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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 13:14          13,253 subscribers             July 18, 2013
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Mid-Year Course Adjustments, by Moira Allen 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Grammatical Groping, by Victoria
FEATURE: Expanding Your Range as a Writer - with Your Camera, 
by Audrey Faye Henderson  
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Flashbacks, by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf   
Novel, Too!  What if this year you could honestly call yourself 
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Mid-Year Course Adjustments

There's been a nasty, niggling little item on my "to-do" list now
for about three weeks: "Finish 6-month planning list!"  (More about
to-do lists in the next issue...)

A few weeks ago, I looked at the calendar and came to the
unpleasant realization that 2013 was, officially, half over. 
Mentally, I'm stuck at about March or April -- surely I'm only
three or four months into the year?  Surely not SIX?  But the
calendar refuses to play along.  Even if I could pretend that I'd
just flipped a couple of pages on the wall calendar by mistake, my
computer stubbornly insists upon telling me that, yes, the year is
half gone.  

That means that instead of asking myself, "What do I plan to do
this year?" I must now ask myself, "What do I plan to do in WHAT IS
LEFT of this year?"  

The reason this is a nasty, niggling little task is that it
requires some unflinching honesty about what I have already done. 
To determine what I hope to accomplish by the END of 2013, I have
to take a look at what has become of the plans I made at the
BEGINNING of 2013.  Of the things I set out to do in January, how
many have I done?  If a project is short-term, was it ever
completed?  Was it ever begun?  If it was a long-term project,
where am I in terms of progress?  If I believed a project to be a
one-year task, am I really at the six-month point?  Or am I only at
the two- or three-month point?  

July is a turning point in the year.  Winter and spring are over. 
Summer is upon us.  When we look ahead, it is to autumn, and then
to winter yet again.  And so it is appropriate, I think, to regard
this as a turning point in planning as well.

At the beginning of the year, we're full of plans, ideas, and
resolutions.  THIS will be the year that we accomplish this,
achieve that, complete the other, and finally... well, fill in the
blank!  In January, a full twelve months stretches before us,
filled with possibility.  Gosh, what COULDN'T we do with all that
time?  Even as we say to one another that the years rush by faster
and faster, in January those twelve months still look like a huge
stretch of time.

Six months... not so much!

So if, like me, you're looking at the calendar and wondering what
on earth happened to the first half of 2013, here are some tips on
making the most of this "turning point."

1) Take a look back at what you've actually DONE.  Don't just look
at the list of goals you set up in January, and shake your head
over the number that aren't accomplished.  Look at what you have
ACTUALLY done.  Sure, that short story still hasn't been written --
but that's partly because you got that big magazine assignment or
that unexpected copy-editing job.  It's a lot easier to answer the
question "where did the time go?" when you can give yourself credit
for your achievements.

2) If you find it difficult to reconstruct what you actually
accomplished over the last six months, set up a system to begin
tracking your achievements.  It's a lot easier to answer the
question, "where did the time go?" when you have a list of what
you've accomplished each day, each week, or each month.  (I
maintain a daily list that helps me figure out where each day went
-- e.g., errands, family phone calls, newsletter --  and then
transfer the significant items to a monthly "achievements" file.)

3) Take a look at the projects that you planned to do but either
haven't begun or let slide.  This is a good time to evaluate why
those projects aren't moving forward.  Have you lost interest?  Is
the project too large to get a grip on?  Are you avoiding it
precisely because it IS important to your life or career?  Figuring
out why you HAVEN'T done something is the first step in working out
how to actually get a project started.

4) Examine the personal factors that prevented you from
accomplishing as many work-related goals as you might have wished. 
With the exception of unforeseen calamities, in most cases these
personal factors are still going to be an issue for the next six
months.  It's easy to forget that we need to plan around "life" --
and then wonder why life keeps "getting in the way."

5) Pick a theme.  One reason we don't get everything done is not
simply because we're trying to do too much, but because we're
jumping around amongst many different projects.  If you're trying
to juggle a batch of articles, a column, some short story ideas,
and a couple of copy-editing projects, consider paring your
workload down to a cluster of related projects.  Focus on the
copy-editing, or the articles and column, with the goal of getting
those tasks completed and off your plate.  

6) Decide what you DON'T want to have to face (again) in 2014. 
Some of my mid-year planning has to do with "cleaning house."  A
number of projects on my list have been hanging around for two or
three years.  Because they are large, I tend to pick at them, doing
a bit of work here and there when I'm not doing anything else.  And
so they KEEP hanging around, indefinitely.  One of my decisions for
July was to try to clear some of these off my plate once and for
all -- so that I don't have to face them yet again when planning my
goals for 2014.

7) Take a look at your financial goals for the year.  This is a
good time to analyze whether your freelancing finances are on
track.  (If you haven't been tracking income and expenses on a
monthly basis, for shame! See my article, "Handling Writing Income
and Expenses," at 
http://www.writing-world.com/business/expenses.shtml for some
tips.)  If you've discovered that you're behind on your freelancing
goals, you may decide that you want to focus the next six months on
projects that have the greatest revenue potential.

8) Don't forget personal goals!  It doesn't help to reach the end
of a year and realize, looking back, that while you did most of the
things you NEEDED to do, you did very little that you WANTED to do.
 Consider whether you need to build in some vacation time, or time
to work on craft projects.  For example, I took a weaving class in
February.  When I put "weave a scarf for my sister" on my list of
goals, I felt, then, like I had all the time in the world to make
it happen.  Now, I realize I'd better get busy if I want to achieve
this by Christmas!

So go ahead.  Sit down with a cup of coffee, or something stiffer,
and take an unflinching look at the calendar.  It may not be
pleasant to face the fact that you have only five months left to
achieve your goals for 2013.  But you'll find that it's a lot more
pleasant to face those months WITH a plan than without one! 

-- 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:

Read by over 1,000 children's book and magazine editors, this
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By Victoria Grossack 


In the last column I listed the common grammatical mistakes that
annoy me the most. I may have come across as hard-nosed,
rule-loving, a pain in the posterior, and all too sure of myself. 

But I am not that sure of myself, and not just because I have
trouble remembering the rules for WHICH and THAT, or because
capitalization schemes are applied so arbitrarily these days that I
can no longer determine which rules are valid. No, my difficulty
arises from the changing nature of the English language. Sometimes
a usage that was considered wrong in the past is now being used so
frequently that the rules -- as decided by the voice of the people,
to whom the language belongs, after all -- are shifting. In this
column I will describe a few of those gray areas that cause me to
grope grammatically. 

Who or whom? 
Older grammar books give instruction about the word WHOM, which is
supposed to be used in place of WHO whenever you're using a direct
or indirect object, as opposed as a subject. For example: 

        Who is coming to dinner? (Subject) 

        Whom are you taking to dinner? (Direct object) 

        For whom are you giving the dinner? (Indirect object) 

Unfortunately, the word WHOM -- no matter how much I like it, for
the understanding and correct utilization of cases in a language
adds so much power to the language! -- sounds stuffy. There's the
prim proper schoolmarm in me saying that I must, simply must use
the word WHOM, if only to prove that I studied my grammar -- and
there's the rest of me saying that if I use the word WHOM I will
come off sounding like a prim and proper schoolmarm. Dilemmas,
dilemmas! The schoolmarm inside me is very strong, but so is the
recognition that schoolmarms comprise a minor part of the

Their for the singular 
A couple of decades ago, people finally realized that women make up
more than half the world and that it was kind of odd to write as if
they did not exist. I'm referring to sentences such as: 

        Does everyone have his ticket? 

Women were supposed to be implied in the sentence above, just as
they were supposed to be implied in words and phrases such as
workmen's compensation, mankind, and mailman. Occasionally they
were not implied at all, such as in the word paperboy. In my youth
I had a paper route, and customers couldn't figure out whether to
call me a paperboy or a papergirl -- a word that wasn't really used
then. None of them seemed to come up with the phrase "paper
carrier." (I had no intention of being a feminist or a trail-blazer
-- I always assumed that women were equal -- I just wanted to get
the job done and to make some money.) However, people began to
realize that women were not implied in sentences such as the
question above, and they started suggesting alternatives. The one
that was used at first was: 

        Does everyone have his or her ticket? 

This sentence is grammatically correct, and for a while this
solution to the problem dominated -- and it's still applied
frequently today. Unfortunately, this approach is inherently
cumbersome, as it involves more words, and occasionally its
application can be particularly awkward: 

        Each person should do his or her homework him- or herself. 

There are a number of ways to get away from such awkward language.
The sentence could be re-written: 

        Each person should do his or her own homework. 

Or, to sidestep the "his or her" issue entirely, we could write
using the plural as opposed to using the singular 

        People should do their homework themselves. 

The plural works well and can be used in many situations. The
problem is that the speaker or the writer needs to plan ahead, and
begin the sentence in the plural. Most people seem to be accustomed
to speaking or writing in the singular, and so they begin sentences
in the singular, discover that they've got a gender issue later,
and switch to the plural later within the sentence. Therefore one
encounters sentences like these: 

        Does everyone have their ticket? 
        Everyone should do their homework themselves. 

Occasionally some people try to get it both ways, and I've
encountered compromises like: 

        Everyone should do their homework themself. 

Microsoft Word objects to the word THEMSELF but the preceding two
examples made it through without any protest on the part of my word
processor. Perhaps eventually the language will change and the word
THEMSELF will become acceptable, too. 

You know better than me: or do you? 

The sentence: 

        You know better than me. 

is another common instance of incorrect grammar. Some of you may
have heard or read or said or written it so often that it has begun
to sound correct -- and perhaps it has already passed into the
realm of acceptable speech; I'm not sure. I admit that the

        You know better than I.

sounds stuffy. In case you're wondering why it is correct while the
first version is not, the problem lies in the case of the pronoun.
As the two people (you and I) are being compared through the use of
the word than, they should both be in the same case -- in this
instance, the subject. 

Unfortunately the explanation, relying technical terms, may be
confusing. So let's expand the last example: 

        You know better than I do. 

Here you can see that by adding the word do, there's a reason that
the pronoun "I" belongs in this sentence. The word DO -- or some
other verb -- is always implied, so "I" is always grammatically
correct. You can see this if you look at the sentence: 

        You know better than me do. 

still seems strange and wrong to most readers and speakers, and it
shows why ME is not the word that belongs in the sentence! 

On the other hand, sentences such as 

        You know better than me. 
        He's older than her. 
        We're richer than them. 

appear everywhere, and the technically and grammatically correct
versions often sound wrong -- unless you expand the sentence, which
you can't do in every situation. 

What to do; what to do? If I only knew! Actually, I will make some
suggestions later, but these suggestions don't rid us of the fact
that there is a grammatical dilemma. 

Nouns and verbs 
Another area in which the English-speaking peoples tend to push the
envelope -- or rather, tend to push around their words -- is in how
they use their words. Words which were originally nouns are used as
verbs, or nouns start behaving like adjectives, and so on. In this
section, however, we're only going to look at nouns being
transformed into verbs ("verbified" nouns). 
Here's our first example: ACCESS. The word ACCESS used to only be
accepted as a noun, originating in the 14th century; according to
the online MW dictionary, ACCESS officially became a verb in 1962.
Here are sentences illustrating the different usages: 

        The peasant had no access to the king. (Access as noun) 

        The Alzheimer patient could no longer access his memories. 
        (Access as verb) 

Here are a few more examples of nouns becoming verbs: 

        She gifted the hostess with flowers. 

        The mayor architected a solution to save the city. 

I'm not yet at ease with these instances, but perhaps time and
experience will make me more comfortable. And despite the fact that
not every experiment is pleasing to the ear, I admit that I have a
sneaking admiration for these sorts of "abuses" to the English
language. They remind me of Humpty-Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's "Alice
Through the Looking Glass," who maintained that he made words work
for him and not the other way round. 

So, whether you like it or not, the English language is changing --
as it should! 

How should this affect your writing? 
First, I think you should be aware of these grammatical gray areas.
This awareness allows you to make informed choices. 

Second, you should consider your audience. If your audience will be
happier with WHOM rather than WHO, why not use it? Unless, of
course, you WANT to annoy your readers! 

Third, the changing nature can be used to differentiate your
characters' voices. An older, formally educated person might use
the expression HIM OR HER while a younger person would prefer THEM. 

Fourth, within the non-dialogue portions of your story, decide
which way you prefer to write and be consistent. 

This column has given only a few examples of how the English
language is changing.  Influences include texting; blogs; the
internet; campaigns which adopt a word and change its meaning. 
Consider the word GAY.  I'm old enough that I learned the old,
happy-go-lucky meaning, but now when I read literature from the
nineteenth century I have to remind myself that back then the word
had nothing to do with sexual orientation. 

These sorts of changes happen in other languages, too, although in
some countries there are groups that make rules regarding the
tongue. In English, however, dictionaries -- I love the "urban
dictionary" with its particularly modern approach -- tend to follow
current usage so our language remains fluid. We writers must
continue to grope while continuing to push the envelope.


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 Fiction Fix.  

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

Link to this article here:
Want to learn more about crafting fabulous fiction? Victoria now
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Sales of Graphic Novels Remain Upbeat
Last year US sales of graphic novels reached an impressive high,
with an increase in sales of 15% over the year before.  This year,
sales remain stable at this high figure, according to respondents
to the Publishers Weekly 2013 Annual Comics Retailer Survey.  For
more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/nuwrdlu
Amazon Launches Comic Book Imprint
Amazon Publishing has announced it is launching a new imprint, Jet
City Comics, which will publish graphic novels and comics.  Jet
City launches with new comics from George R.R. Martin, Hugh Howey,
and Neal Stephenson. "It's a dream to work with superstar authors
like George, Hugh and Neal on the launch of a new imprint," said
Alex Carr, Senior Editor of Jet City Comics. "Millions of fans have
read and loved their novels, and with Jet City we look forward to
opening up these iconic worlds to new audiences."  Jet City issues
will publish on Kindle as standalone comics, as serialized comics
released over multiple episodes, and as bundled graphic novels,
with print editions available at Amazon.com and other comics
For more on this story visit: 

Campaigners Fight to Keep UK Libraries Open
Over in the UK the Library Campaign group has warned that up to
1000 libraries could close in the very near future as a result of
funding cuts.  They state that 201 libraries were cut last year,
336 have been threatened with closure this year so far, and with a
further 40% cut in funding expected by 2016, there could be 1,000
libraries lost in the near future.  For more on this story visit: 


Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. Write a poem, 30 lines
or fewer on any subject and/or write a short story, 5 pages
on any theme, single or double line spacing, neatly hand printed
or typed, for a chance to win cash prizes. Deadline: 07-31-2013
Visit http://www.dreamquestone.com for details on how to enter!


Writing Jobs and Opportunities

Polis Books Seeks New Voices in Fiction
Polis Books is a new publisher that is seeking popular fiction
novels by new authors in the following genres:

--Crime Fiction (mystery, thriller, suspense, procedural,
traditional, etc)
--Science Fiction and Fantasy
--Commercial Women's Fiction

To find out more visit: http://www.polisbooks.com/submissions/

FreelanceWriting Looking for Writers
FreelanceWriting is currently seeking freelance writers to write
how-to articles.  Submission guidelines are at:

The editor is looking for writers to query with article ideas on
what they intend to write for our readers. They pay $25/article for
first electronic rights. New articles that we've recently published
by writers are available at 

New Literary Journal Open to Submissions
Fredericksburg Literary Review, an online literary journal, is now
open to submissions for its first issue.  They are looking for
poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction of up to 2,500 words. 

The reading period ends on July 30th.   
For guidelines visit: http://fredericksburgwriters.com/submissions/


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


FEATURE: Expanding Your Range as a Writer - with Your Camera
By Audrey Faye Henderson

You've probably heard the saying "a picture is worth a thousand
words," but as a writer, you may want your WORDS to paint your
pictures. Nonetheless, at least for nonfiction writers, it doesn't
hurt to be able to add photos to your prose.  However, that doesn't
mean investing in expensive equipment or photography lessons. You
probably already have a camera and skills that are good enough to
take any pictures you might need or want to take as a freelancer.

Writers and Photos
If you consider travel writing to be your main line of work, you
probably already include photos with many, if not most, of your
features. You may even have a professional digital or film camera. 
But even if you're not a full-time travel writer, the occasion may
arise for you to do a travel-related story. 

For instance, I recently sold a piece on how to do travel writing
close to home. The editor asked for photos to accompany the story,
so I included two shots: one of a downtown scene in Chicago,
another of a picturesque corner of my small Southern hometown. The
photos helped to make the case that travel writing is a viable
option even if you can't afford to get away to Bali or some other
exotic spot.

Travel writing is not the only genre where photos can enhance your
words. You may have occasion to shoot your own photos if you are a
regular contributor for small community-oriented news publications
that don't have photographers on staff. Editors of small- or
medium-size consumer or trade publications also often welcome
pitches for "packages" that include both copy and photos. 

There are a number of nonfiction genres where photos can give you
an edge in competing for assignments. For instance, if your
specialty is writing about art, architecture or interior design,
offering to include photos of the artwork, architecture or interior
spaces you describe in your features can definitely enhance your
pitches. Craft and cooking features also benefit from including a
photo or two to demonstrate the process of executing your recipes
or putting your projects together, as well as to showing off the
finished work. 

Good photos can also inspire your writing. Over the years, I've
developed the habit of carrying a camera nearly everywhere. I
frequently come across situations and locations that not only make
great photos, but trigger ideas for my work. For instance, on an
architectural walking and bus tour a few years back, we passed an
abandoned house on Chicago's south side that was literally falling
down.  I included the shot that I took of that house in a blog post
on tapping abandoned structures for affordable housing, as well as
in my 2012 Green Festival presentation on the same topic. When an
editor for the Chicago edition of TimeOut magazine contacted me for
an interview in December, I provided a copy of the same photo to
include with his story.

Taking Your Best Shots
Unless you loathe taking pictures, your skills are probably already
good enough to take photos that will enhance your stories. I
consider myself a hobbyist photographer at best. I like taking
pictures, but I don't have a professional portfolio or even a
Flickr page. However, I've developed an eye for the types of photos
that work well with words. 

You can develop the same skill by considering what aspects of your
writing can best be augmented by photos.  For instance, in taking
and choosing photos for the travel-writing feature I mentioned
above, I considered the central theme of my story: that interesting
topics for travel writing stories can be readily found close to
home.  So, instead of including a photo of the Sears (oops, Willis)
Tower, I chose a spot downtown that included a marquee from a
theater in Chicago's "Broadway in Chicago" district. For the
downtown shot from my home town, I included photos of buildings
included in the National Register of Historic Places.

In composing your shots, trust your own eyes.  What looks good to
you in a picture?  What seems to tell a compelling story when you
look at it? If you're worried about being too close to the subject
to make that kind of judgment, show the pictures you're considering
to a friend, and ask for impressions. 

What You Need
Of course, having a professional level camera doesn't hurt when
you're shooting photos for your features.  If you want to purchase
a top-of-the-line model, or put a great camera on your birthday
wish list, go for it.  But there's really no need to strain your
budget by running out to buy an expensive camera. 

The camera I've been using is a simple point-and-shoot five
megapixel digital model that I purchased in 2007 for under $100. 
It has a slot for a memory card, a zoom lens, settings for wide
angle and close-in shots and a USB port for transferring photos
from the memory card to my computer.  Your Smartphone probably has
a camera that is at least as good as this one.  Along with shooting
photos for writing assignments, I've used the same camera to take
photos to accompany guest blog posts and for photos I've included
in PowerPoint presentations for speaking engagements. 

If you don't already have it, purchasing software on your computer
to adjust your photos is well worth the investment. Unless you
intend to go pro, don't give yourself sticker shock by buying the
full blown Photoshop suite. I use a program called Jasc Paint Shop
Photo Album 5.0 that was pre-installed on my computer for a free
trial period. When the trial period ended I purchased the software
for about $50. The software program crops, resizes, rotates and
makes minor photo corrections such as adding flash or eliminating
redeye, which is all I've ever needed. 

I have used the crop, rotate and resize functions more far often
than any other functions.  Resizing is especially important,
because some uploading platforms place limits on the sizes of photo
files they'll accept. On the other hand, some editors specify a
minimum size for photo files. Some editors will specify that photos
adhere to specific pixel sizes, e.g. 1,000 by 500; others request
photos sizes in inches. Your photo editing program will (or should)
indicate pixel sizes for your photo files as well as include a
means of determining the equivalent sizes of photo files in inches.

Size Matters
Digital files can be huge, and transmitting photos electronically
via email or uploading can be problematic. One way of keeping photo
files at a somewhat manageable size is through compression, usually
through .GIF or .JPEG extension files, both of which are compatible
with Macs, PCs and computers running other operating systems.  BMP
files and other proprietary file extensions should be converted to
JPEG or GIF files using the "save as" function to preserve copies
of the original files along with converted files that can be
submitted to editors.
GIF compression is lossless -- that is, no information is removed
from the photo file during the compression process. However, GIF
compression only accommodates up to 256 colors. For this reason,
GIF compression is often used for graphic files such as infographs,
line drawings and other graphics that include only a limited number
of colors.  

JPEG compression is lossy -- picture information is permanently
removed from the photo file with each compression process. However,
JPEG compression can recognize up to 16 million colors. When using
JPEG compression for photos to submit to editors, set your photo
editing program to save photos with lower compression and
higher-quality settings. Such settings can produce compressed
photos that are as much as 50 to 70 percent smaller than
uncompressed images, but with no loss of quality that would be
noticeable to anyone other than a professional photographer or

Submitting Your Photos
When I've included photos with my stories, I've submitted them as
attached files with my text.  Some editors have specified specific
photo file sizes; most have not.  Less frequently, I've submitted
photos by uploading them onto the publisher's platform. Photo
uploading platforms usually include specific instructions on how to
upload files, along with acceptable file types and size ranges. In
the absence of specific guidelines, I've found that files where the
largest dimension is no more than 1,000 pixels are large enough to
reproduce well and small enough to upload without problems.

There may be publications that prefer writers to submit print
photographs, but I don't know of any. I have not yet been asked to
submit a CD with photo files by mail, although my understanding is
that some publications prefer or even require them. If the writer's
guidelines don't specify how to submit photos, and your editor
hasn't given you specific instructions on how to do so, ask before
you submit anything.

Rights and Reuse
One consideration when you include photos with freelance writing
assignments is the matter of copyright. Many news organizations
purchase all rights or insist on a work-for-hire agreement when
they contract with freelancers. That said, copyright for photos
submitted with stories has not been a major stress point for me. 

My solution to this potential dilemma is to take several shots of
any location that I think I might include with a feature. I also
crop shots to create entirely new pictures to submit to editors,
which frees the original shot from any copyright encumbrances.  In
some instances, you can negotiate to retain the copyright to your
photos or obtain permission to reuse them at a later date, even if
the publication buys all rights to the story itself.

So next time you're heading out on assignment, take your camera
along.  A picture really can be worth a thousand words -- in your


Audrey Faye Henderson is a writer, researcher, data analyst and
policy analyst based in the Chicago area. Her company, 
http://www.knowledge-empowerment.net/, specializes in social policy
analysis concerning fair housing, affordable housing, higher
education for nontraditional students, community development with
an asset based approach and sustainable development in the built
Copyright Audrey Faye Henderson 2013

Link to this article here: 
For more advice on taking photographs to help sell your articles

STUMPED BY YOUR PLOT?  Bored by your characters?  Wondering how to
craft a scene that sings?  "Fiction: From Writing to Publication"
offers a step-by-step guide to help you through all the perils and
pitfalls of writing a novel, drawn from the experience of the co-
authors of more than 40 published books. "The answer to a beginning
novelist's prayer, and a good refresher for others." Available on
Kindle (http://tinyurl.com/arfffct) and Smashwords



By Dawn Copeman

Last month, Tim Armstrong sent us a question on writing flashbacks.
 He asked: "Should a flashback be written entirely in the past
tense, or is it okay to segue into the present tense once the
reader has made the transition?

"In the example I'm struggling with, the protagonist is recalling
the day before, so dialogue is still clear in her mind. But writing
it out with all those 'she had said' tags robs it of immediacy and
dulls down the emotional content in a scene of conflict.

"In the earlier drafts, I unthinkingly reverted to recounting the
events in 'real time', (i.e. the present tense) after setting the
stage. I liked it better, but I fear that an editor would think it
an amateurish mistake."

Christine Venzon thinks that the present tense could work: "At
first the idea sounded rather jarring, but if used only in a short
scene, and not too often, I think it could work to create the
immediacy, as he said (something like a dream sequence). Perhaps he
should read Moira's article on breaking the rules, which
fortuitously appears in the same newsletter as his question."

Thanks, Christine. 

Richard says that Tom can "avoid the whole 'he said/she said'
problem by writing the first few sentences in the past tense to
establish the change of scene to a flashback, then write the rest
of the flashback in the present tense."

He continues with a caution, "This can be very tricky to do at
first, and you must make the transition back to the action of the
story very clear cut. I advise you to work out whether you really
need the flashback at all and if you do, work at it until it
shines. I eventually cut the flashbacks from my story and found it
made my story read much better, so much so it was published!"

Paula, on the other hand, thinks that "flashbacks work best in the
past-tense, if only to let the reader know that we are not in the
present part of the story.  You can surely find ways around the 'he
said', 'she said' tags by just not using them, and finding other
ways to indicate who has spoken.

"The only exception I can think of to this is when the entire book
is written in the present tense as with some police procedurals
written in the 3rd person throughout.  In such books flashbacks can
be written in the present tense if an explanatory paragraph is used
to tell the reader that this character is remembering something.

"Personally, I would advise Tom to read more in the genre of his
choice to see how it has been handled by authors he admires."

That is good advice for us all there, Paula.  Writers often forget
that we must also be readers.  We need to read lots of books to
find out what works and what doesn't.  This doesn't mean we copy
another writer's style, but we see how they tackle problems we are
currently facing in our writing and we learn from them as
experienced and published writers.

I have personally found the following sites very useful when it
comes to the subject of writing flashbacks:




Our question this month comes from John Conclive.  He wrote: "I've
been asked to help launch a book club here in Nigeria.  I have many
questions for the Writing-World community such as: How is a book
discussed in a meeting? Does everyone just start saying what he
feels about the book? Do people raise questions for members to
answer? If so what is the sequence of answering the questions? I
just want to have a clue as to the working of a book group."

Have you set up a book club, or maybe you regularly attend one? Can
you help John with his questions?  If so, send an email with the
subject line "Inquiring Writer" to editorial 'at'

Also email me if you have a question you would like to put to our
writing world community. 

Until next time, 



Copyright Dawn Copeman 2013

Dawn Copeman is a British freelance writer, copywriter and eBook
ghost-writer 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 http://www.linkedin.com/in/dawncopeman
This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained.  


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Kapow! The Basics of Writing for Graphic Novels
This page from writing site 'fuel your writing' does exactly what
it says on the tin: it shows you the basics you need to know if you
want to write graphic novels.  

Top Graphic Novel Reviews.com 
This site goes into much more detail on how to write graphic novels
and how to set about getting them published. 

The Creative Penn
This is a fantastic blog that covers writing and publishing
nonfiction and fiction in most genres.  It has a great selection of
articles containing advice on everything from how to find the time
to write, to how to market books. It also has many podcasts
including interviews with agents.  This is well worth a visit. 


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: September 1, 2013
GENRE: Poetry 
DETAILS: 14 line traditional poem on any theme.
PRIZES:  $50, $35, $15
URL:  http://www.poetsandpatrons.net/Schaibel.html 
DEADLINE:  September 16, 2013
GENRE:  Short Stories
OPEN TO: US residents aged 21+
DETAILS: Submit a maximum of three stories per person, 2,500 words
per story.
PRIZE:  $750 and publication.   

DEADLINE: September 17, 2013
OPEN TO:  Full-time 12th graders or college students
GENRE:   Nonfiction
DETAILS: Write an essay to answer one of the three essay questions
on the website about Rand's novel 'Atlas Shrugged'.  800 - 1,600
PRIZES: $10,000, $2000, $1000, $100, $50

DEADLINE: September 19, 2013
GENRE: Non fiction
OPEN TO: US Residents aged 19+
DETAILS: 1000 - 1,500 words personal essay on the theme: " What's
the bravest thing you've ever done?"
PRIZES: $3000, $750, $500 and publication in Real Simple
URL:  http://tinyurl.com/kk5ajx
DEADLINE: September 30, 2013
GENRE:  Nonfiction, short stories
DETAILS:  One story or essay 10,000 words maximum. 
PRIZE: $250, both categories compete together. 
URL: http://www.hofferaward.com/ 

DEADLINE: September 30, 2013
GENRE: Short stories
OPEN TO: Previously unpublished fiction writers. 
DETAILS:  17,000 words max science-fiction, horror or fantasy
PRIZES:  $1,000 first prize awarded each quarter; one of those
winners also receives the $5,000 annual "Gold Award" grand prize.
Each quarter, 2nd Prize $750, 3rd Prize $500
URL:  http://www.writersofthefuture.com/contest-rules


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

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