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

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World

                  http://www.writing-world.com

Issue 14:12          13,866 subscribers             June 19, 2014
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No material published in this newsletter may be
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otherwise noted. Unauthorized use is a copyright infringement.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
=================================================================
THE EDITOR'S DESK, by Moira Allen
	The Freedom of the Fourth 
FEATURE ARTICLE, by Jennifer Brown Banks
	Build Your Writing Business Through Testimonials 
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack
	Connect with Conjunctions
WRITING CONTESTS WITH NO ENTRY FEES  
PLUS: NEWS FOR WRITERS; JOBS & OPPORTUNITIES; THE WRITE SITES
                           
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FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK, by Moira Allen
=================================================================

The Freedom of the Fourth
-------------------------

Though June is only, technically, little more than half over, the
pop of the occasional firecracker tells me that the neighborhood is
already gearing up for the 4th of July.  For our non-American
readers, this is America's "Independence Day."  As I discovered in
preparing "The Writer's Guide to Holidays, Observances and
Awareness Dates," dozens of countries have similar days,
celebrating freedom and liberation.

For writers, "freedom" has a special meaning.  Freedom of speech is
the most fundamental right underlying our ability, our privilege,
to put words on paper and share them with the world.  In America,
we've had "freedom of speech" for so long that we tend to take it
for granted -- until we read accounts of other places where speech
is not so free.  We grieve when we hear of writers and journalists
who are forced to flee their homelands, or worse, lose their lives,
for speaking out.  And we fondly imagine that such things could
never happen here.

But the right to speak freely -- to say whatever you wish to say
and write whatever you wish to write -- is a two-edged sword. 
People have died to defend the right to speak and write "the
truth," to speak up for what is right, and to challenge and oppose
what is wrong.  But what about people who speak lies, and whose
words embody everything we consider to BE wrong?  What about people
who speak offensively about or to people of other genders, ethnic
groups, religious convictions, or political views?  Should people
be able to "get away" with racist or otherwise bigoted comments,
whether spoken or written?

There is a growing contingent in this country that believes the
answer should be "no."  Certain types of comments and views are
"offensive" and so, many believe, should not be uttered.  It's only
a short step from there to say that such comments should not be
"permitted" to be uttered.  And it's not such a long hop from there
to assume that people "guilty" of uttering such improper, offensive
views should be punished.

Now, let me make it abundantly clear that I am not arguing in favor
of offensive speech, or racist attitudes, or the host of evils that
can emerge when, in fact, anyone can say anything they wish.  On
the other hand, I'm not wildly in favor of the concept that people
can be punished for what they "believe."  This nation is built upon
the premise that people can believe whatever they like -- but that
they can only be "punished" for things they actually DO.  

Hence, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I can't help but wonder why
Clippers owner Don Sterling is being punished so resoundingly for
his COMMENTS (which are a protected expression of his beliefs)
rather than for a long history of discriminatory ACTIONS (which
were actually illegal).  Abdul-Jabbar went on to say that "we need
to be inspired to vigilantly seek out, expose, and eliminate racism
at its first signs."  Unfortunately, making a show of penalizing
someone for offensive words or thoughts actually makes it MORE
difficult to do just that!

Here's where that two-edged sword comes in.  In order to right
wrongs, to expose injustice, and to make the world a better place,
we have to be able to identify those wrongs and injustices. 
Suppressing a person's right to speak (or to speak in a manner
generally regarded as "offensive" or "inappropriate") is actually
the opposite of "exposure."  It encourages people to conceal their
unpopular beliefs, not to change them.  It removes the opportunity
for dialogue, for there can be no dialogue if the only voice that
is permitted to be heard is the voice that says the "right" things. 

The value of dialogue goes far beyond those who are actually
involved in the dialogue.  Dialogue may or may not change the views
of the individuals involved.  But a public dialogue has the
opportunity to do even more: It has the potential to change the
views of the "audience."  It reaches those who might be sitting on
the fence, who haven't thought much about a particular issue, or
who didn't even realize that the issue existed.  Hearing both sides
of a dialogue can be far more of an eye-opener than just hearing
one (especially if you're only hearing the side you already agree
with).  For example, hearing an actual racist comment or diatribe
is far more effective at getting one's attention (and evoking a
response) than just hearing well-meaning people endlessly repeating
"racism is bad."

A case in point is a recent "social experiment" that took place on
the streets of London.  The Pilion Trust charity set up a video in
which a man walked around with a sign that read "F*** the Poor." 
Not surprisingly, passersby were shocked and angered by the
insensitive sign.  People stopped, spoke out, engaged in
conversation, and generally expressed their disagreement with the
"offensive" sentiment.  But when the sign-bearer flipped his sign
to display a far more socially acceptable message asking for caring
people to show their support of the poor, people simply walked on
by.  (To watch the video, visit 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QG3IP8MtOg)

Finally, for us writers, here's the bottom line about freedom of
speech: No matter who we are, no matter what we believe, and no
matter what we say, somewhere, someone is going to disagree with
us.  Someone will find us offensive.  No matter who YOU are, there
is someone who believes you shouldn't be allowed to express (or,
perhaps, even to possess) your beliefs, no matter what those
beliefs happen to be.  In fact, I imagine it is quite likely that
many of my readers have already been in situations where they felt
they could not safely express themselves, and some may even be in
such situations today.

Freedom of speech came about only because writers and speakers took
the risk (sometimes to their very lives) to challenge the status
quo, and speak out against those who felt they had the right to
rule upon what could be said or written and what could not.  As
writers, therefore, our ability to speak and write freely depends,
to a very real extent, upon our own willingness to grant that same
ability to everyone else -- including those who we most vehemently
disagree with.  The day we decide that someone shouldn't be
"allowed" to express views we find offensive is the day we put our
own speech at risk.  Someone out there doesn't agree with you. 
Don't give that person the tools to silence you!

-- Moira Allen, Editor

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

This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained. (For an author bio and complete
details on reprint terms, please visit 
http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/reprints.shtml)

Link to this article here:
http://www.writing-world.com/coffee/coffee80.shtml

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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
http://www.writing-world.com/year/index.shtml

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FEATURE ARTICLE, by Jennifer Brown Banks
Build Your Writing Business Through Testimonials

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

Would you like to market your writing business with a minimal
investment of time and money?  Expand your client base and your
bottom line? Work "smarter, not harder" this year?

Here's the ticket: testimonials. They're one of the most effective
forms of "social proof" around. And here's the good news: you've
probably already been passively acquiring them already through the
quality services you provide.

Comments like: "Thanks Joe, for the terrific job you did on
creating the collateral pieces for our new clothing line" or:
"Mary, you have been a Godsend - your work on our website has
increased our traffic tremendously this quarter" can speak volumes
about your skill set, your creativity, and your performance record
as a freelancer. Giving you a much-needed competitive edge in these
tough times.  

What exactly are testimonials?
------------------------------

Testimonials are the equivalent of reference letters in the
corporate arena; they open doors. Dictionary.com defines them as:
"Something given or done as an expression of esteem, admiration, or
gratitude."

Consider the following statistics:

* 70% of consumers check online reviews or ratings before making a
purchasing decision.
* 20% more people will buy from a site with testimonials reflected
on their website.

Testimonials can come in different forms. Like celebrity
endorsements by Kirstie Alley, who gives the "skinny" on how she
lost weight through Weight Watchers. They can even be provided in
video form through mediums like YouTube. 

No matter how they're executed, in order for them to serve their
intended purpose and have optimal effect, they must be used
strategically and correctly. With this as our guiding goal, here's
what you need to know about using testimonials to cultivate new
business and "stay in the black."

The Wrong Way:
--------------
While reading the bio of an author's work in a popular newsletter,
I excitedly clicked on the embedded link to her website to learn
more about her services. When I did, I discovered an error that
many writers unfortunately make. Her testimonial was weak and
generic, and was more of a "courtesy comment" that editors
periodically send to contributors than a testimonial. See if you
agree. It read: "Nikita, I enjoyed reading your work. Thanks for
your submission."

Put yourself in the place of a potential client. Would this
statement inspire your confidence? Or cause you to choose this
writer over the many scribes offering similar services? Probably
not. 

Another author offered the following testimonial on her site as
well: "Interesting article."

Having an ineffective testimonial is just as bad as not having any
at all. There's a better way.

According to marketing expert Holly Buchanan, there are three
conditions for testimonials to have maximum impact.

* They must be specific
* They must overcome potential objections
* They must be strategically placed  
 
The Right Way:
--------------
Here are two testimonials I posted on my site's landing page to
establish my value to potential clients reviewing my online
"portfolio" with successful results:

"Jennifer Brown-Banks is, simply put, a jewel. I hired her to
design my blog because I enjoyed reading hers. Through the whole
process she was a knowledgeable and cheerful partner and the result
of her efforts is my own beautiful blog. I'd encourage anyone to
consider any of her services. You'll get a skilled, knowing, and
sensitive professional. Yeah, she's that good." ---Susan Sundwall,
Author

"I hired Jennifer for a Blog Consultation. With Jennifer's help, I
could see my blog more objectively. She gave me very clear and
concrete ways to improve my entire site. Within hours, I felt way
more confident about my online presence. She's friendly too. Even
in her emails, she provides service with a smile." ---S. Webb,
M.F.A.

They're specific. They're credible.  And they put me and my
services in a positive, professional light. And yours should too.

Here's another example of a strong testimonial that I read on
another writer's site -- a writer whom I later hired to work on a
project:

"Lisa is the 'Michael Jordan' of freelance writers. She's smart,
quick, reliable, and an asset to have on our team.  She never drops
the ball." 

What makes testimonials truly effective?
----------------------------------------
"Solid" testimonials highlight a writer's specific creative
strengths. They establish what separates him/her from the hundreds
of other service providers with similar offerings. 

They're also credible and convincing. They address how the writer
helped a client to solve a problem, enhance services, or make a
profit in his business. They are also accompanied by the provider's
name and the person's title or organization, (as opposed to just
initials).  

In many instances, the problem with using testimonials is one of
misperception. In other words, the unenlightened believe that it's
better to have 10 weak or vague testimonials than 2 or 3 strong,
illuminating ones. Not true. Quality trumps quantity here, always.

Experts "speak" out on testimonials...
--------------------------------------
Here's what a few authors and experts had to say on this topic:  

"First off, a testimonial is only effective if people are actually
reading your site. I think you need to meet these criteria as well.
The testimonials have to be short enough that website visitors will
actually read them. They should address the visitors' concerns. If
the author writes fiction, for example, you might want to make sure
it's clear that the story is entertaining. If the work is
nonfiction, perhaps the emphasis should be clarity. And last but
not least, it helps if the testimonial is from both a name and an
organization that has credibility. Really, the best approach to
obtain them is to simply ask. In order to be in a position to ask,
you need to develop a good relationship with the client. Normally
you wait until the client praises you for something and then you
ask."  ---Victoria Grossack, Writing-World Columnist 

"Testimonials are great for selling books - if they're genuine. The
best way to spot a fake is to look for information that's too
general or that can be written solely from skimming the table of
contents.  With this being said, the best testimonials are those
that give specifics about what the reader liked. Better still, if
the reader tells how the book helped them create success in their
own lives--especially as it relates to the topic of the book. 

"As far as obtaining testimonials? If a client is truly satisfied,
it should be as simple as asking them. To better improve your
chances, do these three things: 1) Give them a length, such as "I'm
only looking for three sentences or so." It takes away the
intimidation. 2) Remind them what they said they liked about your
book. 3) Write a sample to send to them as an example. There's
something about seeing a short testimonial that makes a client go,
"Oh, I can do that, and I can crank that out now while I'm thinking
about it." Remember, all readers are not writers, so something that
seems simple to you may get bumped down the to-do list for others.
Make it appear effortless." ---Wendy Burt-Thomas, freelance writer,
editor and PR consultant & author of four books, including "The
Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters"

"The best approach to getting a client to provide a testimonial
tailored to your needs is to write it, then send it to them to edit
to their taste. If you ask them to write one, you're giving them
work to do that takes away from the work they do to make money. It
will get pushed to the side. Don't make them think, help them
react." --- Sporty King, Author, Toastmaster award-winning speaker

"I believe testimonials are quite effective... if used well.
Anonymous posts like Alice J. or Thomas R. mean nothing. And
testimonials that aren't unique in how they are written, like 'I
liked it!' or 'She does a good job!' carry little value. So, in
other words, either the wording has to be superb, the message of
great quality, or the person's name writing the testimonial carries
some weight (or the company they work for). Otherwise, why have it
at all?" ---C. Hope Clark, Funds for Writers Creator

How to obtain quality testimonials
----------------------------------
Do you have a prestigious client who sings your praises? An editor
who has worked with you happily for several years? Don't be shy to
send them an email or letter asking for their endorsement.  Most
are more than receptive, and would welcome the opportunity to show
their appreciation for a job well done.

Another way to get them, is through client surveys and
questionnaires. The added benefit here, is that even if you don't
use all the comments you acquire, it's a great way to keep the
lines of communication open and gauge satisfaction levels with your
existing client base, which can encourage repeat business. 
Be creative.

For maximum impact, be sure to place testimonials in a very visible
location on your site -- either on the landing page, or under a
bright designated tab that reads "why hire me" or "testimonials
from satisfied customers." Another popular placement choice for
many writers is the right margin of their site. Word to the wise:
sometimes a little experimentation may be required to arrive at
what works best for your site's design and your aesthetic
preferences.   

On a final note...
------------------
Always be sure to request permission to use testimonials on your
site and ask how the person wishes to be identified, along with
their comment.  This shows professional courtesy and increases the
likelihood that current clients will be future ones.   

For more information on how to use testimonials, check out "The
Third Person Pat on the Back" by Fred Gross.

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

Copyright 2014 Jennifer Brown Banks 

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, pro blogger and
ghostwriter with over 700 published pieces in local, national, and
international publications. She loves cooking, karaoke, and word
games.  View her "testimonials" at her award-winning site, Pen and
Prosper (http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/).

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

Link to this article here:
http://www.writing-world.com/promotion/testimonials.shtml

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

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

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

Sherlock Holmes Now in the Public Domain
----------------------------------------
A US court has ruled that copyright has indeed expired on 46 stories
and four novels featuring Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle. Copyright remains in effect on 10 stories published within
the 95-year copyright duration, but this no longer affects authors'
abilities to create new, derivative works featuring the beloved
detective.  The ruling came in response to Leslie Klinger's suit
against Doyle's estate, which demanded $5000 in licensing fees for
the use of the character in Klinger's book.  For details, visit
http://tinyurl.com/mm3da66

Do You Swear on This Kindle?
----------------------------
Suzi LeVine became the first US Ambassador to be sworn in using a
Kindle.  LeVine, US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein,
placed her hand upon the U.S. Constitution  opened electronically
in a Kindle.  LeVine chose to use the Kindle as a way of "honouring
American innovation, entrepreneurship and the fact that each
citizen has a voice in our democracy  and more and more tools
through which to make that voice heard."  New York State's Nassau
County Executive was sworn in using an iPad Bible app earlier this
year, as have several firefighters.  For more on this story, visit
http://preview.tinyurl.com/osx8rde

You Could Appear in Martin's Next Novel...
------------------------------------------
If you live and breathe Game of Thrones, well, for a mere $20,000
you could have a chance to appear in George R.R. Martin's next
novel, "A Song of Ice and Fire."  Martin is seeking to raise money
for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot of Santa Fe. 
Contributors of $20K or more have a chance to be one of two donors
who will be featured in the novel.  Contributors who can't offer
quite so much are still eligible for a chance to visit the
sanctuary with Martin in a helicopter and hob-nob with the author.
For details, visit http://tinyurl.com/kz846vr 

HathiTrust Verdict Upheld
-------------------------
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the 2012 verdict in
the Authors Guild vs. HathiTrust case.  The Authors Guild filed a
copyright infringement suit against HathiTrust, a digital
preservation effort sponsored by a collective of libraries, arguing
that the database was built with "unauthorized" Google scans.  The
ruling held that scanning entire works to create a full-text
searchable database was a "quintessentially transformative use,"
and that scanning entire works was permissible.  The Authors Guild
suit argued that such scanning deprived authors of a chance to
develop a market for licensing books for digital search, but the
court ruled that the search function did not serve as "a substitute
for the books that are being searched." The decision also upheld
the trust's program to offer access to the print-disabled. For more
details, visit http://tinyurl.com/jvsenyu

Kickstarter Creates Category for Journalism
-------------------------------------------
Do you need funds to help you get a writing-related project off the
ground?  Kickstarter has just added a Journalism category, where
creators can seek funding for projects relating to writing,
journalism, digital publishing, and more.  The site already has
nearly 1000 projects in the category, ranging from books and
magazine start-ups to tweeting events.  Apparently it works; I
found a book project in my home town that raised 5000% of its goal!
For details visit
https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/journalism

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FREE CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS
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.
http://www.writingcareer.com

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

Writing Jobs and Opportunities
=================================================================
FreelanceWriting.com Seeks Articles
-----------------------------------
Brian Scott, editor of Freelancewriting.com, writes, "We are
accepting more nonfiction (how-to) articles on the business and
craft of freelance writing. This also includes topics on how-to
write fiction and poetry. Word length is between 700 and 1,200
words. We pay an honorarium of $25. We work with both emerging and
seasoned writers." For writer's guidelines, visit
http://www.freelancewriting.com/write-for-freelance-writing-dot-com.php

New E-mails for Triptych Tales
------------------------------
The editor of Triptych Tales, which was listed in last issue's
"jobs and opportunities," writes to say that the publication now
accepts submissions only at the following e-mails:
submissions@triptychtales.net or queries@triptychtales.net

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

COLUMN: CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack
Connect with Conjunctions
=================================================================

Conjunctions are one of the eight parts of speech. The other seven
parts are nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions,
pronouns, articles and interjections.  The purpose of conjunctions
is to connect words within sentences or even phrases that could
serve as sentences by themselves.  Before we discuss how
conjunctions impact your story and can enhance your creativity,
let's work through an explanation of the different types of
conjunctions and how they are used.

Coordinating Conjunctions
-------------------------
The best known conjunctions are the "coordinating conjunctions,"
also known as "coordinators."  They are used to connect two ideas
of equal importance.  They are considered so significant that
someone came up with an acronym to help students of English grammar
remember them.  FANBOYS stands for For/as/because, And, Nor, But,
Or, Yet and So.

Here are some examples, with the conjunction given in parentheses
afterwards:

* Do you want soap that is green or lavender? (or)

* Fiona is planning to learn to ice-skate and to play the violin.
(and)

* Harry was depressed after being fired, yet he smiled when Wendy
walked in the room. (yet)

* I would have answered the phone call, but my battery was dead.
(but)

* Kelli did not finish the race, because she sprained her ankle.
(because)

* Michelle did not attend school yesterday, nor did she go today.
(nor)

* Sarah's luggage was lost, so she's out buying emergency socks and
underwear. (so)

If you choose one conjunction instead of another, the meaning of
the sentence usually changes significantly (assuming it makes sense
at all).  Conjunctions are rather like the joints that connect
water pipes: they determine the flow of the meaning.  Therefore it
is important to choose the correct conjunction.  There is such a
large difference between the words "or" and "and," that Isaac
Asimov wrote a short story based on it.

A grammatical controversy exists with respect to these
conjunctions: some believe that beginning a sentence with a
coordinating conjunction is taboo, while others maintain that it
does not matter.  The problem is that by starting a sentence with a
conjunction, it is very easy to create a sentence fragment instead
of a complete sentence.  My own opinion is that it depends on what
you are writing.  With respect to dialogue and internal thoughts
the rule should not apply.  More formal writing, however, may
require more formal grammar, and in this case you should not start
sentences with words such as "And" or "Or."

Subordinating Conjunctions
--------------------------
Another type of conjunction is the "subordinating conjunction,"
also known by the term "subordinator."  This type of conjunction is
used to connect two ideas that are not of equal importance, such as
an independent clause and a dependent clause.  A dependent clause
enhances the meaning of the independent clause but does not really
function on its own.  As examples are worth many words of
explanation, here are some:

"They will keep cheating, as long as it pays."  (as long as)  "They
will keep cheating" is the independent clause, while "as long as it
pays," the dependent clause, describes the condition under which
those pesky cheaters will continue their fraudulent activities.

"Since we're out of gas, let's start walking." (since) "Let's start
walking" could be a sentence on its own, while the "Since we're out
of gas" explains why hoofing it has become necessary.

Here are the most common subordinators, as given in Wikipedia:
after, although, as, as far as, as if, as long as, as soon as, as
though, because, before, if, in order that, since, so, so that,
than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas,
wherever, and while.  This is not supposed to be a complete list. 
You may notice, too, that "as" and "because" are in both the
coordinator and the subordinator lists.  Sometimes the distinction
between these words and how they are used is blurry. 

We can also see that subordinators, when placed in a different
position in sentences, change the meaning of the sentences.  Here
are the examples above, rewritten:

A.  "They will keep cheating, as long as it pays," versus, "As long
as they keep cheating, it will pay."

B.  "Since we're out of gas, let's start walking," versus, "Since
we're walking, we're out of gas."

I hope you can detect the differences in the meanings of these
pairs of sentences.  In example A about cheating, the second
sentence implies that a various enterprise may only be profitable
because of cheating (and this happens with depressing frequency;
consider all the investments made based on subprime mortgage backed
securities).  In example B, the first of the pair of sentences
implies that the stranded people have discovered why their vehicle
isn't working and have decided, literally, to take the next step. 
The second of the pair of sentences is rather flippant, implying
that these people would never be caught walking if they still had
gas. Subtleties of meaning can be altered significantly by the
choice of the coordinator and its placement in the sentence.

Correlative Conjunctions
------------------------
There is a third type of conjunction, known as "correlative
conjunctions."  These come in pairs, and there are six of them:
either...or; not only...but (also); neither...nor (or increasingly,
neither...or); both...and; whether...or; just as...so.  Here are
some examples:

*Either he will go to Mary's or he will go to Sue's.

*Not only has Ken stolen the bonds, but he also took the cash.

*Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

Correlative conjunctions, like the other conjunctions, determine
the flow of your ideas and how they relate to each other.

Using Conjunctions To Thicken Your Plot
---------------------------------------
Conjunctions are useful in that they let your readers know the
directions in which the story is moving.  Conjunctions can also be
used to help your story flow better, or even to thicken the plot. 
Conjunctions obviously work at the micro level; that is to say,
within sentences, but you can use them to help figure out the rest
of your plot, too.  If you are stuck or blocked -- the pipes
metaphor still seems appropriate -- conjunctions can help you get
unstuck.  

Here's a little exercise.  Let's imagine you've written the phrase
"Joe was going to go home" but you're not sure what happens next. 
You can work with conjunctions to generate ideas.

Joe was going to go home,...

...OR... What else might Joe do?  
Or he might go drinking, or bowling, or shopping.  Or go to a
prayer meeting.  Or go and stand in front of the house of the woman
he's stalking.

...BUT... What happened instead?
But his car had a flat tire.  But he met Melissa on the way and she
invited him over.  But he was "kidnapped" and taken to a surprise
party.  But he could not remember his own address.

...AND... What does Joe have planned for the evening at home?  
And he's going to watch something on Netflix.  And he's going to
finish burying treasure in the back yard.  And he's going to make
meth.  

...BECAUSE... Why would Joe need to go home?  
Because he has to take care of his sick father.  Because he can't
afford to go to the restaurant.  Because he's afraid of the dark
and can't stay out late.

...ALTHOUGH... Why shouldn't Joe be going home?
Although he should have picked up the groceries instead.  Although
he should have stayed late at work.  Although he was afraid of what
he might find when he got there.

This approach can be helpful when you are mapping out the direction
of your story.  When you are stuck with what happens next, go
through a set of conjunctions and start generating possibilities. 
Some of your ideas will be worthless, but as you persist you may
find something that makes your story soar.

I recently had fun with a minor character whom I did not want to
answer his own front door, even though he was at home.  So I
started with, "Rolf did not answer the door, because..." and played
with possible reasons until devising one that was satisfactory. 
Poor Rolf ended up with foot problems and was busy soaking his feet
in a pail of warm water and vinegar -- that was why he did not come
to the door.

Conclusion
----------
I hope this column was useful, but do not want to pretend to have
the last word on grammatical matters.  If you want to read more
about the grammar of conjunctions, try the following websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(grammar) 

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conjunctions.htm 

or simply search on "conjunctions" and see what you find.

If you are not interested so much in the grammar, but want to read
a charming 199 word piece on how Trevor Jones feels about
conjunctions and especially the word "but," visit this website:

http://www.writersforum7.com/home/stories

Conjunctions are often taken for granted, but they are what connect
your ideas -- and what are, stories, after all, but connected ideas?

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

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: 
http://www.writing-world.com/victoria/crafting45.shtml

Want to learn more about crafting fabulous fiction? Victoria now
offers one-on-one writing classes; find out more at: 
http://www.tapestryofbronze.com/VictoriasWritingClasses.html. 


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THE WRITE SITES
=================================================================

Anne R. Allen's Blog 
--------------------
This blog is packed with helpful, up-to-date information. It has
loads of social media tips, and tips on writing for readers who are
accustomed to the skim-and-scan approach. Articles are LONG, which
I happen to like - because if I'm going to take time to read a
blog, I want to get something out of it, not just snippets.
http://annerallen.blogspot.com

Galleycat
---------
This blog is an interesting source of publishing news, contests,
indie publishing, and off-the-wall industry tidbits. 
http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/

DearEditor.com
--------------
This blog by Deborah Halverson offers a Q&A format for information
on writing children's and YA fiction.  To find topics, just pull
down the handy "categories" menu at the top.  Entries are short but
useful!
http://deareditor.com/

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WRITING CONTESTS
================================================================= 
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" - available in print and Kindle editions
on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/writingtowin

BEST PRIVATE EYE NOVEL COMPETITION
----------------------------------
DEADLINE: July 1 
PRIZES: Advance against royalties of $10,000
DETAILS: Open to any professional or non-professional writer who
has never been the author of a published "private eye" novel and
who is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a
"private eye" novel. Must be book-length (approx. 60,000 words) in
English. A "private eye" novel is defined as: A novel in which the
main character is an independent investigator who is not a member
of any law enforcement or government agency, and who receives a fee
for his or her investigative services. 
CONTACT: PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition, Thomas Dunne
Books, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
(entry form will provide submission address)
WEBSITE: 
http://us.macmillan.com/Content.aspx?publisher=minotaurbooks&id=4933

LINDA BRUCKHEIMER SERIES IN KENTUCKY LITERATURE
-----------------------------------------------
DEADLINE: July 31 
PRIZES: $3,000 
DETAILS: Open to Kentucky residents, or writers whose work is set
in or is about Kentucky. Winner must be willing to travel to KY for
readings and events. Submissions may include: a collection of
poetry (48-100 pages); a collection of short stories, one or more
novellas, a short novel, a collection of essays or creative
nonfiction (to 250 pages). No history, scholarly works, children's
literature, plays, genre literature. No single stories or poems
under 150 pages.  
CONTACT: The Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature,
Sarabande Books, Inc,. 2234 Dundee Road, Suite 200, Louisville KY
40205
WEBSITE: http://www.sarabandebooks.org/submissions-bruckheimer

PLATT FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP PRIZE ESSAY CONTEST
--------------------------------------------
DEADLINE: July 31
DETAILS: Open to full-time students attending a US college or
university during the Spring 2014 semester (need not be US
citizens). Submit 1,500 - 5000 word essay on the Lincoln/Civil
War-related theme posted on the website. 
PRIZES: $1,500, $750, $500
CONTACT: Don McCue, Curator -- Lincoln Memorial Shrine, 125 W. Vine
St., Redlands, CA 92373
URL: http://www.thelincolnforum.org/scholarship-essay-contest.php  


MONTHLY/RECURRING COMPETITIONS:
===============================
The competitions below are offered monthly unless otherwise noted;
all require electronic submissions.

FANSTORY.COM
------------
PRIZES: $100 and other prizes
DETAILS: Various monthly fiction, nonfiction and poetry contests;
for some, you must become a member of the site.
WEBSITE: http://www.fanstory.com/contests.jsp

THE NEXT BIG WRITER
-------------------
PRIZES: $100, $50, $25, plus review and membership
DETAILS: Must be a member. Competitions throughout the year,
including novels and flash fiction. 
WEBSITE: http://www.thenextbigwriter.com/competition/index.html

SCRIBOPHILE WRITING CONTESTS
----------------------------
Bimonthly/Quarterly
PRIZES: $50 to $100 Amazon gift certificates
DETAILS: Short stories, flash fiction, poetry, on themes posted on
website.
WEBSITE: http://www.scribophile.com/contests/ 

WHIDBEY MFA STUDENT COMMUNITY AT NILA
-------------------------------------
PRIZES: $50
DETAILS: Submit fiction, creative nonfiction, prose poetry, and
writing for children/young adults to 1,000 words. The first story
that "knocks the judges' socks off" each month is declared the
winner.
WEBSITE: 
http://whidbeystudents.com/student-choice-contest/student-choice-contest-rules/
 
WRITER'S DIGEST YOUR STORY COMPETITION
--------------------------------------
Bimonthly
PRIZES: $100 in WD books
DETAILS: We'll provide a short, open-ended prompt. In turn, you'll
submit a short story of 750 words or fewer based on that prompt.
You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your
story. 
WEBSITE: http://www.writersdigest.com/your-story-competition

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AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers
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by Becky Lewellen Povich

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Copyright 2014 Moira Allen








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