (and because
Straczynski gave both leaders of the space station, Commander
Jeffrey Sinclair and Captain John Sheridan, his own initials --
but, heck, he earned that particular vanity).  Many of the
characters used the same phrases, the same expressions, and even
the same cadence, and not just because they were from the same
environment (although perhaps they were all using the same
universal translator).

You can consciously decide that one characters will say, "Um," that
another will say, "Oh," and a third will indicate salacious
interest with a raised eyebrow and "Mm."

Furthermore, besides adding variety, your characters' interjections
should reflect their personalities and their circumstances.  A
tipsy driver realizing he has just hit a stop sign may express his
feelings using one sort of language, while a refined church lady
may simply say, "Oh, my!"  As I once saw in an old Family Circus
comic years ago, it's apparent you're a parent when you burn your
finger and cry, "Fiddlesticks!"

Setting of Your Story
Your choice of interjections should reflect your story's setting. 
They can add tremendous flavor and a sense that your readers are
entering another world.

For example, my novels are set in Greece's Bronze Age, so the
characters often swear using the name of a deity -- moreover, the
deity that matters most to them.  So a sailor might exclaim
"Poseidon's trident!" while a married woman might say, "Dear Hera!" 

It is a truth that must be acknowledged: people use four-letter
words and many other expressions designed to shock and offend their
listeners.  They even use these words to themselves, when nothing
else will do! 

Should you use profanity in your writing?  And if so, how much?

This is an artistic decision -- yes, it really is -- influenced by
story and character, your personal sensibilities and your hoped-for
audience.  For example, we always wanted "Jocasta" to be considered
as a companion book to those reading "Oedipus Rex" in high schools
(the book has made it into several) and to make it easier for
teachers to choose our work, we held back on the profanity (despite
the subject being about incest and offering plenty of opportunity).
 Restricting the level of profanity was possible artistically,
because the story is told in the first person by Jocasta.  She is
both a lady and a queen -- and even if we had reason to think the
word M*TH*RF*****R, given the particular story, we had no reason to
use it nor to feel as if we were avoiding it artificially.

Another problem with profanity is that it can get old if you
overexpose anything.  I remember once listening to a comedian who
used the F*** word over and over.  At first it was shocking, and
then it was repetitiously dull.

If you want to create your own profanity -- for example you may be
setting your story in a newly-imagined fantasy world -- let me say
that most profanity seems to be based on words from religion, sex,
going to the toilet, or some combination of words from these

A great resource
Hopefully I've persuaded you that interjections can enhance your
story.  Simply being aware of this fact should help you improve how
you use them in your writing.  However, you can greatly increase
your repertoire by checking out the following:


The above link provides a list of links to interjections in many
different languages; if you are writing in English then you will
want the section in English!  I heartily recommend browsing through
the lists.  

Going too far
Can you overuse interjections?  Of course.  They are not the meat
or the vegetables of the story, but the spice.  You wouldn't want
to be served a plate of nothing but cinnamon sticks and curry
powder, would you?  Yet used judiciously they add flavor to your


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 2013 Victoria Grossack

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

Link to this article here:

your story's foundation, create enthralling characters, make the 
most of setting, and craft the most important elements of a tale 
to create marketable stories and novels.  This hands-on online 
workshop runs March 1-25 and has limited enrollment, so sign up 
NOW! Free story critique! Details at http://tinyurl.com/bfrvb75



Writer Found Richard III in Car Park
You may now have heard that archaeologists have confirmed that they
have found the body of King Richard III under a car park in
Leicester, but what you probably don't know is that it was a writer
who first deduced he might be buried there. Philippa Langley was
researching a play on the King and it was she who funded the dig. 
For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/NewsRichIII

Chick Lit Could be bad for Body Image
Whilst we've all heard the arguments about how skinny, beautiful
celebrities on magazine covers, in films and on television can harm
a woman's body image, new research from Virginia Tech indicates
that simply reading chick lit novels can also cause a woman to have
a negative body image.  You can read a news story about this here:
http://tinyurl.com/chicklitnews or you can read the original
research for yourself here: http://tinyurl.com/VTechbodyimage

Joyce's Finnegans Wake is Best-Seller in China
Dai Congrong, a professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, spent 8
years translating James Joyce's novel into Chinese. She thought it
was going to be a purely intellectual thing, although she had
signed a deal with a publisher.  Surprisingly, however, the novel
sold out its original print run of 8000 in a matter of weeks.  For
more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/JoyceChina


WRITING A MYSTERY OR CRIME STORY? Forensic Science for Writers: A
Reference Guide can help. Based on a long-running course offered
in colleges and universities, this survey shows you how to create
believable plot twists and enhance your stories with realistic
forensic details.  Available from Amazon and other bookstores.
For details visit http://forensics4writers.com/the-book


Writing Jobs and Opportunities

BBC Script Room Open to Submissions
The BBC Script Room is accepting scripts for submission from
February 14 to March 28 at 5pm GMT.  

The BBC accepts the following types of script submissions: 
TV drama
TV Comedy
Radio drama
Radio comedy
Children's drama
Children's comedy

All scripts must be original, not have been adapted and not have
been submitted elsewhere. 

For more information visit 

Carte Blanche Open to Submissions
Carte Blanche is a Canadian print magazine that publishes fiction,
creative nonfiction, graphic fiction, personal essay, poetry,
literary journalism, translations, and photo essays. They are
currently open for submissions until March 1 2013.  

The magazine pays an honorarium of C$45 for each piece published. 

To find out how to submit visit: 

Erotica Columnist Needed
Alison, the editor at http://the-gaggle.com/, writes:

Currently we're looking for an erotica columnist who would perhaps
write for us weekly. The opportunity doesn't pay, but the exposure
would be high. Our brand is very well known in the publishing &
entertainment industry. For example, just a few weeks ago we were
featured in the most emailed NYT article "The End of Courtship." 

As far as what we're looking for, we need someone who is a solid
writer, of course, and who would be on-tone with the fresh outlook
our site. Those interested should email editor 'at' the-gaggle.com.


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FEATURE:  How to Write an In-Depth City Logistics Article

By Barbara Weddle

An in-depth logistics article on a city offers straightforward
information and advice for those contemplating a visit to that
city.  Such an article usually aims toward about 95% pure
information; however, it also needs to entice one to visit the city
in the first place.  

A good city logistics article includes such information as:  
a) how to get there
b) how to get around
c) attractions
d) where to stay
e) what to do
f) where to eat
g) costs of services
h) recommendations
i) contact info/addresses, phone numbers, web sites
j) upcoming events
k) sidebars
l) history, and 
m) any other information that may be relevant, such as practical
tips on safety, what to skip, where to find further information,
doing what the locals do, and perhaps even a highlight of
noteworthy places to visit in surrounding areas.   

Every service article, travel or otherwise, begins with information
gathering.  Hence, the first thing you must do before starting a
city logistics article is make a trip to the visitor's center in
the city you wish to profile and pick up every brochure, travel
magazine, guide and urban map you can lay your hands on.  Unless
distance and/or expense prevents otherwise, it is also wise to
visit your profile city in person and nose around the eateries,
shops, and other local haunts.  Pick up any free local newspapers
and magazines you come across (every city has these freebies). 
These are invaluable sources for information on what is currently
going on in a particular city.  A local freebie newspaper in a
coffee shop, for example, may contain a profile of the owner of a
new culinary walking tour not mentioned in any of the guides at the
visitors bureau.  

If you cannot visit your profile city, call the visitor's center;
they will be glad to mail you everything you need.  In addition,
check out the visitor's center's website for additional
information.  Be sure to refer to their website later when updating
the information in your piece one final time (especially when
referring to upcoming events); this will help guarantee that your
information is current as the date of submission.  

A good way to get a feel for the flavor of a city or uncover
little-known, interesting facts is to chat up the locals.  A chance
comment made by a clerk in a bookstore or bystander on the street
may lead to the odd discovery or interesting bit of information
that sets your article apart.  You may, for example, already know
that a new mega-mall was recently constructed just off a major
interstate.  You may even plan to highlight it in your article. 
Strike up a conversation with a shopper at said mall, however, and
you may uncover other useful information: that the mall was built
on land that was once one of the region's most magnificent and
renowned horse farms, for example.  Do not take information
obtained via locals at face value, however.  Research such
information to verify its authenticity.  

When you have completed your research, set up a file for the
brochures, magazines, maps, etc., that you have collected, as well
as interviews, Internet research, and so forth. Also set up a file
for materials relating to the article assignment itself, such as
guidelines, outlines, drafts, communications between you and the
editor -- payment terms, deadlines, word count, etc.  

Each editor has a specific style, tone, format requirements, photo
requirements, etc.  Be aware of what those are and keep them in
mind as you go along.  If this is your second or third time writing
for a particular editor, you undoubtedly have a contributor's copy
to refer to (plus the experience of the hits and misses of your
previous assignments).  Familiarizing yourself AGAIN with the
magazine's guidelines is also beneficial, as they may have been
revised since you last read them.  An e-mail to the editor asking
about any specific do's and don'ts that weren't mentioned in the
guidelines, or things that he/she would prefer that you do
differently from a previous article, is also wise. 

When you begin writing, you must think of structure.  A structure
that works well for this type of article is compartmentalization. 
By compartmentalizing or breaking your material down into sections
-- what to see and do, where to stay, etc. -- handling a complex
and lengthy article such as this is made much easier.  Also, a
compartmentalized structure automatically gives you an outline: The
pertinent topics you NEED to cover -- what to see and do, where to
stay, etc. -- are already laid out.  You now simply need to put
them on paper and include other sections (as needed or desired),
such as an introduction, a "why go" paragraph, a paragraph or two
on what is new to the city, what to check out in surrounding areas,
a line or two on doing what the locals do, and some cautionary
notes such as not why to avoid a particular section of the city
because of its high crime rate.    

When your sections are in order, you can begin expanding them using
the information in your file folder. You do not have to limit
yourself to only those section headings, however.  Add others as
you see the need.  Ask yourself what YOU would like to know about
the city if this was YOUR first visit.  Your first answer would
probably include detailed and accurate directions for getting about
and where and how to seek additional information if needed.  But,
if you are a golfer, you may want to know where the golf courses,
if any, are located.  If you are an avid basketball fan, you may
want to know something about the city's basketball team, assuming
they have one.  Where can you purchase tickets?  Where are the
games held?

Unless otherwise vetoed by the editor, consider adding some
historical or unique-to-the-region touches.  For example,
mentioning that radio commentator Paul Harvey once dubbed
Lexington, Kentucky's airport America's "most beautiful air
approach" lets a prospective visitor to that city know that he or
she is in for some scenic beauty.        

During the writing process, try to get everything as accurate as
possible in the first writing.  This does not mean you omit the
double or triple fact checks when the article is completed, but you
need to concentrate as hard on the first draft as you do on the
second, third or even fourth.  This greatly reduces the margin for
errors in the completed piece, while reducing writing time.  

You can add a little local flavor to your city profile article with
your choice of nouns, adjectives, phrases, etc.  An article on
Paris, for example, might find you wandering through charming
arrondissements. An article on Lexington, Kentucky, might find you
touring the genteel and aristocratic splendor of horse farms that
house Derby-winning Thoroughbreds, or tasting culinary delights
such as The Hot Brown, a turkey-cream sauce-bacon dish indigenous
to Kentucky. 

Writing city logistics articles is an exacting process.  This means
doing that meticulous second, third, or even fourth draft and
rechecking all your research sources.  If you say the locals gather
outdoors downtown from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Friday night to
imbibe and enjoy live music, your times and locations had better be
on the mark.  If you recommend a favorite dining experience located
25 miles outside the city at the crossroads of 169 and 1267, the
restaurant had better be exactly where you say it is.  Do not write
too much, but write enough; knowing how to do this will come with
practice and/or knowing the wants and needs of the particular
editor you are writing for.   

Doing an in-depth city logistics article is an arduous process. 
However, you can make the most of all your hard work by making the
original article work overtime for you: the spin-off-article
possibilities from a city logistics article are endless.  And most
or all of the difficult work -- research, pounding the pavement,
etc. -- is already completed.  

Copyright 2013 Barbara Weddle

Barbara Weddle is a freelance writer living in Wisconsin.  She
writes travel articles about her road trips throughout the South
and articles about the writing life.    

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

Link to this article here: 

For more advice on travel writing visit our travel writing section: 


ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL!  To celebrate the anniversary of "Freelance
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Kindle edition is priced at just 99 cents throughout the month of
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Free Stuff for Writers: Waking the Muse
By Aline Lechaye

January is a good month for new writing ideas to bloom. You have
plenty of free time over Christmas and New Year to think up
interesting topics and plots. You feel excited about the prospect
of starting a new project. You get a new notebook, create a new
file on your desktop, maybe dig out some old project you always
meant to finish, and you think, I'm really going to write this

And then February rolls round, and your interesting ideas don't
seem as interesting as you thought they were. There's a big hole in
your plot that a reader could drive a couple of trucks through.
Editors are rejecting your queries. The little imp in your head
begins to act up, muttering words of self-doubt. You have writer's
block. You need a place to find new ideas. 

Enter the story generator. Used mainly by RPG gamers and writers,
story generators can generate anything from first sentences,
character names and traits, plots, place names, and so on. You can
even use story generators to help you with world building! Chaotic
Shiny (http://chaoticshiny.com/), for example, has generators for
alphabets, flags, and weather forecasts. It also has name
generators, plot generators, and story arc generators. You can
choose to generate up to fifteen results at once, and then simply
click the "Copy Results" button to copy all results to your
clipboard. Best of all, the site also has tutorials teaching you
how to make your own generators, so you can compile your own
personal list of random story ideas and generate one whenever you
feel writer's block coming on. 

When it comes to story generators, it's hard to find a site with
more categories than Seventh Sanctum (
http://www.seventhsanctum.com/). From superheroes to magic powers
to weapons and combat moves, this site has it all. Anime fans will
be happy to find generators for anime titles, robots, and ninjas.
The Library section of the site (
http://www.seventhsanctum.com/library.php) also has a wonderful
array of tutorials, codes, and tips on how to build your own

Archetype Writing's Muse page (
http://www.archetypewriting.com/muse/muse.htm) contains a handful
of story starters that generate everyday problems, story plots, and
character traits. There is also a visual prompt section that
features images from deviantART (http://www.deviantart.com/), as
well as articles on writer's block and ways to overcome it. 

has a large database of generators that can help you with names,
characters, genres, artifacts, costumes, story settings and more.
There are also plenty of articles on writing that you might find

Both Writing Exercises (
http://www.writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php) and
Writing Fix (
have first sentence generators for stories. The two sites'
sentences differ widely in tone, so make sure to check out both to
see which one can provide you with the best ideas. 

This last one's just for fun - if you're a fan of Lord of the Rings
or The Hobbit, you can use the Elvish Name Generator (
http://chriswetherell.com/elf/index.php) or the Hobbit Name
Generator (http://chriswetherell.com/hobbit/) to find out what your
elf/hobbit name is. Just type your real name into the boxes
provided and click "reveal your elf/hobbit name".


Copyright Aline Lechaye 2013  
Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye at gmail.com

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


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This site by well-known copywriting guru Andy Maslen is packed full
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