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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 13:08         13,220 subscribers            April 18, 2013
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Accuracy... It's Not Just for Nonfiction
Anymore!  by Moira Allen 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Nine Anti-Muses and How to Placate Them, 
by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE:  Social Media: Getting Back to Basics, 
by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Switching Genres, by Dawn Copeman   
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf   
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Accuracy... It's Not Just for Nonfiction Anymore!
Last issue, Victoria raised the question in her column as to
whether "facts in fiction" matter to readers, and invited readers
to respond.

Well, the votes are in, and... yes, accuracy DOES matter! 
Responses were unanimous on that point.  But what might surprise
some writers is how MUCH it matters.  Readers don't just "care"
whether a writer's facts are accurate; they care a lot.

One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make, it seems, is getting
details about a reader's home town wrong.  "Two different authors
have set stories in Charlotte and got details wrong, and yes, it
did bother me when I was reading their books," wrote one reader. 
Another reader wrote, "Due to the huge inaccuracies in the Indian
setting, I lost interest immediately.  If the author had not done
even basic research, he wasn't worth my time.  He could maybe fool
readers who knew nothing of India, but his inaccuracies were enough
to put this Indian off.  The worst part of it all was that if he
had only asked a few locals, he would have gotten his facts."

Now, not every reader will reside in, or even have visited, the
town in which one places one's novel.  But you can be sure that
whether you set your tale in Delhi or Detroit or Dublin, you will
attract readers who are intimately familiar with the locale.  For
some, the promise of reading about a beloved location is itself
enough to persuade someone to pick up a book -- and finding
significant errors in the portrayal of that location is enough to
make someone put it down again.

The same applies to any other aspect of a novel that is presented
as "fact."  If you write about a particular historical period or
event, you can expect a significant percentage of your readers to
be attracted to the book precisely because they are already
interested in, and have some knowledge of, that period or event. 
If you write about a particular craft or hobby, your novel is going
to appeal to people who practice that same craft or hobby, and know
it inside and out.  If your character has a particular career or
skill, your book will be read by others who share it.

But why does it matter?  After all, surely readers understand that
a novel is "fiction," right?  And fiction, by definition, is...
well, not "fact."  Why should readers get so incensed when an
author who is clearly writing fiction plays fast and loose with

The primary reason, in my opinion, is the issue of "suspension of
disbelief."  This, English teachers told us long ago, was the
mechanism by which we enable ourselves to become utterly immersed
in a story that, deep down, we know is "made up."  It's what
enables us to care so deeply about people who don't actually exist
that their emotions become our emotions, their traumas become our
tears.  A novel won't really hook us until we reach that point
where the characters become "real" to us.

However, when a writer makes errors in "facts" -- when a novel
includes information that we know to be false -- that illusion of
"reality" is shattered.  If, for example, a character is speeding
through your home town, trying to escape a terrible fate, and makes
a turn into a street that you know quite well doesn't exist or goes
in the wrong direction or ends in a cul-de-sac, you're going to be
yanked rather abruptly out of the illusion that "this is really
happening."  Suddenly, you're presented with something that you
know could NOT happen -- and your "suspension of disbelief" is
shattered.  In short, by failing to make real what actually SHOULD
be real, the writer runs the risk of ruining the illusion that ANY
part of the story is "real."

But what about readers who DON'T know?  After all, for every reader
who is intimately familiar with a setting, or period, or craft
chosen by the author, there are undoubtedly hundreds who aren't. 
Can't we simply "write off" the readers who might catch our
mistakes, secure in the knowledge that most of our audience may
never be the wiser?

Perhaps -- but only, I think, if we abandon one of the basic
principles of storytelling.  Books, we're told, are doorways to the
world, or to other worlds.  They are our passports to places we may
otherwise never visit, worlds we'll never be able to explore, times
and events we can never experience, people we'll never meet.  As
readers, we've traveled through space and time, filling our lives
(and our souls) with armchair adventures.  I suspect many of us
became writers precisely because we wanted to be able to pass those
adventures on to others.  But if we don't get our facts straight,
we're cheating the travelers we invite to pass through those
printed doors.  If a book is my portal to, say, India, then I want
to know that when I step through that portal, I am really going to
visit India -- not an ersatz India that the author has cobbled
together from Wikipedia articles.

That's nice and philosophical, but there's also a pragmatic reason
not to write off the "readers who know."  Even if those readers are
only a small percentage of your overall audience, today their reach
is far greater than it ever was in the past.  Disgruntled readers
tend to be VOCAL readers, with many ways to spread the word about
writers who displease them.  Readers who feel that a work lacks
accuracy and authenticity (and especially those with the knowledge
to back it up) don't hesitate to declare their dissatisfaction via
such venues as Amazon reviews, blogs, and social media.  None of us
want to make a reader say, "I'll never pick up another book by that
author again!"  Still more should we seek to avoid blunders that
lead would-be readers to say, "I won't even bother picking up a
book by that author in the first place!" 

-- 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:

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Nine Anti-Muses and How to Placate Them, by Victoria Grossack 

Apollo, god of light and music and the arts, is often accompanied
by nine muses.   These goddesses, whose specialties are given at
the end of this article, are often appealed to for inspiration.

In this column I will not write about what inspires me, but rather
about my nine anti-muses (a term I have invented).  These are the
things that prevent me from writing, or from writing well.  I also
list my ways of placating or getting around these minor deities.

CHRONODEPLETIA -- the anti-muse representing a lack of time.  

Sometimes a schedule is simply impossible.  I once received an
email from a young lady with a demanding schedule and a new baby,
who felt guilty because she was not writing.  I wrote back and told
her that it did not sound as if she could.  I once had a
conversation with a friend of mine -- another new mother -- not an
aspiring writer, but still frustrated at her inability to somehow
manage to have it all.  We concluded that you can have it all --
but you can't have it all at once.

If you are at a point in your life where you really have no time,
then my recommendation is that you read whenever you can, jot down
notes for your great ideas and occasionally work on small projects.

For many of us, however, the solution is carving out more time for
writing.  Every now and then I review my personal habits and
determine my worst time-wasters.  For example, last year I hooked
up with an old friend and we exchanged some really meaningful
e-mails.  But gradually the e-mails became more banal, on the level
of "what are you having for dinner?" and "here's a cute ad about a
cat."  The correspondence was taking up about an hour of each day
-- we agreed to stop, no hard feelings.  Of course, I find many
other ways to waste time, so this is a constant battle.

Sometimes it is not a time-waster that must go but something with
real value.  I may not meet with friends because I have a chapter
to finish.  I may choose a less demanding day job in order to have
more time to write.  If you really want to write, you have to make
it a priority.

UNENERGETICA -- the anti-muse of no physical energy.

Some physical problems make writing almost impossible.  Many are
clearly temporary -- your fatigue may be cured by a nap or you have
to wait to recover from your cold -- while others are chronically
debilitating.  I suffer from sinus headaches and it took me some
time to find a routine that gets rid of them (very warm water with
lemon juice helps a lot).  Sometimes the cure can be as simple as
more sleep, exercise, vitamins, sunlight or drinking more water. 
Dehydration is bad for the brain, and a huge percentage of the
population is vitamin D-deficient.

You know your own situation better than anyone else.  If your
writing and the rest of your life are suffering because you are
exhausted, figure out what you need and take steps to resolve it.

IDEAPENURIA -- the anti-muse of no ideas.  

There are several levels of no ideas.  If you really have none --
not even a story you are aching to tell -- perhaps you do not
really want to be a writer.  That happens.  Perhaps you are more
naturally a reader.  Perhaps you have the urge to write because you
enjoy reading so much.  

Perhaps your lack of ideas is on a more granular level.  You may
have an overall idea, but be stuck on a scene.  You may not be sure
of where to go next in a story.

Idea generation -- from the level of the novel to the level of the
plot twist -- is something that many can learn and master.  The
subject is too large for a tiny section of this column, but the
first step is to ask yourself questions.  Your questions can be on
any level, such as, "What genre of fiction interests me most?" to
the very specific, such as, "Where does Oedipus go after being
banished from Thebes?"   And then ask, "Why?"  After you figure out
the questions, start generating answers.  I recommend you begin
with the brainstorming technique of writing down lots of different
answers and not judging them until later.

INEPTIA -- the anti-muse of wretched writing.

Perhaps you have a story you want to tell, but you don't have the
skill.  Perhaps you know you lack the ability -- or perhaps you
don't -- and will suffer rejection and dejection when someone gives
you feedback.

I believe there are a few gifted souls who are born storytellers,
but most of us are lousy writers when we begin.  We need to learn. 
Even when we have reached a certain level of competence, we can
usually become better.

Fortunately, improvement is possible.  There are many books and
articles on writing.  There are courses and critique groups.  You
can find out about many of them at http://www.writing-world.com by
exploring the website.  Be honest about your weak points and take
pains to strengthen them.   As with other fields, you need to

CRITIPHOBIA -- the anti-muse representing the fear of being

After you recognize Ineptia, Critiphobia frequently moves in.  She
can undermine you at several levels.  You may fear criticism from
friends, from the public, and even from yourself.

Critiphobia has a good side.  She can spur you to keep polishing
until you really have ironed out all the kinks -- or at least made
it a great deal better.  Unfortunately, she can also paralyze you
so that you keep crossing out words when you're trying to get down
the first draft.  I usually have to coax Critiphobia to stay quiet
when I'm starting a new project.

Even when you have finished a project, when you have done your
best, when you have even pleased yourself, you probably will not
please everyone.  There will still be criticism.  Some complaints
may be justified.  Some are really a matter of opinion.  Some
criticism is just plain wrong (or even a mistake).  Alas, that is
simply part of life.  In these situations -- when I feel that the
criticism or even the praise is beyond what I deserve -- I recall a
couplet from Rudyard Kipling's "If":

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same

Focus on thickening your skin and striving to produce your best.

IMPEDIMENTIA -- the anti-muse of real-life blocks.

This anti-muse puts real blocks into the writing process.  There
are all sorts of problems that prevent you occasionally from
writing.  Perhaps there is a fire in your apartment building. 
Perhaps your computer needs repair.  I began this article while my
left hand was in a cast.  

Impedimentia can impede you for a while, but if you let this
anti-muse get the upper hand too often, you may not be making
enough of an effort.  Of course there are more permanent situations
in which you may have to take more drastic steps in order to
continue writing.  You may need to learn how to dictate.

AGONIA -- the anti-muse caused by emotional issues.  

Emotional issues can run from simply not being in the mood, to
being distracted, to serious depression.  

If you are rarely in the mood to write, perhaps you do not really
want to be a writer.  If you are distracted by life, perhaps you
need to deal with the real world rather than your fantasy.  Perhaps
you need to talk to a therapist.

Still, for mild emotional issues, I find that meditation helps.  I
also believe that in many cases a little writing can help with
depression or mental fatigue.  It may be harder to get started, but
once I do -- once I persist for a while -- often the clouds lift
and the words flow.

IMPERSEVERIA -- the anti-muse of giving up when something isn't
working instead of trying to find a way to solve it.

Some projects really should be abandoned; others need more elbow
grease.  In other projects you will find that there are pages and
scenes that do not work, and need to be rewritten or tossed.  There
are few projects in which you will find everything comes easily all
the time.

If you have trouble finishing a writing project, do some
self-examination to determine why.  Do you generally have trouble
finishing things?  If this is a general character trait, then you
have larger issues.  However, if that is not the case, then take a
look at the other anti-muses and see if you need to work your way
around one of them.

NARCISSA -- the anti-muse who wants the credit for writing a book;
the anti-muse who encourages you to be an author -- an author, mind
you, not a writer. 

Narcissa tempts people into focusing on how their names will look
on the cover, and into dreaming about the fame and wealth that they
imagine comes with the book (alas, the end result is more likely
obscure poverty).  Although a little fantasy is to be expected --
after all, writers have rich imaginations -- at some point you need
to stop daydreaming and write.

There is an exception to your having to do the actual writing.  If
you are rich, a celebrity or someone with a fascinating tale, a
ghost writer may be a viable solution.  

Returning to the Muses
When I have placated my anti-muses -- listened to them and treated
them well enough so that they turn into grumpy, but less
intimidating, "Aunty Muses" -- then my own muse usually shows up
and the words pour into the page.  Cultivating the muse is a
subject for another column.

As promised, here is a list of the traditional muses and their
specialties: Calliope - epic poetry; Clio - history; Euterpe -
flutes and lyric poetry; Thalia -- comedy and pastoral poetry;
Melpomene - tragedy; Terpsichore - dance; Erato - love poetry;
Polyhymnia -- sacred poetry; Urania - astronomy.


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: 


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At All Writing Prompts, we provide the best: High-quality, in-depth
writing prompts that will unlock your inspiration and awaken your
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EBook and Trade Sales Up, Rest of Industry Down in 2012
Figures from the AAP's StatShot program show that sales of trade
Adult and YA fiction rose in 2012 but sales of books overall fell
by 2.2% in 2012.  Children and YA saw an increase in sales of
13.1%, whilst adult trade increased by 5.6%. eBooks saw the
greatest increase of sales of 120.9%, whilst sales of paperbacks
dropped by 4.5%.  For more on this news story visit: 

Interactive Version of 'The Thirty-Nine Steps' on Way
Publisher Faber & Faber have announced that they are producing a
visual interactive eBook version of John Buchan's thriller, "The
Thirty-Nine Steps." The eBook/app will enable readers to "unlock
dozens of achievements and items to collect on their reading
journey, and explore hundreds of hand-painted digital environments
and context from 1910s Britain." For more on this story visit:

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Goes to American Academic
Last year, famously, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was not awarded
to anyone.  This year the prize went to academic Adam Johnson for
his novel "The Orphan Master's Son."  Johnson's book is set in
North Korea and the author visited the country just once to gather
background material, but once was enough, as according to the
judges he took them "on an adventuresome journey into the depths"
of the  country. To find out more and to discover who won the other
Pulitzer prizes for 2013 visit: http://tinyurl.com/dx2je5q


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

Entangled Publishing Call for Submissions
Entangled Publishing is seeking romance submissions of between
10,000 and 40,000 words for its new series One Night In.  

Stories should be contemporary romances with a 'moderate' heat

For more information visit: http://www.entangledinromance.com 

Eating Well Magazine Welcomes Queries and Submissions
Eating Well is a monthly (soon to go bi-monthly) magazine that
focuses entirely on eating healthily.  It says it welcomes ideas
and pitches from new writers and on its guidelines it even suggest
which sections are best for freelancers and new writers to pitch to.

Pay is up to $1 a word. 

For more information visit: 


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.


FEATURE: Social Media: Getting Back to Basics

By Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Promoting a book on the Web is simple, or so I thought. Then last
month I had an opportunity to explore author websites. I'll tell
you honestly, I was horrified. I discovered that many authors did
not give the basic information: here's how you can buy my book.
Sites that included the most beautiful cover in the world and the
most perfect hand-crafted blurb still had no help for the poor
reader who wants to follow through and actually buy the book.

"I'm an author, not a marketeer," is the knee-jerk response. And
it's true: most of us don't want to have to worry about something
so crass as selling. Perhaps if more authors thought of it as
"helping," they'd be kinder to their readers. After all, it's not
really a sales pitch. Readers click on an author's page because
they are interested in hearing more about the author's book. So why
not tell them? 

But many authors don't. Here's what I found (names have been
changed to protect the guilty):

Paola has a popular blog that she updates daily. She posts about
her writing process and the stories that she's working on. If you
scan over her posts, it's clear that she's had at least one
published book, maybe more. 

Problem: The "profile" page tells us that she lives in Indiana and
has three children. There's no link back to her author website and
no details other than what is in the blog posts. This makes it
impossible to find out more about her unless you are willing to
wade through hundreds of blogposts looking for the last time she
linked to her author website, which turns out to be February 2008
to announce that she updated the color scheme.  

Quick Fix: Paola already has an author website; she simply hasn't
connected it to her blog. She could easily add a link to the
profile (or better yet, on the sidebar of her blog), which would
fix this instantly. 

Even better: She should summarise her bio in a single paragraph
with a link to her book and to her author website. 

James has a Facebook page that has attracted a few hundred fans.
He's done amazingly well to get this direct connection to readers.
Every update he makes appears on their Facebook feeds, so he keeps
them up to date on his new projects. 

Problem: He lists his publications with direct links to purchase
each book ... on a small press site that has reorganised their
inventory. Every link he provides goes to an error page. Website
links are often only checked when they are added to a page;
however, if you are relying on external sites to market your
product, it is vital to check frequently to make sure the page is
still there. 

Quick Fix: James should check all his links when he posts them and
then schedule regular maintenance checks for his page, checking all
links once a month or every 90 days. 

Even Better:  Create a maintenance checklist of details to watch --
make sure the "about" page and author information are all
up-to-date and take a look at whether followers are growing and
what they are saying. 

Elanah is enjoys "hanging out" on Google+ and taking part in
discussions about literature and creativity. Her profile says that
she's an "author of awesome paranormal dystopias" and she often
talks about her characters and their motivations. 

Problem: Her book has been published, but the few details she gives
makes it sound like a work in progress, rather than a finished
product already available in online bookstores. She's not
comfortable with "the hard sell," and so she doesn't sell at all. 

Quick Fix: If she understood that she was helping readers to find
out more rather than promoting a product, perhaps she'd realise
that this omission appears to be thoughtless and even presumptuous
rather than laid-back. A static link in her profile to a page about
her book would let people know the book is released without seeming

Even Better: Create an author website with her published books as
well as those in progress and link to it from her Google+ account,
giving context to her updates and allowing new friends to feel

Rashad is on Twitter. He talks about his writing life and his
horses and always keeps it interesting. Occasionally he mentions
that he has a book and he would love for readers to review it. He
tweets the full title but never a link. Rashad doesn't like posting
specifics because he wants to support local bookstores and he
worries that links to Amazon are encouraging online buying. He's
hoping that his readers will remember his name and the title and
head out to a bookstore to pick it up. 

Problem: Book purchases are often spur-of-the-moment. It's asking a
bit much for readers to remember and recognise his book the next
time they are out shopping. 

Quick Fix: Rashad should create a buy-my-book page with links to a
broad range of options, including online AND brick and mortar
options. Rashad can just link to this page, which allows his
readers to choose how they would like to purchase his book.

Even Better: He could include links to reader communities like
GoodReads and LibraryThing, which include more buying information.
Also, find sites like IndieBound, which help readers in the US to
find local independent bookstores close to them.

Alexia has a gorgeous Pinterest page with all of her book covers.
She's called the collection "Books I Have Written." It looks
gorgeous and enticing. 

Problem: She's uploaded the images directly. This means when you
click on a cover, you go to a bigger version of the same image,
called bookthreecoverfullsize.jpg, and there you sit, at a dead
end. No further details, no chance to find out more. At best, the
reader can read the title and author name from the image and type
it into Google and see what comes up. Most readers won't make the

Quick Fix: Alexia should make sure that every image of her cover
links to a website with more information: her author page or an
online bookstore. 

Even Better: She could also include the title of the book in the
description and a text link, so there's no guessing needed and the
page will show up on search engines.

Problem 2: Also, Alexia is missing a chance to pull in new readers.
Her Pinterest page is aimed at her fans and offers nothing that
would help readers accidentally stumble upon her brilliant books.
It's not just a dead end, it's a dead end with no sign posts. 

Quick Fix: If she broadens her sphere, more readers will come to
explore. For example, she could make a board of covers in her genre
and look for beautiful examples that complement hers. Now she would
have a large collection of general interest that people could
browse through, which might lead new readers to discover her book.

Even Better: Explore other Pinterest boards and look for niches
that are not already covered. Alexia could add a range of
collections that relate to the interests of her readers and tie
into her books.

Neil has a Tumblr account full of information about his book, which
came out last month. It includes excerpts, Flickr photographs of
the landscapes around his house, playlists of the music that
inspired him, even some images of some of the characters that he
collected into one place. 

Problem: What is it missing? The name of the book. At no point does
he talk about what the book is actually about; we only see the
inspiration. This can be interesting if we can also see the result,
but on its own, it just isn't compelling. 

Quick Fix: Add a link to the navigation that leads to a static page
with facts about book. This removes the mystery and gets people

Even Better: Include the book title and blurb in the sidebar so new
visitors to the Tumblr can immediately get a sense of what is going

In all the talk about self-promotion and marketing yourself and
your book, it is easy to forget about the fundamentals. You can
have a popular blog and a thousand followers on Twitter and
interviews on literary sites all over the world, but the key, the
one core piece of information that you need to remember is: make it
easy for other people to find out more. 

Authors should keep the following information on or accessible from
all their sites, in plain text, easy to find:

1.        Author name
2.        The full title of the book
3.        ISBN
4.        A brief blurb
5.        Where to buy it

In addition, it's nice to offer more information:
-        The cover image
-        An excerpt
-        Links or quotes from reviews
-        Contact details for the author

Marketing is a secondary author skill, comparable to the struggles
of writing a query letter or a blurb. We've all see the vague
blurbs that first-timers write: "Joan is perfectly happy until a
dreadful occurrence forces her to look at her life and reevaluate
her priorities." It's so vague our eyes skim over the words. We
don't care about Joan because we don't know a  thing about her nor
whether the dreadful occurrence is smashing a tea-cup or her son
getting murdered. 

Most authors have learned, by the time the book is released, how to
entice with relevant details. The meat of the story has to be there
for everyone to see.

In the same way, we have to share the basics of the book -- what is
it called, what genre, is it even published yet -- before we can
entice readers to find out more. 

And isn't connecting with readers the point?


Sylvia Spruck Wrigley is a marketing professional with an emphasis
on Internet promotions. She's worked with online communities
since 1989. In 1994, she took on the role of Online Marketing
Manager at
Demon Internet, probably the first in the UK to hold such a
position. Since then, she has continued to focus on innovative
approaches backed by solid tracking and reporting. She also writes
fairy tales when she thinks she can get away with it.
Copyright 2013 Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Link to this article here: 
For more advice on promoting your book visit: 

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craft a scene that sings?  "Fiction: From Writing to Publication"
offers a step-by-step guide to help you through all the perils and
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novelist's prayer, and a good refresher for others." Available on
Kindle (http://tinyurl.com/arfffct) and Smashwords


The Inquiring Writer: Switching Genres

By Dawn Copeman

I have recently returned to full-time teaching.  I am a secondary
trained teacher of modern languages.  This means I taught pupils
aged 11 - 18.  When my daughter was little, I did, however, teach
French for a few hours each week in primary schools. Now wishing to
return to full-time teaching, I found it was very hard to get a job
as a German and French secondary school teacher.  Thankfully, as
I'd some experience in primary schools and had taught my daughter
the primary curriculum whilst she was home-schooled, I was lucky to
gain work as a supply/substitute teacher in a variety of primary
schools.  I was familiar with both the methods of primary teaching,
the curriculum to teach and had lots of classroom experience to
deal with the typical problems faced by substitute teachers.  

Recently, however, I was asked to step in to do a long-term supply
post at my daughter's school teaching the youngest children (aged 3
- 5).  I love it!  But believe me, it is a massive change from any
of the teaching I have done before.  

The reason I mention this is that teaching completely different
school age-groups is a lot like switching genres in writing, which
is what our Inquiring Writer, Ricky, wants to do. 

Last month Ricky wrote "I have written a few novels, had them
edited and submitted them to lots of agents, but have got nowhere
with them. One agent replied that my story was a bit simplistic for
my chosen genre (thriller) and I was wondering if I might be better
of rewriting them for YA or should I submit them as they are?"

Sadly, no-one had any advice for Ricky, so here's my opinion. 

As a qualified teacher in the UK I can teach any age and any
subject, but that doesn't mean that the switch between ages, or
genres, if you like, is easy.  The basics are the same: class
management skills, teaching skills, people skills, ability to plan
engaging, exciting and enjoyable lessons that teach the children
what they need to learn, but there are subtle differences.

You cannot take what works with 15-year-olds and expect it to work
with 4-year-olds, or vice versa.  

The same applies to writing. Each genre has its own nuances, its
structures and constraints, and you cannot take what works in the
adult thriller genre and submit it, as is, to the YA genre.  To do
so, in my opinion, is insulting to those who write YA.  

If you did submit your novel as it is to a YA agent, it would
probably be rejected and you would have lost another potential
publisher of your book.  If you really think it would work better
as a YA novel, then you need to ensure it meets all the criteria:
word length, reading level, subject matter, structure, etc., of YA

That is not to say that you shouldn't pursue this new, potential
market for your book. You should, but you must be willing to put
lots of work into it. 

To do my new teaching job I have spent hours reading books,
learning online, talking to fellow teachers and hanging around
forums for Early Years' Teachers to ensure I know the pedagogy used
in this age-range and can design appropriate lesson plans and
tasks.  To publish your novel as a YA novel, I suggest you learn
all you can about your new chosen genre. Visit sites for YA
authors, read newsletters, join forums or Linked-In Groups, read YA
thrillers, see how YA thrillers are structured.  Then carefully
edit or re-write your novel using all you have learned. 

Good luck. 

Now onto this month's question which comes from Wilma.  Wilma
wrote: "I had some initial success when I started writing two
years' ago.  I've had several articles published on the topic of
organic gardening, but now I seem to have hit a brick wall. 
Everything seems to have been covered already -- sometimes to
death!  I just can't seem to come up with any new article ideas and
haven't had a positive response from any of my queries for the past
three months. Do I need to quit now?  Am I all written out?  Any
help or advice you can give me would be appreciated."

Can you help Wilma?  If so, email your response with the subject
line "Inquiring Writer" to editorial@writing-world.com. 

Also email me if you have a question you'd like to put to me and
the Writing-World Community.

Until next time, 



Copyright Dawn Copeman 2013
Dawn Copeman is a UK-based freelance writer and teacher 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 
This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained.  


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This is a very comprehensive site for YA authors and readers,
packed full of writing tips, author interviews, information on
agents and editors and book reviews. 

This site is the home of Irish writing and it is a very handy site
indeed. It has a newsletter and several guides to writing in many
genres, including YA fiction, writing for stage and writing

Writers Workshop.co.uk
Writers Workshop offers paid for courses and critiques as well as
lots of free advice covering writing in many different genres
including YA, women's fiction, fantasy and crime to name but a few. 


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

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: April 30, 2013
GENRE:  Poetry
DETAILS:  The Tapestry of Bronze is sponsoring a series of
international poetry contests to celebrate Greek and Roman
mythology and the Olympian gods. The subject of the current contest
is Hephaestus (also known as Vulcan), the God of the Forge. 30
lines max.  There are two age ranges under 18 and adult.
PRIZE:  $50 in each category
URL:  http://www.tapestryofbronze.com/OdeForm.html

DEADLINE: May 31, 2013
GENRE: Novella
DETAILS:   Has the title of a song ever inspired you to write?
We're betting it has and that you can take that title and make it
your own. Submit your 25,000-40,000 word, completed novella based
on the title of a song.
PRIZE:  Publishing contract
URL: http://tinyurl.com/bzob2eb  

DEADLINE:  June 1, 2013
GENRE:  Poetry 
DETAILS:  5 pages of poetry
PRIZE:  Publication of poetry in a book
URL:  http://www.erbacce-press.com/#/erbacce-prize/4533449873

DEADLINE: June 30, 2013
GENRE:   Short stories, Nonfiction
DETAILS:  10,000 words maximum, no theme, both genres compete
PRIZE:  $250
URL: http://www.hofferaward.com/
DEADLINE: June 30, 2013
GENRE: Short stories
OPEN 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. Professional publication is deemed to be
payment, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits for online
DETAILS:  Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Horror: All types of science fiction,
fantasy and horror with fantastic elements, are welcome. 17,000
words max.
PRIZES:  $1,000 first prize awarded each quarter, 2nd Prize $750,
3rd Prize $500. One of the quarter winners also receives the $5,000
annual "Gold Award" grand prize.
URL:  http://www.writersofthefuture.com/contest-rules


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

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