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                    W R I T I N G   W O R L D

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World

                  http://www.writing-world.com

Issue 13:07          13,220 subscribers            April 4, 2013
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IN THIS ISSUE:
=================================================================

THE EDITOR'S DESK: Does Accuracy Matter? by Moira Allen 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Facts in Fiction, by Victoria Grossack 
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING
WRITING JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES
FEATURE: How to Choose the Right Parenting Website for Your
Writing, by Aditi Bose
FREE STUFF FOR WRITERS: Working Together,  by Aline Lechaye   
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf   
                           
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FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
=================================================================

Does Accuracy Matter?
---------------------

In this issue's "Fabulous Fiction" column, Victoria Grossack raises
the question of the importance of accuracy in fiction.  Since she
closes with an invitation to readers to respond, how can I resist
weighing in?

One reason I couldn't resist was that, when I edited the column, I
had just begun reading a book that purported to be historically
accurate -- but that, early on, gave me grave concerns about the
quality of the author's research.  The book, "An Illusion of
Murder" by Carol McCleary, is a murder mystery featuring real-life
19th-century journalist Nellie Bly as the "detective."  The book
follows Nellie's journey around the world in her successful attempt
to beat Jules Verne's fictional "80 days."

When I pick up a book like this, that involves a real-life person
in fictional events, I expect the real-life part to be -- well,
REAL. So when, early in the book, a character explained to Nellie
that "Julius Caesar" had sought a form of snake charmer/magician to
"save Cleopatra" from suicide-by-asp, I nearly threw the book
across the room.  I suppose it's possible -- but only if someone
conducted a sťance, because Julius Caesar had already been dead for
14 years.  She couldn't have meant Mark Antony (not exactly a name
you'd confuse with "Caesar" anyway), since his death preceded
Cleopatra's.  About the only possible candidate is Caesarion,
Cleopatra's son -- but it seems unlikely, as Cleopatra had sent him
away prior to her suicide.

Does it bother me?  As a reader, yes.  Does it matter?  Ah, there's
the rub, and the question Victoria raises so ably below.  WHY does
it matter?  WHY does it bother me?

First, there's the obvious answer: It bothers me because I know
better.  That raises an equally obvious second question: Would it
have bothered me if I hadn't?  Obviously not.  If you wrote a
fabulous scene describing the wedding of Wenceslas III of Bohemia
and Elizabeth of Hungary, I'd probably believe every word.  (Only
thanks to a visit to Wikipedia do I happen to know that, in fact,
the engagement was off...)  But even if I didn't know better, you
can be sure that someone amongst your readers will -- and will
probably write a severe letter pointing out your historical
deficiencies.

Fortunately, I ended up enjoying the rest of McCleary's tale, and I
have no reason to believe that it wasn't, in fact, meticulously
researched.  (In fact, I rather wonder if the Caesar line was due
to some overzealous copy editor who had never heard of Caesarion.) 
However, another reason I didn't throw the book across the room was
because, although glaring, the error didn't matter MUCH.  It wasn't
a key point in resolving the plot.  Not so the error of a well
known romance author (one who ought to know better) who set her
tale in colonial America -- and brought us to a thundering
conclusion in which a villain fired not one but TWO shots from a
dueling pistol.  Without reloading.  

Conversely, I just finished Sherwood Smith's "Coronets and Steel,"
which is set in the fictional Eastern European country of
"Dobrenica." (There IS a city by that name, but not a country.) 
While I'm sure that Smith has done some research on comparable
countries, it's clear from the beginning that she is not writing
about a real place, or real historical people -- and so I'm not the
least bit concerned about "accuracy."  When I put down McCleary's
book, I am assuming that I actually know more about the real Nellie
Bly, and the type of sights (minus the spies, terrorists and
murders) that she would have encountered in her journey.  When I
put down Smith's book, I don't assume that I know one bit more
about "life" in an Eastern European country than I did before I
started.

And there, I think, is the crux of the matter:  How the author
represents the work.  If an author represents a work as being
accurate, then I believe it should BE accurate.  I expect that if I
pick up Nellie Bly's own journal, "Around the World in 72 Days,"
I'm going to read many of the same things that I read in McCleary's
book.  But more to the point, I expect to come away from that book
having learned genuine facts and insights about Nellie Bly's world
WITHOUT having to actually read her journal. [Although, inspired by
McCleary's book, I AM reading it -- ironically, having downloaded
this 19th-century work to my Kindle -- and it's quite enjoyable.]
In other words, McCleary is promising to "educate" me, in a
painless and entertaining way, about a world I might otherwise know
nothing about.  And by making that promise, she's making a
commitment to deliver accuracy.

Accuracy, of course, doesn't have to revolve just around history. 
If you set a book in London, and represent that it's an accurate
depiction of that city, then I expect your details to be accurate. 
If you tell me an artifact can be viewed at the Victoria & Albert
Museum, and it actually resides at the British Museum, I'm going to
be annoyed.  (In a similar vein, many years ago I visited Alderley
Edge in Cheshire specifically to discover some of the sites
described in Alan Garner's "Weirdstone of Brisingamen."  I didn't
really expect to be captured by svart-alfar, but I DID expect --
and was able -- to dibble my fingers in the Wizard's Well.)

Accuracy can also involve such issues as what a character does for
a living (or for a hobby).  If a book involves legal issues, I
expect the writer to know what he or she is talking about.  I'd be
devastated to learn that Margaret Maron's Judge Knott resolved a
case in a manner that wasn't, in fact, consistent with North
Carolina law.  As I reader, I'd consider that "cheating."

I suppose, at its most basic, the issue boils down to that age-old
bit of advice, "Write about what you know."  When it comes to
research, if you don't know, and you can't find out, it's probably
better not to write about it at all.  The line about Julius Caesar
and Cleopatra could have been omitted without making the least
difference to the plot.  The two-shot dueling pistol, on the other
hand, was part of a pivotal moment in the plot, making it all the
more important for the author to get it right.

And when writing about what you know, it's important to consider
what READERS know.  In any genre, you're bound to attract many
readers who know nothing about your subject matter, and who care
even less.  But you're also, by definition, going to attract
readers who pick up your book precisely because they DO know about,
and care about, your topic.  If you write a mystery series set in a
knit shop, you can bet many of your readers will be avid knitters. 
If, like Victoria, you write about Bronze Age Greece, you can bet
that many readers will pick up your book precisely because they
love that period of history.

They're going to know if you get it wrong.  They WILL care.  And if
you fail them often enough, or resoundingly enough, they'll stop
reading you altogether.  THAT matters!

-- 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 
http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/reprints.shtml)

Link to this article here:
http://www.writing-world.com/coffee/coffee60.shtml

=================================================================

ATTENTION ALL WRITERS WITH A TASTE FOR NOSTALGIA: Last summer I
purchased three volumes of "The Writer" from the 1890's and shared
some of the timeless insights with our readers.  Well, my
bookshelves are over-stressed as it is, so I've decided to pass
these classic volumes on.  And they truly are classics - much of
the advice is just as valid today as it was more than 100 years
ago.  Each volume also has loads of gossip and tidbits about the
writers of the day - Rudyard Kipling embarking on a voyage, etc. 
If you'd like to add these inspiring issues to your own writers'
bookshelf, you will find them on eBay this week at the links below:

The Writer - 1891
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261188140295

The Writer - 1894
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261188143332

The Writer - 1896
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261188145989
 
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COLUMN: CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, Facts in Fiction
by Victoria Grossack 

=================================================================

One of my novels requires a description of a particular mountain in
Turkey.  My goal is to make my scene reasonably accurate, but so
far I've not been able to find anyone who can answer my questions. 
As I keep searching for someone who knows the answers, I can't help
wondering if it's worth it.  In general, is it worth making an
effort to get your facts right when creating fiction? 

I certainly WANT accuracy to matter, even in fiction.  In some ways
I'm an idealist. But just because I want something to be true does
not make it so.  And lately I feel as if I've been encountering
more and more fiction with facts that are just plain wrong.  For
example, the movie "Angels and Demons," based on Dan Brown's book
of the same name, is apparently quite loose with respect to its
presentation of reality.  A number of people have voiced their
complaints on the radio: Evidently they have tried to use the
directions in his book to get around Rome, and they have failed,
because his directions don't work.  As I'm less familiar with Rome,
these particular inaccuracies don't offend me.  However, I have
been often to CERN (Europe's nuclear research facility on the
border of France and Switzerland) and I laughed at his version of
the place.  Brown describes buildings which simply don't exist,
either in size or style. 

So, do facts matter in fiction?  After all, fiction IS made up, so
why bother? 

Let's consider some of the reasons why an author might invent facts
for his or her piece of fiction. 

Accidents and Mistakes
----------------------
First, the author makes a mistake.  A novel is an enormous
undertaking, and despite the best intentions, an author may not get
everything right.  Jane Austen, who strived hard for accuracy,
nevertheless has a passage in "Emma" where an apple tree blooms
completely out of season. Austen's farmer-brother, Edward Knight,
found the problem after the novel had already been printed, but
Austen did not seem to consider the error worth correcting, for she
left the late-blooming tree in a later edition. 

Second, it's possible that he or she is simply too lazy to do the
research.  I think this happens in some John Grisham novels.  In
his novel "The Broker" he wrote that he doesn't bother to do
research for technical aspects, excusing himself with the words,
"It's all fiction, folks" -- an apology in advance for his
inaccuracies when it came to satellites and espionage.  Actually,
for this novel Grisham did perform significant research in Italy,
but had not extended it to Switzerland.  Hence the protagonist uses
Euros in a country that uses Swiss Francs. 

Third, it's possible that the research is too obscure and it does
not occur to the author to even ask the question -- which falls
somewhere between making a mistake and being lazy. For example, in
Grisham's "The Broker" the main character gets out at a particular
square in Zurich, Switzerland, and muses to himself that nothing
has changed since the last time he was there, eight years earlier,
in 1998.  Well, as someone who used to commute through that
particular square, I can say categorically that EVERYTHING had
changed, for there was major reconstruction. Yet this was an
obscure point that would be difficult for an author to know. 

Deliberate Falsehoods
---------------------
Often the author knows what the truth is, and chooses to tell
something different anyway.  In these cases -- and they happen all
the time -- the author is not making a mistake, but a deliberate,
artistic decision.  The reasons for this are many; here are a few: 

* The author feels the information will confuse the readers. 
Especially when writing historical fiction, where real people
played real roles, there's a dilemma in how much information to
convey.  A novel is but a model of the real world; it can't have as
many parts.  So, characters may double up on roles.  Time may be
compressed.  Names may be simplified. 

* The author is having fun.  In the movie and book "Forrest Gump"
and in HBO's miniseries "Rome," the creators have fun inserting
their characters into important events -- and making them partly
responsible for them.  Forrest Gump becomes the inspiration for the
smiley face; Titus Pullo is allegedly the "real" father of
Cleopatra's son, Caesarion.  Hopefully the audience is aware that
these are fictional twists and appreciates the jokes. 

* The author wants to please readers.  Some audiences demand a
hopeful, happy ending. Philippa Gregory somehow manages to make
"The Constant Princess" -- the story of Catherine of Aragon, Henry
VIII's first wife, whose real life ended in despair and loneliness
as her husband of many years rejected and divorced her -- positive,
almost optimistic, at the end.  Perhaps she wanted this or perhaps
it was demanded by her publishers.  So, often facts are rearranged
or reinterpreted to make them more acceptable to readers. 

* The author is presenting an alternative. In some cases one
version of events is well known, but the author wants to present a
what-if alternative.  This could be fantasy or science fiction.
Readers suspend belief, for example, that one can travel through a
black hole without being crushed.  Or perhaps the author is
presenting a different take on events, or even deliberately
courting controversy. 

Selling "The Truth" 
-------------------
The truth -- or claiming that something is the truth --
automatically gives a book or movie more sales potential.  I admit
that whenever I hear or read the words, "Based on a true story," I
AM more intrigued.  I'm usually curious, too, as to how much is
true and how much is not.  The truth sells! If you have any doubts,
do some research and you'll see that the market for nonfiction
books is larger than the market for novels. 

But what if it isn't true? 

People can become indignant when something is sold as the truth but
isn't.  Oprah Winfrey was extremely upset when she learned that
James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces," a book she had promoted on
her show, had sections that were exaggerated or even fabricated. 
She has since stated that she overreacted.  We've had other cases,
too, where some enterprising authors have tried to milk the
holocaust.  "Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years" was written by
a woman who claimed to have survived the holocaust by living with
wolves.  Misha Defonesca, the author, is not even Jewish, yet this
book became an international bestseller, translated into 18
languages, before it was discovered to be a hoax.  Recently, Herman
Rosenblat's "Angel at the Fence" (another hoodwinking of Oprah
Winfrey) turned out to be fabricated, too -- although in this case
the author was at least a Jew who had been in a German
concentration camp.  "Angel at the Fence" was canceled by the
publisher -- but it's still being made into a movie. 

So there is some retribution in the publishing world when authors
claim to tell the truth while lying.  But are there punishments for
the authors who incorporate falsehoods and inaccuracies in their
fiction? 

What the Readers Want: Personal Choices 
---------------------------------------
I'd like to believe that yes, getting facts right matters, but I
reluctantly admit that it isn't always so.  In some cases a
reader's reading experience is spoiled by what seems like an
egregious mistake by an author.  Instead of continuing to enjoy the
story, the reader is indignantly thinking, "It isn't so! I know it
isn't so!"  And sometimes that reader will fling the book away in
disgust.  But many other times, the reader either doesn't notice
the mistake or doesn't care.  As many bestselling novels contain
mistakes, I have to assume that many readers don't care that much. 

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm too pessimistic. 

Maybe the books that don't reach the market are those with even
more mistakes in them.  There are plenty of successful authors who
take their research seriously.  James Michener.  Herman Wouk. 
Colleen McCullough.  They are not infallible, but they certainly do
their homework.  I respect these authors because of it. 

But respecting authors for their research doesn't always mean being
entertained by them...

On the other hand, facts don't always conflict with making a novel
entertaining.  So, why not use well-researched facts whenever
possible, to deepen the reading experience?  That's my preference,
and what I strive for in my own writing.  So I went to visit Mount
Spil in Turkey, and ended up correcting an entry in Wikipedia. 

Conclusion
----------
I generally attempt to fill my columns with advice and suggestions
and analysis about writing. Although I've included some analysis
this month, I've also been a little philosophical. And I'd also
love to hear what the readers of this column think: do you want
accuracy in the fiction that you read?  Does it matter to you or
not?  If you have ideas on this, please write to me at
tapestryofbronze at yahoo dot com. 

Until next time -- keep writing. 

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

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.
Victoria is co-author with Alice Underwood 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. On her own she has written The Highbury Murders, in which she
did her best to channel the spirits and styles of Jane Austen and
Agatha Christie. Besides all this, Victoria is married with kids,
and (though American) spends much of her time in Europe. Her
hobbies include gardening, hiking, bird-watching and tutoring
mathematics. Visit her website at http://www.tapestryofbronze.com,
or contact her at tapestry (at) tapestryofbronze (dot) com.
Copyright 2013 Victoria Grossack. A version of this article
appeared in the Coffeehouse for Writer's Fiction Fix.  

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

Link to this article here:
http://www.writing-world.com/victoria/crafting17.shtml

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING
=================================================================

ReDigi Case Ruling - You Can't Resell Ebooks
---------------------------------------------
If we and Publisher's Weekly have interpreted this properly, the
ruling by federal judge Richard Sullivan has rejected the expansion
of first sale to cover digital products such as ebooks and mp3
files.  This is one area of law we all need to keep a close eye on.
 For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/cza4q5c

Roald Dahl Named Best Children's Author
---------------------------------------
In a poll of both parents and children to mark Children's Day on
April 2, Roald Dahl was named the world's best loved children's
author. J K Rowling came second and Enid Blyton third.  For more on
this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/cx2298m

Amazon Purchases Goodreads
--------------------------
Amazon has purchased social book review site Goodreads.com and it
will come under Amazon control from the second quarter of this
year.  According to Amazon, Goodreads' 16m users bookmarked on
average four books every second to their 'want to read list'. 
Speaking in the Guardian, Russ Grandinetti of Amazon, said the two
sites "share a passion for reinventing reading".  For more on this
story visit: 
http://tinyurl.com/c8qyn6b

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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

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

Carina Press Seeking Adult Commercial Fiction
---------------------------------------------
Carina Press is Harlequin's digital-first adult fiction single
title imprint, publishing first in digital, with releases in audio
and print as well. They are looking for most genres of adult
commercial fiction 15,000 words or longer (they do not publish
inspirational, women's fiction, YA, nonfiction, family sagas or
literary fiction).    

They are currently seeking: Romance, Erotic Romance, Science
Fiction and Fantasy, New Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, Interactive
Fiction, Previously Published Books and Erotica. 

To find out more visit: 
http://carinapress.com/blog/submission-guidelines/

DAW Books Seeking Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels
---------------------------------------------------
DAW Books, an imprint of Penguin, is seeking science fiction or
fantasy novels of at least 80,000 words in length.  You do not need
to have an agent to submit your novels for consideration.  

To find out how to submit visit: 
http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/daw/submissions.html

Nosy Crow Seeking Books for Children
------------------------------------
Nosy Crow publish books for children aged 0 to 14.  They are
currently seeking more submissions from authors new or experienced.
 They mainly focus on books for children up to the age of 12 and
are looking for "parent-friendly books".  They buy world rights in
all languages.  

For more information visit: 
http://nosycrow.com/contact/submission-guidelines

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Reviews are 300 - 500 words long and include the book cover,
ISBN, links to author and publisher's websites. Self-Published
authors welcome. See site for book review assessment details.
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FEATURE: How to Choose the Right Parenting Website for Your Writing

=================================================================
By Aditi Bose

I like to write and I like to write about what I know. Thus, when I
began writing, being a hands-on mother to a toddler, the topic that
I chose to write on was parenting, specifically toddler-based
issues. The best part about parenting features is that you will
never run out of ideas. As your kids grow, they will keep giving
you more and more fodder for your writing.

Here is what I have learnt on how to choose the correct parenting
site to write for:

1. Select a Market That Matches Your Expertise
----------------------------------------------
One factor that is very important in your choice of websites is its
market of operation. As a novice it is always better to begin with
a domestic one.

For example, when I began to search for the sites where I could
freelance, I started by pitching my stories to foreign sites,
mainly being tempted by the dollar payments. That was a huge
mistake. Not many were open to giving a beginning Indian writer a
chance. So I did my research again and this time I chose an Indian
site. The one I picked, indusladies.com, was one that I had
consulted during my pregnancy and when my child was born. Thus I
knew this site well -- the kind of audience it catered to, the
topics that did well and the style of writing that they encouraged.

Only when you have a good base of published features with various
sites in the domestic market should you try the various
international parenting sites. In such cases, the best way to begin
is by pitching for reprint submissions. Pitch even to those that
state that 'only local freelancers may apply' in their guidelines. 
This will help you to avoid writing a lengthy feature and then
being rejected. Once reprints begin to get accepted, you can start
pitching fresh features to them and others.

Sometimes a feature that is heavily skewed towards a particular
region can be easily revamped with little tweaking to fit a more
global audience. So don't feel scared to do that when you are
pitching reprints.

Some parenting sites that accept reprints are: 

* parentingpublications.org
* metroparent.com

2. Query Wisely
---------------
Sites tend to be one of the following types:

* Sites that operate through snail mail
* Sites that have an online submission form with specified
parameters and don't accept unsolicited e-mails 
* Sites where you can send a query e-mail with either your entire
manuscript or a page outlining your idea.

For example:

* If you wish to write for dabblingmom.com or
blissfullydomestic.com, they lay out their monthly topics at the
beginning of the year, and writers are encouraged to write and
submit the entire manuscript. The sites will respond back only if
the piece is accepted.

* thebabycorner.com encourages writing a query describing your
preferred niche of writing. They will get back to you once a topic
comes up that matches your area of expertise.

* childmagazine.com encourages queries only on certain topics as
described on their website

For beginners, it is far better to stick to those sites where
queries can be submitted online. For such mails, don't forget to
attach a few writing samples unless the guidelines state that
e-mails with attachments will be deleted. In such cases provide
links to your published work within the body of the e-mail itself. 

Make sure that your query is not vague. For example, state that you
want to write about 'tips on how to teach a toddler colours,' not
just 'toddler learning'. Unless the requirement is already stated,
mention the word length of your article.

3. Determine the Appropriate Tone
---------------------------------
Depending on the market you choose, you will need to make decisions
about the tone of your writing, and whether to share personal
experiences.

TONE
While, in general, the tone of features on parenting is best kept
friendly and supportive (mainly because the audience is other
parents who might have a different style of raising their kids),
different tones of writing are encouraged by different sites. So
while choosing your market, you will need to decide which tone of
writing suits you best.

For example:

* errantparent.com and thebabycorner.com encourage a humorous tone
* mothering.com asks for a more personalized tone
* brainchildmag.com seeks features where the tone is more nurturing
and down-to-earth and the suggestions are more practical

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Some publications encourage the addition of personal anecdotes
within a feature, while others don't. Going through previously
published articles is one of the best ways to gather this
information. So while you might be keen on sharing how you trained
your child from throwing the house keys out of the window, the
publication might not deem it appropriate.

For example:

* Submissions to 'Parents' magazine and thebabycorner.com should be
more journalistic 

* 'As They Grow' accepts personal experiences within features.

Remember that even if penning personal experiences is not an option
in your final article, it could always be your source of
inspiration. You can always use what you learn in your day-to-day
affair as a mother as a tip in your features. Also, you can include
such experiences while drafting your query mail -- it often catches
the editor's eye.

4. Choose An Appropriate Parenting Style
----------------------------------------
Parenting is a universal topic and most parenting features found on
all sites will talk about such subjects as weaning, potty training
and introduction to finger foods.  Yet the approach of each remains
different, because there are different types of parenting styles.

For example, some styles of parenting recognized by parenting
websites today include:

INSTINCTIVE PARENTING - raising a child based on one's gut feeling,
which is usually influenced by one's own upbringing 

ATTACHMENT PARENTING - where the parent and the child form a very
close bond -- for example, parents may be comfortable with
co-sleeping with the child

HELICOPTER PARENTING - where the parent hovers over the child like
a helicopter

AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING - where the child's life is run on strict
rules and routines.

PERMISSIVE PARENTING - where one is lenient with a child in the
hope of being more of a 'friend' than a 'parent.'

Thus, an important factor in choosing a parenting website is
understanding your own parenting style, and finding a parenting
site that matches that style.  

For example:

* U.S.- and Australia-based websites tend to encourage a style that
is a combination of  permissive and authoritative parenting

* Websites that are read predominantly by parents from China are
more skewed towards articles that promote helicopter and
authoritative parenting.

* Most Indian websites are skewed towards a combination of
attachment and authoritative parenting 

5. Find Your Niche
------------------
Another important factor that will determine which site you
ultimately decide to write for is your 'niche'. While some will
give you a topic to write on, like the Indian site ayushveda.com,
others will leave it to you to come up with a topic "that is out of
the box and will get the attention of their target audience" and
also grabs the editor's eyes. The best way to maximize the
possibility of your success as a writer is by building your
expertise on a niche topic wherein you feel you know a great deal
and are best able to connect with the readers.

Parenting niches include:

EDUCATION - learning the alphabet, choosing the right school,
motivating a teen not interested in studies, first day of school
anxiety, learning a new language, competitive exams.

FOOD - recipes for infants and toddlers, food ideas for fussy
eaters, food and growth, food allergies.

HEALTH - ailments like coughs and colds, ear infections,
vaccinations, choosing a pediatrician, home remedies, etc. In
India, for example, discussions on Ayurvedic treatments of common
illnesses like coughs and colds in toddlers is quite popular. 

BEHAVIOURAL - disciplining a child, views on child punishment at
school, argumentative teenagers, managing a child with special
needs, etc. 

OTHER - religion, adoption, adoption by same-sex parents,
surrogacy, single parent and society, role of the father,
postpartum depression, working vs. staying at home, sex during
pregnancy and post-childbirth, birthday celebration ideas, finances
and children, and so forth.

Once you decide upon your niche, take it for a test drive. Write a
few articles and share them on your blog or on blogging communities
(like indiblogger.com in India) and see the reader response. If you
don't get the kind of appreciation that you are looking for, don't
get discouraged. Think again!

For example, I personally love craft sessions with my daughter. So
when I began writing, amongst my first features was one titled 'how
to make a peacock out of a paper plate and a cup'. I wrote about it
and even took a picture of my creation and sent it to
dabblingmom.com. They did not accept it on grounds that the picture
was not of great quality. However, I appreciated their response
because it gave me a direction. I knew I should not focus on
craft-based articles at that time, because I wanted to concentrate
more on writing and less on the art of taking great photographs.

Also, learn to receive feedback (not all will be good all the time)
and brush off the ones that have been written by those who are
simply unable to appreciate the work of another (yes, such people
exist). If you have chosen topics like breastfeeding, attachment
parenting, ADHD, etc., as your niche you can expect quite a few
strong and passionate responses. So learn to take it in your stride.

7. Provide Pictures
-------------------
As I mentioned above, your choice of a parenting site is affected
by pictures too, especially if you have decided to write features
on arts and crafts, birthday parties, etc.

In this context there are two types of sites:

* Sites like indusladies.com seek pictures from other sites like
istockphotos.com and creativecommons.com.

* Sites like blissfullydomestic.com and dabblingmom.com require you
to send pictures you've taken yourself.

8. Understand Your Payment Options
----------------------------------
While non-paying sites like literarymama.com and mothering.com are
good for a beginner, once you have established yourself it is best
not to write for free. Once money is involved, the quality that a
site demands and the quality that you will submit automatically
goes up. And once you know that you will be paid, never forget to
invoice. If you are unaware of the procedure, then after the
acceptance of your piece, discuss it with the person with whom you
have been communicating.

There is no end to the tips one could explore when seeking a
parenting market. While I hope these will be useful for you, don't
let them hamper your natural style of writing. There are many
parenting websites that welcome both new and experienced writers,
so there is never going to be any dearth of work for you. Just know
what you really like and want to write about, and even if it looks
challenging, don't give up. "Start small and aim big" - that should
be your motto.  Kind of like children!

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

Aditi Bose, an Economics graduate with an MBA in marketing, has
over 8 years of experience in the research and talent search
industry. Currently she freelances for a number of Indian and U.S.
websites and specializes in articles related to parenting, food and
travel. Her work has appeared on a variety of websites, including
Indusladies, Rediff Getahead and Bootsnall.


Copyright 2013 Aditi Bose

Link to this article here: 
http://www.writing-world.com/freelance/parenting.shtml
 
For more advice how to break into various freelance niches visit: 
http://www.writing-world.com/freelance/index.shtml
 
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Free Stuff for Writers: Writing Together

=================================================================
By Aline Lechaye

Working with a group of writers scattered in various locations
around the globe? Want to ask your friend to comment on your latest
novel? Need to discuss some changes with your editor? It used to
take days of emailing back and forth or a face-to-face meeting to
do all these things, but nowadays all it takes is for everyone
involved in a writing project to arrange a time to sit down at a
computer. 

The most famous collaboration tool out there is probably Google
Drive (formerly Google Docs). You can share and work on word files,
spreadsheets, presentations, and even drawings using Google Drive.
The user interfaces are fairly similar to the software most of us
have installed on our computers and are already comfortable using,
so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how everything works.
Editing takes place in real time so you can see who changed what
and everyone is saved the hassle of uploading multiple versions of
files or sending email attachments back and forth. You can set
different access levels for people you share files with, from "can
edit" to "can comment" or "can view." Log in to Google Drive using
your Google account at http://drive.google.com.

Zoho Docs (https://www.zoho.com/docs/) allows users to collaborate
together on word files, presentations, and spreadsheets. The online
word processor comes with spell check and word count features.
There is also a chat feature so that you can discuss changes made
to your files with your collaborators as they are made. The Task
feature allows you to assign specific tasks to your collaborators
and keep track of who's doing what. Zoho's basic (free) plan offers
1GB of storage space. 

lino (http://linoit.com/) is basically a giant virtual canvas where
you can post anything, whether it's pictures, notes, files, or
videos. You can add due dates or tags to your notes to make them
easier to search for in the future. Each person can have multiple
canvases, and you can move notes and files from canvas to canvas as
needed. lino can function as your own personal inspiration board,
or you can create an invite-only group board for multiple users to
brainstorm on. Jot down ideas anytime, anywhere -- lino is
available for PCs, iPhones, iPads, and Android phones. 

Want to hear the voices of the people? Want your voice to be heard?
mixedink (http://www.mixedink.com/) is a good place to start.
mixedink is like a cross between collaborative writing and social
media. Share your thoughts on topics you're interested in. Mix and
match your words with other peoples'. Vote on what other people
have written. The "suggestions" feature shows up in real time to
the right of the screen as you type so that you can see what other
people have had to say on the subject you're writing on. Like what
they have to say? Add their words to your draft. Authorship
tracking makes it easy to see who wrote what on a collaboratively
written piece, so everyone will be credited accordingly. Note that
the free version of mixedink doesn't allow you to create private
(password-protected, invite-only) collaboration groups.

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

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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THE WRITE SITES
=================================================================
Poets.org
---------
Celebrate National Poetry Month this April by visiting Poets.org
and signing up to receive a poem a day.  The site is running many
events for National Poetry Month and has lots of resources to help
people to get more out of reading and writing poetry. 
http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41

FifteenMinutesofFiction.com
---------------------------
This is a site for time-pressed writers.  The site provides a
weekly writing prompt for writers as well as a 'grab bag' service,
where you tell the site how many words you want to write and it
will send you words and phrases to include in your writing. The
site also has articles on writing. You need to join the site to
participate, but membership is free. 
http://www.fifteenminutesoffiction.com/

ANovelWritingSite.com
---------------------
This site, aimed at teens, high-school students and home-schooled
children, is a gem of a find. Run by the American Christian Fiction
Writers, it is packed full of advice on how to write a novel and
what not to do.  They run an annual contest for teens.. 
http://www.anovelwritingsite.com/

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

THE COLOSSAL GUIDE TO WRITING CONTESTS... Moira Allen's "Writing 
To Win" features over 1600 contest listings for writers worldwide. 
The current edition has more than 450 NEW listings.  You won't find
a more comprehensive guide to writing contests anywhere.  Available 
in print and Kindle editions.
Print: https://www.createspace.com/3778183
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B007C98OUA/peregrine

*****************************************************************
AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers
=================================================================

Fiction: From Writing to Publication, by Vickie Britton

Full Circle, by Saul Silas Fathi

Find this and more great books at
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Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know: 
just click on the link below to list your book.
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Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com
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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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Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 

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

Copyright 2013 Moira Allen








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