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Writing News, Issue #003 -- Be a Better Writer
March 13, 2010

Writing News March 2010

In this issue, you will find new writing contests, writing advice, free offers, and updates on site material.

News: Details now available of the win alluded to in the last newsletter. Novel Immersion Workshop participant, Cathy Kozak won third prize in PEN/Nob Hill Joanna Catherine Scott Novel Excerpt Contest for her novel excerpt A Thousand Tricks

Check out When I told Carollyne Haynes about this site, she placed her memoir, Raised by Committee, in the HarperCollins online "slushpile." After only six days it ranked number one in the biography section. Good writing will naturally rise to the top.

Best Free Offer for Writers

  • This struck me as such a good deal that I created a page where aspiring authors can download as a Free Audiobook the one book every author should have in his or her possession.
  • Writing Tip of the Month

    Use Rituals to Develop Your Characters

    Consider the rituals your characters participate in and how these rituals show elements of character. All of us perform daily rituals. We shave, shower, dress, eat, sleep, work, visit the doctor, and exercise.

    The ritual is different for each of us. One personís dresser drawer may contain two dozen pairs of matched socks, an equal number of cotton boxers, and several T-shirts, all precisely folded. Another may rifle through an unknown number of loose socks searching for a single pair that matches. He may wear briefs, not boxers, and his T-shirts hang in the closet as his only shirts.

    One person may have 120 pairs of shoes, while another has three. One man uses an electric razor, while another uses disposable razors. One woman sets her hair in hot rollers each morning while another towels her hair dry and doesnít give it another thought.

    As your character walks through his or her day, consider these rituals and what they demonstrate about the character. List the items in the characterís closet, medicine cabinet, or cosmetic case, and then show your character making use of these items.

    In my first novel ,Burning Ground, Percy Turner had to heat a gallon of water and transfer it to a shower bag before her shower ritual could begin. Pages 143-146 describe how she has to wet herself down, turn the water off, lather up, and then turn the water on again to rinse. Mosquitoes fed on her as she bathed, and when she ran out of water, she rinsed her hair with icy rainwater.

    Readers like to learn of these details. They make the character interesting, either different or the same, and genuine. This allows readers to feel for them, to take an interest in their goals, which keeps them reading.

    New: has seen many changes since the last newsletter in January.

    With so many submissions pouring into Page Forty-Seven online anthology, I've had to change the response rate from one week to two weeks. Anyone who submits stories on a regular basis will recognize that this is still a very short turnaround time.

    The quality of the stories is higher than ever. Katherine Barrett, our Assistant Editor, has submitted her story Resilience, which is a masterful story that demonstrates how a writer can make use of the environment as a backdrop for human loss.

    The site has also seen the following additions:

    1. Four new short stories
    2. Many new and informative questions and answers on the Q & A page
    3. New Writing Quotations
    4. New Blog posts about industry information, the business of writing, workshops, and marketing ideas.
    5. A discussion of how to keep a Writing Log and why you should.
    6. An in-house Contest. Send in your eight-word tagline for a chance at the $100 prize.

    And much more. Visit the Sitemap for a list of any articles you may have missed.

    New Short Stories:

    Since the last newsletter I published four new original short stories:

    • 'The Verdana Obit'
    • by Lee Hammerschmidt
    • 'Cartwheels'
    • by S.L. Green
    • 'Bang'
    • by Laurel Wilczek
    • 'Resilience'
    • by Katherine Barrett

    Click on Page Forty-Seven online anthology to read them.

    Notable Tweets & News Articles on Twitter:

    • Publishers turn classics into: Graphic Novels

    • Self Employed writers now eligible for special employment insurance Benefits

    • Western Australian conservatives dump $95k literary award as a "waste of money"

    Writing Contests Closing Soon:

    View more creative writing contests HERE

    Web Sits of Interest to Authors:

    For a long list of interesting web sites visit the Writing Resources page.

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