Writing World Newsletter Archive
Return to Newsletter Index · Home


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

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 14:16          13,900 subscribers           August 21, 2014
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
details on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No material published in this newsletter may be
reprinted or posted without the consent of the author unless
otherwise noted. Unauthorized use is a copyright infringement.

THE EDITOR'S DESK, by Moira Allen
     When Evil Empires Collide
     Is "Intercultural" Communication a Moot Point?
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack     
     Having Fun with Fan Fiction
     Random Writing Tools
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.
A WRITER'S YEAR is the ONLY 365-day planner designed specifically
for writers! Plan your schedule, track billable hours, organize
tasks, and track your progress and achievements.  Each week brings
you an inspirational writing quote.  Best of all, it's F*R*E*E!
Download an electronic version in PDF or Excel, or access the print
edition: http://www.writing-world.com/year/index.shtml
EVERY WRITER NEEDS A HOLIDAY!  "The Writer's Guide to Holidays, 
Observances and Awareness Dates" offers 1800 events worldwide --
Instant inspiration for those days when you can't think of anything
to write about!  Holiday topics are a favorite of editors, so fuel
your inspiration and jumpstart your articles today!  Available in 
print and Kindle editions; for more information visit


When Evil Empires Collide

The publishing world is abuzz about the ongoing, and escalating,
battle between Amazon.com and Hatchette Publishing.  Gallons of ink
have already been shed in describing the war between these giants,
so I'll sum it up in a very small nutshell: Amazon wants to keep
e-book prices low and Hachette wants to keep them high.  Sounds
simple, no?  Motivation is even simpler: Amazon wants to keep
prices low because, they say, lower prices mean more sales, which
means more money.  Hatchette believes that higher prices mean more
money.  It becomes clear rather quickly that the operative term is
"more money."

Amazon recently ignited a fresh furor by sending an e-mail to its
Kindle authors, urging them to write to Hatchette to express their
support of Amazon's position (not exactly a step I'd describe as
"keeping authors out of the middle of the conflict").  A coalition
of some 900, mostly bestselling authors countered by publishing a
letter in the New York Times "urging [Amazon] to stop using them as
pawns in the negotiation."  

These latest  moves are designed to place a burden directly on
authors (and readers) to take sides in the dispute.  Now, when
someone asks you to take a side, the first question you're likely
to ask is which side to take?  Generally, you want to know who the
GOOD guys are.  Most of us (at least in Western culture) are
conditioned to believe that there is a "good side" and a "bad side"
to most disputes -- and that even if we try to see "both" sides,
there's still a right and wrong.  We believe that evil is forever
attempting to defeat good, but that light will prevail and the Ring
will be destroyed and... Oh, wait, that's another story.

How do we identify the "good guys" in a battle like this?  Each
side has spouted volumes about the threats the other poses to
literature, ideas, openness, free trade, and a host of other values
we writers hold dear.  Can we choose based on size?  Amazon's
revenues in 2013 were $74.5B (yes, as in "billion").  It's a little
harder to track down revenues for Hatchette, the world's fourth
largest publishing company, so let's go with its parent company,
Lagardere: Roughly $9.6B (if I'm translating euros to dollars

For writers who may be weighing decisions about groceries vs. gas,
it may be a bit difficult to feel much sympathy for either side --
which is, no doubt, why both sides, instead, keep asking us to feel
sympathy for the AUTHORS who are "caught in the middle."  Neither
side, one notes, is actually alleviating those authors' pain by
yielding their position; they just keep trying to remind US how
much the "other guys" are hurting authors.  So perhaps we should
side with the authors themselves?  900 authors purchased an ad in
the New York Times (which you can read at 
http://www.authorsunited.net/) to tell the world that they "weren't
taking sides" in the dispute -- but were really, really upset with
Amazon!  ("Not taking sides" apparently means something different
to these authors...)

So let's cut to the chase.  The motivation on both sides is money,
money, and more money.  Amazon is not in the business of selling
books; it is in the business of making money.  Selling books
happens to be one way of doing so.  Hatchette publishes books, not
because they have warm, fuzzy feelings toward authors, but because
they, too, are in the business of making money.  Each side sees the
other as interfering in that goal.  This isn't Mordor vs. the White
Tower; this is Mordor vs. Isengard.

While both sides want us to believe that, unlike the other guy,
THEY are the author's friend, let's get real: neither company is
the author's friend.  Big publishers have NEVER been the author's
friend.  Authors are simply grist for the publisher's money mill. 
Royalties have not increased, percentage-wise, in decades. 
Booksellers are not the author's friend either; authors simply
produce the product that puts money in the bookseller's coffers. 
But more to the point, neither side are the reader's friend either.
 Readers are the ones who actually PROVIDE the money so deeply
beloved by publishers and booksellers, and readers are as much the
victims of this conflict as authors.

Hence, while it's tempting to ask who's the "good guy" (or "bad
guy") in this dispute, it's important to remember that this is a
dispute between two gigantic companies with one common goal: To
extract as much money as possible from YOUR pocket.  Amazon wants
to get more of your dollars by selling more books, and believes
that lower-priced books are the way to do that.  Hatchette wants to
get more of your dollars by charging a higher price for each book
you buy.  It's a simple clash of business models.

With that in mind, it's time to move the discussion away from what
is "right" and "just" and "good" in the world of publishing and
selling books.  There has been a lot of blather about what is or is
not the "American way," or "fair," or "proper" about how Company A
should sell the books of Company B.  We've been told that Amazon
has a "responsibility" to make all books by all authors available
to all readers at reduced prices.  Um, since when?

Discounts are nice.  They are not, however, a moral imperative. 
They are simply a device that has been used to attract customers
since, perhaps, the first cavepreneur opened his skins-and-flints
emporium.  They serve the seller, not the buyer, and they are not a
"right."  Any store has the right to choose what merchandise it
will or will not sell, and for how much.  If you own a shoe store,
you're under no obligation, moral or otherwise, to offer the
merchandise of every shoe manufacturer in the country, or to offer
identical discounts on every item in your store.  You have the
right to pick and choose what you sell and how much you sell it
for.  Conversely, if you are a shoe manufacturer, you have the
right to set whatever price you choose for your products.

Let's remember that Hatchette is a manufacturer and Amazon is a
store.  Both are in the business of making money.  Amazon does so
by, typically, offering deep discounts on books.  (Ironically, this
practice originally caused authors and publishers to squawk in
protest, fearful that it would ruin their profits -- and now they
are squawking when their products are NOT discounted!)  Hatchette
does so by setting high prices (and, also ironically, now
complaining that Amazon is refusing to discount the high prices
that they, Hatchette, set in the first place!).  While neither side
may be "right," each side HAS the right to choose its own business
model.  There's no moral high ground that makes deep discounts,
overnight delivery, or pre-order-ability a "right" for either the
consumer or the author.  These are conveniences, nothing more.  

The problem is that the giants are currently at something of a
stalemate.  Hence, both are now trying to appeal to the emotions of
writers and readers, hoping that they can win their battle in the
arena of public opinion.  Each wants to convince you that they care
more about you (as writer OR reader) than the opponent.  So as a
writer (or reader), ask yourself:  How might a company REALLY show
that it cares more about you than about your money?  Has it done so?

And then, do yourself a favor and simply stay out of the crossfire.
 Battles between giants tend to be hazardous to the ordinary folks
caught in the middle.  But this, too, shall pass, and will probably
accomplish very little actual change -- and in a few years will
seem downright silly.  So rather than yielding to the urgings of
Amazon or Authors United to choose sides, choose instead to make
your writing and reading decisions based on what is best for YOU. 
Because of all the participants, you can bet you're the only one
who actually cares about that!

-- 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:

The August issue of Victorian Times is now available!  In this
issue, learn how to fold serviettes, discover Japanese embroidery
motifs, meet a friendly owl, learn about some curious Bible
misprints, find more flower lore, travel along with a British
lady in Texas - plus recipes, crafts, fashions and more. Visit 
http://www.mostly-victorian.com/VT/issues/2014-08-August.shtml to 
download the free electronic edition or access the print version.

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.


Is "Intercultural" Communication a Moot Point?

If you're like the majority of Intercom readers, you're reading
this article from somewhere in the United States. Thus, if I asked
you to "fetch me a spanner from the boot of my auto, and mind that
the bonnet doesn't hit you on the head", you might spend a moment
or two puzzling over the meaning of my words. Indeed, if you
weren't exposed to British books from an early age, you might not
figure out that I was simply asking you to "get me a wrench from
the trunk of my car, and watch out that the hood doesn't hit your
head," and your aching head might result from more than the
struggle to figure out my warning. Clearly, some subtleties of
language will be lost without translation, even when that
translation is only between dialects of English. Imagine how much
more difficult things can be if the translation is between
languages used by very different cultures!

Unless you're Rip van Winkle or Sleeping Beauty, you've undoubtedly
noticed that our profession has become increasingly international.
longer seem strange, even if many of us are a bit fuzzy about what
they really mean. Formerly, we may have been able to get away with
publishing all our information exclusively in English, but as my
example shows, there's increasing recognition that we'll succeed
better if we produce information in the language of our actual
audience based on a careful consideration of their unique
linguistic and cultural needs.

It's hard to argue with that point -- indeed, the logic is
tautologous -- yet as the advocates of simplified technical English
(http://www.simplifiedenglish-aecma.org) have repeatedly
demonstrated, sometimes you may be forced to communicate
exclusively in English, whether because of a lack of resources for
translation or other constraints, and sometimes it's sufficient and
effective to do so. In short, sometimes good INTERCULTURAL
communication is nothing more than good communication. Phrased a
bit more precisely, intercultural communication must at least start
with good communication in the original language.

As a professional translator (French to English) living in a
bilingual environment (the province of Quebec), I fully recognize
the importance of translation, and I don't for a moment intend to
give the impression that translation or localization is
unnecessary. On the contrary, I'd like to propose something a bit
radical in this article: that focusing on localization may to some
extent be missing the point. Good writing is good writing in any
language, and focusing on the quality of the writing in your own
language is a great start to any communication with people from
other cultures.

Good Communication
Good communication, in any language, is clear, concise, and
precise. These three points alone make a good starting point for
any intercultural communication.

CLARITY should be obvious, yet if you look at much of the
information we produce -- including this essay -- you'll see many
phrases that are more difficult to understand than they need to be.
As I'm writing for a predominantly English-speaking audience that
loves words and writing, I allow myself to shamelessly indulge my
love of commas, parenthetical comments, and compound sentences. But
were I writing specifically for an audience with English as their
second or third language, I'd have spent more time rewording to
eliminate the more complex sentences. I'd also take a long, hard
look at words such as SHAMELESS and INDULGE, which carry cultural
connotations that may not transfer well to other cultures. I'd also
eschew sentences beginning with "as", which can imply simultaneity
("as I was writing this, the phone rang") rather than causality
("because I'm writing for you folks..."). The simple subjunctive
("were I writing"), which is somewhat imperiled in modern English,
might be better expressed using words that make the conditionality
clearer: "If I am writing specifically for a non-English audience,
then I spend more time rewording."

Such careful consideration of word choice is an important
contributor to clarity, and in much of our writing, sticking with
shorter words that carry less cultural baggage and with simpler
sentence structures is a better approach. Doing so requires us to
pay careful attention to what we've written. Really good writers
tend to write without overthinking what we're doing, but sometimes
it pays to take a large step back and carefully examine what we've
done. The key in such examinations is to look past our own joy at
using words the way Jackson Pollock used his paintbrush, and ask
hard questions about whether that approach makes good sense for an
intercultural audience. Often it doesn't, and we must exert more
self-discipline in how we write.

Concision does not, as some propose, mean eliminating every word
that can possibly be eliminated. All else being equal, it's better
to write short texts than long texts, since few readers have the
patience to wade through long documents. But all else is rarely
equal. Concise writing begins with a careful focus on what the
reader truly needs to know. Eliminate all else. This does NOT mean
that you should eliminate things like articles and other function
words that provide useful clues to the meaning of the following
word; in this sentence, for instance, both uses of "that" are
helpful. Neither does this mean that you should engage in ellipsis,
which is the practice of leaving words or even short phrases
implicit. Such omissions are part of the idiom of a language, and
are generally easy for native readers to figure out; however, they
slow even these readers because they add the cognitive burden of
filling in the gaps, and can pose formidable obstacles to
non-native readers who are less skilled with the idiom. "The
principle I'm discussing here" is easy enough to understand; "the
principle THAT I'm discussing here" is easier. Concision has
additional advantages: text becomes clearer when its focus is not
diluted by peripheral issues that distract the reader from the main
point, and shorter texts mean that if you do decide to translate a
document, there's less of it to translate. That decreases costs,
turnaround times, and the risk of mistranslations.

In the typical work done by technical communicators, PRECISION
means nothing more complex than specifying the actor and using the
right word for the job. The argument over active versus passive
voice seems to have largely been settled in favor of active voice,
but the blanket proscription against passive voice found in some
style guides ignores a crucial distinction: sometimes it's crucial
that you identify the actor, and sometimes the actor need not or
should not be identified. Understanding this difference tells you
when it's necessary to specify the actor -- thereby making the
meaning more precise -- and when the actor can be safely left
anonymous, thereby permitting a certain degree of imprecision where
doing so causes no harm. In terms of word choice, we all recognize
the principle of choosing the best word for the job, but doing so
can lead us astray by needlessly increasing the vocabulary required
to understand a manuscript. This suggests that where we have the
choice between a common but slightly imprecise $1 word and a rare
but highly precise $10 word, we'd be wise to save $9 and use the
common word if doing so doesn't compromise our meaning.

Simplified English and other controlled vocabularies offer two
powerful guidelines that promote precision: each word should, to
the extent that it is possible, convey only a single meaning, and
each concept should be communicated by only a single word. The
result of this choice is that readers only rarely have to pause to
figure out which of two possible meanings a word is conveying, or
to figure out whether two words refer to the same concept or
something different. This form of consistency means that we should
avoid synonyms and other forms of elegant variation, and should
stick to words that have few or no alternative meanings. (Editors
incorporate this advice under the task of editing for consistency.)
Of course, this advice sometimes dictates that we choose the $10
word instead of the $1 word. Word choice, like many other aspects
of writing, is sometimes a bit of a balancing act in which we must
choose between contradictory guidelines.

Babel... and Babble
The take-home message of this article is that focusing on
intercultural issues may lead us to put the cart before the horse.
I don't doubt that someone, somewhere, will misread this statement
and take away the message that I recommend avoiding the whole
intercultural aspect and simply writing clearly in English. I MAKE
NO SUCH RECOMMENDATION. My point here is that good writing
communicates effectively both to your native-language speakers and
to the translators who will convert your English into something
that is properly localized. Whether or not you plan to eventually
translate and localize your information, emphasizing clear,
concise, and precise language will benefit readers for whom English
is a second or third language and who accept the occasional need to
work in English -- but it will also benefit your native English

Moreover, this approach will have significant benefits for you as a
writer: Once you master the skills of writing clearly and concisely
for ALL audiences, you'll write faster and more effectively and
your writing will require less revision. Then, when you do have the
resources to localize, your translators will have a much easier
time working with your materials.
Copyright 2007, 2014 - Geoff Hart
Previously published as: Hart, G. 2007. Is "intercultural"
communication a moot point? Intercom May 2007:26–27.

Geoff Hart has been working a technical communicator (primarily as
an editor, but also as a translator and technical writer) since
1987. He has written hundreds of articles aimed at technical
writers, many of which can be found on his website: 


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

Link to this article here:


SPEAK UP AND SELL MORE BOOKS! The most powerful tool in your book
promotion toolkit is your personality. personality sells books! 
Readers want a relationship with authors, and it's up to you to 
create that relationship. Finally, here's a book that tells you 
how to develop a greater rapport with your readers. Patricia Fry's 
Talk Up Your Book: How to Sell Your Book Through Public Speaking, 
Interviews, Signings, Festivals, Conferences and More will help you
sell more books through more effective presentations. Available in
Print, Kindle & audio from Amazon; for details visit



Turn Your Favorite Wikipedia Articles into a Book
This falls into the "it was news to me" category: With Wikipedia's
Book Creator tool, you can turn a collection of Wikipedia articles
into an ebook or even a print book. You can even post it to the
user community of books.  This could be particularly useful if
you're gathering research information for a writing project and
want to be able to keep it at your fingertips!  For more
information, visit 

First-Ever Singapore Literature Festival to Be Held in NYC
From October 10-12, the first-ever Singapore Literature Festival
will be held in New York City.  Locations include arts space 92nd
Street Y, the New York University Writers House, the Book Culture
bookstore, and McNally Jackson.  Fifteen Singaporean authors have
already signed up to participate.  "I think there's a lot of themes
that our Singaporean writers address, themes of identity, coming of
age, living in an urban setting, reflecting on changes that
Singapore has undergone," says organizer Rozario-Falcone. 
"Singaporean writing also deals with everyday subjects like family,
love, and our place in the world..."  Funding for the festival was
raised in part through a Kickstarter campaign. For details, visit

More Evidence that Print Books Improve Student Learning
Yet another study, this one from Norway, has indicated that
"reading texts in print versus on a computer screen is better for
some aspects of comprehension."  The study suggests that when one
reads text on paper, one's understanding is "deeper and longer
lasting."  The findings were shown both for factual reading and for
fiction.  One explanation is that a print book facilitates flipping
back and forth, making it easier to follow the information in a
longer stretch of text than if one is scrolling on a screen or
"flipping" pages on an e-reader.  The researchers plan to continue
exploring the connection between the physical use of books and
reading comprehension.  For more info, visit 


JOIN AN ONLINE CRITIQUE GROUP through www.InkedVoices.com. Find
other writers who share your goals. Exchange work in private,
invitation-based groups. Stay on track with deadlines, status
updates and email notifications. Get a 2-week free trial and then
40% off a monthly membership for the first 3 months with code
WR-WRLD. Learn more: https://www.inkedvoices.com/pricing.


CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Having Fun with Fan Fiction
by Victoria Grossack


In this article we're going to consider a type of writing known as
"fan fiction."  Fan fiction refers to taking the universe developed
by another author and creating a new story using those characters
and settings.  I have written a novel, "The Highbury Murders: A
Mystery Set in the Village of Jane Austen's Emma," which can be
classed as fan fiction, so many of the observations that follow are
based on actual experience.

Fan fiction is pretty popular, so many readers of this column will
already about it.  Nevertheless, some definitions may be helpful.  

FAN FICTION, or FANFICTION (often abbreviated as FAN FIC, FANFIC,
or simply FIC), are terms for stories about characters or settings
written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original

CANON or CANONICAL FICTIONAL UNIVERSE refers to the elements in the
original story and is generally considered more important than fan
fiction.  Fan fiction is a little peculiar in that it is based on
canon but is not considered canon.

Here are some words in the Wikipedia entry on fan fiction:

"Works of fan fiction are rarely commissioned or authorized by the
original work's owner, creator, or publisher; also, they are almost
never professionally published."  

Although these works are not often professionally published, there
are significant exceptions, such as "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley,
a continuation of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" and
"Death Comes to Pemberley" by P.D. James, a mystery using the
characters created by Jane Austen in "Pride and Prejudice."  There
is a bit of looseness in the definition, anyway.  Television series
are usually created by teams of writers, necessarily not written by
one person, and then these stories may be continued in books and
movies and even graphic novels. The OZ books (there are more than
forty), which started with Frank L Baum's "The Wizard of Oz," were
continued by several other writers after Baum died.

Obviously, some of them are published, and because they have the
blessing of the estate or the publishers, may be considered canon,
even when they are not well received by people at large.

Why Do It?
The first best reason -- in my opinion -- for writing in the
story-verse created by another is because the world created is so
compelling that you want to spend more time there.  You feel as if
you know the characters and have a story that you want to tell. 
Perhaps there are questions that you want to answer, or a
relationship that you want to develop, or some backstory that you
want to fill in.

Some write these stories because they want to see something happen
in them that did not take place in the original.  Perhaps you want
to see Romeo and Juliet live.  Perhaps you want to see two
characters have a romance.  This sort of drastic change is known as

You may also want to write fan fiction because it can be easier. 
You will have to do less invention with respect characters or
setting.  "The Highbury Murders" is, so far, the book I have
written the most quickly. 

Another reason for creating fan fiction is for the money that can
be made by taking advantage of the success of the original work(s).
 "Scarlett" was not a critical success but it did very well
commercially.  The reasons for writing and publishing fan fiction
can be similar to the reasons for writing a sequel to a story of
your own.

Considerations for Those Attempting Fan Fiction

Writing fan fiction has some challenges that are different from
creating a new story universe of your own.  Some are legal; others
are artistic.

LEGALITIES.  You should make sure that you are not getting in
trouble legally.  This wasn't an issue for me when writing "The
Highbury Murders," as Jane Austen has been dead for nearly two
hundred years and her works are in the public domain.  There are
some authors who actually encourage fan fiction.  One example is
the group of writers creating and contributing stories based on
Eric Flint's novel 1632.  [Editor's Note: this particular fan
fiction community has produced several published collections of
short stories, and several novels, with the blessings of the author
and publisher, and continues to create an ongoing online short
story series in "The Grantville Gazette."] However, there are other
authors, such as Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, who will sue
those who attempt fan fiction based on their books.  In other cases
you are expected to write a disclaimer announcing that you do not
own the characters and will not make any money from them.
STUDY THE DETAILS OF THE ORIGINAL.  Readers will want to visit the
world created by the original author, so you should not be confused
about details such as the first and last names even of the most
obscure characters.  It may be wise to keep a copy of the original
work beside you while you write, so that you can keep from making
mistakes in the first place.  Of course, you will be making
changes, or at least adding to, the original story-verse, but it is
generally best to know which changes you are making rather than to
make them by accident.  For example, if you are writing a story
based on "Firefly," you should know where the ship's bridge is,
where the shuttles are located, and that fresh food is more
precious than platinum. 

KNOW THE CHARACTERS. Good fan fiction goes beyond knowing the
details of the setting and the phrases that the characters tend to
use.  You should understand the characters.  What motivates them? 
What secrets do they have?  How will they act in new and
challenging situations?  Will you take their personalities in new
directions?  Will it be a logical continuation of an arc or not?

VOICE. Another aspect is the voice of the original fiction. 
Imitating the voice of another author is hard to do, but if you can
manage it, you will add to the charm of your fiction.  You should
take a look at the lengths of sentences, the structure of the
stories, and the general attitude.  You should even consider the
meanings of words.  For example, Jane Austen uses the word "nice"
in a way that is very different from how we use it today.

MISCELLANEOUS. Some issues will be unique to your situation.  When
writing "The Highbury Murders" I had to make a decision with
respect to spelling.  As Austen was British, I could have chosen to
use British spelling.  This would not have been that difficult as
all I would have needed to do would be to set my word processor to
use UK spelling.  I could have gone another step and used Austen's
own spelling, which, as she wrote two centuries ago, is a little
different than spelling today.  One reason I stayed with modern
spelling was because I know that some editions of her works have
been updated for spelling, and so readers might be surprised or
even confused by the older versions of words.  I decided it was
better to steer away from the appearance of typos.  I also decided
to stay with American English, as an acknowledgement of the fact
that I am American.

NEW DIRECTIONS. Finally, what will you add and what will you
invent?  You don't want to just copy passages from previous works. 
Eventually you have to invent something or the story will not be
your own.

Market and Reader Reactions
Once you have written your fan fiction, what should you do with it?
 Naturally, that depends on you and your story.  A lot of fan
fiction is quite short, consisting simply of scenes that readers
wish they could have read or watched.  These bits are frequently
shared on websites or just kept locally for personal enjoyment. 

However, if you have written something longer and you feel it
merits a wider audience and there are no legal issues, you can
publish it.  In some cases publishers actually solicit new books in
series, such as novels based on "Star Trek" or "Star Wars." 
Occasionally books are commissioned as sequels, as was "Scarlett." 
These works have a head start with respect to marketing: they
already have a devoted audience, a set of people that are desperate
to find out how the story continues. I did not like "Scarlett," and
it received terrible reviews; nevertheless it sold well.  Part of
the reason it sold so well was because people like me, who were
known to like "Gone with the Wind," kept receiving "Scarlett" as
presents.  I received two copies as gifts, and somehow a third copy
has made its way into my house.  Oh, well.  

If you have set your story in a popular story-verse, there may even
be groups to help you market.  Although I have long read Jane
Austen's books -- the frame of my license plate says "I'd rather be
reading Jane Austen" -- I had kept my obsession mostly to myself. 
When I started to do research, I was stunned by the number of
websites, clubs and societies devoted to Jane Austen.  And as Jane
Austen wrote only six novels, and those have been analyzed over and
over, many groups welcome having something new to discuss. Readers
who love a particular story-verse may want more, but how can they
satisfy their cravings if the author is debilitated or dead?  

Nevertheless, if you publish anything, you need to thicken your
skin, even if -- or especially if -- you have written fan fiction. 
Some readers be horrified by the idea that another could attempt to
sound like someone else.  One person was so offended by my trying
to imitate Jane Austen that she went and blacklisted all of my
books (without reading them).  On the other hand, some readers have
written reviews so glowing that they make me blush.  

If you have made serious changes, deviating from the canon, I
recommend that you include an Author's Note.  This will give you
the chance to explain the choices you have made and why, and to
include passages from prior works that you consider relevant.

You can learn a lot by working with characters and settings created
by others. If there are stories that inspire you, and other stories
in which you wish to spend time and energy, then writing fan
fiction can be worth your time and energy.


This is a link to a site describing how to write a disclaimer to
your fan fiction:

This is a link to information about the novel, 1632:
The premise behind 1632 is described as: "In April of the year
2000, a six-mile sphere centered on Grantville, West Virginia was
displaced in space and time to Germany and May, 1631. The
inhabitants of Grantville decided to start the American Revolution
early; the nobility of Europe were not amused."

This is a link to "The Grantville Gazette," the ongoing online fan
fiction story collection based in the 1632 universe:


Copyright 2014 Victoria Grossack. 

Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English Literature
at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and articles in
such publications as Contingencies, Women's World and I Love Cats.
She is the author of Crafting Fabulous Fiction, a step-by-step
guide to developing and polishing novels and short stories that
includes many of her beloved columns. With Alice Underwood, she
co-authors the Tapestry of Bronze series (including Jocasta,
Mother-Wife of Oedipus; The Children of Tantalus; and Antigone &
Creon), based on Greek myths and set in the late Bronze Age. Her
independent novels include The Highbury Murders, in which she does
her best to channel the spirits and styles of Jane Austen and
Agatha Christie, and Academic Assassination (A Zofia Martin
Mystery). 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. 


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? Get one-on-one
guidance with Victoria Grossack's personal writing class; visit


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


SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent
Writers and Editors, the professional association with a
career-building difference. We partner with you to create a
strategic online presence with genuine credibility. You get a free
NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to
find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com!



If you're like me, writing bibliographies for a book or research
paper is perhaps one of your least favorite tasks.  Enter BibMe, an
intriguing site where you can automatically generate bibliography
entries!  You can have the site look up a book for you and create
an entry, or manually enter the information, then just cut and
paste the results.

A close look at Simplified Technical English
More information on writing technical and other documents in
"simplified English."

Here's one that's just for fun: A round-up of new would-be words
(words that SHOULD be words) for today's writer, reader, and
app-er. (Hmm, is app-er a word?  It should be!) My favorite was
"thumbstopper," defined as "An eye-catching or compelling item that
makes a person stop scrolling through a list of posts, particularly
when using the thumb to scroll a touchscreen device."


CONTESTS, from Writing-World.com!  "Writing to Win" brings you 
more than 1600 contest listings from around the world.  You won't 
find a more comprehensive guide to writing contests anywhere.  
Available in print and Kindle editions from Amazon!

Random Writing Tools


The Internet is a huge place, and there are times when you're just
randomly surfing around and you come across something that's, well,
totally random. Or at least that's what it looks like on the
surface. But then you take another look and it seems like it's kind
of interesting, and might even come in useful someday. So you
bookmark it and forget about it…until the one day when you need it
for an article or a story or a project you're working on, and then
you realize that what you thought was totally random is actually
pretty cool. 

This month's article is just such a collection of random sites that
might come in useful someday. Enjoy!

The "Symbolism of Plants, Trees, and Herbs" site (
http://www.photovault.com/Link/Food/PlantsHerbsSymbolism.html) is
an impressive collection of the symbolic meanings of various plants
(flowers, plants, fruits, and more). There is a disclaimer on the
site emphasizing that the information is for entertainment purposes
only, but hypothetically this site could be useful for writers
creating a fantasy world, naming characters, or making up symbolic

College students (or anyone who's ever worked on an academic paper
or book or anything that requires you to include references at the
end) are going to love Bibme (http://www.bibme.org/), because this
site is a fully automated bibliography maker where you can search
books, magazines, newspapers, websites, journals, and films, and
then automatically add their citation information to your
bibliography. You can also choose your bibliography format (MLA,
APA, Chicago, and Turabian), and the site will automatically
organize everything for you. Once you have finished compiling your
bibliography, all you have to do is download it to your computer
(in RTF format), or you can add it to your account to work on
later. Bibme also has a title page generator feature that can be
found here: http://www.bibme.org/title-page. 

Free Summarizer (http://freesummarizer.com/) is a neat little tool
that summarizes long pieces of text. All you have to do is paste
the text you want to summarize into the text box, choose how long
you want the summary to be, and then click the "Summarize Now!"
button. The quality varies depending on the original text, but the
site can be entertaining, if nothing else. Other summarizer sites
include Text Compactor (http://www.textcompactor.com/) and Smmry

I thought that The Periodic Table of Storytelling (
http://designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/) was a joke when
someone first told me about it. How could a periodic table ever
have anything to do with something as artistic as storytelling? As
it turns out, if you consider stories to be "molecules" made up of
plot "elements." periodic tables actually have a lot in common with
stories. You can click on any element of the periodic table to
learn more about it, and right underneath the table itself there
are some examples of story molecules to get you started (I love
that you can click on a story molecular and the elements involved
in the story get highlighted in the periodic table above. It's a
cute little detail that makes it fun to use the site.)


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Crafting Fabulous Fiction, by Victoria Grossack

Here, There, Everywhere: A Travel Writer's Memories, 
by Peter Dunkley

Find this and more great books at

Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know: 
just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
product, service or book title, visit


Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Readers are welcome to forward this newsletter by e-mail IN ITS
ENTIRETY. This newsletter may not be reposted or republished in
any form, online or in print, nor may individual articles be 
published or posted without the written permission of the author
unless otherwise indicated.

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2014 Moira Allen

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor