Writer to Writer - February 2007
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Hmmm…. Perhaps I’ll just do them in the order they happened. First off, another one of my novels has been contracted by Black Velvet Seductions. Winter Sabbatical is a book I wrote a few years back but wasn’t happy with. So I rewrote it. Three times. But I still wasn’t happy. Finally – a couple of months ago - I asked my writing buddy, Sarah, if she would take a look and see where I was going wrong.
So she did.
And boy oh boy, did she make some great suggestions. So great in fact, that the book was soooo much stronger, and way better. I hadn’t submitted it anywhere for a couple of years because I knew it ‘had issues’ and I couldn’t fix them. I now think that’s because I’d worked on it so much that I could no longer look at it objectively.
Anyway, I sent it off to Black Velvet Seductions, and they loved it. Perhaps I should clarify that. They mostly love it. BVS want some changes and perhaps even an extra chapter added. But that’s okay – I can live with that, and in fact, I'd have to say it would be a very rare book that never needs editing or revising.
Here’s part of what the editor said about the story: "It is a very compelling story with great characters and a great deal of emotional impact." Oh yeah, you better believe that made me VERY happy.
As it stands now, Winter Sabbatical will be published before Saving Emma, simply because there’s an open slot in the Tender Destinations line, and this book fits perfectly.
The next thing that happened was I started a new non-fiction book a few weeks back. I’ve wanted to write this book for a very long time, but I’ve had so much on my plate that I just couldn’t do it. The book is totally focused on writing for magazines, and should be released within the next two weeks – maybe even a bit earlier.
It’s basically done, but still need to do the final edits and TOC, then set the download automation up. Once it’s ready, I’ll let you know.
I’ve already had a few reviews on the pre-publication copy, and they’ve been fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book, and from the feedback I’ve had already, it’s going to help a lot of writers with their magazine writing careers.
And now for the last (but by no means least) achievement on the list: if you were with me in October last year, you’ll know my essay was selected for the "How I Got the Gig" anthology. Last week the editor emailed to say that my essay has been chosen as the ‘lead’. (The ‘lead’ is the first story that appears in an anthology.)
Not only does the lead story get a lot more exposure, it also attracts much more money. So instead of US$100, I get US$500. (And already have the payment in my hot little hand.) To say I’m happy is an understatement.
If you would like to check out the anthology, here’s the link:http://www.writerprofits.com/GigPromo.htm
As I mentioned in the October issue, many writers overlook anthologies as potential markets, but I absolutely love them. On the whole, I find them quick and easy to write for, and they generally pay well. (US$100 - the average payment for anthologies - for about one hour's work is definitely not to be sneezed at!)
The submission for this anthology took under one hour to write, then with re-writes (the editor requested expansion on some parts) and final editing, I’ve spent less than three hours all up on the essay. That works out to be nearly $170 per hour if you calculate that on three hours, but seriously, I probably worked on it for closer to two hours than three.
Okay, I know. Not every story submitted is going to be the lead, but remember that old saying – you’ve got to be in it to win it. It’s so true. (I don’t know about you, but I won’t knock back any $100 payments that might come my way. They all add up.)
Remember last month I said I was going to South Australia to stay with my writing buddy Sarah, and her hubby Rod? Well, as planned, we were able to catch up with our friends Lee Masterson (Fiction Factor), Rob Parnell (Easy Way to Write), and Robyn Opie (children’s book author).
Once again we spent an entire day talking about writing and related stuff. And I did remember to take my camera, but forgot to take photographs!!! I remembered after they’d left. <sigh>
Ah well, there was obviously too much talking, eating, and having fun!
I must apologise to everyone because I still haven’t sorted out the new membership site http://www.Resources4Writers.com – because of this, I’m going to allow one last chance to register. I had hoped to have it up and running for beta testing by now, but other projects have gotten in the way. So if you want to register to be a beta tester, but thought you’d missed the boat, go there now. http://www.resources4writers.com/beta.htm
I won’t set a date this time. I’ll simply close off when I’ve got the software sorted out - whenever that may be - but I expect it to be in the next week or so.
My aim is to have it up and running by the second week of March, but I have to work out how to use the membership site software properly (major issue for me!), and also sort out the affiliate program. The latter looks set to be ready soon, but it’s been a big problem up until now. It appears the problem has to do with two sites running concurrently, each with an affiliate program, so I’ll most likely be using another affiliate provider for the new site.
If you want more information about becoming a beta tester, check out the January newsletter, as I’ve provided heaps of info there.
Before I move onto the information regarding this month’s issue, just a quick reminder that long-time friend Lea Schizas and I are jointly writing a series of books for writers. Our first project will cover your writing questions. If you would like to submit a question to be included in the book, go to http://www.writer2writer.com/questions.htm, read the info, and pose your question/s. The book will cover both fiction and non-fiction.
With everything else going on, I haven’t had the chance to write an article this month. However, Cheryl Malandrinos has written an article to help us all get more organised. If you missed Cheryl’s last article, you can find it here: http://www.writer2writer.com/holidaystress.htm
Beth Morrow has reviewed the Sun Signs for Writers by Bev Walter-Porter, and Judy Bagshaw defines what makes a hero with her article of the same name. And Jodi is back with us, and has – as always – found some terrific markets.
If you missed last month’s issue, you missed the article I wrote about boosting your writing income. I’ve had a lot of feedback about it, and those who contacted me said it helped them tremendously. So here’s the link again: http://www.writer2writer.com/bumper.htm
I’ve been very remiss, and many of you have asked when the contests will be back. Believe me when I say it’s been on my mind. I will endeavour to get these up and running again in the next few weeks. Mega apologies, but it’s been like a tornado at my place over the last four or five months.
Ah geez, I almost forgot to tell you about my wins at the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll. Rather than take up more space, and babble on more, I’ll just say I got a few awards. To get all the info, go here. It's at the top of the page.
Okay, it's time to sit back, relax with your favourite beverage,
and enjoy this issue!
Til next time…
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It’s a new year, and like many writers you may have set goals for yourself. Maybe you’re planning to finish the novel you’ve been working on for the past three years. You might have committed to sending out two queries a week. Or perhaps you’ve decided to enter your first writing contest.
But how can you accomplish any goal if your work area is as disheveled as Dorothy’s house after the tornado in The Wizard of Oz?
My workspace is in our family room and it used to be the catchall for unopened mail, kid’s toys, and reference books. If company stopped by, I would hide my pile of junk in a pullout drawer which should have held my keyboard. After months of scrambling around in chaos, I decided if I wanted to be a serious writer I had to get organized. Here are a few tips to help you clear away the clutter, get organized, and have more productive days of writing.
Start the New Year right - enrol for an exciting course that will help you achieve your writing goals for 2007.
Wide variety of classes and workshops to choose from - something to suit everyone.
Fully qualified instructors, course prices
This month's writing prompt:
Melina stared at his
blood-spattered face and clothes
*Please note: do not send your work
along, as it won't be read.
“Your Mind Is
Trying To Suffocate Your Novel”
Sun Signs for Writers
Reviewed by Beth Morrow ©2007 All rights reserved
As writers we have an innate, implied trust in a multitude of things we cannot explain with any measure of certainty (creativity, ideas, process, fictional worlds we create), yet we must rely upon these creative lifestyle elements to continue finding success in doing what we love most.
Why, then, is it so difficult to suspend our disbelief—for even just a moment—to contemplate the notion of how there might be something to this zodiac thing and that some of it might really apply to our creative lives and writing career?
In the introduction of Sun Signs for Writers, Bev Walton-Porter shares that her book was written for "…readers and writers…who…consider themselves creative [and]…are drawn to metaphysical or New Age subjects." My advice? Even if you’re not into your horoscope, astrology or anything touchy-feely that you can’t find solid research on before you believe it, check out Sun Signs for the fun of it.
Walton-Porter’s book is more than new-age stuff. She’s created a dynamic text with a balance of fun, insight and practical exercises for writers regardless if you’re an earth, water, air or fire sign. If you’re not interested in discovering more about yourself and your writing style through your zodiac sign, check it out for background information on creating dynamic characters.
Need 'Bells & Whistles' on your website but don't know how to do it?
This .exe* file is perfect for people like me who find this part of website creation difficult. (*sorry Mac users, it's out of my control)
Take the Bull by the Horns and Confront the Dreaded Clichés:
Seventeen page report on clichés - what they are, how using them makes your writing weak etc - and how to avoid using them in your writing.
Ask a hundred women this question and you'll get a hundred different responses. Ask a woman in her twenties, and she'll no doubt give you a different list of attributes than a woman in her fifties. But read enough romance novels, and you'll find that certain qualities appear over and over.
In her delightful book, All I Need to Know in Life I Learned from Romance Novels, Victoria Johnson has this to say about the nature of the hero:
"...He has a fantastic body and is a phenomenal lover. He may have a prominent name. He shows kindness to others. He is responsible and may have great kids. But these aren't the things that draw women to him, because true heroes aren't made by body type or name, but by character."
She goes on to say, "It's a man's zest for life, his drive, his initiative that make him interesting. He has a passion for his profession, he treats women with respect, he's intelligent and has a sense of humour."
He sounds like a dream, doesn't he? This is what the romance reader wants in a hero--someone she can see herself falling in love with. And you as the writer should be able to fall in love with him too.
Easy Way to Write Romance
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
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.
Professional Graphics: websites, book covers, blog,
mini-site etc. I've organised a
for Writer2Writer visitors and subscribers.
(Less than US$50 for this special
Hi, I'm a subscriber who has great news to share! My second book is published and on sale at my website. My book's title is "Mirrored Images ". More info about my 2nd book can be found on the home page of my site at www.rosannecatalano.net! It's already been selling pretty well, and that pleases me. I also continue to receive wonderful compliments on my online-magazine "The Cat's Meow for Writers & Readers Ezine" (a progressive magazine), and also gain many new subscribers who love reading the magazine every month :) Oh my, almost forgot my other great news!
I recently became a Christian columnist for a brand new Christian Literary print-magazine titled "Wt~In Spirit", where the editor is based in Canada, and already owns a small book publishing firm and another regular literary print magazine! I'm writing the column "Scripture Understood" for Karin Lacroix, the editor, along with other great authors who are writing separate columns for her new magazine!
Never in a million years would I have dreamt that I would be doing what I LOVE the most in this world -- writing & publishing!!! And I wanted to share my wonderful news about my second book, my online-magazine and my new position as a Christian columnist with all of the writers here!
**If you have any news, please send it along. (Dont be shy we wont bite!)
In December I began participating in my local library’s fundraiser by creating altered books for an upcoming auction. Check out the project’s website Outside the Margins: Making Altered Books at http://bookarts.blogspot.com/index.html. I decided to try and kill two birds with one stone: help the library and write an article about my experience. I had no idea there were so many magazines dedicated, not to crafts in general, but specifically to paper crafts. It seems no matter what your passion or hobby you can find a magazine about it and hopefully turn your knowledge into a paying assignment. Since not everyone reading today is working on a paper craft, I thought I’d dedicate this month’s column to magazines featuring something many of us are passionate about: beverages.
You can pick this first magazine up at coffeehouses throughout the country. Naturally, many of its pieces are about coffee. But the magazine is for that quirky bunch that live in coffeehouses and they’ve got more on their minds than coffee: tattoos, the Internet, saving the environment. Tell the editors why your non-coffee topic would be interesting to coffee-lovers.
This magazine is an equal opportunity drinker: cocktails, wine, coffee, just about anything beverage qualifies. So pick your favorite liquid and find a person, place, product, or process related to it as your article’s focus. Articles range from 200 to 2,500 words.
Gather.com, in conjunction with Borders Books, is sponsoring a First Chapters writing contest. First prize is $5000 and a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster. Through Thursday March 15th, 2007, aspiring novelists will have the opportunity to submit their full-length commercial fiction manuscripts for consideration. Over the course of the competition, the first three chapters of entrants’ novels will be posted to the First Chapters Group for evaluation by the Gather community and Editorial team. The community and Gather Editorial team will select five finalists through three rounds of voting. And one Grand Prize Winner will be chosen for publication by a special panel of judges. It's free to enter. All the details are available at
The above information was taken
from Cynthia Sterling Market news. You can sign up by sending a
blank email to
How Do I?
Many of the books I have been reading lately have POV (Point of View) shifts back and forth practically paragraph to paragraph. I find this very distracting. Some of these writers have 16 and 20 books or more published.
To my knowledge many editors (those I've dealt with at least) frown on this sort of "head hopping" for a lack of a better word to call it. I understand in a romance it can be essential, but what about another genre - say mystery, or suspense? Or is this the new way of writing and I'm behind the times?
Thank you for your time,
I know exactly what you mean. Head hopping is actually frowned upon in romance, but writers such as Nora Roberts do it all the time and get away with it. (It’s the main reason I don’t read her books.)
The romance genre is more strict on head hopping than any other genre, but most editors don’t like it at any time, or in any genre. I generally advise writers to try and stick to the one POV per scene – at the very least. Some publishing houses have their own rules about how often POV can be changed, and many want the same POV for an entire chapter.
As a novice writer, POV was one of the most difficult things for me to learn. In fact most of the time I didn’t even realise I’d changed POV. I used to spend hours on end marking my ms with the changes in POV in order to understand it better. Sometimes it was so subtle that even some of the published writers in my writing group couldn’t pick it.
I guess the short answer is that some writers are simply getting lazy. Head hopping is not acceptable, and I doubt it ever will be.
If you have a writing-related question,
send it here.
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