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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 14:18          13,930 subscribers        September 18, 2014
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Guest Editorial by Mridu Khullar Relph
     Defining Your Writer Self
     Developing a Pitch Message
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack     
     The Author-Reader Contract
     More Writing Tools
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EVERY WRITER NEEDS A HOLIDAY!  "The Writer's Guide to Holidays, 
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Instant inspiration for those days when you can't think of anything
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print and Kindle editions; for more information visit

By Mridu Khullar Relph

Editor's Note: This is the first of a series of guest editorials we
will be running over the next several months.  Don't worry, your
intrepid editor isn't abandoning this space - she just needs an
occasional break!


Defining Your Writer Self 
I am a monogamous woman. I have one husband whom I love very much.
I make puppy dog eyes when he comes home from work each evening,
his annoyance at this notwithstanding.
Professionally, however, I'm promiscuous. So very promiscuous. I'm
a journalist who has covered politics, business, health, and
women's issues, traveled through four continents, and dictated
stories from inside the back of a taxi. I'm a women's magazines
features writer, the kind that shows you how to lose weight and
have a happier marriage. I've written personal essays, detailing my
life's embarrassments for public consumption (much to my family's
dismay.) I'm in the process of selling a non-fiction book. I'm
putting the finishing touches on a novel. I write blog entries,
Facebook status updates, and tweets. And I enjoy it all, love it
As a new writer, I had this deep desire to define myself. When
someone asked me, "What do you do?" the question I heard was "What
are you? Who are you?" I felt that I needed to answer that question
by placing myself in a box, by finding a word that summed me up
accurately. So I went from being "writer" to "columnist" to
"journalist" to "contributing editor" and many more, each time
finding that the word wasn't enough. It didn't define the scope of
all that I encompass.
What do I do? I write. Articles, essays, news features, books. Who
am I? So much more.
Now that I'm older and (hopefully) wiser, I find that this desire
to whittle down the essence of what I do and who I am into a
language that other people will understand has dimmed down
somewhat. I still want to be able to answer the question of what I
do without going into a one-hour rant about creativity and life's
work, but now when someone asks me what I do, I no longer hear the
hidden questions. "I'm a journalist," I'll say, and I'll leave it
at that. If I sell a book, I'll describe myself as an author. But I
no longer feel myself falling into a deep well of identity crisis
each time I'm asked about how I spend my days. Writing is what I do
and a big part of who I am, but it doesn't define me. It can't sum
me up, no matter how hard I try.
I received an e-mail from a friend last week. I had told her about
my dreams for my novel, my current work, and all the planning
that's going on in this overloaded head of mine and she tucked in a
small sentence at the end of her note. "Is fiction your true love?"
she asked.
Fiction was my first love, though it is the writing relationship
that has, so far, been my most challenging and least successful
one. But then I discovered magazine writing and found that I loved
that quite a bit as well. And soon after journalism appeared on the
scene and boy, did that look attractive. Quickly, I was writing
personal essays and blog posts and short news stories, and well, I
loved every minute of all of it.
I'm like that cheating ex-boyfriend who said, "But I love you
both." And I'm looking at all the writing I do and want to do and
saying, "But I love you all, I want to be with you ALL!"
So in the morning, I wrote up three pages of fiction, in the
afternoon, I whipped up four quick blog entries, and in the
evening, I worked on a magazine feature I have due to a science
publication tomorrow. And my day was beautiful and interesting and
varied because of it. I didn't look up for a minute.
The beauty of being a writer is that we don't have to choose. You
don't have to be a romance writer or a journalist who only writes
serious narrative nonfiction. You can be both. You can do it all.
The writing world, with all its options, is wide open to you and
you can pick and choose the bits that you like the best. Try them
once, try them all. Be a sci-fi writer one day of the week, a
journalist on the second, a newbie blogger on the third. See which
roles you fit into naturally, which style of writing you enjoy the
I'm going to be a novelist for the rest of the day. Who are you
going to be today?

Mridu Khullar Relph is an award-winning freelance journalist who
has written for The New York Times, TIME, CNN, ABC News, and more.
She runs The International Freelancer website (
http://www.TheInternationalFreelancer.com) and will happily share
21 of her best query letters with anyone who signs up for her free
weekly newsletter.

Copyright 2014 Mridu Khuller Relph

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

Link to this article here:

The September issue of VICTORIAN TIMES is now available! This
month, meet the royal dogs of Princess of Wales; explore history
costume; learn a bit about the importance of deportment; discover
more beautiful Japanese embroidery motifs; enjoy delicious
September apple recipes (and a host of other recipes as well); and
continue with our series on flowers, a lady's journey to Texas, and
more.  Download the free electronic edition or access the print 
edition at http://www.mostly-victorian.com/VT/issues/VT-1409.shtml

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.


FEATURE ARTICLE: Developing a Pitch Message
By Hank Quense


Once you publish a book, it's your job as the author to spread the
word about the book, to create a buzz about it.  This will get some
folks interested in or curious about the book, and these folks will
visit your selling site.  Once they arrive, your pitch message is
the key to converting those visitors to buyers.

The pitch message tells the world why your book matters and why
readers should buy it.  This is a vital aspect of self-marketing. 
Consider this: thousands of new books become available every month.
 Consequently, your book is competing against all these other books
for the readers' attention and money.  Your book has to stand out
and persuade readers to shell out money to get a copy.

Website visitors are capricious and fleeting; they don't act like
potential customers in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Those
customers wander around browsing.  Website visitors don't.  You
have a few heartbeats to convince them to stay on the site and read
further.  That is the job of the pitch message.

The good news about the pitch is that unlike many other marketing
activities, it's free.  It can also be completed before the book is
published.  I start working on a pitch message for a new book long
before the book is finished.  This gives me ample time to tinker
with the message and to perfect it.

There are three elements involved in developing your book's pitch
message.  First, write a pitch line followed by the answers to two
questions.  The first question is: What's in it for the buyer? The
second is: What's different about this book?  Essentially, the
process entails developing three sentences or short paragraphs that
can be used to sell your book.

THE PITCH LINE is the hook to grab the readers' attention.  Its
purpose is to persuade the visitor to read the two statements that
follow it.  The pitch line should be simple, a few sentences at
most, and it must make a clear statement about your book.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR THE BUYERS? explains what the reader (i.e. a book
buyer) will get in exchange for the money.  This must be explicit. 
It is not the place to get cute.  Don't come across like the
legendary used-car salesman.  Tell the readers what benefit they'll
get from buying the book.  Think of the answer in this way: If your
book is surrounded by hundreds of other books on a shelf in
bookstore, what would persuade the buyer to choose your book
instead of one of the others? 

WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS BOOK?  You have to respond with a
statement about what makes your book stand out from the other books
published every month.

These dry descriptions are difficult to grasp, so I'll use an
example to illustrate the process.

Your name is Homer and you're a wandering storyteller in ancient
Greece who travels from village to village telling a long tale you
composed about a war.  You can count on getting free meals and a
bed from the villagers, but now you think you're ready for prime
time in the major Greek cities.  You think long and hard about how
to let the big city leaders know about your story and get them
interested in hearing it. So, you develop a pitch message to get
attention for your story.  After the message is finished, you hire
runners to deliver it to Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth.

Here is the message:

PITCH LINE: A wanton queen runs away with a handsome visiting
prince and touches off a great war.


With graphic descriptions of nasty battles, great heroes,
interfering gods and goddesses, the story is the climax of a
ten-year war.


The tale demonstrates the superiority of the Greek culture and
warriors.  Against the greatest power in the Aegean world, the
Greek army fights its way to the unconquerable walled city of Troy
and is victorious. 

Do you get the idea?  How do you start?  Take a blank sheet of
paper or a start a new mind-map file on your computer.  Jot down
every idea that comes to you for each of the three parts.  Don't
eliminate any ideas because you think they are too dumb.  This
'dumb idea' may trigger a great thought or two later on.  Keep
refining the ideas.  Add more ideas, combine others.  Eventually,
the ideas will get distilled down to a few key thoughts, but it may
take more than a single session to get there.  The next step is to
embed the remaining ideas into sentences for each component of the
message.  This is another repetitive exercise.  Keep writing new
sentences, rephrase them, combine them, rearrange them.  Over time,
your message will evolve and solidify.

Once you develop the complete message, don't sit back and relax. 
You need at least one, preferably two, paraphrases of the message. 
These are used to repeat the message -- to emphasize it -- without
using the same words.

What do you do with the message after you develop it?  You stick it
anywhere it'll fit.  On your website, on blogs, in ads, in press
releases, in your trailer.  If you can't fit the entire message
someplace (such as Twitter), use the pitch line by itself.  When
you use the entire message, don't use the underlined terms in the
example above.  Just string the sentences together into a paragraph
or two. 

Here are some uses for the differentiation statement.

Book Covers:
If your book has a print version, the back cover is the ideal place
to put your message.  If you're like me, when you pick up a new
book, you look at the back cover.  A great pitch line can make the
difference between the customer choosing your book or putting it
back on the shelf.  Obviously, to get it on the back cover, you'll
need to develop the message in advance of submitting the cover.

Website Use:
On your book-buying website page, make the pitch line the first
thing a visitor will see.  Follow that with the rest of the pitch
statements.  Why?  Earlier, I mentioned that on the internet,
visitors are capricious, with attention spans too minuscule to
measure.  When these visitors land on your web page, you have a
second or two to persuade them to read beyond the first few lines
of text they see.  That is the job of your pitch line: to get the
visitors to read further.  The next statement (what's in it for the
buyer?) has to tell them there is something of value here,
something they can use or enjoy. Finally, you tell them what is
different about your book, what is in it that they can't get
elsewhere.  If this works, the visitors will read even further
where they can learn how to get a copy and how much it'll cost.  If
you get a sale, you have accomplished the difficult process of
converting a visitor to a customer.

Trailer Use:
Make sure your message is clearly emphasized in the trailer.  Get
the message in the beginning and the end of the trailer. 
Innumerable people from all over the world can view the trailer and
you want them to understand your message.  When you get a first cut
of the trailer, make sure the statements come across.  If they
don't, tell the trailer company to modify the trailer. 

Internet Announcements: 
Log onto social media sites and post an announcement that your book
is available.  Include the message in the announcement.  If space
is limited, make sure the pitch line is in the announcement.

Join book sites like Goodreads and Librarything.  Add information
about your book.  You can upload the cover and add descriptive text
about it.  Make sure the text includes your message and place it
early in the text.

Press Releases:
Display your message prominently.  Make it the opening statement in
the body of the release.  Rephrase the message and place it a
second time further down in the body.

Build a unique e-mail signature using the pitch line by itself. 
Link that pitch line to your book-selling website.  Now, every time
you send an email, you'll also be marketing your book.

This is a website that allows you to give potential buyers an
opportunity to read a sample of your book.  I put these widgets on
the buy page for each of my books.  If a visitor clicks on the
widget, they are shown a "The Story Behind the Book" blurb while
the sample loads.  This is an ideal spot to put a paraphrased
message.  It will prime the reader for the sample.  It should be a
paraphrased version because the reader may have already read the
primary statement on your website before clicking on the Bookbuzzr

Media Kit:
Make sure your media kit includes the message when you describe
your book because media types need to be impressed just as website
visitors do. 

Get the statement, or at least the pitch line, on bookmarks and
business cards.

In conclusion, let me say that once your pitch message is
completed, you've taken a big step toward getting people to buy
your book.  Always look for additional opportunities to display it.

HANK QUENSE writes humorous and satiric scifi and fantasy stories.
He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has
published 14 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen
articles.  He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and
has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is
currently working on a series of four books called Self-publishing
Guides.  The book titles are: Self-publishing a Book, Marketing
Plans for Self-published Books, Manage Your Self-Publishing Project
and Business Basics for Authors.  He and his wife, Pat, usually
vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe.  They also time
travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.
Visit Hank's websites: http://hank-quense.com/wp and 

Copyright 2014 - Hank Quense
This article is based on material from the author's "Marketing
Plans for Self-published Books"

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



Reading is Good for You!
If you weren't already convinced of this, a new infographic from
CBC Books and Canada's National Reading Campaign spells out some of
the many benefits of reading.  According to the infographic,
readers tend to have better physical and mental health than
non-readers, as well as a greater degree of empathy.  Reading for
just 6 minutes can reduce stress by 60%, slow your heart rate, and
reduce muscle tension. (Presumably that 6 minutes would be best
spent reading something other than, say, the day's headlines.) 
Readers were also found to be more likely than non-readers to
contribute money and goods to charities and non-profit
organizations, and are nearly twice as likely to volunteer.  For
more info, visit 

Ursula Le Guin To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award
This November, novelist Ursula Le Guin will receive the National
Book Awards 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American
Letters, to be given at the 65th National Book Awards Ceremony. 
"For more than 40 years, Le Guin has defied conventions of
narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended
the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for
literary fiction," says Harold Augenbraum, executive director of
the foundation.  "She has shown how great writing will obliterate
the antiquated Ė and never really valid Ė line between popular and
literary art."  The award will be presented by Neil Gaiman.  For
more on this story, visit 

New York Times to Launch 12 Monthly Bestseller Lists
The New York Times will soon be featuring 12 monthly bestseller
lists covering a range of topics and genres, including: politics,
business, travel, humor, family, relationships, animals, religion,
faith/spirituality, celebrities, food and fitness, science, and
sports.  Additional lists will be added in 2015.  In addition, the
NYT will be featuring, on a rotating basis, lists that were
primarily available only online.  For more details, visit

Prison Book Ban Defended with Silly Logic
In our last issue, we ran a news item on recent ban on UK prisoners
receiving books from friends and families.  Conservative MP Philip
Davies has more to say on this issue, claiming that prisoners are
"far better served" by prison libraries than the average public. 
Prison libraries, he points out, have as many as 16 (or more) books
per inmate, whereas the ratio for the general public is often just
one book per person.  By that logic, a population of 1 would be
"better served" by a library containing no more than 16 books, than
an individual within a population of 1000 whose library contains
1000 books! Read more at 


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by Victoria Grossack


What do authors owe readers?  This question was asked in a thread
at the Goodreads website, and the first answer offered was
"Nothing."  I disagree with this position.  I believe that there
are things that we authors owe to our readers, and I will explain
what these things are.  I will also describe what I believe that
readers owe to authors.  You may think that this is again, nothing,
but again, I believe it merits discussion.

What Authors Owe Readers: Meeting Expectations
I believe that authors have a duty to readers to do their utmost to
fulfill the expectations they themselves have created.  It would be
unfair to advertise a diet book and deliver a novel about vampires
(although hiring a vampire to drink your blood would be an
effective, albeit dangerous, way to lose weight).  Expectations may
have been generated by the title, by the blurbs describing the
contents and by the author's own reputation, frequently based on
earlier works.

Sometimes false expectations may be created by telling the truth. 
Dan Brown has written several exciting, bestselling thrillers.  He
cannot be the only man in the world named Dan Brown writing books,
but the others probably have different styles.  Other Dan Browns
may want to make sure that they make it clear that they are not the
Dan Brown of "The Da Vinci Code."

Some prolific authors, if they switch usual genres, will write
under a different name, or make their names different enough so
that their usual reading public does not buy a book with wrong
expectations.  Nora Roberts is the pen name of the romance writer
Eleanor Marie Robertson; she has used that name for literally
hundreds of novels.  She has a second line, under the pseudonym
J.D. Robb, for her mysteries.  J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame is
now writing detective novels under the name Robert Galbraith. 
These are situations in which expectations are kept realistic by
the use of pseudonyms.

Another item I believe that authors owe to readers is a properly
formatted product with as few typos as possible.  Typos are a
greater hazard as more works are going straight to publication
without the usual editors to clean up the manuscripts.  Even with
traditional publishers there is no guarantee that this minimum
standard will be met.  I once read a Pulitzer prize-winning book
that was littered with typos in the e-version, which infuriated me
as the e-version was actually more expensive than the one made from
dead trees.

So far what I have described may seem like very low thresholds;
nevertheless, as these minimum standards are not always met, they
are worth mentioning.  Furthermore, I think that authors owe more
to their readers.  When we start a series -- especially one with
unanswered questions that continue from novel to novel rather than
a set of standalone books such as Hercule Poirot detective novels
-- we have a duty to finish the series.  I think we should answer
key questions that we ourselves have created, as it is cruel to
whet curiosity and then fail to satisfy it.

What Do Readers Owe Authors?
Nothing, again, could be the first response.

Readers are not required to buy our books. Even if they do buy
them, they are under no obligation to read them.  Even if they read
them, they are not obliged to like them.

Nevertheless, I think in today's digital age we should establish
some minimal obligations on the part of readers.  I think that
readers should not steal books and articles.  When I first started
this column I was horrified by how many times my columns were
copied and posted on other websites without my permission.  Moira
Allen, the editor at Writing-World.com, ended up writing several
pieces on the problem and increasing the visibility of warnings
against such behavior.  It is also important to give credit where
credit is due.  A group of high school students made a YouTube
video based on one of my novels, but originally neglected to
include the names of the authors of the book.

Some people are also stealing books.  I have noticed that some
readers are returning books they buy for the Kindle and demanding
refunds -- well after they have had enough time to read them.  This
means that the author's royalty is revoked.  The books are not
expensive, yet some people feel that they should still be able to
pay nothing for the read.  A few dollars is very little
compensation when an author has put in months or even years of hard
work.  I think returning books this way is wrong, even if the
reader was disappointed.  I think it's justified only when the book
was bought in error.  

I think returning books may also be justified by terrible
formatting, especially if when they are expensive.  However, if
readers have paid only $2.99 for an e-book, perhaps their
expectations should be lower.

So far my expectations of readers may seem fairly low: not to
steal, and also to give credit where credit is due.  Let's move on
to the subject of reviews.  I also believe that readers should not
to give ratings, good or bad, to books that they have not read,
either in full or in part -- or if they do such a thing, that they
admit that they did not finish the book.

Furthermore, when a reader decides to review a book, I hope that
the reader will judge the book fairly.  Of course, readers will not
like all books.  That's OK.  But if a reader who loves detective
stories and hate romances nevertheless reads a romance, he should
not complain too loudly when a romance is romantic instead of

Finally, I hope readers will not resort to bullying.  Even if they
believe a novel is poorly written, I hope that they will limit
their criticism to the novel and not make personal remarks about
the author.   Believe me, authors will feel sufficiently depressed
if their creative works are disliked.  There is no need to insult
their hair, their weight or to wish them ill.

The Worst Author-Reader Relationship In Fiction
Let's consider an extremely dysfunctional author-reader
relationship explored in Stephen King's "Misery."  In "Misery," an
author called Paul Sheldon is in a terrible car accident.  He is
both rescued and kidnapped by a crazy ex-nurse, Annie Wilkes.  It
turns out that Annie is a great fan of Paul Sheldon's novels.  She
is very upset with him because in his latest novel he killed
Misery, the heroine of his series.  Because of his injuries, Annie
now has Paul Sheldon at her mercy, and she forces him to continue
his series.

"Misery" illustrates two important points in its pages.  First,
when authors have successfully created characters in a series, the
fans have a fairly reasonable expectation of sequels.  Naturally,
there are times when these sequels cannot be written.  The author
may be dead or too ill to continue.

There is a second relevant matter within the pages of King's
"Misery."  Sheldon's initial draft of his new novel contradicts
what he wrote before.  Wilkes objects violently to this cheating on
his art.  Sheldon's faithful and fanatical reader forces him to
come up with a new and extremely innovative solution to Misery's
pickle.  This is a reminder that readers expect us not to
contradict what we wrote in previous pages, and that readers really
appreciate twisted, unusual and creative answers to problems.

Your Own Pledge To Readers
I think that we authors should try to meet the minimum requirements
above, but I also think that each of us should ask what we
personally believe is important to offer readers.  For example, in
our Tapestry of Bronze series, based on Greek myths, despite these
stories having fantastical elements, we have nothing that does not
also have a natural explanation.  These explanations may be hard
for the characters to understand, but readers should catch most of

Your own standards of quality may be different.  Perhaps you want
to avoid profanity.  Perhaps you feel it is important to show the
point of view of a particular religion.  These are your works of
art, representing what you believe is important.  It is up to you
determine what your own standards are and to decide what you want
to pledge your readers.  Perhaps you will manage to achieve what
you are attempting to do; perhaps you will not, but you are more
likely to get closer if you try.  To quote Leo Burnett, the famous
advertising executive, "When you reach for the stars you may not
quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either"
(you can find more quotes at brainyquote.com).

The relationship between the author and the reader has always been
in flux, and in these days of the internet and of social
networking, is changing at a faster pace than ever.  It is possible
to see what readers really think of our works much more easily than
it was in the past.

This article has described the minimum standards that I think
belong to the author-reader contract.  Of course, in some cases the
law is actually involved: plagiarism is illegal.  Bullying, too,
can be against the law and may create conditions of liability.  On
the other hand, it is not usually illegal to offer an opinion about
a book that you have not read, but it is probably inappropriate.

Beyond the minimum standards, I think it is important to ask what
you, as an author, are pledging to your readers.  And when you
read, ask yourself what you, as a reader, owe authors.


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. 


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


A publishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what
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Editing vs. Proofreading
An interesting, concise article on the differences between editing
and proofreading, and when one might wish or need to obtain one
service or the other.

Glossary of Photographic Terms
Shutterbugs out there may find this extensive list of photography
terms useful!

SCA College of Arms - Name Articles
If you're wondering what to name the characters in your latest
novel or story, you can't do much better for naming resources than
this site!  It's packed with articles on historic names,
international names, name origins, linguistics, history, and so
much more.  You could spend hours just browsing... Don't lose
yourself and forget about your novel in the process!


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!

By Aline Lechaye


Summer is over, and fall is on the way, which means that the year
is more than half over. True, there are still a couple of months
left before NaNoWriMo, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a good
time to start planning what you're going to write. Last month, we
looked at some random writing tools. This month, let's look at some
(hopefully less random) writing tools that will get you organized,
inspired, and readable. 

Get organized with Trello (http://trello.com/), a collaboration
to-do board that you can use to brainstorm ideas, track activities,
or plan projects. Start new "boards" for each project you're
working on, and add images, checklists, or attachments (these can
be uploaded from your computer or linked from cloud storage sites)
to suit your needs. Type in friends' email addresses to invite them
to your board; your friends don't have to be existing members of
Trello to start using the site. Interact with your collaborators
using the "Write a comment" textboxes. I've found that Trello can
be extremely useful for story plotting -- you can create a quick
overview of your characters, chapters, and plot points so that
you'll have everything you need to know about your story at your
fingertips. The Trello app runs on iPhones, iPads, Android phones
and tablets, Windows 8 phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire tablets.
You can sign in using your Google account if you donít want to
create a new Trello account.

Got a favorite quote or saying that inspires you? Present it in an
appropriately inspiring manner with the help of Recite (
http://recitethis.com/). The site has a wide variety of templates
that you can choose to display any motivational words you choose.
Simply type your words into the "Can I Quote You" text box at the
top of the web page and click the "Create" button to get a preview
of how your quote looks on each of the templates available, then
click on your chosen template and you'll be able to download the
finished image to your computer, post it to social media sites, or
email it to friends. Canít think of any good quotes off of the top
of your head? Click on the "Find A Quote" tab to the right of the
web page to start getting inspired. 

Check your writing for readability with the Hemingway Editor App
(http://www.hemingwayapp.com/). Copy and paste your writing into
the web-based editor from your word processor or directly type to
the web page and then click the "Edit" button in the top right
corner to analyze your work. Apart from word count, readability,
and passive voice, the Hemingway App also marks hard to read
sentences, adverbs, and suggests simpler words and phrases to
increase readability. Want the editor to ignore passive voice or
adverbs? No problem! Each of the app's functions comes with an
"off" switch so that you can turn off the ones that you donít need.
There is no need to sign up or log in to use the editor. The web
version of the app is currently free to use. 


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye at gmail.com


Copyright 2014 Aline Lechaye 

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


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

BITS ABOUT ANIMALS: A Treasury of Victorian Animal Anecdotes,
edited by Moira Allen


EPITAPHIANA: A Collection of Quaint and Curious Inscriptions and
Epitaphs, by W. Fairley; edited by Moira Allen

HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: A Travel Writer's Memories, 
by Peter Dunkley


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