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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 14:20          13,950 subscribers          October 16, 2014
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GUEST EDITORIAL, by Audrey Henderson
     Being There
FEATURE ARTICLE, by Barbara Florio Graham
     Why Procrastination is a Good Thing
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack     
     The Greater Logic of Fiction
     Tools for NaNoWriMo
Who Stumbled on the Secret of Making 6-Figures from Home as a
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GUEST EDITORIAL, by Audrey Henderson

Being There
I have a friend whom I'll call Simeon (which isn't his real name)
who is hard working, well educated and good at what he does. He's
also in his upper 50s, and was unceremoniously kicked out of his
high-paying job about 3 years ago.  Fortunately, Simeon is also
frugal and has a solid financial situation, including severance
pay, so he had a soft landing, at least where money is concerned.

Finding new work? Not so much.  Age discrimination may very well be
at play.  But Simeon's fortunes may be changing. He's been engaged
in what Richard Bolles calls "information interviewing" for the
past few months. Recently, Simeon made a connection through an
event he attended related to his interest in architecture. The
contact subsequently referred Simeon to a company that seems to be
a good fit -- and which recently called Simeon in for a second
interview for really good job opening. By the time you read this,
Simeon may have rejoined the professional workforce.

I recently snagged my own lucrative contract simply as a result of
having attended a networking function related to my interest in
sustainable development some months earlier.  I had chatted briefly
with the director of the company at the end of the program and we
exchanged business cards.  I'd followed up via email but never
heard back.  I soon got caught up in my day-to-day routine and
dropped the ball on further follow up.

One morning at the end of July I received an email message from a
familiar-looking address. The company whose director I had met
earlier in the year had been contracted to revise a report
addressing resiliency and climate change and was seeking someone
with my research and writing expertise to contribute chapters.
Would I be interested?  

Well, yes I would.  I dialed the number and spoke with a very
pleasant but professional associate for the firm, hashing out a
verbal agreement. Within a few hours, I had a contract in my
in-box, ready for my signature. I printed out the contract and
dispatched a signed, scanned copy via email.  I'm presently working
on Phase Two of the project.

These two anecdotes share a common theme: initial connections made
in person.  As far as I know, the company for which I'm contracting
never considered another researcher.  I have the strong impression
that's also the case for Simeon.  And why not? We were both known
quantities, saving our potential employer and client the hassle of
sorting through stacks of resumes, scheduling interviews, etc.

As writers, we may find it easier to communicate through our
computers, Smartphones or tablets (or if you're a die-hard Luddite,
your typewriter) than verbally.  And there's nothing wrong with
that. I have established relationships with editors that have
endured for years (hello Moira!) strictly via e-mail and other
online venues.  At the same time, whenever I find myself in the
same city with any of my online contacts, I extend invitations for
coffee, which more often than not are eagerly accepted.

If you're already in the same city with one or more of your editors
or other publishing contacts, what's keeping you from setting up an
in-person appointment?  Sure, editors are busy people and you're
busy too.  In many ways it's much easier to tweet, post Facebook
updates and tend to profiles on Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn,
Instagram, etc.  And in today's hyper-connected world, maintaining
a presence in cyberspace is a must.

But there's a reason that conferences, symposia and seminars
continue to draw hundreds or even thousands of attendees. Even with
the omnipresence of the Internet and social media, people still
like to connect face-to-face, and that includes introverts, which
many writers are (including me).  Attending relevant events and
making other face-to-face contacts remain among the very best means
of making valuable contacts for nearly every profession, including

Back in the heyday of mass online content producers, hundreds if
not thousands of writers relied on these outlets as their sole or
primary source of income.  Google Panda and other recent
developments have largely wiped out that publishing space. Online
publishers still exist, of course, but upper-tier editors will
expect you to have real-world experience on the subjects you write
about, or at the very least, to flesh out your research with quotes
and insights from authoritative figures.  

The Internet is a marvelous invention that has fundamentally
changed our world.  But relying solely on cyberspace for
professional development means you're potentially missing out on
real opportunities. Even if you work primarily on a remote basis,
you'll still need to get out of the house occasionally, if only for
sanity's sake. 

You don't want to find yourself in a situation like that of Sandra
Bullock's character in the mid-90's Internet thriller "The Net,"
where no one could vouch for her because they had never met her in
person.  OK, the technology for that movie is way outdated, and the
hazard is (probably) exaggerated. But the basic premise of the
movie is as valid today as it was in 1995 when the movie first
appeared in theaters.  So the next time you're contemplating
skipping that networking event or even a get-together with other
colleagues, don't.  You may very well meet your next client there.

And a final note: I've just heard that my friend got the job!

-- Audrey Henderson

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

Copyright 2014 Audrey Henderson

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

Link to this article here:

THE OCTOBER ISSUE OF VICTORIAN TIMES is now available! This month,
thrill to the tales of a host of Victorian ghosties; follow a
Victorian lady to the end of her journey in Texas; find out what an
"American Sale" is (and how to run one); meet Mungo the curious
mongoose; and enjoy delicious recipes, beautiful craft projects,
and rare glimpses into the Victorian world.  
Visit http://www.mostly-victorian.com/VT/issues/VT-1410.shtml to
download the free electronic edition or access the print edition.


readers) on your gift list?  Then check out the new line of "mugs 
for writers and readers" designed by Writing-World.com editor 
Moira Allen! Our gorgeous mugs (the kind you drink from, we mean) 
are designed especially for folks who love books -- who can't get 
enough books -- who can't stop writing books -- you know.  
Folks like you!  See our growing lineup at 



Comic Book Writer/Illustrator Wanted!
Madison Bonner is looking for someone to write and illustrate a
custom comic book as a birthday gift.  She is looking for a book of
between 7-10 pages.  "I want the typical hero story, boy gets girl,
love story."  She hopes to have the project completed by Christmas.
This is a paying project; please contact Madison with samples and
rates at bonner.madison@yahoo.com.


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FEATURE ARTICLE: When Procrastination Is a Good Thing
by Barbara Florio Graham


We've been told since childhood not to procrastinate. But
sometimes, taking a step back before you move forward is the best
course of action. 

Here are some instances when procrastination might be wise:

1. Don't plunge into a new article before you research the topic to
see where it's been done before. You may have to find a new angle
and perhaps a more original title. Put key words into a search
engine and see what comes up. If the topic has been well covered by
general-interest magazines, can you gear it more toward parents?
seniors? You don't want to waste your time writing about a topic
that's already been exhausted. 

2. Don't begin writing until you find potential markets. If article
is so specialized it only fits one publication, you need to figure
out how to tweak it for others, in case the first one turns you
down. It's also important to have subsequent spin-off articles in
mind before you dump all your best work into the first piece. You
may want to save a quote or a snippet of interesting information
for a different audience. You may have a particular market in mind,
but don't limit yourself until you've done a thorough search. 

3. Don't think your personal experience alone can become a magazine
article. You need some objective information, quotes from others,
and a broader perspective before an editor will feel this is worth
publishing. You may even have to abandon your personal story
completely, and focus instead on others in a similar predicament.
Maybe the article will focus on mid-life divorce, rather than your
own experience, or on the therapeutic value of all pets instead of
just cats. 

4. Don't query a magazine before you finish your research and know
you can actually find all the resources and interviews you're
promising. You don't have to give all these to the editor, but it
can be persuasive to indicate the number and type of resources you
plan to use. Begin with a search engine, of course, but also use
your wide range of contacts. You never know when a friend has a
cousin who works in that field, or a relative has a neighbor with
expertise in that area. 

5. Don't send a query or submission too early, before the
publication is ready to consider that holiday, anniversary, or
coming event. Timing is everything! Consult editorial calendars,
and know how far in advance some magazines work. This often means
querying Christmas pieces in June. And don't forget to take part of
an article you published years ago that contains an anecdote or
information about a specific occasion, and send that as a new,
short piece for a newspaper or magazine. Often if you send the
completed article on spec at the right time, it may land on an
editor's desk just as they're searching for something that length
for that issue.

6. Don't enter a contest without reading the fine print about what
rights they buy. Some claim ownership of all submissions, even
those that win no prizes. Others state that submissions that fall
short may still be included in an anthology with little or no
payment. Also, check out every contest by seeing if there are
complaints about it on popular writing websites and newsletters.
Weigh the cost of the contest against the potential prize money to
determine your chances of winning anything. 

7. Don't complete a non-fiction book before finding an agent and/or
publisher. It's not uncommon for an agent or publisher to want you
to shape the book differently. If you've spent a lot of time
writing this, your heart may be set on some aspect of the format,
style, or content, making you reluctant to listen to an agent's
advice. Agents know what will sell. A good agent can often show you
how to turn a mediocre manuscript into a winner.

8. Don't create a blog before you have your own website to attach
it to. You need to own your own blog postings, and not take the
risk of having them disappear in case the host site is sold or
vanishes, or be lifted by unscrupulous visitors because the hosting
platform doesn't police its site. And don't waste your best work on
your blog! 

9. Don't send a press release before you have all the information
on your website to back it up. Working on your own website is the
most valuable use of your time. It's your showcase, where you
establish your platform, provide your resume and testimonials, post
your bio, and list your best work, with links to where it's been

10. Don't buy into that old advice about keeping your current
project a secret. Sharing with other authors can be extremely
valuable, providing you with perspective, additional contacts or
research materials, as well as encouragement. Join a local writers'
group and bring work in progress to read. If you worry about
criticism, provide a simple checklist to hand out, asking members
to comment just on certain aspects, such as if they can identify
with your main character, if there's too much description, or if
you open with sufficient action to keep the reader's interest. Take
notes on their comments, and use these to improve your next draft.

These are ten reasons why you may want to procrastinate before you
make your next move!


Barbara Florio Graham is an author and publishing consultant who
has mentored more than fifty people since 1995. She's the author of
three books: Five Fast Steps to Better Writing, Five Fast Steps to
Low-Cost Publicity, and Mewsings/Musings. She also served as
Managing Editor of Prose to Go: Tales from a Private List, and has
contributed to 38 anthologies in three countries. Her website,
http://SimonTeakettle.com, contains a great deal of free
information about writing and publishing. 


Copyright 2014 Barbara Florio Graham

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

Link to this article here:


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.



Print Books Outselling EBooks
A recent survey by Nielsen Books & Consumer shows that print books
outsold ebooks in the first half of 2014.  Ebooks (23% of unit
sales) were outsold by both hardcovers (25% of sales) AND
paperbacks (42% of sales) - not just by the combination of the two.
 These figures indicate that the print book industry may not be in
as much of a "retreat" as many have predicted.  Stephen King,
conversely, has recently gone on record to say that he believes
"[print] books are going to be there for a long, long time to
come."  The Huffington Post article on the survey notes that these
figures may come as a hopeful sign to those who are concerned that
e-reading may have its downside, as there as growing evidence that
reading print books may allow for stronger understanding and better
retention of content.  For more on this story, visit 

In London, Follow the Paddington Trail!
To celebrate the release of Paddington The Movie (November 28 in
the UK), 50 Paddington Bear statues are being placed across London
to mark the famous bear's favorite places.  The "Paddington Trail"
of statues will be placed near parks, museums, shops and key
landmarks of London; the statues are being created by artists,
designers and celebrities.  Paddington Bear was created by Michael
Bond, who bought a small bear from Selfridges on Christmas Eve in
1956, and named it after the Paddington railway station. Since
then, stories of more than Paddington Bear (who came to London from
"darkest Peru") have since sold more than 35 million books and been
translated into 40 languages. Paddington fans can follow the trail
between November 4 and December 30; thereafter the statues and
other collectable items will be auctioned to raise funds for the
NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).
 For more about Paddington Bear, visit http://www.paddington.com;
for more about the trail, visit 

HarperCollins Forms German Branch
HarperCollins Pubilshers has announced the creation of
HarperCollins Germany, which will launch with approximately 50
books in the fall of 2015.  This is an expansion of the existing
Harlequin publishing program in Hamburg.  Books will be selected
for translation from "various HarperCollins divisions around the
world."  Thomas Beckmann,  Managing Director of Harlequin Germany,
notes that "Germany is a key foreign language market."  For more
details, visit http://tinyurl.com/pmbfdw4


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CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: The Greater Logic of Fiction
by Victoria Grossack


In the last column, we discussed some of the absurdities that are
frequently found in many types of fiction.  In this, we will review
some of the ways that fiction makes more sense than the real world.

What do I mean by more sense?  How can that be, when it is trying
to depict events in the real world?  Well, I would argue that the
world has a certain amount of nuisance and disorder that is
deliberately excluded from fiction.  This means that fiction often
seems to make more sense, even when it does not reflect reality.

In the real world, people are inconsistent all the time.  They
contradict their own words; if you don't believe me, review some
political speeches!  But inconsistency is not reserved for
politicians who may have huge incentives to be duplicitous.  Many
people just forget a lot, and when they do remember, they recall
events differently from the way they recalled them before.  There's
a good reason that eyewitness testimony is considered less reliable
than forensic evidence.  People tend to recall what they think
SHOULD have been there, rather than what actually happened.  (For
an example of how the mind reorganizes reality into what makes more
sense to it, visit this optical illusion site: 

Even though our minds play tricks on us in real life, in novels,
characters frequently recall details perfectly -- or at least with
far more accuracy than real people do.  In fact, authors need to
make sure that they, too, recall everything perfectly; novels are
not supposed to contain mistakes such as Hilda wearing a red dress
on page one and (without changing) a blue one a few paragraphs
later.  Woe betide the author who errs!

It is not just facts and the recollection of facts that are more
consistent in the fictional world, but the personalities of the
characters themselves.  Characters who are praised for being well
done are also consistent in terms of attitude, speech, and
supporting traits.  This is so expected that "OOC" is a TLA (three
letter acronym) for "out of character" used by many readers in
forums discussing stories.  To have characters be OOC is a black
mark for an author, unless the uncharacteristic behavior can be
explained or excused by something such as hypnosis or possession. 
Yet in the real world people do not always behave consistently. 
Inconsistency occurs in the real world in part because the real
world is more complicated.  People behave differently when they are
tired, depressed, forgetful, sorely tempted, or simply because
there is something that the world does not know about them.

In many respects, fiction is easier to understand than real life. 
Let's start with dialogue.  Fictional characters tend to speak more
intelligibly and in more complete sentences than we do in real
life.  Record some actual conversations, transcribe them and then
compare them to what you usually find in novels.  In real life you
will discover many more misunderstandings, hesitations, and other
incomplete communications than you will see on the written page.

Some TV shows and movies include occasional garbled dialogue.  The
intended meaning comes across from context, gesture and intonation,
as it does in real life.  However, these props are not available to
words on a page.  The medium of your story affects your artistic

Another reason for the greater clarity of communication between
characters is that confusing conversations and paragraphs are not
tolerated well by readers.  If readers have to go back repeatedly
to previous passages to make sense of them, they grow impatient. 
There are exceptions, of course.  Sometimes scenes, when readers
have greater knowledge, will be read again with pleasure as the
words take on a different meaning.  Other sections are deliberately
misleading or deliberately create questions in the readers' minds. 
But in these cases the readers continue with the story eagerly,
expecting to find explanations in future chapters.

Less Repetition
People repeat themselves all the time in real life, far more often
than they do in fiction.  Advertising, recounting old stories, old
arguments, insults, reproaches: these are all examples of
repetitions.  How many times do you stop listening when someone
tells an event for the umpteenth time?  How often -- be honest --
do you think the same thing over and over yourself, whether it be a
goal that you have, a piece of praise that you received, or even
that you are hungry or tired or that your back hurts?  If stories
repeated themselves as often as real life does, I don't think they
would sell well.

The amount of repetition in novels is ideally just the right amount
for readers to know what they need to know to enjoy the story.  It
becomes a delicate balance of judging what readers need reminding
about and what they are likely to remember easily.  Too much
repetition is boring, but insufficient amounts can confuse the
reader.  Of course, individual readers differ in how much
repetition they need and how much they will tolerate.

Beginnings and Endings
Stories have beginnings and endings.  Of course, people are born
and people die, so we can argue that their lives have beginnings
and endings as well, but even then it is possible to journey
backwards, and consider the parents of the child, and their
parents, too.  Some stories, such as "David Copperfield," imitate
life and begin with a character's birth.  However, this approach
doesn't work for many stories, including most genre fiction.  Could
you imagine detective stories featuring Miss Marple beginning with
her birth, seven or eight decades before her adventures in St Mary

Unlike most lives and other real life events, stories have more
flexibility about when they start.  Authors can choose to begin
them just when things are getting really interesting for the
audience.  In fact, there are many articles written about how to
hook readers with an exciting beginning.  Noah Lukeman, an agent,
even wrote a book titled "The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to
Staying out of the Rejection Pile."  

Stories also have endings that usually make more sense than real
life.  In stories, most plots are deliberately constructed so that
everything resolves near the end.  The characters accomplish their
missions; they grow and they learn something.  Furthermore, the
most important questions are answered.  We find out what happened
to Joe, and to Mary, and not only that Ted destroyed the petunias
in the flower box but why and how he did it.  Readers receive the
explanations they crave, and most loose threads are tied up.  This
is not like real life where information does not always come
together in a complete and timely matter and in which some
individuals never seem to learn anything.

Happy endings happen often, and are actually de rigueur in many
genres.  Harlequin is not publishing romances in which the couples
don't end up together!  Even if happy endings are not required by a
genre, many readers prefer them.  Of course, some readers enjoy sad
endings -- sometimes tearjerkers can be cathartic -- but even then,
there is usually the sense that someone, if only the reader and not
the main character, has learned something.  

Beginnings and endings generally make stories more entertaining,
and certainly more convenient.  They also give readers a sense of
order that is often lacking in real life.  In real life, questions
are not always answered.  It may be difficult to determine when an
event began, and even when (or if) it has ended.  In real life,
questions are frequently not answered.  We never do learn what
happened to the petunias.  (This is a real mystery in my life right
now  a bird?  A cat?  I do not know but I have taken down my
flower box.)

Exceptions to Every Rule
As always, there are exceptions, both in real life and in fiction. 
Some people in real life are consistent and intelligible and don't
seem to repeat themselves.  Some fiction is inconsistent, hard to
understand, and repetitious.  Maybe it is even good fiction,
although from this description it doesn't sound like it, does it? 
Perhaps these aspects can work in moderation.

I believe reality is often messy and confusing and plagued by
entropy; fiction is not.  Even though the hero may suffer and die,
the sense of order that people get out of reading fiction is one
reason that they turn to it.  You will have to decide how much
order you want in your own story.

Thanks for reading!  Until next time.


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
is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks.



Interview with Moira Allen
Here's a short interview on the "Purely Simple Words" blog, 
by Georgia Piazza.

Live Write Thrive
This blog by C.S. Lakin offers a wealth of tips for all types of
writers, with articles on grammar, fiction, publishing, the writing
life and more.

Are Your Writing Dreams Unrealistic?
This post by Ali Luke is a must read for every writer and would-be
writer - it perfectly sorts out the realistic dreams from the
unrealistic.  As Ali points out, your destiny is in your hands!


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


October is half over, which means two things: Halloween is almost
here (yay! Costumes! Creepy ghost stories! Candy!), and it's soon
going to be time for NaNoWriMo. 

NaNoWriMo, as always, kicks off on November 1st, which means that
you still have a few days to wake your muse, get yourself into the
novel-writing mindset, and get your notes and writing space

The target word count for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words -- a number
that might sound slightly off-putting, especially for those who
haven't participated before. However, the truth is that it's not as
bad as it looks: 50,000 words a month works out to about 1,667
words a day (a much more acceptable figure, surely). Curious about
the word count of other books you know and love? Type the book
title or author name into the AR BookFinder (
http://www.arbookfind.com/) search engine and it will give you the
word count and reading level of the book. (Note: the AR BookFinder
is targeted towards student readers and therefore some titles may
not be available.)

If you want a tool to plan out your writing schedule for November,
try Pacemaker (http://pacemaker.sewillia.com/), which creates
tailor-made writing plans adjusted according to your needs. Enter
your target word count and start and finish dates into the spaces
given, and then choose the writing mode that best fits your needs:
do you want to start slow and build up? Write an equal amount of
words every day? Take some time off on weekends? Have a couple of
no-writing days for research or just to relax? The finished writing
schedule can be exported in table or graph or calendar form, and
there is even an option to download to iCal. 

There are a number of "writing progress meters" you can find online
for tracking your progress (and displaying your current word count
to others who may also be participating in NaNoWriMo!). For
example, there is the NaNoWriMo Word Meter on the Language is a
Virus website (
http://www.languageisavirus.com/nanowrimo/word-meter.html); all you
have to do is enter your current and target word counts, pick the
color of your progress bar, and then paste the generated HTML code
to your blog or webpage. The Word Meter Builder on the Critique
Circle website (http://www.critiquecircle.com/wordmeterbuilder.asp)
works along the same lines, although it offers a few more
customization options for those who might want them. Not only can
you choose the color of your progress bar, you can also adjust the
height, width, and font as needed. You can enter your word count
progress manually or simply link to your NaNoWriMo account. If
you're looking for more interesting progress meters, check out the
Writertopia site (http://www.writertopia.com/toolbox). They have a
simple word meter similar to the ones above, but they also have a
really cute cartoon word count meter that shows a writing potato.
The best thing about this cartoon potato progress meter? You can
change it according to your mood, and, once the target word count
is reached, the potato will get up and celebrate. Choose from 8
moods ranging from "Very frustrated" to "Joyful."


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. 


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by Peter Dunkley


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