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Writer to Writer - June 2010

Issue One

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I hope your month so far has been profitable.

I am about to start yet another project from a regular client.  Lately he's been giving me a new project approximately every fortnight, which is very nice.

They're mostly small projects, but still worthwhile.

When it comes to regular clients, I do my best to keep the price low.  This fellow has used my services more than ten times now.  Most projects are big ones (like sales pages), but there are smaller ones like rewriting headlines, writing introductions for promotional material, and in this case, writing Clickbank promo ads.

The best part about this client (apart from the repeat business) is he pays upfront, and rarely asks for rewrites.

In addition to doing copywriting, I've also worked on my fiction this past fortnight.  My writing group (MRWG) runs a BIGFAT irregularly, which helps keep us all writing, and motivated. (BIGFAT = Bum Is Glued, Fingers Are Typing.  It's a bit like a BIAW or BIAM, only we endeavour to write as much as possible in a one week period. We don't aim to write an entire book.)

Over the past few years I've done less and less fiction, spending more time on my non-fiction writing.  I'm trying to spend more time on fiction, as it's been on the back-burner for a long time.

Next month (July 23) my novel Saving Emma will be re-released by The Wild Rose Press, and I've already begun my promotional efforts.  I expect to spend quite a bit of time promoting over the next few months.

A few days ago I submitted a query and synopsis for a novella and have already had a request for the full.  I'll have to wait and see if it's accepted or not.

Many writers tell me they can't get published.  The biggest factor in getting published is submitting.  If you don't submit, you won't be published.

If your work gets rejected, resubmit somewhere else. And yes, I've had loads of rejections over the years.  I don't dwell on rejections - I dust myself off and move on.

One of the most important lessons I learned in my fiction writing career was to research publishers, and ensure you submit to the right one.

After about eleven rejections for the one novel, this piece of advise was given to me.  A little late, I thought, but in reality it wasn't too late, as it was a lesson I needed to learn for myself.

Having learned this information, and spending a lot of time researching, I was certain the next publisher I submitted to was perfect for my novel, so I submitted.  And yes, it was accepted.

Whether it's fiction or non-fiction you write, a little research can go a long way toward your quest for publication.  Always ensuring you are targeting the correct publisher puts you closer to acceptance.

Okay, let's get onto this week's article. 

One of the hardest things for new (and even experienced) writers to do is write believable dialogue.  The problem stems from the fact we can't write it the way we speak.  It has to be readable, but often it seems like the message is 'lost in the translation'.

Judy Bagshaw has written a great article on this subject.  Whether you write romance or something else entirely, do take the time to read the article as it will help writers of all genres, not just romance.

That's it from me [FIRSTNAME] - time to sit back and enjoy this issue.

Til next time…




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 Writing Believable Dialogue

ŠJudy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved



One of the early lessons any writer learns, or needs to, is to show instead of tell. It’s important to draw the reader into the story and make them a participant rather than a passive observer. One of the best ways to do this is to write scenes with dialogue, making the moments immediate and real for the reader. 


And it’s important to make your dialogue real and believable. Nothing will lose a reader faster then stilted, phony exchanges between characters. It smacks of amateur writing. So how does one achieve reality in dialogue? 


Quite simply, a writer needs to learn to listen. When out and about in daily life, stay atune to the people around you. Listen to the various cadences in the speech patterns of people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, social stations, jobs.  


Take note of how people conduct their conversations. You will find that people normally talk over each other, talk in fragments and interject. They use slang and exclamations, infuse their chats with laughter. Some are aggressive and loud, others soft and hesitant. Some have heavy accents or use unusual structure in their language. As a writer, your challenge is how to capture these differences on the page. 


Naturally, writers cannot write dialogue as it is in real life. Real life dialogue is full of boring, social exchanges that often go nowhere. Literary dialogue needs to sound natural when you read it, but is, in reality, a compressed form of real speech which serves to move the story forward in some way. 


Some of the ways to achieve this are as follows: 

  • Use contractions to create an informal feel to the words. Compare these:

    “I do not think that you are right.” 
    “I don’t think you’re right.” 

The first sentence seems quite formal and stilted. The second  reads as much more natural speech.  

However, if your character is, for example, an uptight academic, or someone unfamiliar with English etc., then perhaps avoiding contractions would more clearly capture their voice.

  • Use sentence fragments. We often speak in bits and pieces in real life. Used judiciously in a passage of dialogue this device can add realism. 

Read the entire article here


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The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest

This contest is open to anyone who loves arranging words into the beautiful art of poetry or to write a story that is worth telling everyone! Guidelines: (1) Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, form or style, single or double line spacing. And/or (2) Write short story five pages maximum, single or double line spacing, on any subject or theme, fiction or non-fiction. Multiple entries are accepted.

Postmark deadline: July 31, 2010. Winners will be announced and published on August 31, 2010.

Entry fees: Writing Contest entry fee is $10 per short story. Poetry Contest entry fee is $5 per poem. 

Prizes: Writing Contest First Prize is $500; Second Prize: $250; Third Prize: $100. Poetry Contest First Prize: $250; Second Prize: $125; Third Prize: $50.  All contest winners works will be published online in the Dare to Dream pages.

To send entries by mail: Include title of poem(s) or stori(es), name, address, phone#, email, brief biographical info. (tell us a little about yourself) on the coversheet, add a self-addressed stamped envelope for entry confirmation.

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Mail to: Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. P.O. Box 3141, Chicago, IL 60654. Visit for further details, to print out an entry form or to enter online.


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