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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 15:14           13,371 subscribers            July 16, 2015
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GUEST EDITORIAL, by Mridu Khullar Relph
     The Secret Art of Reaching "The End"
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack     
     Editing for Consistency
     Consolidating Social Media
choose the best pricing method for the job, negotiate if the 
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GUEST EDITORIAL - by Mridu Khullar Relph

The Secret Art of Reaching "The End" 
Like most of you, I am an idea person. What this means,
essentially, is that I have notebooks upon notebooks in my drawers
and files upon files on my computer that are filled with ideas for
books, characters, articles, essays, even queries. Some of them are
just one-sentence ideas, some of them are thorough outlines that
I've spent hours, sometimes days, on. If I were to add up all the
time I've spent on these half-baked ideas, I suspect we'd be
talking months, not weeks, of work that's unfinished and sitting in
files that aren't going anywhere.
That, if you think about it, is a real shame. Because I came up
with an idea, worked on it for however long, and never held its
hand and helped it cross the finish line. It may be because I lost
confidence in it, or more simply, it's because I found something
newer and shinier to occupy myself with and my rabbit brain hopped
on over to something more interesting and never returned. This
means I wasted time, I'm sitting on money that could be made if I
finished these pieces, and I've created the habit of producing work
and taking it to a certain point but not completing it and sending
it out.
"Real artists ship," said Steve Jobs, who led by example. What he
meant was that at some point you have to stop tweaking, stop
obsessing, stop revising, and just finish it. Then you have to pack
it up, add the frills and fancies, and let it go. You have to let
it go. You have to make a commitment to finishing everything you
create and then you have to send it out into the world.
This finishing, that's where I stumble, and I suspect you do, too.
Because it's easier to see the genius of an idea that's still in
your head and much harder to actually put it on paper and continue
to find that genius. Most of us are disappointed by the stories we
produce because they were so much better in our head and when that
gap between the vision and the reality doesn't always close, we
hesitate. We don't finish. We don't ship.
I read this quote somewhere a while ago and it stuck with me:
"Productivity is not getting stuff done. It is getting the right
stuff done."
It's not about how many blog posts you can write or how much you
can tweet or how many relationships with editors you can build,
though all of those things are important. What matters most, is how
many words you can write, how many projects you can finish, how
quickly and how often you can ship. How are you going to use those
relationships? What is the purpose of the blog posts? Is tweeting
taking you away from your goal of shipping?
So here's my challenge to you today: Take a project, any project,
that's in a half-state of completion and finish it this week. Ship
it. Because creating is only one part of being a writer. Taking the
risk to send it out into the world is the true test.
Are you ready to make that commitment? Are you ready to ship
something 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 2015 Mridu Khullar Relph 

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

Link to this article here: 

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Sherlock Holmes, Detective
Did you know that 16% of Holmes' clients were women in crises with
no other recourse to help? Or that his arch enemy Professor
Moriarty appears in only three of the 60 cases? Or even that in 10
cases, no crime was actually committed at all? Fans of literature's
most famous human bloodhound will delight in these set of
infographics from Adam Frost and Jim Kynvin which chart the course
of his escapades: from the layout of his famous rooms at 221B Baker
Street to the geographic locations of evidence mapped over the
country. For more "singular, remarkable and curious" facts, visit:

Apple loses appeal of e-book pricing conspiracy
In July 2013, a US District Judge in Manhattan ruled that Apple
played a "central role" in a conspiracy with publishers to
eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices. Now a
federal appeals court (2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) has
upheld this ruling, in a win for the US Justice Department, which
may force Apple to pay consumers $450 million. It is alleged that
the scheme caused some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99
from the $9.99 price charged by market leader Amazon. Apple denies
any wrong-doing. For more, visit: http://reut.rs/1IKa17N

Know an author? Don't review their book on Amazon!
If you've interacted with an author in some way, you are not
allowed to post a review for their book on Amazon, as per their
current review policy, "because your account activity indicates
that you know the author." Self-published author Jas Ward is
challenging this policy with a petition on Change.org which has
collected 11000 signatures to date. For more, and to support the
petition, visit:

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.

CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Editing for Consistency
by Victoria Grossack

A while ago my stepmother asked what exactly I do when I edit.  I
rattled off many items that I check, declaiming until her eyes
glazed over.  Hopefully you are more interested in this topic! 
Anyway, in this month's column we will cover the importance of
focusing on CONSISTENCY during your editing process. 

"Consistency," according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is the hobgoblin
of little minds."  The great philosopher implies that you shouldn't
obsess with making your life consistent.  And with respect to life,
I agree: consistency should not rule your decisions and actions
when flexibility is required, especially when you discover
information that should influence those decisions.

However, consistency in fiction is an entirely different matter. 
The fictional world is an artificial world and your readers expect
it to be consistent.  If you're inconsistent, if you contradict
yourself, your readers will be frustrated and confused. 

You may think that the goal of not contradicting yourself within
your story is so obvious that it hardly merits mentioning, and so
boring that it does not deserve a column.  However, not
contradicting yourself, particularly in a work of any length, is a
large part of the editing process.
Furthermore, the concept of consistency goes beyond simply making
sure you have not contradicted yourself.  Consistency helps you
maintain a theme, a feeling, a sense of unity; it helps you to
focus your fiction. 

Finally, some consistency checks are more subtle than others and
can play a huge role in improving your story. 

In this column we'll look at how consistency can be applied in the
editing process to two different major areas: levels of structure
and characterization. 

Levels of Structure 
I'm a big proponent of levels of structure in fiction.  These
different levels provide a valuable schematic for checking
consistency.  So, below are a few of these levels and few of the
ways in how consistency can matter on each of them. 


Did I spell a name the same way in chapters one and seven or did I
change it?  It happens, and alas, not all that infrequently (some
of my characters' names are difficult and there are many of them). 
My collaborator and I create a file containing all the characters'
names with agreed-upon spellings.  We often include in this file
other information pertaining to the character -- age, physical
description, personality -- so as to remain consistent on other
points, too. 


Do my phrases make sense and are they appropriate?  I once read a
sentence with the phrase "her blue eyes were like onyxes."  While
onyxes can be many colors, blue is not one of them, so I wondered
at the author's choice of metaphor. 

I also check whether or not I have mixed my metaphors and whether
they are consistent with the characters and the story. 


There are many grammatically correct ways to write a sentence, but
many more incorrect ways.  And even among those that are
grammatically acceptable, only a few will convey my meaning exactly
as I want it conveyed. 

Many of my nonsensical sentences are a result of previous editing
sessions.  Words that should have been deleted somehow remain in
the text and other words which should have been introduced never
made it from my brain.  Alas, the more I edit, the more I NEED to


Proper paragraphs take skill.  I study each sentence within a
paragraph to determine whether it belongs.  If a paragraph is
focused on Mary's unrequited love for Frank, then the sentences in
that paragraph should be about Mary's unrequited love for Frank. 
Other topics -- her lost cell phone, her flat tire, the threatening
letter from the IRS (poor Mary is having a bad day) -- probably
belong in other paragraphs.  Note that this is an aspect in which
CONSISTENCY goes beyond simply NOT CONTRADICTING.  If you apply it,
your paragraphs will improve. 


The majority of my editing is done one scene at a time.  Some of
the consistency checks I do are minor but important.  For example,
if it's late in the day and the sun is still visible, the sun
should be somewhere in the west.  All the persons in the scene who
should be in a scene should be present and accounted for, even if
they contribute nothing to the emotional content of the scene.  For
example, if I'm writing about a king with bodyguards, those
bodyguards need to be in the scene -- even if these extras have no
dialogue and do nothing but stand at attention. 

I generally believe that a single scene should have a single point
of view.  That's not to say that I never break this rule, but I
have to have a very good reason for doing so.  So each scene is
checked to make sure that the POV is consistent. 


If you're creating a series, there's simply much more to do in
terms of consistency.  Events, timing, characters, and so on, all
need to be reviewed to make sure that you're not breaking your own
words.  My collaborator and I have another spreadsheet with our
timeline of events, including the birth years of our characters, so
that we know who is alive when. 


Do the elements in your story confirm or contradict what has been
written by other authors on the same subject?  Now, your story does
not have to be consistent with what other authors have written.  It
may not be possible to be consistent with these other authors, as
their stories may already contradict each other, or perhaps your
primary reason for writing your story is to contradict the other
versions; for example, you may be writing Alternate History or
Science Fiction.  However, I believe that at a minimum you should
be aware of when you contradict what others have written, because
this way you can deal with the consequences.  One consequence
concerns reader expectations.  If your readers expect that Julius
Caesar died on the Ides of March, and for some reason you want to
change this, then you need to work in some information to support
your theory or you will confuse them.  A second reason for being
consistent with other literature if possible is because it makes
you, the author, look intelligent and well-read instead of -- ahem!
-- ignorant and lazy. 

Consistency in Characters
There are other consistency checks besides the levels of structure.
 Many of them have to do with characters.  I've noticed that some
authors gift their heroes with every virtue, and burden their
villains with every vice.  I read one manuscript in which a
poverty-stricken heroine refused her evil, wealthy suitor.  The
author ascribed the rejected suitor with every negative attribute,
including GREED.  Well, if he was so avaricious, why did he want to
marry the impoverished heroine?  It was inconsistent. The simplest
fix was to keep the heroine from calling her suitor greedy and
choose a different type of insult.  Another fix would be to make
the heroine, unbeknownst to her, an heiress.
Characters should behave consistently with their personalities and
their circumstances.  If characters are hungry, then those
characters should be looking for (or at least thinking about) food.
 If they are worried, then they should not seem confident (or at
least it should require an effort).  If they are sad, they should
not appear happy.  You may think that this is obvious, but it can
actually be difficult to do.  For each scene, ask yourself, what is
the dominant emotion or concern for each character?  Then make sure
that every sentence in that scene referring to that character --
whether it is concerned with action, internal thought, or dialogue
-- supports that dominant emotion or concern, or at the very least,
does not contradict it. 

Characters should also speak and think consistently.  Some of this
means avoiding anachronisms; some of this means using long words --
or short, depending on the character; some of this means using good
grammar -- or poor, once more depending on the character.  If your
villain is a vulgar barbarian, then he should not sound like an
erudite critic -- unless he wants to, in which case he should sound
like an erudite critic with the accent of a vulgar barbarian.

Finally, characters should show consistency on a continuing basis. 
When you're revising your manuscript, you may want to go through it
according to character.  For example, your novel may focus on Jane,
but Jane's mother makes a few appearances.  Start at the beginning
of your book, and check every scene in which Jane's mother appears
-- or is even mentioned -- while skipping over other sections in
which she plays no role.  Are the mentions of Jane's mother
consistent with each other?  Or have unintentional differences
crept in?  Doing this for both minor and major characters will help
with the goal of consistency. 

It's not impossible for a character to change -- in fact, how a
character changes is an important part of a character arc -- but in
fiction there should be reasons for a changing attitudes and

Editing for consistency may be enjoyable or tedious, depending on
your personality, your project and even on your mood. 
Nevertheless, doing it well will make your project better.


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 2015 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

How to use setting, props and body language to enhance dialogue  
to keep your characters from sitting and standing while they talk. 
Geared for the new and intermediate writer. Available in e-book 
at major online book distributors.  http://www.gingerhanson.com 


Creative Writing Institute's 2015 Annual Short Story Contest 
No Entry Fee 

First prize is a free writing course valued at $260; second place
is a $50 Amazon gift card and $150 toward a writing course; third
place is a $25 Amazon gift card and $100 toward a writing course. 
Seven additional runners-up will receive publication in an
anthology and ebook.

A themed short story contest.  The story must include the sentence
"I got more than I bargained for!"  Open genre, though mysteries
are encouraged.  Entries must be unpublished, 1000-2000 words, with
no swearing, profanity, explicit sexual scenes, graphic violence,
etc. Only one submission permitted per entrant.

International entries accepted.  Deadline: August 15 (midnight
EST).  Entries must be submitted electronically at

For more information, contact Ms. Jo Popek, ms.jo@cwinst.com, or
visit http://www.CreativeWritingInstitute.com. 

and nonfiction; memoirs a specialty!  Over 15 years experience
teaching college-level writing and literature; four
poet-writer-in-residencies; author and published poet.  Moderate
rates.  Contact me by e-mail to discuss your project: Richard Lee
Van Der Voort,

FREE STUFF FOR WRITERS: Consolidating Social Media
By Aline Lechaye

Before the Internet got invented, the only way readers could
contact an author was through snail mail (c/o a publishing company)
with no way of knowing whether or not the message would actually be
seen by the intended recipient. 

These days, of course, contacting a favorite author is easy. You
can find authors on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube,
Blogger, WordPress, not to mention official author websites --
authors are now everywhere on the Internet. This is great for
readers and fans, but not as easy on the writer. Keeping up with
all your social media accounts takes time and effort and can be
stressful if you're trying to juggle several accounts at once. 

Fortunately, there are ways to bring your social media accounts
together and get several times the exposure with only a fraction of
the work: 

Posting your photos to Instagram and then uploading them again to
your website or blog? Why not simply embed your Instagram wall to
your website? SnapWidget (http://snapwidget.com/) is a highly
customizable Instagram widget that allows you to select Instagram
pictures by username or hashtag (so, yes, you can display images
from other people's Instagrams as well). You can customize the size
of the photos, border colors, widget background color, and the
number of images displayed in the widget. The widget can be made
responsive (meaning that it will automatically resize when viewed
on a mobile screen), and you can also choose whether or not to add
social media share buttons to the images displayed. Currently there
are five image display options: the grid and board options are
static, the scrolling and slideshow options can add some fun to
your website, and the map option is great if your images come from
a bunch of different locations. Embedding the customized widget
into your site or blog is as easy as clicking on the "Get Widget"
button and pasting the code to your HTML editor. 

Too busy to post new status updates to your various social media
accounts every day? Postcron (http://postcron.com/) allows you to
schedule posts to your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts. You
can log in to the site using an account from any of the
aforementioned social media sites. Once you've logged in using one
account, you can then link your Postcron to your other social media
accounts (you can also link to Facebook pages, groups, or events).
Photos or links can be added to scheduled posts, and there is also
a feature that allows you to upload multiple scheduled posts to the
site in an Excel (.csv) file. Note that you can only schedule 10
posts on a free account. 

IFTTT (If This Then That, the abbreviation is pronounced like "gift
without the g") (https://ifttt.com/) is an amazing social media
management app for connecting all of your accounts. Using the IF
app, you can set conditions for your social media accounts. For
example, you can set the app to change your Twitter profile picture
IF your Facebook profile picture changes. Or new photos can be
posted to Twitter IF new photos are posted on your Instagram.
Basically, by connecting all your social media accounts to this
app, you can create connections between each account that can save
you tons of updating time. 


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


Copyright 2015 Aline Lechaye 

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

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

Love this punctuation mark or loath it, here's a quick lesson on how
to use it!

This excellent article explains the problems that arise when
successful writers aren't honest about the struggle it is to get
there, and urges writers to actually talk to each other where their
money comes from.

A good thought-provoking article about the prevalence of Lit Mags,
with the added advantage of loads of new markets for writers.

Weekly industry news and commentary encapsulated within five

A selection guide to the best new books published every month. "The
tone is upbeat and literate, focusing on bestsellers as well as new

Do you know of a great website or blog for writers?  Share it with
our readers!  Send a note with the name of the site AND THE LINK to
"editors@writing-world.com" and we'll consider it for inclusion.


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

Did the Victorians predict cell phones?  Find out in the July issue
of Victorian Times!  In this issue, you'll also learn more about
the postmen of the Victorian world; discover that new-fangled
invention, the typewriter; enjoy the playfulness of animals; take a
look at some REALLY old recipes; and enjoy our usual selection of
crafts, recipes, history and more!  Download it free or access the
print edition at 

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 
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unless otherwise indicated.

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 
Copyright 2015 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