Writer to Writer - August 2007
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Last week was a milestone in my husband’s life. After working 35.5 years for Australia Post, Alan took early retirement. They held a wonderful function on his last day (Friday), and presented him with a plague and a number of gifts. They also presented me with a beautiful display of flowers.
Today is the second week day of his retirement, and we’re both having trouble adjusting to the change. He’s moping around, not sure what to do, while I am trying to work!
Hopefully he’ll get into a routine, and I’ll learn to work around having him at home. The biggest trap would be to allow myself to get sidetracked. I work to a fairly strict schedule, and this is imperative to my output.
All that said, it is nice to have my own IT guy on tap. My computer is being quite temperamental lately, so now I can just throw my arms up in the air and let Alan sort it out. (lol)
Apart from being deep in editing mode, we’re currently house-hunting. We were going to build up, but that’s proving to be impossible, so we’re on the bigger-house trail again. <sigh> It is so time consuming, not to mention draining, and we’ve already had enough. And we’ve only been looking for a few weeks this time around!
Since we have three grandchildren – and our son – living with us, we need five bedrooms and a study/office as an absolute minimum. That’s proving to be quite difficult, as I’m sure you can imagine. We’re off this afternoon to look at a house that fits our criteria, and is only about one kilometre from where we live now. Fingers crossed it is the one! We really don’t want to move out of the area we live in now, as we don’t want to move the children from their current school if at all possible.
You may have noticed I've changed the look of the Writer2Writer website. I've put up a mini-poll, as I'd love to know what you think. It is totally anonymous, so don't be shy. Let me know your thoughts. Go here now to vote in this two question poll: http://www.writer2writer.com/newlook.htm (This poll is set to automatically close in about two weeks.)
Okay, on to this month’s issue. Jill McDougall shows us how to make our story draw the readers in, Jodi has found some great mystery markets, and Judy has written a terrific article on queries and cover letters.
Organisation is especially important in a home office. It is so different than working for a boss, and you can very easily get sidetracked. With this in mind, Cheryl Malandrinos brings another great article on how to make the best use of our time.
Lucky Beth is on vacation, so no article from her this month.
Okay, that's it from me this time around. Time to sit back, relax with your favourite beverage, and enjoy this issue!
Til next time…
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Quote of the Month:
Pamela tore through the dungeon. The evil wizard was gaining on her. Up ahead was a glimmer of light. She doubled her efforts.
“Not so fast,” growled the wizard, as he tugged at her sweater.
Poor Pamela is in a bit of a pickle. Will she escape? What will the nasty wizard do if he catches her? And, more importantly, do we care?
Probably not. (Yawn.)
Who is this Pamela anyway? Just some girl in a sweater running fast. If the evil wizard snatches Pamela and turns her into …er, Pamcakes then so what?
We don’t care because the writer has failed the fundamental task of character building.
In a few short paragraphs, it’s possible to bring a character to life so intensely that the reader not only cares what happens to her, but is filled with a sense of urgency on her behalf.
How do we achieve this?
1. Give the character some sense!
Real people like you and me don’t perform actions in a vacuum. Our senses are flooded with information every second - we see, we feel, we hear, we smell and we taste. This is what makes us feel alive.
Enliven the viewpoint character by entering their sensory world.
Pamela tore through the dungeon. The evil wizard was gaining on her. The drumming of his boots echoed in her ears.
Up ahead was a glimmer of light. She doubled her efforts until her breath came in great choking sobs.
“Not so fast,” growled the wizard, as he tugged at her sweater.
Salt stung her eyes.
Check out our extensive list of classes that will assist in your quest for publication.
A wide variety of courses and workshops are available, and are suitable for beginners to more experienced.
You would be hard-pressed not to find something
suitable for your specific needs.
This month's writing prompt:
"Walking into that room was like being inside a nightmare..."
Back to School and Your Writing Schedule
Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved
Even if you don’t have kids going back to school, it’s a great time to get serious about your writing career so that the last two quarters of the year are productive.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Clean Up Your Work Area
Nothing puts the stops on motivation quicker than a messy work area. Clean out everything you don’t need, to make room for all those exciting new projects you want to tackle.
Stock Up on Office Supplies
If you have a child going back to school you’re probably going to be visiting an office supply store anyway. Why not make a list of everything you need to stock up your home office for the next month r two? This will save you an additional trip to pick up envelopes etc when you’re ready to submit that next query.
And don’t forget to swing by the Post Office to buy stamps.
Create or Revise Your Contact List
Every writer needs to have one of these. Yes, it’s a time consuming task, but once it’s done all you have to do is add new contacts as you make them or update the information for your current contacts. I keep all my contacts in Microsoft Outlook. It sure beats looking for one business card in a pile of hundreds. And my contacts automatically feed into my electronic Address Book so I don’t waste time looking for a person’s email address when I need it. Just one click, and it’s done.
Now that you’re ready to start writing, here are a few ways to stick to your writing schedule:
Review Your Goals
Summer usually means we don’t set as many goals or try not to stress when we don’t meet them. It’s time to figure out what you’ve accomplished and what is still outstanding. Make a new to-do list and post it over your desk so you can keep it in plain sight.
Crafting the Romance Story by Lynette Rees is an interactive workbook for aspiring romance writers. As well as containing useful information and links it also contains character and plot worksheets.
To read an excerpt of this terrific book, go here.
Query letters and cover letters are separate animals, but both are the first impression that a publisher has of you and your romance manuscript. So you want to make them exceptional.
Before you ever send a manuscript for consideration, you send a query. This lets the submissions editor know that you have a romance suitable for their company. You show them that it fits with the submissions guidelines you have carefully researched before contacting them. Some submissions guidelines will request the first three chapters, or a small excerpt of your book to be sent with the query. Polished to perfection, your letter shows you to be the consummate professional.
Start with creating a professional letterhead containing your name and contact information including two viable email addresses. This can be easily done in Word.
Make sure to address your query to the right person. Do the research to find the name of the submissions editor for the publisher you target. This courtesy shows you to be considerate and thorough. And by all means, make sure you spell the person’s name correctly. In publishing, personnel change frequently, so really do your homework carefully. And you might want to polish up on your "writing-a-business-letter" skills to get the form right.
Romance outsells all other fiction by a factor of 5 to I, but it's also one of the most difficult genres to break into. Why? Because the competition is enormous. The good news for you and me is that 90% of all romance manuscripts are reportedly terrible. This is because most new romance writers just don't understand the needs of publishers (magazine and book), agents and indeed, the reading public. This course takes a refreshing new look into the genre.
Go to http://www.writer2writer.com/ewtwromance.htm to begin your career as a romance writer!
Now also available as an ebook!http://www.writer2writer.com/ewtwromancebook.htm
* A complete list of recommended courses can be viewed here: http://www.writer2writer.com/workshops.htm
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How To Make A Hot-Selling E-book In 8 Easy Steps includes step-by-step videos, motivating assignments, and printable worksheets.
Market Round-Up August 2007
© Jodi M. Webb – All Rights Reserved
We’ve all been to the book stores and seen stacks and stacks of mysteries. The idea of penning a mystery book, turning it into a series, and cranking out another book every year from a luxurious Italian villa is tempting (although a bit unrealistic). Before you block out a year to complete a book dip your toe in the ocean of mysteries with a short story.
Resources4Writers.com - grab your discounted membership. Save US$20 just for being a Writer to Writer subscriber! More information here.
I have been a subscriber to your newsletter for at least two years. I find it invaluable!
Thought I'd catch up with some successes I'm having at the moment. I have four book contracts, three of which should be launched this year.
The first is with Julie D'Arcy in her new venture Eternal Press. Julie has accepted my book Jungle Heat. A story of an Australian soldier who has to escort a beautiful nurse across the Owen Stanley Ranges to escape the Japanese. Julie tells me it will be out in about month.
The second is with Whiskey Creek with a book titled Love in the Afternoon. The story of mature love between two people but forces try to drive them apart. This is scheduled to be launched on October 1st.
The third is with Swimming Kangaroo with my book The Irish Retribution.. A young woman sets out to kill her father when she learns he murdered her mother but things are not what they seem. The story takes us through Ireland, Vietnam and Bosnia before it is settled. This will be out in December.
The fourth is also with Swimming Kangaroo and is an Australian Colonial adventure romance titled The Pursuit of Mary McBride. Its 1850 and a man sells his stepdaughter to a passing settler who heads for the Murray River. Her mother is determined to get her back, even if it means murder. This could be released in 2008.
All are e-books but printed versions might come later.
Regards Bruce Cooke
Congratulations Bruce and Sheri!! Well done.
**If you have any news, please send it along. (Dont be shy we wont bite!)
The Earth Vision Nature Writing Contest 2007
Entries are now invited for the EV nature writing contest. Only winners will be notified and entries will not be acknowledged or returned.
The deadline for receipt of entries is October 15, 2007.
The EV nature writing contest is held for three reasons:
1. to support the cause of writing on the subject of nature and deep ecology.
2. to find a co-author for a future volume of the Earth Vision project.
3. any outstanding proceeds support the EV project.
First prize: $600 and eligibility to co-write a future work* with EV author Josef Graf.
Second prize: $100 and eligibility to co-write a future work* with the EV author.
Three honorable mentions.
This contest is open to any writer in English producing an original short piece of fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetic prose (no lined or rhymed poetry) on a theme of nature, deep ecology, or spiritual ecology.
I Love - Little Goody Two Shoes - Writing Contest
Since the year 1934 until the present-day the name; Little Goody Two Shoes, has been maligned, slurred and misused. It was one of the most famous, popular and influential children's/adults books of the eighteenth century. It had an unparalleled status for over two hundred years.
Now Point of Life publishers have published a new, revised and renewed edition written by inspirational author Michael Levy. The title of the new book is - The Inspiring Story of Little Goody Two Shoes.
The Rules are simple ... The prize is $500.00
The contest is free to enter and no purchase is required.
Write an accurate and inspirational review of - The Inspiring Story of Little Goody Two Shoes - many beneficial deeds for humanity. Submit the review to Point of Life Inc. Also, as an added plus, the more places you get your review published, the better the chances of winning. You can submit your review to as many web sites, blogs, journals, magazines, newspapers, online booksellers and any media outlet anywhere in the world that will publish your book review.
Web site: http://www.pointoflife.com/
*Note from Cheryl: Due to the length of information provided for each of these contests, I've condensed the notices. Full information can be found at the above links.
Call for Inspiring True Stories
Colleen Sell, editor for Cup of Comfort anthologies, has notified of her current and upcoming needs. This is a paying market:
CALL FOR INSPIRING TRUE STORIES: ALZHEIMER’S, BREAST CANCER, DIVORCE
The bestselling Cup of Comfort book series is seeking submissions for publication consideration in three new books. Stories must be true, uplifting, and 1000 to 2000 words. For writer’s guidelines: www.cupofcomfort.com/share.htm.
A CUP OF COMFORT FOR CHILDREN AND SPOUSES OF PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER'S
What happens when the person who raised you or the person with whom you raised your children slowly becomes a child who doesn’t know you? What if that loved one changes so drastically that he or she is virtually a stranger to you? What if that person is difficult to deal with and requires substantial assistance? How will the reality of having a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s affect you and your family—emotionally, financially, physically, socially, personally, professionally? The inspiring stories in this collection will answer those questions and more—and will show how love prevails and how lives thrive when a spouse or parent has Alzheimer’s.
$500 grand prize; $100 each, all other published stories; plus copy of book.
Submission Deadline: October 1, 2007
A CUP OF COMFORT FOR DIVORCED WOMEN
Divorce in the 21st century should come with an instruction manual, a release valve, and a support system. This anthology will serve essentially those three purposes, in the form of comforting, insightful, and inspirational stories about surviving and thriving during and after divorce. We seek uplifting, contemporary stories on a wide range of topics of importance to divorced women—including but not limited to: dating, children, relationship with ex, in-laws, finances, friends, solitude, personal transformation, healing, revenge, mending fences, the ex’s new wife or lover, empowerment, rediscovery of self. The majority of stories will be written by women who are or have been divorced. Stories can be poignant, irreverent, humorous, witty, or wise.
$500 grand prize; $100 each, all other published stories; plus copy of book.
Submission Deadline: November 1, 2007
A CUP OF COMFORT FOR BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS
It has been said that “stories are medicine” and that “one of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is to share our stories.” This collection will include compelling, inspiring, and uplifting personal essays about the experiences and emotions of living with—and living after—breast cancer. Possible story themes include but are not limited to: diagnosis, treatment, emotional impact, support systems, healthy lifestyle practices, emotional healing, coping mechanisms, impact on loved ones, effect on friendships, effect on career/work, effect on romance/intimacy, life lessons learned, personal transformation, silver linings, gratitude, triumph over trials, body image, and more. All themes and writing styles considered, as long as the story is positive.
Exclusively for the Breast Cancer Survivors volume, Adams Media is working in partnership with Redbook Magazine and will award a $5,000 grand prize, a $5,000 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in the grand prize winner’s name, and bonus prizes to three runner-up stories.
Submission Deadline: December 31, 2007
How Do I?
I'm a graduate of the New York Newspaper Institute of America, have read everything about writing, have long been a "wanna-be" writer of articles for magazines. I have a bazillion ideas for great articles and still when it comes to putting it all down on paper I stall like a jet choking on a stray goose! I've thought of getting a ghost writer, but who in their right mind would do that? I have also considered writing with a partner but haven't yet located anyone interested.
Is there any hope for me as a writer? Or should I just relegate myself to the editorial desk?
It’s a totally different going to classes and doing assignments than writing for a magazine or newspaper. The main fix for this is confidence. Once you’ve found yours, things will change.
Regarding using a ghost writer, it’s a very touchy question with most established writers. If you send out a query and have your work accepted by a publisher, editor etc. it is expected that you will write the copy. Ghost writers are not acceptable in the magazine/newspaper arena like they are with books. (There have been cases of overworked writers advertising for ghost writers, which has in turn caused an out-cry on some writer’s forums!)
The short and tall is it’s an absolute no-no.
Don’t expect to get published straight away. The name of this game is patience and perseverance.
If you have a writing-related question,
send it here.
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