Sunday, November 4, 2018

Where You Generate ideas Matters


Generating ideas ~ First, use APB Speakers Bureau website as a resource to spark ideas: https://www.apbspeakers.com/.

Create an Idea Calendar where you'll keep the ideas you generate while browsing the speakers.


Double click a speaker's photo to bring up their profile. Scroll down to see a list of topics, and a wealth of information that will spark ideas for you.

What does your mind conjure when you're reading them? Think out of the box.

Read what speakers speak about, where and how to find them, and get ideas for your own articles\speaking engagements  here, https://www.apbspeakers.com/topics/all-topics/

This is also a fine resource to visit when you're writing an article for publication in a bonafide medium (on spec or assignment.)
*Do check their engagements and fees links.
*Do not contact the guests before a magazine has assigned your article.
 
You'll find plenty of variety.
 
Start with an idea.Make a note of it, or a few pages of notes.
  1. File it in a folder labeled, Idea Folder.
  2. Put it away and jot your next idea note on a separate paper.
  3. File it in your Idea Folder.
  4. Continue to jot down and file ideas as they come to you.
TIP: Use a titled contest/or categories for this assignment and double the use of your time.
  • Select one idea from your Idea Folder.
  • Brainstorm and topic spoke the idea. (*See Topic Spoke handout.)
  • Consult a Writer's Market, new or old - it doesn't matter much at this point.
  • What you're looking for are categories.
You might also browse other market directories such as Working Press of the Nation, Religious Writer's Marketplace, Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, etc. Most are available at the reference desk of libraries.

OLD MAGAZINES-NEWSPAPERS - www.unz.org is an excellent resource to research past publications.

There's no need to ever be at a loss for ideas.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Worry About Telling Your Story, by Jamie Wilson


Jamie Wilson, a member of Internet Writing Workshop, gives valuable advice in this guest blog.

"Don't worry about taste or any other sense. Worry about telling your story.

Start with an arrival or a departure - it introduces chaos into a balanced system and gives you instant conflict. You have this stable system - a jail or a mental institution or a home or an office - and when you introduce a single person to it (or subtract one) the social dynamic changes, often catastrophically. You can do all kinds of things with that. (This idea came from John Gardner)

Start your story with something that inspires the reader to ask a question. You want your reader to finish that first sentence. When you open like this, readers want to keep going until they get that answer. The trick to keep them moving: make sure you keep adding new questions before answering the old ones.

Give your reader a tiny little taste of the world, and then focus on a single character.  Cut out everything mundane: eating, walking, chatting about action taking place, clothing, men looking at women's bodies.
Focus on what is important. Focus on conflict, inner and outer. Look around, and use the surroundings to define your characters. Feel. Express emotion. Make things active - do not discuss what has already happened, but rather start your story in the middle of action.

 Above all else, make every word move your story toward a goal - something that happens at the end of the scene, the building of a relationship critical to the story, a plot conflict, a problem. If a word does not at minimum do that, you need to cut it out. Try to make each word do several  things - build mood, describe, move plot forward, etc.

Finish the story. Do not obsess about this stuff. Give yourself permission to write utter crap. You do not have to make every word perfect. Few writers create a stellar work the first time around, and sometimes not the tenth or hundredth time around. Most of your work is done in editing. You have to have a story written down in order to edit."

Learn more about Jamie and read her stories here:
http://jamiekwilson.com
http://www.conservativefiction.com
http://www.conservativefeminism.com

Founder, The Conservative Fiction Project
Senior Editor,
Liberty Island Media
Twitter:@jamiekwil
 
Become a member of Internet Writing Workshop for valuable help to successful writing.
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Unfinished Poem by Joanna M. Weston

 

Joanna M. Weston, a member of Internet Writing Workshop and a widely published poet wrote this guest blog about how she works.
She titled her blog, THE UNFINISHED POEM

"I love writing poetry and read poetry most days: it is inspiration, clarification, communication and a delight.

I write a poem every day except Sunday. Then it may be a few days or weeks before I come back to the poem and, if it has no energy in it for me, I re-read with a fresh perspective. I then either delete the poem or tweak, or re-write: i.e. work on it, better able to see errors and where meaning is unclear.


I want to convey a feeling or experience to others clearly, for I believe poetry is, like all art, a form of revelation and communication.

I try to be sure that imagery is relevant, language fresh and without clichés. Phrases like 'every cloud has a silver lining' or 'after rain comes a rainbow' come so easily that sometimes it's hard to reach for a new image.

The computer's Spelling and Grammar checker is usually not helpful for poetry, so I try to ensure that subject and object, pronouns and verbs agree; that there are no extra words to muddy the focus of the poem: i.e. an unnecessary 'and', 'that', 'but' or 'then'.

I change words that have been repeated, often using Roget's Thesaurus. Adjectives and adverbs superfluous to the theme are deleted, as not every noun or verb requires a descriptive.

Line-breaks require particular attention, especially as I don't use punctuation. The best way I know to check line-breaks is to read the poem aloud, find where the natural breaks occur and use them.

Reading aloud also gives a reality check on rhythm:

·       Is the meter appropriately broken or maintained

·       Are alliteration, assonance and dissonance as effective as possible?

 All of which adds up to ensuring that the image or emotion is clear to the reader, that the devices of diction, prosody etc. enhance rather than get in the way of the intended meaning. And always I wonder whether my poem goes beyond surface conclusions to give genuine insight.

This is not to say that it is a simple task to edit my own poetry. And I rarely regard a poem as 'finished' even after it's been published.

I'm deeply indebted to the Poetry List of the International Writers' Workshop for their on-going help in critiquing my poetry, truly invaluable. Also I maintain a blog where I publish a poem every Wednesday:
http://www.1960willowtree.wordpress.com

I'm endlessly grateful to family and friends who, over the years, have pointed out typos and grammatical errors.

Joanna is married; has one cat, multiple spiders, raccoons, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, 'Frame and The McGuire', published by Tradewind Books 2015; and poetry, 'A Bedroom of Searchlights', published by Inanna Publications, 2016. Other books are listed at her blog, where you can also read more about her.

Joanna M. Weston

A Bedroom of Searchlights poetry
 

 
 


ISBN 978-1-77133-305-4
published by Inanna Publications

 


Monday, July 30, 2018

How To Be Your Editor's Favorite Freelancer

Kathleen gave me permission to publish her article as a guest blog. Her advice is invaluable.

How To Be Your Editor's Favorite Freelancer
(c) by Kathleen Sharp

There's no secret, really. It alls boils down to one precept: editors are people, too. People with jobs. And as a freelance writer, what you do is part of their job.  Editors have bosses, deadlines and deliverables. An editor's boss does not care WHO is or is not delivering on time. The editor's boss will hold the editor personally responsible for any and all failures of production. Yours included.

To become an editor's favorite freelancer:

1.) Turn in assignments early. One day is good; two is better.
As it creeps closer to deadline, editors begin to wonder, how is my freelancer doing? I wonder if she conducted her interviews yet? Do you suppose she got all those people to return her calls? I wonder how long her story is?

By deadline day your editor is a nervous wreck unless he or she was wise enough to give you a false deadline. Put your editor out of his misery, turn the story in early.

2.) Stay in touch.
When my staff reporter is doing a story, I can walk out to the newsroom floor anytime I want, grab him by the collar and bark, "Pieper, how's that story coming?"  When I do that (this is my favorite part) he HAS to answer.

I like my freelancers to be proactive about communication. This is especially important when you are new to the editor, if you have ever let her down in the past, if the story is particularly long and complex, or if the deadline was longer than one production cycle. But editors are busy, too. Personally, I hate freelancers who need me to spend lots of time telling them what great writers they are. All I want is a quick status. A brief email will do. Like this:

"Hi. Thanks for the assignment. This morning I called the school district and left a message for the superintendent to call me."

"Hi. Just wanted to let you know the school superintendent called me back. I got the interview. The story looks like it might be as long as 1500 words. Have a nice day."

"Hi. Had a great interview with the superintendent yesterday. He thinks I should interview the district CFO. I have an appointment later today."

"Hi. The CFO was full of useful information. He has a color chart. Would you like to use it for art?"

"Hi. I know this is early, but my story is all done. I will drop by later today with the chart. Have a nice day."

3.) Read the editor's mind.
Seriously. The editor has some idea of what he wants from this article. He may -- or he may not -- share that with you. If he does not, you can coax it out of him with a few questions: What's my deadline, how long should the story be, do you want art, is there anyone in particular you want me to interview, do you have any background on this that you'd like to share?

If he answers all that, you will have read his mind.

4.) Don't deliver surprises.
Editors hate surprises. A good editor is, by definition, a control freak. Turn in the story you promised at approximately the length you promised by deadline or sooner. If something happens midway that will change the focus, scope, length or timing of the article, tell the editor as soon as possible and negotiate a new focus, length or deadline.

Last week one of my favorite freelancers called me 5 minutes before deadline to say she did not get the story. Had done nothing on it, in fact. No interviews, nothing. She knew, and I knew, and she knew I knew that she knew days ago that she was going to be late. Still, she waited until 5 minutes before deadline to tell me. So I had 5 minutes to find a 15-inch story to plug into the giant hole she left on my front page. Hey, thanks Robyn! You know that series you were going to do on the VFW? Never mind.

That's it. Four steps. Do them consistently, and --assuming you have also done your best on the article itself -- you can win a priority spot on any editor's contacts list.###

NOTE: All of the above applies only to ethical editors. Unscrupulous editors (and there are many) are low-lying snake in the grass rodents who deserve to be trampled.

My apologies to rodents everywhere ~~ KS
END
 
Kathleen Sharp
 

Kathleen is a former managing editor of a newspaper. She now writes and edits for corporate clients, and is one of the adminstrators on Internet Writing Workshop.

Become a member of the best free online group of writers: Internet Writing Workshop.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Using Hashtags to Increase Sales & Choices


This explanation of hashtags [#] was shared on Internet Writing Workshop last December by Rasmenia Massoud. She submitted this guest blog o share it with you.

 
"First ~ Hashtags are the number sign [#] followed by words.

Hashtags function to help one start to perhaps find or build an audience. It's a start even if your article ranks 300th in the pile.

The #anywordinsertedhere allows readers to search subjects- at least on Twitter and Facebook. Ie: putting #faith or #fiction or whatever in your post will lump your written piece into that category, allowing it to appear if someone does that kind of search.

Example: Say I put #faith into my FB post. "I am writing a #faith based book entitled XYZ." If someone put #faith into the SEARCH feature, my post would come up as a 'hit'.

I'm not sure how it would rank among the millions of other #faith hashtags, but that's how you get included.

Hashtags are handy to connect specific topics together on social media outlets. They can be used on FB, Twitter, and Instagram to great effect.

For my own part, I primarily use them on Instagram. When I post a photo and add the hashtag #comicbooks, it connects me with other comic book fans outside of my own circle of friends and followers.

If you post on Facebook something like: Working on my new anthology. #amwriting #christian #fiction.

Then anyone searching for #christian will bring up a whole list of posts with that  tag, including yours.

Also, if you click on your own tags, you can find others who are interested in the same thing. It's a great way to connect people and expand on a larger conversation. Play around with it a little - if you see a hashtag on someone's post, click on it and have a look see."

Rasmenia Massoud

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Publications Submission Timelines


Lynne M. Hinkey

Lynne M. Hinkey, author and marine scientist and long-time member of Internet Writing Workshop [IWW], says, "Different publications have different submission timelines. Some accept continuously, some list the themes of upcoming issues and ask you only submit stories meeting the theme, others have specific query/submission periods based on publication times (monthly, quarterly, annually, biennial)."

She keeps a list of publications based on the yahoos posted on IWW that have exposed her to markets and publications she might never have found otherwise.
Hinkley said, "One of IWWs most successful short story writers is probably Wayne Scheer." She suggests joining IWW so you, too, can keep a look out for his yahoos to get your own list started.

Hinkley also said, "Of course, we have Google which can be a writer's best friend if used well. I just searched for 'publications for short stories.' That came back with 4,310,000 results. The first 3 are:

1. Short Story Magazines: Where to Submit Short Stories:  25 Magazines and Online Publications: www.thewritelife.com

2. How (and where) to Get a Short Story Published: www.writersdigest.com

3. 46 Literary Magazines to Submit to: www.letswriteashortstory.com

IWW Yahoos and Google are how she's found homes for the short stories she's had published. She's been paid for about 1/2 of them.

Hinkley also says, "Rejections can be helpful. Almost every successful writer out there has a story about how many hundreds of rejections they received first.


"Rejections can tell us either we, as a writer, or our story, isn't quite
 ready. I think it was someone on IWW who posted---way back when I joined in 2005 or 6--that until you've written a million words (that have been tucked in a drawer, only shared with family and friends, or rejected) you aren't ready to be published.


"On that bit of advice that stuck with me, I have 3 novels tucked away in drawers that never saw the light of day. (OK, I did share one--I'm embarrassed to say now--with a few friends. It deserved to stay in the drawer.)

"I just Googled that bit of advice (Google search: "Write one million words before publishing") and got a number of interesting articles. Karen Woodward's website summarizes the quote, who it's been attributed to, and its general history.)

"That's not to say you or any of us aren't ready to be published, only an interesting item I picked up on the IWW list that's stayed with me all this time.)

Good luck!"
     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              Lynne M. Hinkey
 Author, Marine Scientist, Curmudgeon
         
www.lynnehinkey.com

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Interview Freelance Editors Before Making Your Commitment


In her guest blog, editor and author, Jeannette de Beauvoir, gives the following advice.
"My recommendation is to "interview" three editors. This is a special and important relationship. Many of us editors do offer a sample edit of a page or two along with comments about the manuscript in general.

"I do two passes; other editors vary in their process. Choose three, ask them questions about how they'd work with you, if they've edited in your genre before, etc., etc.

"You can generally find a plethora of great candidates through the
Editorial Freelancers Association. You can post your project there and then see who seems to be the right editor for you. That's a lot less anecdotal and hit-or-miss than other ways of finding someone."


Jeannette is a long-time member of Internet Writing Workshop.

Jeannette de Beauvoir writes mystery, historical, and general fiction; her  novels. Read more about her work on Goodreads, her Amazon author page, Facebook, and her website. She offers editing services through CustomlineWordware and is the founder and director of the Cape Cod Writing Workshops.