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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 14:08          13,240 subscribers            April 17, 2014
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: The Secret of Success, by Moira Allen 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: A Story, B Story, (Part Two: Challenges
of Working with Multiple Plots), by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: FICO Scores for Clients? (How to gauge the probability of
getting paid for your work), by Jennifer Brown-Banks  
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Poetry Submissions, by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf   
Who Stumbled on the Secret of Making 6-Figures from Home as a
Writer! Click Here for Free Video
* FEEDBACK. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
* CONTESTS. Over 50 contests are always open and free to enter.
* FUN! Get feedback, enter writing contests, and learn.
superb instruction with unparalleled flexibility. Students and 
faculty work together at a 10-day residency (in Louisville or 
abroad), after which students return home to study independently 
with a faculty mentor. For details, request FA90 from 
mfa@spalding.edu, or visit http://spalding.edu/mfa.


The Secret of Success

Eventually, every even moderately successful writer  hears "the
question."  It is, I think, an inevitable part of being a writer. 
It's the question that sets us scratching our heads and wondering
if there is anything we can possibly say that hasn't been said by,
oh, I don't know, every writing magazine, book, newsletter,
conference, instructor and what-have-you for well over a century. 
(I happen to know this last bit for a fact, having come across the
same advice in Victorian magazines of the 1880's that we strive to
convey to writers today!)

The question, of course, is "What is the secret of success?"  It
isn't always phrased that way, but the meaning comes through every
time.  "How did you get to where you are?  How can I get to where
you are?"

Someone recently asked me how he could obtain the same level of
traffic for his new website (started a month earlier) that I
receive for Writing-World.com (started over 13 years ago).  Hint:
At least part of the answer lies within the parentheses!  When
someone asks me how to get to where I am today, I'm tempted to say,
"Keep counting those birthdays!"

That's not as dismissive as it sounds.  One of the secrets of
success -- and one that "People Who Ask This Question" (PWATQ)
often least want to hear -- is, quite simply, TIME.  There are, in
the writing world, very few genuine "overnight successes."  There
are overnight DISCOVERIES -- but generally one finds that the
discoveree has been laboring at his or her craft for years.  

On the other hand, many people ask this question precisely BECAUSE
they have already been laboring for years, and find themselves no
closer to success than when they began.  Time is important, but
time alone does not bring success.  Time makes us older; it
doesn't, by itself, make us "better."

The key is not just time, but what one does with that time.  And
here, I believe, the "secret of success" can be summed up in two
words: "Education" and "Experience."

Education, experience, and time are inextricably linked.  You
cannot have education without time; you cannot gain experience
without time.  Education is essential for a writer, but it is
worthless without experience; experience, conversely, may lead one
nowhere without education.  So let's break this "secret" down into
its component parts.

Let's start with education, because -- well, because that's where a
writer's career SHOULD start.  Thousands of would-be writers are
doomed to failure from the very beginning, because they do not want
to take the time to learn the BUSINESS of writing.  Many writers
have been seduced by the belief that writing is a purely "creative"
enterprise, and that all that "left-brain" stuff about business and
market research and record-keeping just isn't what creative people
are all about.  Unfortunately, it IS what SUCCESSFUL creative
people are all about, and so the first step in uncovering the
secrets to success is discovering the process that enables one to
BE successful.  

Education needn't mean going back to school.  It simply means
gathering knowledge.  It means taking information and turning that
information into "knowing."  To be a successful writer, you need to
"know your stuff."  Today, much of that knowledge can be gathered
from a host of free resources (Writing-World.com being one of
them).  It can be gathered from online classes, mentors, coaches,
and critique groups.  It can be found in books.  In short, it can
be found in so many places, at so little cost, that there is
virtually no excuse for a would-be writer NOT to be "educated"
about what is involved in becoming a successful writer.

However, education is only half the battle.  One can learn any
number of facts, and be no closer to success, if one does not
actually put that knowledge into practice.  In other words, one
also has to get out and DO something.  One has to write, of course
-- and a surprising number of PWATQ don't, actually, do that. 
(Quite a few, in fact, are the sort who have a "great idea" and
"just need someone to write it down" and "we can split the
profits.")  One can't become an effective interviewer by reading
about how to conduct interviews (though it's a wise place to
start); one actually has to go out and DO interviews.  One can't
become an effective researcher by reading loads of tips on
conducting research; one has to start hunting up those elusive
facts for oneself.  One can't break into a market by reading market
guides; one has to actually submit.

And here's where education and experience intertwine.  Without a
grounding education in the business and craft of writing, a writer
is blundering in the dark.  He or she may gain experience -- but
rarely will it be useful.  Without "education" in such issues as
how to craft a marketable article, how to format a story for
submission, how to locate and contact appropriate markets, and most
of all, how to identify areas and skills that need improvement, a
writer's "experience" may be worse than useless.  At best, it will
become a litany of "things that didn't work," an endless source of

I see this frustration all too often in e-mails from writers who
are writing or have written a book -- and are now unable to
comprehend why they are unable to find a publisher.  When a writer
contacts me and confides that she has a "wonderful book" but "just
doesn't have a lot of money to pay a publisher," I know I'm dealing
with someone who has skipped the "education" part of the equation. 
Unfortunately, all too often, the writer in question doesn't want
to hear about the need for education, because she wants to get that
book published NOW -- not spend the TIME needed to learn how the
business works.  Equally unfortunately, that writer is going to
spend pretty much the majority of her writing career wondering why
success remains such an elusive "secret."

But... I can hear the PWATQ asking... But what about talent? 
Inspiration?  Creativity?  The Muse?  Aren't those important --
nay, even essential -- as well?  Are they not, in fact, even MORE
important than the dull, plodding steps of education and

Talent, inspiration and creativity are certainly important
ingredients in the formula for success.  However, talent alone
won't make one successful.  I've known many talented writers who
have never done anything with that talent -- and I've known plenty
of writers who would not describe themselves as "creative geniuses"
yet who have, nevertheless, done extremely well for themselves. 
Inspiration is wonderful; knowing what to DO with that inspiration
is even better.  

Education is worthless if not applied to experience.  Experience,
conversely, can lead a writer down all the wrong paths if not
guided by education.  Education requires time to acquire and
assimilate -- and by definition, experience can ONLY be acquired
over time.  Time, education, experience... the key to success isn't
a secret, it's a formula, available to any writer, anywhere.  

The real "secret" is the bit that, right now, only you know -- and
that's whether, as you're reading this, you're nodding... or
shaking your head.  Because the only real "secret" to success is
the road we choose for ourselves.  

-- 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:


A WRITER'S YEAR is the ONLY 365-day planner designed specifically
for writers!  It helps you plan your schedule, track your billable
hours, organize your tasks, keep track of important deadlines and
due-dates, and track your progress and achievements!  Each week
brings an inspirational writing quote. Best of all, it's F*R*E*E.
To download an electronic version in PDF or Excel, or information
on how to order a hardcopy (this year in two formats!), visit


A Story, B Story, Part Two: 
Challenges of Working with Multiple Plots)

By Victoria Grossack

In my last column we discussed the main plot and the subplot, known
in screenwriting as the A Story and the B Story (continuing down
the alphabet with additional subplots).  We defined what they are
and some of the reasons for using them.  In this column we will
review some of the challenges that you may face when you are
working with multiple storylines.

TRANSITIONS.  With multiple storylines, you will occasionally or
even frequently be asking your readers to shift from one storyline
to another.  A change of storyline can mean a different time,
place, and frequently a different set of characters.  You will need
to decide how and when to do it.  Perhaps you switch back and forth
between chapters; perhaps you switch less often.  In "The Lord of
the Rings," the second two books ("The Two Towers" and "The Return
of the King") are both divided into two parts.  In each case the
first part follows everyone but Frodo and Sam (the ring bearers)
and the second part focuses on the ring bearers.  At any rate,
whenever you hop from one storyline to another, you will need to
include information to orient your readers (unless, of course, you
want to confuse them).

Some authors manage transitions between storylines by following
Character A into a scene in which Character B is introduced or
included.  The next scene follows Character B and continues with
B's storyline.  This transition can be so smoothly done that some
readers may barely notice it; to me it is like passing the baton in
a relay race.

Yet another method of managing a transition is to focus on a mood
or conversation or some other commonality as you move from one
storyline to the next.  In "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," there is a
scene in one story where one character asks of her lover, "You're
leaving me?" while another reacts to receiving the same news from
another character (Willow/Tara and Buffy/Giles in the episode
"Tabula Rasa").  In "The Realms of Gold" by Margaret Drabble, she
writes about two cousins who have not yet met, transitioning by
mentioning that they were both simultaneously dining on shepherd's
pie and peas.  In the first example the common thread is
significant and serious; in the latter the link is fairly trivial.

POINTS OF VIEW.  Unless you are writing in the omniscient point of
view, when you shift from one storyline to another you will also be
changing your storytelling's point of view.  If Character A is a
wealthy movie star, he will feel differently about an expensive
restaurant than, say, Character B, the teenage runaway, who may be
rummaging through the restaurant's dumpster and eating what was
scraped off of A's dinner plate.  Changing point of view always
requires work, in what you choose to portray and which words you
select to express the experience.

MOODS.  Another issue deserving attention in developing your main
plot and your subplots is figuring out which emotions they will
evoke in your readers and whether or not they "go" together. 
Aristotle, who liked "unity" (and generally didn't approve of
subplots) would have recommended maintaining a consistent mood. 
Several recent bestsellers follow his advice.  Consider Suzanne
Collins's "The Hunger Games," Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," and
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."  In all these
novels, the suspense is pretty much nonstop.

However, we are under no obligation to follow the recommendations
of Aristotle, who was certainly brilliant but not known for his
fiction.  Shakespeare, who can also be held up as an icon, broke
the rule all the time. Sometimes a bit of humor sprinkled into a
serious story relieves the tension.  You may feel that your story
has more depth when it evokes more than a single emotional response
in your readers.  So you may want to sprinkle some levity into your
drama or mix some romance into your suspense.  In a way this
approach can give your characters (and hence the readers) something
to hope for: a world in which tragedy does not dominate and there
is time for laughter; a time in which danger does not threaten and
there is time for love.

On the other hand, sometimes it can be in bad taste to have
something light and witty right after something serious.  There was
an episode ("Life Support") of Star Trek's "Deep Space Nine" in
which the A Story, which involved the excruciatingly slow death of
a beloved character, was accompanied by a B story that was supposed
to be funny but under the circumstances simply seemed offensive. 
Even those working on DS9 later admitted that the combination was a

Combining different moods will always take judgment -- that's art!
-- and no matter what you do, you probably won't please everyone. 
I believe it helps to be aware of this, and ask how the readers
will feel reading a scene in Story B, given the mood you have
created in Story A. 

WHICH STORY IS A?  In most novels, it is clear which story is the
main plot and which story is the subplot -- but by "most," I mean
more than fifty percent, not almost one hundred percent.  Sometimes
you will start a novel intending for a particular storyline to be
story A, but then a subplot becomes so interesting that it takes
over.  In a way it is an embarrassment of riches to have competing
storylines. I think one reason this happens is because the
protagonist in story A can be such a straight arrow that he or she
is no longer that interesting and lacks story potential, whereas
the less perfect characters actually have more interesting

If you discover that this is happening while you are writing, you
should at least determine why it is happening.  Perhaps Story B is
based on a personal experience and so is simply easier to write. 
Perhaps something is blocking your from writing what you mean to be
Story A and you need to take steps to unblock yourself.  Perhaps
your novel will simply be different than what you originally
expected or planned (they often are).

If you find yourself still drawn to the characters and events of
Story B, even when you're not having trouble with Story A, then
perhaps you have discovered that your next book will be about the
characters in Story B.

TIMING.  Do all the storylines begin at the same time?  Do they all
end around the same time?  This is where you will need to review
and perhaps tinker with your different stories, so that their
emotional high points appear when you want them to in relation to
everything else in your narrative.  You may even need to create
some delaying tactics if one is resolving too quickly.  There's a
lovely example from "Deep Space Nine" when the writers realized in
the final set of episodes that the storyline involving Gul Dukat
and Kai Winn was finishing too soon.  The writers moved the
characters off the stage by striking Dukat with blindness for a
while so that the other storylines could catch up.  Of course,
stories A and B do not need to have simultaneous high points and
low points -- and in some books where you are skipping between
different time periods there is no "real simultaneity" -- except
for how you arrange the pages (which is actually what matters
anyway).  Still, arranging the stories so that they fit together
will make a difference to what your readers experience, so it is

RESOLUTIONS. When you have multiple storylines -- assuming that you
cannot resolve them all at the same time -- you will need to decide
the order in which you will resolve them.  To do this you will need
to consider both the emotional journey you wish to give to your
readers as well as what order of resolution is logical as dictated
by the parameters of your story.  In "The Lord of the Rings," the
traveling hobbits only deal with the events of the Shire near the
end of "The Return of the King" because they are not in the Shire
until the end of that book.

Often the most important conflict is one of the last to be
resolved, while what follows is literally known as anti-climactic. 
You generally want to push the most important resolution to very
near the end, although the very end is often a lighter note (known
as the tag in series television).  Many detective stories end with
the solution and then a page or two showing that life has returned
to normal.  Perhaps a tiny thread, forgotten by most of the
readers, is tied up at the end.

CONCLUSION.  Now that I have finished talking about ending your
storylines, it's time to end this two-part article.  Until next


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; and Antigone & Creon), based on Greek myths and
set in the late Bronze Age. On her own she has written The Highbury
Murders, in which she channeled the spirits and styles of Jane
Austen and Agatha Christie.  Her newest novel is Academic
Assassination (A Zofia Martin Mystery) - available now on Kindle
and coming soon in print.  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 2014 Victoria Grossack. 

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
offers one-on-one writing classes; find out more at: 


WritingCareer.com is a free online resource to find paying markets
for your poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Updated daily, we report
on current needs of editors and publishers who are open for
submissions, pay competitive rates, and do not charge reading fees.



Bloomsbury Launches 'Clean' YA Line
Bloomsbury has announced a new range of 'clean teen' romance YA
titles that will be published in the 'If Only' series. These novels
will be 'less dreary' than other YA titles.  For more on this story
visit: http://tinyurl.com/ovfrsr4

Pulitzer Prize Winners 2014
The Oscars of the book world have been announced and Donna Tartt
has won the fiction award for her novel "The Goldfinch."  Other
winners include Dan Fagin (general nonfiction), Vijay Seshadri
(poetry) and Margaret Fuller (Biography/Autobiography). This year,
interestingly,  there was no winner for feature writing. Each
winner receives $10,000. For more on this story visit: 

Children's Book More Offensive than Erotica?
The Captain Underpants series of books for children was the most
challenged book of 2013, according to the ALA. A challenged book is
one that has received written or formal complaints requesting that
a book be removed from a library.  The infamously erotic "50 Shades
of Grey" series only made it to number four on the list.  For more
on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/nmuaysa


EVERY WRITER NEEDS A HOLIDAY!  Moira Allen's new "The Writer's
Guide to Holidays, Observances and Awareness Dates" offers 1800 of
them for instant inspiration on those days when you can't think of
a thing to write about!  Holiday topics are a perennial favorite of
magazine editors around the world -- so fuel your inspiration and
jumpstart your articles today!  Available in print and Kindle
editions; visit http://www.writing-world.com/year/holidays.shtml


Writing Jobs and Opportunities

The Alligator Literary Magazine is Open to Submissions
Our magazine was, at first, just an experiment. We were just a
bunch of college grads with differing modes of creating art, and we
founded The Alligator as a way to share what we made with our
friends and family. Now we are a monthly periodical that publishes
experienced and emerging artists from around the globe. Our goal is
grow large enough to have a printed version along with our online

What we especially look for are works that have a distinct voice
and an element of risk. We want our contributors to have a platform
where they feel safe experimenting with their wildest ideas. For
this reason we don't limit ourselves to a specific genre; we accept
fiction, nonfiction, poetry, visual art, comics, photography, and

One can submit one's work by sending an e-mail with attachments to

There is no submission fee. And unfortunately, right now, there is
no payment for contributors, but we are looking to change that in
the near future.

You can find more information about submissions and guidelines by
following this link:  http://www.alligatormagazine.com/submit.htm.
Boos Books Seeking Children's Books
Boos Books is currently looking for novels, novellas, short story
collections and children's books in any genre.  Whilst preference
is given to writers living in the East and West Midlands, they are
open to submissions by authors living anywhere in the world. 

The reading period closes on May 1st.  For detailed guidelines
visit: http://boobooks.net/submissions/

FEATURE:   FICO Scores for Clients? 
(How to gauge the probability of getting paid for your work)

By Jennifer Brown Banks

One of the most common complaints about freelance work is pay
issues. From low pay to late pay, to no pay, it's a "work-related
hazard" that impacts writers of all levels and genres. It's so
pervasive, in fact, that watchdog efforts through "Writers Beware"
and "Whispers and Warnings" became necessary to protect freelancers
and enforce our rights.    

Adding insult to injury is a tough economy, where collections of
all kinds have become problematic. This is why businesses are doing
their "due diligence" to make sure that customers have a history of
timely payments, and that they are in good financial health before
signing on the dotted line. This is determined by their collective
F.I.C.O (Fair Isaac and Company) credit analytics.

As business owners, freelancers should follow suit. Late and missed
payments can impact our quality of life, cause undue hardship, and
make it difficult to provide for our families.  And though you
can't obtain their credit information per se, there are ways for
you to easily research and analyze the backgrounds of potential
clients to assess the likelihood of future pay and profitability.
(Crystal ball optional).


F - Feedback 
When you perform a Google Search on the individual or company, do
you see any complaints? Are Blog comments typically positive? How
about reviews through Amazon or consumer websites? Be wary if
there's a lot of negative press or shady activities reported.

I - Image
Is their branding smart and savvy? Is their marketing message clear
and effective? Would you "buy into" what they're selling? Does the
company have a blog? Is it updated regularly with quality posts?
What are the analytics at their site? Do they get a lot of
visitors? To check and assess visit http://www.ALEXA.COM  for
details. These are a few things to consider in your evaluation

C - Continuity 
How long has the individual or business been in operation? Has it
been under the same structure and affiliation? Or have they been in
and out of different projects and pursuits under different names or
titles? You don't want to be affiliated with a "fly by night" or
someone who is still experimenting to find a successful business
model, at your detriment. For relevant details, you can request a
"Reliability Report" through the Better Business Bureau.  

O - Openings and Opportunities
This typically means business growth. A "We're Hiring" ad or
website section listing positions to be filled indicates
prosperity, expansion, and success, (at least on some levels).

Here are a few other important measures to ensure your "bottom
line" is protected, and to avoid unnecessary risk.

Require a deposit. 
Depending upon the type and scope of project, requesting a deposit
simply makes good business sense. I find that when clients are
"vested" financially at the launch of a project, they're typically
more committed to follow through. Why? During these tough economic
times, few people can afford to waste or lose money. A
(non-refundable) deposit covers you for initial research, time, and
creative input. While this practice may not be applicable when
working with magazine editors, I've often used it with copywriting,
editing and ghost writing projects. You should too.

Make it easy to have invoices honored.
Invoice in a timely manner. Provide various payment options. This
should include snail mail, PayPal, and wires. PayPal is my method
of choice, in that clients across the world can easily transmit
payments in a matter of minutes online. PayPal even has a
user-friendly invoice system for tracking and follow-up. There's a
bonus here. Even if you don't have an existing account, senders can
transmit payments through your email address. For details, see

Don't overlook the legal protection afforded by contracts.
Gone are the days when one can rely on a firm handshake to seal a
deal.  Establishing a signed contract that specifically outlines
the terms of freelance projects, and agreed upon terms of payment,
shows that you mean business, and makes clients accountable. It
also makes payment enforcement efforts easier when dealing with
dead beats. Clueless on how to draft a contract? You'll find an
easy step-by-step lesson here: 

Be careful when providing "free consultations."
In an effort to drum up new business, sometimes freelancers will
provide no-cost consultations to prospective clients, whereby
they'll review marketing strategies, analyze a website, or provide
guidance and recommendations on a book query project. Sometimes
this can backfire. If too much info is given, it eliminates the
need for future help, as the client may capitalize on provided
suggestions, and contract it out to someone who is cheaper, or do
it themselves. In other words: "Don't give away the farm."    

Avoid projects that are "contingency"-based.
In the past, I've been approached by potential clients to do work
and collect a fee when (and if) their project is funded and they
get paid. I am not a lawyer. Neither are you. Most scribes can't
afford to wait months or years down the line to be compensated for
their services. The exception here is grant-writing for a cause for
which you are passionate.

Get re-hired by past clients.
When possible, work with clients who have worked out successfully
in the past. There's great validity to Dr. Phil's motto: "The best
predictor of future behavior is past behavior." Though I love
meeting and working with new clients and businesses, there's great
confidence and comfort in doing repeat business with individuals
and organizations with whom I know I can rely to pay an honest wage
for an honest day's work. It simplifies the "madness" and saves
time. It will for you too.

You've worked hard to land work. But, if you can't collect what
you've earned, you've toiled in vain, wasting valuable time you can
never recover. 

Though there's always a degree of risk when applying to freelance
positions, you can protect yourself by following these timely tips,
and by reporting unscrupulous clients that  seek to take the word
"free" in freelancing literally. 


Copyright 2014 Jennifer Brown Banks 

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, ghost writer
and pro blogger with over a decade of experience in various genres.
For more tips on how to earn what you deserve, visit her
award-winning site: Pen and Prosper (

To find out more about copywriting read our archives at:

Or to find out more about blogging, check out this section of our

This article may not be reprinted without the author's written

Link to this article here: 


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


THE INQUIRING WRITER: Poetry Submissions

By Dawn Copeman

Our question last month came from Jules, who wanted to know how to
go about submitting poems to publications.  Jules wrote, "Do I send
in a query letter, or do I just send in my poems?  Can I send in
more than one at a time, say three, or do I just send in one?"

"I have submitted a few poems to online magazines and found that
many if not most publications state how many poems you can submit
at one time and if you should query before sending them," advises
Vicky Kennedy. She adds, "I would advise Jules to check guidelines
and if the publication doesn't give clear instructions to email and
ask them.  I'm never shy about asking."  

Erica agrees. She wrote: "I have found that by checking guidelines
online you can quickly find out how many poems you can submit at a
time.  In my experience it is generally three. If there are no
guidelines you could always email them and ask but do check if they
are open to submissions at that time.  If they are not and you
email in, you come across as an amateur."  That is an excellent
point, Erica.  

James also advises checking guidelines carefully.  He writes: "Some
literary magazines and ezines have very restricted reading periods,
so you should always check to see if they are open at that time or
not. I recommend regularly checking sites like 
http://www.writingcareer.com as they often carry details of newly
opened reading periods.

"Alternatively, check out Writers Market or, if you're in the UK,
the Writers and Artists Yearbook to find out about more poetry
publishers and their guidelines."

Great advice, James. I would also suggest checking out the Poets
Market 2014. 

Hazel, however, recommends Jules takes a different approach.  She
says: "It sounds as if James is a new poet, in which case, has he
considered entering contests first to gain experience and practice
in writing regularly?

"There are lots of free-to-enter poetry contests, many with cash
prizes ,and these are a good way to gain experience and get to know
your way around the poetry world."  As you know, here at
Writing-World we often advise people to try free-to-enter writing
contests as a way of improving their craft.  You can read more
about this here: http://www.writing-world.com/dawn/dawn.shtml

I have to say that there are other advantages to following Hazel's
advice.  A friend of mine who now works as a poet for hire sent her
very first poem to a competition run by a British writing magazine
and won first prize.  This helped her tremendously when she then
started submitting poems to magazines, as she could say she was a
'prize-winning' poet. 

I have little else to add to our readers' excellent advice this
month except to suggest that if you are keen on taking up writing
poetry and submitting it to magazines you need to familiarise
yourself with the poetry world.  I would suggest starting with our
own archive: http://www.writing-world.com/poetry/index.shtml

When you come to submitting your poetry, you need to find out what
types and styles of poems different magazines and ezines are
looking for.  Just as with article writing, each magazine has a
voice and a style and look for poems that 'fit' that style. So do
your research carefully, stick to the guidelines and then submit
your best work. 

This month's question comes from Edmund, who writes: "I am having
real difficulty in writing my novel.  I say novel, but I've
actually started four now and can't finish any of them.  I get the
characters and an initial situation but I can't seem to get beyond
that.  I find it difficult to create believable and yet interesting
dilemmas for them to solve to make the story more interesting.  I
know where I begin and where I want the story to end, but soon run
out of steam.  Can you help?"

I wish I could!  My novels have suffered a similar fate - I get
bored with my characters and story very quickly - which is probably
why I'm a nonfiction writer!  But if any of you can help Edmund,
please email me with the subject line Inquiring Writer to

Also please email in your questions too - my stock is running low!

Until next time, 



Copyright Dawn Copeman 2014

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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Poets & Writers
This is a good site to visit if you are interested in writing
poetry.  It has a good selection of articles from its print
magazine online and a handy database of grants and contests too. 

Poetic Power
This site is aimed at young writers.  It offers free to enter
contests in poetry and fiction writing and is judged by teachers
and educators. 

Poetry Writing Contests with No Fees
This is an excellent Hub Page created by Brian Scott that lists no
fee poetry contests for 2014 and 2015 with full details of deadline
dates and prizes.  To find out details about each contest you need
to copy and paste the contest title into Google.  



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: May 5, 2014
OPEN TO: Unagented debut authors born or resident in UK or Ireland
GENRE: Books
DETAILS:  Submit the first 15,000 words of your crime/thriller
novel and a synopsis of a maximum 800 words.  
PRIZE:  1000 and chance to meet with AM Heath agents.
URL: http://amheath.com/blog/criminal-lines/

DEADLINE: May 31, 2014 
GENRE:   Books
DETAILS:  Each entry must be an original unpublished work of 
Fiction of between 15,000 - 20,000 words that conforms to the
tradition of the Nero Wolfe series.   
PRIZE: $1000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. 
URL: http://tinyurl.com/ne2mfvh

DEADLINE:  May 31, 2014
GENRE:  Poetry
OPEN TO:  US students in Grades 11 and 12 
DETAILS:  Poems submitted should, in any way possible, evoke
humankind's awareness of the natural world and nature as such.  One
poem, any length or form. 
PRIZE: $200
URL: https://sites.google.com/site/savetheearthpoems/

DEADLINE: May 31, 2014
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS:  One story of up to 12,000 words
PRIZE: $700 and publication in Glimmer Train  
URL: http://www.glimmertrain.com/standard.html

DEADLINE: June 1, 2014
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO:  Authors with no published fiction books
DETAILS:   Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the
heart of the story, and emphasis is on the solution rather than the
details of the crime. The story' primary setting is the
Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following
states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Texas, and/or Utah. 60,000 words max.
PRIZE: $10,000 advance against royalties
URL: http://www.hillermanprize.com/ 

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
DEADLINE: June 30, 2014
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS:   Submit the worst possible opening sentence for a story
up to 60 words max.  Enter as many times as you like.
PRIZE: a pittance
URL: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/  


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