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Writer to Writer - April 26th, 2005

Brought to you by www.writer2writer.com

Hi Writers,

It’s been a long month.

I spent six days having the IV antibiotics, and it helped a lot. I ended up doing the hospital in the home thing again, simply because there are just too many bugs in our hospitals. Due to my compromised immune system, my specialist was not willing to take the risk of my picking any additional bugs up from our germ-filled hospitals.

As a result of this latest infection, I haven’t done a lot of writing, but I have been busy in other writing related ways. I’ve submitted a manuscript for a non-fiction book, submitted to an agent, and written up a marketing plan for a publisher.

I’ve got other projects in works, and it’s looking very good for them, but at this stage I can’t give away any information. If these work out, I will have fulfilled two long term goals. If they don’t, then I’ll keep trying.

In addition to these ‘secret’ projects, I’m working on a new venture with some author friends. It’s all to do with writers marketing themselves, but at this stage that’s all I can tell you. Of course this takes me away from my writing, but in the long term, it should be very beneficial to all concerned. Hopefully next month I will be able to tell you more.

The novella I mentioned last month was rejected. <sigh> But I have been assured it’s a good story but needs a bit more work. The publisher has requested another submission when they open for submissions again, (next year) but for reasons I won’t discuss here, I have decided not to do so.

Saturday I presented a workshop to a writer’s group, and we all had a lot of fun. The group was small, but made for a more intimate workshop. I am always very reluctant to do ‘live’ presentations because of my immune deficiency, but also because I get incredibly nervous for days beforehand. Will I do a good job? Will I get the point across? Can I explain in a way everyone will understand? And so on.

Not sure why I do this, because when I worked at a day job, part of my duties was to train new staff. I did that for something like twelve years, and not once had a failure.

Mega, mega apologies for lateness in announcing the results for the latest Writer2Writer contest. This is now in the final judging stage, and all winners should be announced shortly. The delay is due to my illness.

If anyone has sent an email to me recently – without response – please bear with me a little longer. It’s been hectic over the last few days (which is why the ezine is late) and I’ve found it difficult to get around to answering emails. On average, I get around 150 emails a day. <mega sigh>

If you don’t hear from me by the end of the week, then my ISP has eaten it. Again. If that’s the case, please re-send.

Before we get down to the rest of this issue, I want to mention that Robyn Opie (author of 54 children’s books) is now running a workshop for writers. The ‘Show, Don’t Tell Master Course’ has enjoyed an overwhelming surge of popularity. If this is something that may interest you, take a look at the details. But understand that although Robyn is a children’s author, the contents are suitable for all fiction writers.

Okay, it’s time to get down to business! We have some terrific articles, as always, so sit back with your favourite cuppa, grab some biscuits or chocolate, and settle down for a great read.

Til next month,





The biggest challenge you have is to challenge your own self-doubt and your laziness.

Robert Kiyosaki




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Please note: Language is set as "English - Australia" - words are not spelled incorrectly. (Not intentionally, anyway!)




Writer's Digest magazine is once again putting together its list of the '101 Best Websites for Writers'! If Writer2Writer.com has helped you in any way, I’d be very appreciative if you could take a moment to write to Writer's Digest and nominate Writer2Writer.com for their 2005 list. Nominations should be emailed to mailto:writersdig@fwpubs.com with your nomination and any comments you have about the site. The subject line should be "101 Sites".

Thank you for your support!



Dialogue – Make it Realistic

Cheryl Wright – All rights reserved

Dialogue is a very temperamental animal. If you don’t get it right, you risk spoiling an entire story.

I spend a lot of time eavesdropping on other people’s conversations – and make no apology for it. Take the time to sit in your favourite coffee shop, or better yet, go to the mall. Pick out some interesting looking people and …. listen in! Seriously.

This is not something to do for five or ten minutes. You need to sit and listen intently for as long as possible. I generally order a nice long drink – of hot chocolate! – then take it all in. Usually over a period of an hour or so.

Take note of the way unsuspecting victims – er, people - speak with each other, and also the way they talk to people of other age groups. More often than not, it will differ greatly.

Notice how the forty-something mother of three uses a totally different language to the forty-something professional sitting not far away. And the nineteen year old male, along with his late-teen friends, will have a language all of their own.

People of varying occupations will speak in another ‘language’ too. For instance, lawyers will use legal terminology, whereas police officers have their special lingo.

Don’t let your hairdresser character speak like a police officer, and don’t let your office girl talk like an animal trainer, or a mechanic, and so on. Each occupation, and each character, needs to have their own unique language, just as teenagers do.

This is called ‘talking the talk" and needs to be spot-on to ensure credibility with your stories.

Each one of your characters should be instantly recognisable simply from the words or phrases they use.

Your teenager might say:

"Man, that is sooo cool!"

Whereas a young mother would probably say:

"That’s great!"

A lot of writers get very confused between ‘dialogue’ and ‘internal thoughts’. Let me simplify the concepts for you.

Dialogue is where the character is actually speaking. "Boy it was hot today!" But ‘internal thoughts’ are what the character is thinking. For example: ‘Could it get any hotter?’ These internal thoughts are generally shown in a story – in the published form – as italics.

Your story would thus read as: "Boy it was hot today!" Joe wiped the sweat from his forehead. Could it get any hotter?

When writing dialogue, think seriously about who is speaking, and what ‘language’ they would use. Make sure internal thoughts are also in the language of the character. Getting it wrong could mean the difference between getting published or not.

About the author: Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she writes a monthly column for a subscription website for writers, and is the author of "Think Outside the Square: Writing Publishable (Short) Stories" and "I Wanna Win! – Tips for Becoming an Award Winning Writer". Her debut novel "Saving Emma" was released January 2005 by Whiskey Creek Press. Visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryl-wright.com


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In a recent twelve month period, Cheryl entered eight writing contests, short listing in six, and placing second in three. So can you!

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Creating Ideas for Children's Books

Robyn Opie - All Rights Reserved.

Ideas are everywhere. All of the time. It's our job, as writers, to find some ideas and turn them into entertaining stories.

The most common sources of inspiration include: our experiences and personalities, children, family, pets, friends, conversations, television, newspapers, books etc.

I've never had any trouble finding ideas for stories. My problem is finding time to write all the stories.

I believe that the reason I come up with so many ideas for children's books is simple; I'm looking for them. I want them. I need them. I'm actively seeking them. I'm open to the possibilities. I'm thinking and behaving as a writer.

During conversations with friends, I sometimes find myself saying, "I like that. I might use it in a story one day." When I see something that appeals to me I often wonder how I can turn it into a story.

I look at ordinary things and ask questions. Sometimes my questions become a little bizarre. I often look for the funny side of situations or objects.

There have been times when I've chosen a popular subject, such as dinosaurs, then asked myself for a story on that subject. And other occasions when I've taken an old idea and given it a new and different life.

The simplest way to explain what I mean by the above statements is to share my personal experience. The following are the ideas behind my stories:

But first…I'm sitting in my study, writing this article. I look around the room and see the fireplace. What if the fireplace was a door to another place or world? What if I heard noises coming from the fireplace? And, when I investigate, I find Santa Claus trapped in my chimney. There are ideas everywhere. Just look for them. Ask questions.

My easy reader Sam's Dinosaur Bone originated from word association. I wanted to write a story about dinosaurs. My experience with dinosaurs was limited to museums. Mmmm…dinosaurs, museums, a child going on an excursion to a museum, being told that dinosaur fossils are found in the ground. Are there dinosaur fossils in his backyard?

I recently took an old idea, which I love, Henny Penny's The Sky Is Falling, and made it my own in my easy reader Down the Well. The hen hears a noise coming from the well. She yells down the well and a voice yells back. Someone must have fallen down the well!

I remember times, as a child, when I wanted to play with someone but no one was available. My friends and family were doing chores, playing sport, visiting friends, on holidays etc. My easy reader Will You Play? was inspired by this memory. The farm animals are too busy to play with the dog. Will he find someone to play with?

Do you have fears? I do. My novel Backstage Betrayal deals with my fear of being locked in a public toilet. I won't say any more as it's rather embarrassing. ;)

I have a definite dislike of spiders. I don't fear them. I don't hate them. I just prefer to not be in the same vicinity as a spider. This preference inspired my easy reader Jo and the Spider. Jo sees a spider in her bedroom. When she returns with her dad, the spider is gone. Where is it?

One night I went to the cupboard for a snack and saw a jar of honey. I wondered what it would be like to be honey - sticky, moist, gooey, sloppy, warm, sweet etc. But there was one big problem: you'd get eaten. From those thoughts came my book Mrs Twitch and the Small Black Box. Jess uses Mrs Twitch's invention, the small black box, to become honey. She's in danger of being eaten by her father.

A publisher asked me to write a number of non-fiction books. I was sitting at the kitchen table, wondering what subjects I could tackle, when I thought about milk. Then I decided that milk was too boring, been done to death etc. Green milk would be interesting. But wouldn't green milk be Martian milk? This idea was the beginning of my novel Martian Milk. Paul doesn't want to try Martian Milk because he's afraid it will turn him into a Martian.

The Mad Mower came from my desire to have a twin to do all the boring things in life like housework, paying bills and walking my dogs, while I did all the fun things like going out with friends, watching football and reading. Tony creates a computer double and asks him to do various chores. Ah, if only life was that easy…

Have you ever had trouble sleeping and wished that you had someone to pass the time with, but everyone is asleep? In my easy-reader Chick Catches Dinner, the little chick can't sleep and goes searching for company. She finds Hoot, a little owl, and has a fun but tiring night.

I was reading a book one afternoon. The child in the story had a teddy bear. After reading the words teddy bear, I thought to myself that I'd like to write a story about a teddy bear. My next story was called Old Teddy and was followed by Teddy's Sticky Mess.

I was watching the television news one evening and saw a story on a seagull problem in a nearby town. The greedy seagulls had become a nuisance to residents and tourists. My story The Greedy Seagulls is nearing completion.

So you see, ideas are all around us. It's your job as a writer to interpret the information you see all around you and turn it into your own creation!

About the author: Robyn Opie is the author of 54 children’s books. Her books are published all over the world. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia, with her husband, two dogs (who think they are children) and thousands of books. Robyn is the Managing Editor of Children’s Fiction Factor and the author of a comprehensive e-book called
How to Write a GREAT Children’s Book



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Call for Submissions:

None this month


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Subscriber News:

Ilona Hegedus' sci-fi poem, 'Promise' has just appeared in the April issue of Beyond Centauri, Samsdot Publishing's magazine for kids.

Visit her Web site at: http://ilonahegedus.topcities.com

Cynthia MacGregor's 49th book, MOM, INC., has been published (by Taylor Trade, a division of Rowman & Littlefield). The book helps moms who have any sort of business background, whether they occupied the corner office or took orders from the occupant of that office, to apply the principles they learned at work to the serious business of raising their kids.

And Cynthia's 50th book, JIGSAW PUZZLE FAMILY, will be published in April (by Impact Publishers). This book helps kids in blended families with all the problems and situations they encounter when they find themselves suddenly part of a new family with a new stepparent and perhaps step-sibs and other step-relatives as well.

To learn more about Cynthia's books, go to her website at www.cynthiamacgregor.com.

Congratulations to both!

**If you have any news, please send it along. (Don’t be shy – we won’t bite!)


# Subscriber news can be very inspiring for your writing colleagues.




Writer2Writer No Fee Contest:

Details of the next contest will be announced soon!



Earn money as an affiliate:

If you're interested in becoming an affiliate for either (or both) of my ebooks, please go to:

http://www.writer2writer.com/affiliates.htm - For "Think Outside the Square"

http://www.writer2writer.com/affiliates2.htm - For "I Wanna Win!"


Attention Ezine and Website Owners:

I have available a cache of articles that you may freely use. Go to:


There is a form on the above page where you can be added to an autoresponder to be notified on the latest additions.



If you have any feedback about this newsletter; comments, criticisms, (praise!) sections you'd like to see added, tell me - mailto:cheryl@writer2writer.com?subject=Feedback



The majority of articles will be written by me, but should you wish to submit an article, you need to be aware that I do not pay for reprints. I pay a (low) fee for unpublished articles, but they must be related to the craft of writing. Check out our guidelines. In all cases your bio and links will be included.


Inclusion of a market, contest, anthology or similar is not necessarily an endorsement. It is strongly suggested that you do your own legwork in checking out any markets etc you decide to approach. If you feel wary or uncomfortable, there's probably a reason!


I am very meticulous about the advertisements I accept. First of all, they must relate to writers in some way; software for writers, books, ebooks etc. So if your product has no relationship whatsoever to writers, I simply won't accept it.

Secondly, I won't advertise scams or products that are rip-offs. So if your product is target toward writers but is not worth the money, again, I won't advertise it. As you can see, I'm pretty selective about what I will advertise. If you've gotten this far, and believe you have a product that will pass the test, Email me with your advertising submissions. If I accept your submission, I will then advise 'method of payment' details.

Legal stuff:

This ezine is commercial in nature, and by subscribing you consent to receiving the advertisements contained herein, and any additional 'solo' advertisements that may be forwarded to you.

You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed - it is never sent unsolicited.

I will never, ever, (even under torture, threat of eating seafood or having my chocolate supply revoked) give-away, sell or divulge your details.

All portions of this newsletter are copyrighted, but should you wish to reproduce any article/s, please contact the appropriate author/s for details.

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Please note: Inclusion of a product, market, contest, anthology or similar is not necessarily an endorsement. It is strongly suggested that you do your own legwork in checking out any markets etc you decide to approach. If you feel wary or uncomfortable, there's probably a reason!

Contact details:



Cheryl Wright, P O Box 913, Springvale South 3172 AUSTRALIA