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Writer's Notes - By Jeanne Dininni

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Writer's Notes - May 2007

Well, apparently, I jumped the gun when I wrote my last post, lamenting the fact that Hollywood is planning to make a movie of the same name as the subtitle I used for one of my articles, back in January, '07: "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People."

I'd actually dreamed up this title several years ago--and now I wish I'd paid attention to precisely which year it was, because, as it turns out, an author named Toby Young wrote a book of that same name (copyright 2001) chronicling his adventures working at Vanity Fair magazine in New York City. (I've never heard of either him or his book before today, I promise! If I had, it would have been rather foolish of me to pen my previous post.)

Funny things, titles! When we write them, we're so certain we are the only person to have ever dreamed up that wonderfully winsome way of weaving words together to create the cleverest one, which, in reality, might be nothing more than a naively natural extension of an already existing idea.

I am now willing to humbly admit that the Toby Young book did indeed predate the article I published on Associated Content back in January.

But, to be perfectly honest, I can't say I'm absolutely certain that it actually predated my own original creation of the title and my writing it down, on a sheet of lined binder paper, where I also began, at that very same time, to jot down notes outlining my ideas for the article I would later write. This sheet of paper then went into a box in the back of the closet with my other early writings, which sat for who can say how long?

Regardless of which one of us actually thought of it first, however, the fact that we both did, entirely independently of one another, makes it pretty clear that this title was a natural outgrowth of the Dale Carnegie title from which it sprang, flowing almost perfectly, in both meter and meaning, from the original, and showing that, when two creative minds approach the same idea from the same angle, the artistic spark in each very often confirms the inevitability of the discovery by the other--even if neither one is aware of it at the time.

So, dear readers, I must, at the very least, concede the possibility that Toby Young might just have conceived this great title before I, myself, did. But then again, maybe not. We may never be certain. So, that is where we will just have to leave it.

Philosophically yours,

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Well, Google Alerts has done it again! I learned just today, after setting up an alert using the subtitle of an article I first published back in January, '07--though I conceived the title several years ago--that a soon-to-be-released Hollywood movie, featuring Jeff Bridges and Kirsten Dunst, among others, shares the same title! But that's not the worst of it!

What's even worse is what I learned when I googled the words "copyright" and "title": I found out something that many of us writers may not know and most of us will certainly not want to hear: Titles are not copyrightable!

That's right! It doesn't matter how cleverly they may be worded, how original you may have thought they were, how absolutely fantastic the play on words may be, how wonderful a parody they may create of an earlier title that the present writer may want to allude to in order to evoke a particular mood or frame of reference--none of this matters one whit! If it's a title, you can't copyright it--period!

You may be wondering what movie I'm referring to; though--if you just happen to be very movie savvy and really knowledgeable about the latest and upcoming releases--you may already know the answer. However, in all fairness to...myself...I'll start by giving you the title of my article--since it came first!

My humor article, first published on January 25, 2007, at Associated Content, is called "A Comprehensive List of Leadership Techniques For the Truly Superior: Show 'Em Who's Boss! Or How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." (I realize that seems like an awfully long title, but I can explain.)

The article was originally entitled simply "Show 'Em Who's Boss! Or How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." (For those who may not know it, the second part of this title is a takeoff on the title of the Dale Carnegie classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People--a great book, by the way.) I also would have much preferred switching the two titles and using the "Comprehensive List" portion as the subtitle and the other part as the title--which would have been the perfect strategy to use for print media.

However, due to the realities of SEO (search engine optimization), A-C recommends that the main headline of the articles it publishes contain enough searchable keywords or keyword phrases to allow the search engines to find it--and thus, my main title was relegated to the lowly status of subheadline. (Sometimes its tough to know which keywords to use where humor is concerned, though, since Google searches unfortunately don't differentiate between the literal and satirical use of words--so even at that, I may not have actually chosen the "optimal" keywords. But then, I was new to the game.)

Be that as it may, headline or subheadline, title or subtitle, that clever play on words was still mine! Which part of the lengthy title am I referring to? You've no doubt figured it out by now: "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." I thought it terribly clever at the time I wrote it--and today, apparently Hollywood agrees! According to Variety, the comedy, "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People," is slated to begin filming June 4th.

I have to admit to feeling somewhat violated--particularly since Hollywood's being as high-profile as it is and my being as low-profile as I am, it's obvious who will get the credit for originating this witticism. (Hint: It won't be me.) And, of course, it's equally obvious who will appear to have plagiarized it. (Hint: It won't be Hollywood--which isn't to say that I'm accusing them of doing so either--though, come to think of it, I don't really suppose Hollywood, per se, is an entity that I could actually accuse of plagiarism.) But, alas, there's little to be done for it, and we must move forward despite such minor (?) setbacks.

For the benefit of those who weren't aware of this little idiosyncrasy of copyright law, here's a quote from the U.S. Copyright Office's website: "Names, titles, and short phrases or expressions are not subject to copyright protection. Even if a name, title, or short phrase is novel or distinctive or if it lends itself to a play on words, it cannot be protected by copyright." There's more, but you get the idea. I hardly think they could have spelled it out more clearly than that. If you're interested in reading more on the subject, though, just click the above link to be taken to the appropriate page on their site.

Well, there you have it! The saga of my original, but nonetheless uncopyrightable article title...

And yet another instance where Google Alerts have let me in on the latest little "secret" affecting my work.

Unhappier, but wiser,

NOTE: My contentions in this post were later updated. For details, see Related Post, below.

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Are you a previously unpublished writer with a few short stories lurking in the deepest, darkest recesses of your computer's hard drive? Have they been sitting there so long, in fact, that you're not at all sure you won't find cobwebs when you open them? Or does your inventory of short fiction fall on the opposite end of the spectrum where your latest fiction piece is so new that the ink isn't even dry yet? Either way, No Record Press is actively soliciting your short fictional manuscript for its next annual anthology, which will be published in early 2008.

This opportunity for previously unpublished writers of short literary fiction to have their work included in the next annual issue of the anthology, put out by No Record Press, is currently being advertised on Craigslist.Com (posted 5/25/07).

Here's the way No Record Press describes itself: "No Record is an organization dedicated solely to publishing promising literary works by previously-unknown writers. Our mission is to make available, for public consideration and benefit, noteworthy works by new writers that, for various reasons, may find it difficult to interest mainstream publishers."

No Record welcomes manuscripts between 500 and 10,000 words in length, and the submission deadline for the next anthology is July 1st, 2007 (publication date: February, 2008). Please see Writer's Guidelines before submitting (link in first paragraph of this post.)

Oh, and did I forget to mention: They pay $50 per accepted story and "all rights revert back to author on publication."

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me--especially for an unknown author who may be finding it difficult to locate a publisher who's willing to pay anything at all for the fictional works of previously untested new talent.

Seems to me that a new writer could certainly do worse!

Good luck!

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Are you looking for a site where you can find information on almost any aspect of the writing craft? If so, you'll probably want to visit WritersApprentice.Com. This site is a veritable fountain of information, tips, techniques, and advice on writing and marketing your work.

With 43 pages of article listings, linking to some 650 articles, give or take a few, this site is simply brimming with know-how for writers of every niche, genre, style, or type. From articles such as How NOT to Get a Freelance Writing Job (page 40), to The Authors Life: 14 Hints on Creating a Career Plan (page 32); and from How Three Publishing Myths Kill the Author (page 4), to The Writer and the Web (page 20), WritersApprentice.Com gives you a real "bang for your buck." Well, actually, that's not quite accurate: it gives you a real "bang" without even charging a buck.

Now, this isn't to say that everything offered on this site is free, because it does appear as if the article site is being used to promote the site owner's Sell Your Writing Online! offer, which costs $9.95 a month. (We do, after all, want to be savvy consumers of online information and not be carried along on the winds of the next marketing campaign to be aimed in our direction.)

That said, it's very possible that one or more of us might feel $9.95 per month to be well worth the return we receive from this site. (Far be it from me to question this, since I have never tried it.) All I can say is that each writer must judge for him or herself. But, I will say this: Whatever we may ultimately decide about the Sell Your Writing Online! offer--and perhaps even while we're still mulling it over in our literary minds--we can nevertheless derive many benefits from the writing-themed articles on this site, which can provide us with the knowledge we need to improve our writing skills, wisely market our work, and succeed in our chosen career of writer.

I am a firm believer in taking whatever I may find that is of value to me from a particular resource and simply leaving the rest. At this point, I find that the article listings on the WritersApprentice.Com website fill the bill.

Perhaps you will, too.

Happy reading!

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Do you have a compelling, true story that you'd like to share with the world? Is your story haunting, wistful, poignant, or gripping? Does it touch people where they live? If so, you might just want to check out Common Ties--a "story blog" which publishes quality non-fiction and pays decently for it.

The folks at Common Ties have this to say about the stories they seek: "Specifically, we look for any personal story that is in some way emotionally compelling--stories that make us shudder, gasp, giggle, or cry." In short, Common Ties publishes creative non-fiction at its best.

To be sure, having a thrilling tale to tell or a sensitive story to share is only the beginning. At Common Ties, craftsmanship is everything. Again, they give a few words of friendly advice to the writer who aspires to seeing his or her work grace the pages of this relatively new but popular online publishing venue: "You may have several powerful personal stories, but they must be written well if they are to be accepted. Quality of writing is of paramount importance."

Common Ties has been publishing compelling personal stories from around the world since October 2006 and runs stories based on a weekly schedule of themes. (They will, however, accept stories on nearly any theme at any time, since themes are recurring and also because there are times when they will decide to publish a particular story, regardless of theme.)

Some upcoming themes and their submission deadlines are: turning points, May 29th; eating disorders, June 5th; fathers and fatherhood, June 12th; moral dilemmas, June 19th; weddings, June 26th; honeymoons, July 3rd; suicide, July 10th. In addition, they have a long list of other themes that are of particular interest to their editors, which can be found on their Submission Guidelines page (at the link found in the opening paragraph of this post.)

Common Ties' average compensation range for an author's work is $100-200 per story, though they refer to this as "only a guideline" and, consequently, they are very open to considering higher or lower compensation levels, depending on such factors as a writer's previous publishing experience and story quality. They are currently experimenting with accepting reprints, though there's a limit to the number of reprints they will accept from a single author in a calendar year. (See Guidelines.)

If you have any interest at all in this type of anecdotal writing and you have a stirring tale or two to tell, you might seriously consider submitting your work to Common Ties. This online publication appears to be one that's open to giving you a fair price for your work.

Good Luck & Happy Writing!

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If you're relatively new to short story writing--or simply curious enough to check out another viewpoint on the subject and interested in possibly picking up a few pointers you may not have seen elsewhere--you might want to take a look at Short Stories: 10 Tips for Novice Creative Writers. This is a pretty comprehensive article covering quite a few different aspects of the art: well, actually, ten to be exact. Though aimed at college students (and also written by one), it presents a group of timeless principles and helps for writing short fiction that could prove useful to any writer.

From emergency tips to get you started, to developing your characters, and from creating conflict and tension, to finding a resolution for your story--this article takes you through the complete fiction-writing process, giving you all the tools you'll need to create your fiction piece.

If you'll take these fiction-writing ingredients and mix them thoroughly with a dash of inspiration, a sprinkle of imagination, and a handful of hard work, you may just manage to serve up the next famous fiction masterpiece!

Your public awaits!

Fictionally yours,

P.S. This site includes some other interesting info and resources, in addition to the article on writing short fiction.

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If you would love to explore a fascinating world of art, poetry, wisdom on the writing craft, and more, Artella may just be the site for you! Billing itself as "a creative magazine and inspiring art community for artists, writers, and creative spirits," Artella welcomes all who visit "to the Wonderful World of Artella...the waltz of words and art."

This very colorful site may just have something for everyone who has even the slightest artistic streak--whether one's passion be for the written word or the picture that's worth a thousand of them. Boasting both a print magazine and ezine, as well as a poetry newsletter, Artella accepts submissions of poetry-themed articles, as well as articles on writing in general. Poetry competitions are yet another feature that rounds out the mix, adding to Artella's appeal for the creative individual.

Artella looks like a really fun site to peruse when you've got a little time to just browse and enjoy all of its unique categories and features. Read a little poetry, look at a little art...and who knows, maybe you'll just come away from the experience inspired enough to create some masterpieces of your own--and submit them!

Artistically yours,

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I'm taking a simple survey with only one question: Has any current Orble blogger ever received the Blogging Scholarship?

Several of you have answered already, in response to my post about MetaFilter.Com, but just thought that maybe a few others might want to respond, as well, and perhaps were simply unaware that the question had been asked.

Would love to hear from anyone who has any input on this subject--but especially anyone who may have actually received one of these scholarships at one time or another. (I must admit, I'm beginning to feel that they might just be a figment of someone's imagination!)

Please, someone, prove me wrong!

Hopefully yours,

In a recent post, Google Alerts Can Help You Detect Misuse or Abuse of Your Work, I wrote about the way Google Alerts can help you maintain the integrity of your work by finding and alerting you to the existence of any websites that may have made unauthorized changes to your content in violation of their purchase agreements (either intentionally or in ignorance). There are also those instances where a site might be (again, either maliciously or ignorantly) hosting your work entirely without your knowledge or permission, which led me to speculate about the possibility that Google Alerts might also be able to protect our blog posts from unauthorized use in the same way they would for an article, poem, story, or other piece of writing.

With this question in mind, I penned the post, Can Google Alerts Protect Your Blog Posts? At that time, I had begun conducting a little experiment to see whether Google's search engine would find my blog posts if I set up alerts using unique phrases from my posts or entire titles from a few of them--in addition to the original alert I'd set up using my byline (my only Google Alert up to that time.) I'd mentioned, in that post, that, within about five minutes, Google had found one of my posts (on my own blog), so things looked promising. This was about a week ago.

Over the past week, numerous alerts have come in, notifying me of my work found in various corners of the internet, including quite a few of my blog posts here at WritersNotes.Net. What does all this prove? I believe it shows that, if you are able to put in a unique enough string of search terms, when creating a Google Alert, Google can find your work no matter where it may be posted on the internet. I used such search strings as "crucify my content," "surviving and thriving in the freelance writing world," "some are thought-provoking, some brutally honest," and two of my post titles, "More Great Sites for Writing Moms" and "Cleverly Contemporary Quotes on Motherhood." (Of course, I placed quotation marks around these strings of search terms.) Each of these proved sufficiently unique for Google's search engine to be able to find them.

The next question is, do you care if someone takes your blog posts and puts them on their own website or blog, or on a public journal page? Maybe you do, and maybe you don't. It could, of course, depend on whether they leave your byline intact or dishonestly remove it, claiming your work as their own. But there are those who are not happy to have their work used, even when they are given credit, and they have every right to feel that way.

Recently, Deborah Ng, whose well-known writing market blog, Freelance Writing Jobs, is a godsend to starving writers everywhere, and who also pens the insightful Finding the Right Words blog, recently learned that some of her own content had been placed on a live journal site without her knowledge or permission. So this does happen. And if it can happen to someone as widely known and well-regarded as Deborah Ng, how much more likely is it that it would happen to you or me? I'm certainly not attempting to create an atmosphere of paranoia or suspicion by relating this tale and discussing what might happen; but I do believe the old adage "Forewarned is forearmed."

It may not really bother you to have someone post your work on a public live journal page, as long as they give you credit for your work, but isn't that just the point? It should be up to the writer who created the original work to decide whether or not it's OK for his or her work to be used that way. If the prospect of this happening does bother you and you care enough about the issue to take preventive measures, go to Google Alerts and set up a few.

All the instructions and info you'll need to set up your alerts can be found on the site. You can set up your alerts to search blogs, news, the Web, or groups, or they can be comprehensive; and you can set them up so you'll be notified of search results once a day, once a week, or "as it happens." (And by the way, you can have up to 1,000 active Google Alerts at one time--though I can hardly even imagine what a positive nightmare it would be to deal with that many!)

When Google's search engine detects one of your search terms or search strings in any of the places you have instructed it to look, you are sent an e-mail within the time frame you've chosen for that particular alert. What could be easier?

Of course, what you do after you've found that your work is being used without your permission or that it's been altered against your wishes or without your authorization is another story entirely.

That part might not be so easy.

Good luck!

P.S. Since writing this post, I've come across a blog entry,called ContentJacking: It's an Epidemic, written by Deborah Ng, in which she further discusses content theft and offers a few ideas on how to correct the problem, once it's been discovered. Check it out.

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While browsing the Web today, I happened across a discussion on MetaFilter.Com which questioned the legitimacy of Orble.Com as a blog hosting site. (Why not pop in over there and have a look?)

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. However, when I attempted to sign up in order to leave my comments on that particular thread, I was informed that, due to the costs involved in keeping up the site, there would be a $5 fee to join.

Now, I am by no means cheap. In fact, most people who know me would say I'm quite the opposite. But, somehow it just didn't seem right to be required to pay for the privilege of simply leaving a comment. I therefore decided to send a message to the administrators of the site, via their "Contact Us" link, instead. In it, I addressed some of the specific points brought up in the discussion (originally posted sometime in March).

I thought it only fair to put in a good word for Orble. After all, I've had a great experience blogging at Orble.Com, and its gotten even better since they've given me my own domain (almost a week ago). I have no idea what will come of it. Perhaps they'll simply ignore me, since I didn't pay the signup fee. Perhaps they'll respond. This is something that only time will tell. But I do know one thing: They'd have a lot more trouble ignoring all of us--don't ya think?

'Nuff said!


Thanks to all my readers for your patience in putting up with a bit of disorganization, uncertainty, and--for a while, at least--a lack of older blog post listings/archives on my new blog! We are now up and running, and will soon be able to resume posting lots of great--and hopefully very helpful--info for all the writers among us!

There are many, many resources out there in the cyber world that can enable us to reach our potential as writers and fulfill our dreams! Over the long term, I plan to hunt down as many of those resources as I can for the benefit of the wider community of writers--for writers of all types of content and with all manner of goals and aspirations for their writing.

In the meantime, please feel free to peruse some of my past posts, which contain some great resources, most of which are still current! Hopefully, you'll find something there that will help you along the road to your dreams!

Till next time,


Hope everyone will bear with me as I complete the move to my new domain here at WritersNotes.Net! The folks at Orble.Com, where I'm moving from, have promised to move my old blog posts over to the new site, and I'm sure they'll do so as soon as they can find a moment! With over 2,000 blogs at Orble, I'm sure they've got their hands quite full! I'm also waiting for their help and/or guidance in rearranging the items on my page into a more aesthetically pleasing configuration! So, things will get better, and your patience will be greatly appreciated!

If you simply can't resist checking out some of those old posts they have now been transferred to the new site!* I believe you'll find some very helpful resources here which will inspire, inform, encourage, and point you to potential markets for your work! And, for those who simply want to post their work on the Web--rather than making a business out of it--there are also some great non-paying or minimal-payment venues for showcasing your creativity!

So, whether you're a blogger, a poet, a fiction writer, a "how-to" guru, an informational afficionado, a writer of keyword content--or whatever your niche--you're bound to find something there that will help you along the path to meeting your goals and/or fulfilling your dreams! And, in the future, here at WritersNotes.Net, I plan to provide you with even more resources to help you succeed! If there's a particular area of interest you have that you'd like to see resources for in future posts, please don't hesitate to leave a comment and let me know! I want to be responsive to all my readers' writing-related needs!

Thanks so much for visiting!

*Updated after this post was written.

Here are a few more great quotes on writing critics and writing criticism, just in case you could use another dose of humor, wisdom, irony, or wit. Some of these literary tidbits are serious, some hilarious, some straightforward and some oh so barbed--but all are worth the read!

The best thing you can do about critics is never say a word. In the end you have the last say, and they know it. ~Tennessee Williams~

The critic should describe and not prescribe. ~Eugene Ionesco~

The only really difficult thing about a poem is the critic's explanation of it. ~Frank Moore Colby~

I don't read my reviews, I measure them. ~Joseph Conrad~

Critics of literature have the same essential function as teachers of literature: this is not to direct the judgment of the audience, but to assist the audience in those disciplines of reading on which any meaningful judgment must rest. ~Mark Schorer~

Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing. ~Joyce Carol Oates~

People ask you for criticism but they only want praise. ~W. Somerset Maugham~

When I have to praise a writer, I usually do it by attacking his enemies. ~H.L. Mencken~

One of the greatest creations of the human mind is the art of reviewing books without ever having to read them. ~G. C. Lichtenberg~

Ideal dramatic criticism is unqualified appreciation. ~Oscar Wilde~

Criticism can be instructive in the sense that it gives readers, including the author of the book, some information about the critic's intelligence, or honesty, or both. ~Vladimir Nabokov~

And, finally, for any writer who may need a bit of an antidote to criticism, here's a list of some great ingredients to mix together to make your elixir:

Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumor that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism does he write "I had a fun time"? Was he ever arrested for burglary? I don't know that you will prove anything this way, but it is perfectly harmless and quite soothing. ~Jean Kerr~

Here's to the writing life--despite the critics!

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They say that everybody's a critic, and to a certain extent this is very true. And if true for the average person, it is even more so for the writer. To a writer, criticism is a fact of life! Those who might not be able to do any better themselves simply love to pick apart every paragraph...every sentence...every phrase...every word written--as long as it's written by someone else!

But, what else should a writer expect? After all, we, as writers repeatedly make ourselves vulnerable to the whims and caprices, the opinions and judgments, the beliefs, perspectives, and presuppositions of every individual who reads our work! By boldly putting our thoughts, ideas, feelings, and opinions out there for all the world to weigh against their own experiences, their own feelings, and their own individual knowledge--as well as the wider body of knowledge, pseudo-knowledge, experience, and pure conjecture that surrounds us--we attract and even at times invite criticism.

But this is OK! We can take it--and hopefully we can at the same time learn not to take it to heart! Whatever their intent, our critics can teach us a great deal--as much about ourselves as they can about our work! If nothing else, they can teach us something about grace under fire...about turning the other cheek...about persevering despite all odds...and about transforming temporary failure into ultimate success!

So, let's say Thanks to critics everywhere! If nothing else, they give us the determination to keep continually challenge steadily improve our skills. And, if all else fails, they at least give us one possibly unintended gift: publicity!

Here are a few enlightening quotes by famous writers on critics and criticism:

A man must serve his time at every trade save censure--critics all are ready made. ~Lord Byron~

A dramatic critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned. ~George Bernard Shaw~

A good writer is not, per se, a good book critic. No more than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender. ~Jim Bishop~

Has anybody ever seen a drama critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good. ~P.G. Wodehouse~

Those who write ill, and they who ne'er durst write,
Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite. ~John Dryden~

The good critic is he who narrates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces. ~Anatole France~

Nature fits all her children with something to do,
He who would write and can't write, can surely review. ~James Russell Lowell~

Critic, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him. ~Ambrose Bierce~

Every good poet includes a critic, but the reverse will not hold. ~William Shenstone~

To literary critics a book is assumed to be guilty until it proves itself innocent. ~Nelson Algren~

A bad review by a man I admire hurts terribly. ~Anthony Burgess~

Time is the only critic without ambition. ~John Steinbeck~

I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise. ~Noel Coward~

Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing the open sea. ~John Updike~

The main use in criticism is in showing the manner of man the critic is. ~Frank Moore Colby~

And, finally, this gem:

I never read a book before reviewing it. It prejudices me so. ~Sydney Smith~

Hope these quotations, from some of the best writing minds that history has produced have made you smile or chuckle...consider or reflect. I always find it fascinating to read the differing viewpoints of a whole array of writers on a single specific topic--and the more intricately related to the writing craft, the better!

Till next time,

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Duplicate Posts Deleted!

May 18th 2007 17:22
I was finally able to delete the duplicate posts from the blog! Hurray! For some reason, the software wouldn't allow me to do so last night. So, things are looking up! Now, all I need to do is get the web page properly formatted, and we'll be good to go!

Thanks for your patience!

Please Excuse My Duplicate Posts!

May 18th 2007 16:53
My apologies for all the duplications of my first post! There seem to be a few glitches in the changeover between the two domains. Hopefully all this will be ironed out very soon!

Thanks for your understanding!

W-R-I-T-I-N-G Spells Opportunity!

May 18th 2007 12:08

Writing provides tremendous opportunities--to have our voices heard, our ideas considered, our wisdom appreciated, our witticisms applauded. Whatever our individual writing goals may be, each of us pursues our own personal dream of what being a writer means to us; and as we do so, it often helps to know that there are others out there who are doing the same--others who, though they may be very different from us in so many other ways--are also, in that one special sense, very much the same.

This is my very first post at my new domain, and I hope to meet many new friends here. The aim of my Writer's Notes blog has, since its inception at Orble.Com, always been--and it always will be--to provide my readers with as much information, inspiration, and encouragement, and as many helpful resources as I am able to amass from a wide variety of sources to help you succeed in fulfilling your individual vision for your writing.

If you should visit before I have this site completely organized and properly configured, please bear with me. I will have things up and running--hopefully simply purring along--as soon as I possibly can. Here at WritersNotes.Net, I'm looking forward to a great experience interacting with my fellow writers, and I hope that each of you will glean many helpful tips, leads, ideas, and incentives from these pages that will equip you to move forward in both your craft and your business.

If you're visiting this page before all my previous posts have been moved over from the Orble.Com domain and you'd like to read them, you can find my original Writer's Notes blog at this link [Link inactivated. Posts moved to current site.]

Yours in the writing art,

Just wanted to let everyone here at Orble know that my Writer's Notes blog is moving to its own domain and can now be found at We are still in the midst of changing it over, so things aren't fully organized yet, but the blog is live and should very soon be ready to go!

This is a very exciting opportunity to reach a larger audience and help even more writers reach their writing goals--and I'm looking forward to it!

Farewell, Orble.Com--Hello WritersNotes.Net! I know I'll still be part of the same great group of writers that make up the Orble community--which is fantastic! Yet, at the same time, I'll be able to enjoy the opportunity of making even more writing friends! And that's a winning combination!

So, this is "Farewell," but not "Good-bye"! The next post you read will be from Writer's Notes.Net!

Till then,

I'm in the process of conducting an experiment to see whether Google Alerts can help us bloggers detect unauthorized use of our blog posts--and, so far, it seems to be working. No, I haven't found someone using one of my blog posts without my permission; but Google did find one of my posts (on my own blog), after I'd entered an identifying phrase from the post into the "Search Terms" field. [I'd entered the search string (in quotation marks): "surviving and thriving in the freelance writing world," from my May 14th post, "More Great Sites for Writing Moms"--and Google Alerts found the string inside of about five minutes! (Of course, I had set up an "as-it-happens" alert.)]

Obviously, for this to work, you would need to use a very unique phrase--one which isn't likely to be used by other (or many other) writers. Otherwise, you would defeat your purpose, ending up with a bunch of alerts that have nothing to do with your own writing! I've also tried using titles of a few of my posts, but haven't gotten any results, yet; though I'm not sure how helpful that would be, anyway, since someone who wanted to steal your post, would likely remove the title.

I figure that, at the very least, this will encourage us to be creative in our phraseology, to avoid using too many time-worn cliches, to come up with new and unique ways of saying things, and to wax eloquent through using language in ways that are uniquely our own--all of which can only improve our writing! And after all, isn't that what being a writer is all about?

I'm still in the middle of this experiment, so haven't got any conclusive results yet; but I figure that anything we can do to protect our work--even if it doesn't work perfectly 100% of the time--will be helpful in those instances where it does work. Don't you agree?

More on this later!

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I realized just today what often motivates site owners, editors, or managers to alter web content--even in violation of clearly stated clauses which they agree to when purchasing a particular type of license for that content: SEO makes them do it!

Search Engine Optimization apparently reigns supreme in the world of internet publishing today. In many--if not the majority of--cases, it matters not to the individuals who run these websites whether or not the writing they post is particularly good. It generally need only be competent. And that's fine with me, if this is what they want or need for their websites. I have no quarrel with that. Why, I might even be willing to consider writing SEO articles myself at some point--and actually I have considered it--though not very seriously, since it doesn't tend to pay very well, and I'd much rather do more inspired writing, writing where I have the freedom to say what I want to say the way I want to say it.

While SEO writing may not be my favorite kind, I do recognize that there are many individuals who are very good at it and who can actually create quality articles while seamlessly incorporating the prescribed number of keywords and keyword phrases into their articles in all the right places. And I applaud them. They are filling a need, and they are doing it well.

The real problem is when the two worlds collide. When an article which is written for the express purpose of saying something and saying it well is offered for posting to a buyer's website through the purchase of a "usage" license by a site such as Constant Content, that article is sold "as is." The buyer is not authorized to change the work in any way. This presents a dilemma for the buyer whose site uses SEO articles. Since the article wasn't originally written with SEO in mind, it generally doesn't contain quite enough key words or key word phrases in its present form. It would only take a few changes here and there to make it work...

But this is precisely where the integrity of the original article is compromised. It's just too easy to do--and entirely too tempting for many buyers to resist.

It became clear to me just this evening, as I looked over the criteria for submitting articles to a particular SEO site--which just happens to be the same site that purchased the usage license for one of my altered articles (as I learned through a Google Alert)--that this was the reason for the changes they made. No sooner had this site made the purchase, then their content editors went right to work. They immediately proceeded to add an entirely new introductory paragraph to the beginning of the article in direct violation of their usage license. And SEO was the reason for the change. They needed to have enough repetitions of the keyword phrase in the article's first paragraph. SEO made them do it!

I hadn't realized it until that moment. Here I'd been furiously typing up a message earlier this afternoon, indignantly proclaiming to C-C how this site had lowered the quality of my article, and on and on and on, without having the slightest inkling what was really going on. I understand now.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that this website violated its usage license, and only time will tell what will happen. I am not really certain precisely how C-C will handle the issue.* But I do know one thing: At Constant Content, they don't like it when clients violate the limitations of their usage licenses. And I must admit that, as a writer who works very hard to produce high quality content, I don't like it either. I don't like the integrity of my work to be compromised.

Where do we go from here? I admit that I really don't know. There's little question that SEO is here to stay. There's even less question that it's in very high demand. Yet I truly hope this doesn't mean that literary integrity will not be able to peacefully co-exist with it.

Till next time,

*UPDATE: Since this post was written, Constant Content has notified the offending website, the site's administrator was very apologetic, and he has since changed the article back to its original form. This is good news for all of us writers who care very much about the integrity of our work! Bravo for C-C and for this site, which, unfortunately, must remain nameless!

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The Google Alert can be a very valuable tool for today's writer, whose work can show up in so many different corners of the internet that it might be impossible to keep track of otherwise. Google's search engine continually crawls the Web, seeking content. This is why a Google Alert can find your work wherever it may appear on various parts of the Web, as long as you create an effective alert by entering the most appropriate search terms for the item or items in question.

Why might you want to create a Google Alert? While there are a number of reasons for the average person to use them--such as keeping up-to-date on news stories, business developments, people, or events--for the writer, they can prove especially significant--if not crucial.

For example, if you create a Google Alert using your name, or byline, as your search criterion, you will be notified, via e-mail, when Google detects sites where your name appears. If you sell your work on the internet through a site such as Constant Content,* which acts as a middleman for your work, selling it on your behalf to various buyers who visit the site, it can be difficult for you to be certain that the buyers who purchase your work are abiding by the terms of the sale, since you generally don't know who the buyers are or which website or websites your work will be posted to. If you sell your work yourself, you would be more likely to have access to such information--though there is still a possibility that the buyer might use your work in a way that hasn't been authorized by you.

If you sell "all rights" to your piece--whether through a literary agent, a website such as Constant Content, or on your own--you have forfeited any say over what is done to or with it. In such a case, the buyer may freely revise, rewrite, and even remove your byline and replace it with his or her own. However, if you sell only "usage," or "one-time use" rights, there are limits on what the buyer may do with or to your work.

If you sell it yourself, you may give the buyer, editor, or publisher permission to make changes to your manuscript or online content or you may agree to make the changes they desire yourself. But, on a site such as Constant Content, "usage" rights do not include the right to alter purchased content in any way. This means that the buyer may not add or delete anything from your piece, may not change its title, and--perhaps most importantly--may not remove your byline.

This is where Google Alerts can be very useful. I, personally, have found two instances of unauthorized changes that had been made to my work after usage rights had been purchased--or I should say, Google found two instances of unauthorized changes to my work for me via my one single Google Alert, set up using my name as my search criterion. (I found a third instance myself, in which my byline had been completely removed from the piece, though the article itself had not been altered.)

In one of the two cases found via a Google Alert, my original title had been removed and replaced with a poorly written and grammatically incorrect one, making me look somewhat less literate than I like to look. In addition, a two-word phrase was removed from the piece, which I understood and would have been willing to OK, had they asked. (In fact, I would have even been willing to OK a title change for their particular site, as long as it was grammatically correct.)

In the second case found by Google, the buyer had inserted a decidedly mediocre introductory paragraph before my own initial paragraph--one which did not flow smoothly into my opening paragraph, creating a clumsy transition which, again, made me appear to be a less capable writer than I like to think I am. (The tone and style of my first sentence had been intentional and were perfectly fitting as an opening to the piece, whereas the tone and style of the new opening paragraph were entirely inappropriate to the piece and lowered its quality tremendously.) In addition, this third buyer removed the entire final sentence of the piece, though retaining my byline.

While two of the above issues have not yet been resolved** (though I only found out about one of them yesterday and haven't yet reported it to C-C), I am glad that I'm able to find these breaches of the purchase agreement that each buyer enters into with Constant Content when they purchase content from the site. (Apparently they can't read any better than they can write! The rules of purchase are prominently posted in the appropriate section of the C-C website.)

I, for one, certainly want to know about any and all instances where buyers of my work "murder my manuscripts," "crucify my content," or "butcher my byline"--even if it does take a little time to get the issues resolved. It is, after all, my work; and if I'm going to be a ghostwriter, it will be because I, myself, have agreed to be one--and I have agreed to do so in the recent past, after determining that it was the right thing to do in that particular instance. However, when I'm not functioning in the role of ghostwriter, my work represents me before the world in a way that it never could were my name not on it, and therefore it is even more critical that it present me and my abilities as a writer in a positive light.

They say that knowledge is power. And that's exactly what a Google Alert can give to a writer: the knowledge of just exactly what is being done with his or her literary masterpieces out in the farthest reaches of the World Wide Web--and the power to take action to rectify any breach of business or personal ethics that may be occurring in the handling of those works, which are uniquely his or her own.

So, if you are consistently selling your work on the internet, I would highly recommend that you consider setting up a Google Alert, or multiple alerts, using either your name or other search criteria that are appropriate to your material--or even creating both. You might just be surprised what you find. (Sometimes, what you find will actually be positive, rather than negative, which is always nice!)

A properly executed Google Alert might even help you detect unauthorized use of your work by unscrupulous individuals to whom you have neither sold nor given the right to use it. It could prove an excellent anti-plagiarism tool if you are able to come up with sufficiently specific search criteria to identify your work when it doesn’t contain your byline. (I, personally, have not used it this way, myself yet, however.)

You can learn everything you need to know to get started with Google Alerts by reading the info on their site. It's one great way of protecting the integrity of your work.

Till next time,

*To find out more about Constant Content, see my earlier blog post about this helpful site.

**One of these two issues has since been resolved.

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More Great Sites for Writing Moms

May 14th 2007 01:48

While I guess it isn't technically Mother's Day "down under" any longer, it still is here in the U.S. Thus, I've decided to post this fairly extensive list of links to articles, blogs, etc., written for, by, and about moms, motherhood, writing, juggling motherhood and writing, and surviving and thriving in the freelance writing world. Finding these sites was a rather time-consuming process, and creating the links to them will make it even more so; hence the lateness of this post. But I suspect that these links will have long-term value to any mom who loves to write and wants to find websites that will give her moral support, inspiration, practical insight, and helpful resources to encourage her in both her craft and her business.

Here they are--again, in no particular order:

Motherhood News (blog about motherhood issues. Includes an entry called “Mommy.Com: the Rise of the Blogging Mom”—with a link to an article about that topic—and other interesting posts about motherhood.)

The Mother Hood (a collection of blogs on motherhood)

Midlife Mother Support (a collection of resources for women who become moms during midlife)

Technorati Blog Finder: Motherhood (a long list of blogs about motherhood!) There’s bound to be at least one there that you’ll like!

Mother’s Day: Motherhood Quotes (a list of quotes and a list of links to more quotes about motherhood.)

The Motherhood Place (a feminine and sentimental site filled with sayings, poems, and stories about motherhood. If you enjoy calming music, view this site with the sound on.)

Family Education: The Price of Motherhood: An Interview With Ann Crittendon (looks like an e-column of sorts containing lots of interesting info and helpful resources for moms)

this woman’s work (blog with the subtitle writing, mothering, writing about mothering)

The Mommy Blog: Adventures from the Wonder-belly of Motherhood (a blog about—you guessed it!—motherhood!)

Netscape: Top Stories With the Tag “Motherhood” (links to stories on other parts of the Net that contain the “motherhood” tag)

Disney Family.Com BETA: Family 1000 blog: Your Favorite Sites for “Motherhood” (just as it says, a listing of sites on “motherhood” with 14 pages of listings/links)

Lauri’s Reflections: contemplations on life, creativity, writing, and motherhood—plus really fun links (a blog about quite a few different facets of the writing mom's life)

Tracy Chevalier: FAQs About Writing (some interesting info and advice here about writing and motherhood)

The Mom Salon: where women find the smartest mom blogs: Writers’ Blogs (a list of blogs by and about writing moms)

readingwritingliving blog: More on Motherhood, Solitude, and Writing (a blog post on these mom-related topics and more--blog no longer being updated, but still contains interesting content)

Maternally Challenged: “They say kids will drive you crazy. But what if you’re already there? Thoughts on motherhood, depression, politics and anything else that comes to mind” (blog for moms, containing a short list of links to other motherhood blogs)

Creative Parents.Com: For Parents Leading Creative Lives: Poet as Mother/Mother as Poet (interviews with “creative parents” pursuing careers in writing--old site, but contains some interesting articles)

Well, there they are! Hope all you writing moms out there will reap many, many benefits from these sites for a long time to come! Check them out; they're quite a varied assortment of resources! If these resources should prove helpful to you over the long term--and you should decide to let me know about it--I'll have the inner satisfaction of knowing that this blog post will be the Mother's Day Gift that keeps on giving all year long! And that will be a great feeling!

Hope it does!

Other Writing Mom Links

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Here they are--just in time for Mother's Day! Some more-or-less contemporary quotes about that great vocation (not to be confused with great vacation!): Motherhood!

Motherhood in all its guises and permutations is more art than science. ~Melinda M. Marshall~

Motherhood is the second oldest profession in the world. ~Erma Bombeck~

We honor motherhood with glowing sentimentality, but we don't rate it high on the scale of creative occupations. ~Leontine Young~

The art of motherhood involves much silent, unobtrusive self-denial, an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute. ~Honore De Balzac~

The central paradox of motherhood is that while our children become the absolute center of our lives, they must also push us back out in the world.... But motherhood that can narrow our lives can also broaden them. It can make us focus intensely on the moment and invest heavily in the future. ~Ellen Goodman~

Combining paid employment with marriage and motherhood creates safeguards for emotional well-being. Nothing is certain in life, but generally the chances of happiness are greater if one has multiple areas of interest and involvement. To juggle is to diminish the risk of depression, anxiety, and unhappiness. ~Faye J. Crosby~

Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter’s mouth. ~Victoria Secunda~

The most consistent gift and burden of motherhood is advice. ~Susan Chira~

The passion of love is essentially selfish, while motherhood widens the circle of our feelings. ~Honore De Balzac~

The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and torturous, involving and utterly tedious, all at the same time. The world is full of women made to feel strange because what everyone assumes comes naturally is so difficult to do—never mind to do well. ~Anna Quindlen~

The problem, thus, is not whether or not women are to combine marriage and motherhood with work or career but how they are to do so—concomitantly in a two-role continuous pattern or sequentially in a pattern involving job or career discontinuities. ~Jessie Bernard~

When you reach the end of your rope, don't add guilt to your frustration. No one said motherhood was going to be easy. ~Heather King~

Happy Mother's Day to Mothers Everywhere!

Your Creative Cohort,

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It's Mother's Day, so I thought today would be the perfect time to post some links for moms! Some are about writing and/or making money writing and/or earning money from home, and some are about other mom things. Some are blogs, some articles; but several appear to have some interesting resources available for writing moms and/or moms in general. They are in no particular order, and I didn't have time to look them over thoroughly; but I'm sure there will be something here for most moms who take the time to check them out!

Here, they are, Moms:

Freelance Mom Blog

Write From Home: Writing Trade Articles

Momma Blog

Moms' Source

Wonder Mom

Journey to Mom

Type-A Mom

Writing Thoughts

Hope you enjoy these and hope they help! Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

A Fellow Writing Mom,

More Writing Mom Links

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Write-from-Home.Com, a new site for writers that "just opened its web doors at the end of 2006," has some interesting info and resources for freelancers who want to learn more about the writing business, as well as find markets for their work.

Write-from-Home.Com, offers a free list of paying markets for freelance writers and also a free list of writing contests and awards, as well as a fair-sized selection of interesting new articles on getting paid to write. They also offer a free subscription to their ezine, which provides info on all the latest paying markets and contests, and perhaps best of all, they buy articles from freelancers! Since their focus is on the business end of freelance writing, these are the types of articles they purchase for posting to their site.

Here's a link to their Guidelines. They pay $75 for first-time non-exclusive rights (to previously unpublished articles) and $30 for reprints. Articles of 500-700 words are preferred, though articles up to 1500 words will be considered. They like articles on the following aspects of the writing business: "breaking into new markets, unique ways to make money freelance writing, and tips new freelance writers can use to be successful." They are not interested in articles on the writing craft or on specific categories of writing, such as poetry, fiction, etc., nor are they interested in personal success stories; and they don't publish fiction, poetry, columns, or "rants."

If this gig sounds like something you'd be interested in, or if you'd simply like to check out their market listings or read some of their articles to pick up some tips that might prove helpful to you in the advancement of your own freelance career, take a look at their site. (They have articles on grant writing, travel writing, writing book reviews, finding article ideas, writing for your local newspaper, not overlooking small jobs, staying inspired, tax issues, and health insurance for freelance writers.)

Take a look at Write-from-Home.Com. You might just find something helpful there--and maybe even sell an article or two in the process!

Your friend in the literary art,

Another Great Site for Freelancers

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Here are a few more quotes by writers on writing. Some are thought-provoking, some brutally honest, some inspiring, and some simply clever--but whatever your thinking about the art or the craft, you should find something here that will catch your fancy!

Here goes:

There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It's a kind of trick of mind and he is born with it. ~Morley Callaghan~

Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book. ~Mickey Spillane~

Autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing. ~Quentin Crisp~

A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else can only be a footnote. ~Yevgeny Yevtushenko~

Books are...funny little portable pieces of thought. ~Susan Sontag~

I never desire to converse with a man who has written more books than he has read. ~Samuel Johnson~

Journalism is literature in a hurry. ~Matthew Arnold~

Literature is the question minus the answer. ~Roland Barthes~

Literature is recognizable through its capacity to evoke more than it says. ~Anthony Burgess~

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. ~G.K. Chesterton~

To be a poet is a condition rather than a profession. ~Robert Graves~

The poet marries the language, and out of this marriage the poem is born. ~W.H. Auden~

A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom. ~Robert Frost~

It's easier to write a mediocre poem than to understand a good one. ~Montaigne~

In a poem the words should be as pleasing to the ear as the meaning is to the mind. ~Marianne Moore~

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful a man who has thought long and deeply. ~William Wordsworth~

You write by sitting down and writing. There's no particular time or place--you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he's disciplined, doesn't matter. ~Bernard Malamud~

I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark. ~Henry David Thoreau~

When I stop (working), the rest of the day is posthumous. I'm only really alive when I'm working. ~Tennessee Williams~

Words are loaded pistols. ~Jean-Paul Sartre~

Words are like leaves, and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. ~Alexander Pope~

All the fun's in how you say a thing. ~Robert Frost~

The greatest possible mint of style is to make the words absolutely disappear into the thought. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne~

I do not understand this chronic illness. I wish I had gone to law school. ~Darryl Pinckney~

The best time for planning a book is when you're doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie~

I talk out the lines as I write. ~Tennessee Williams~

If I could, I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results. ~Emily Bronte~

If writers were good businessmen, they'd have too much sense to be writers. ~Irvin S. Cobb~

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~E. L. Doctorow~

Hope a few of these provocative thoughts have set your own creative juices flowing!

Happy writing!

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If you're looking for a site that will help you master the writing craft and/or prepare you for your own personal journey on the path to publication, Writing-World.Com has a great deal to offer!

This site is chock full of great information for the aspiring--or practicing--writer! Some examples:

~An interesting variety of books on the writing craft itself and on marketing your writing, including volumes containing specific markets for your work. (Their book inventory also contains a few books on subjects other than writing.)

~An impressive list of more than 600 writing-related articles that can be read right on the site. These articles are all well catalogued and categorized for easy reference.

~A contest database featuring a wealth of info on entering--and not being scammed by--writing contests.

~A list of certain selected markets for your work.

~A long list of links to other online resources for writers.

~A call for articles on writing that they will purchase from you to add to their database, complete with Writer's Guidelines.

~A "Guide for Launching Your Writing Career," containing a wealth of great advice that can get you started on the road to a successful freelance writing business. (This section also includes a lot of great advice on the real nitty gritty, down-to-earth, seat-of-your-pants aspects of writing.)

~A great section on how to avoid writing scams, presented along with info on copyright issues, rights, and contracts.

~A free monthly newsletter, containing many great feature articles, as well as recurring topical columns that you might find helpful.

As far as payment for articles is concerned, here's what they themselves have to say: "We pay 5¢/word for original articles, to a maximum of $100 (regardless of word count; thus, a 2500-word article is still paid only $100). We pay a flat $25 for reprints, and we definitely welcome work that has appeared in other publications (especially print). Payment is on acceptance. For humor, we pay a flat $15 per item. We will also exchange advertising space for editorial."

That doesn't sound half bad for an online market! So, if you enjoy writing about your craft, check out their Writer's Guidelines and try submitting your work. But be sure to check their article database to be sure your topic hasn't already been covered. You can do this via their Topical Indexes or their Master Article Index.

Take a peek at what Writing-World.Com has to offer. I think you'll be impressed!

And good luck!

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Writers, as a rule, tend to have a great deal to say about many subjects--and writing is no exception. Here are a few pearls of wisdom on the writing craft from some of history's most prolific authors:

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Red Smith~

Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. ~Samuel Johnson~

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. That is too much of a temptation to the editor. ~Ring Lardner~

Writing is a wholetime job: no professional writer can afford only to write when he feels like it. ~W. Somerset Maugham~

The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain WHATSOEVER on his habitually slack attention. ~Ezra Pound~

Better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self. ~Cyril Connolly~

If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by people who move their lips when they're reading to themselves. ~Don Marquis~

In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give to your style. ~Sydney Smith~

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short. ~Henry David Thoreau~

There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers. ~H.L. Mencken~

You can write about anything, and if you write well enough, even the reader with no intrinsic interest in the subject will become involved. ~Tracy Kidder~

The wastepaper basket is the writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer~

When I sit at my table to write, I never know what it's going to be till I'm under way. I trust inspiration, which sometimes comes and sometimes doesn't. But I don't sit back waiting for it. I work every day. ~Alberto Moravia~

It's not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them. ~T. S. Eliot~

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~Mark Twain~

The secret of good writing is to say an old thing a new way or to say a new thing an old way. ~Richard Harding Davis~

Well, dear Aspiring Writer, now that you've read all this practical advice, all these clever witticisms, and all these words of inspiration penned by wordsmiths who have actually accomplished what you may only dream of, there's only one thing left for you to do if you'd like to join their ranks: WRITE!

Literarily Yours,

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Another great resource when seeking markets for your writing is Duotrope's Digest. This website is a compilation of writing markets, described by the folks at Duotrope as "a database of over 1700 current markets for short fiction, poetry, and novels/collections."

Duotrope's free service includes a search engine that allows you to find the most appropriate markets for the type of writing you do, as well as the level of compensation you are seeking for your work--from non-paying to token payments and from semi-pro through professional compensation levels, with other payment levels in between. They also have an "unknown" category for those markets whose level of compensation isn't available.

You can either use their search engine to generate a list of all the markets in one of three categories (Short Fiction, Poetry, or Novels & Collections) or narrow your search still further using such criteria as Genre, Country, Length, Sub-Type, Reprints, Awards, Themed, and others; and you may also search by Publication Title, if desired. You also have the option of hiding temporarily closed markets so these do not appear in your list.

Duotrope's Digest uses a very interesting system of color-coded symbols to present all the pertinent info about each market on their list. Info covered includes Type of Media (Electronic or Print), Length Ranges/Categories, as well as specific Genres accepted by each publication. (Their Genre listing also includes an "Open to Most" category.)

They also give you Response Time information in each individual market description, as well as statistical info on percentages of Acceptances vs. Rejections, Rewrite Requests, Non-responses, and Author Withdrawals of Manuscripts. In addition, each market listing contains a Before Submitting section, giving tips for submitting your own work. They also tell you when the Most Recent Response Reported to them was received by an author from the publication and also the Latest Submission Date of manuscripts that have received responses. They tell you when the market was added, when its entry was last updated, and when it was last checked. Each market description page also includes a link to the publication's website.

Duotrope updates its market listings about once a day--They, in fact tell you exactly how much time has elapsed in hours and minutes since their last update!--and once a week, they check all listings to make sure they are still current.

While this site focuses on fiction and poetry, some of their markets accept essays and articles, as well, though these tend to relate to the genres covered by the particular publication. In fact, some of their markets even accept such things as interviews, scripts, photography, artwork, music, and other media. So, it's definitely worth a look!

Duotrope's Digest is a helpful site offering an impressive list of free services to the writer who is interested in finding just the right market for his or her work. Aside from those services already mentioned above, they offer a fascinating compilation of statistics related to the marketing of your writing, including lists of the 25 slowest-responding and 25 fastest-responding markets, as well as the 25 most challenging and the 25 most approachable markets. (This can be found by clicking "Curious?" in their Quick Menu.) Very interesting stuff!

They also offer a weekly e-mail, based on your writing category of interest, informing you of any new markets that have become available that week, as well as any updates that have been made to the markets already on their list since the last Duotrope's Digest e-mail. This service can be a real boon to the busy writer and can make keeping up-to-date on the latest markets an absolute breeze!

Anyone who visits the site may search for market info and also read all the valuable info posted to the site, but an additional service is available to registered members: that of tracking your submissions on the site. Membership is free, though they do ask for donations to help the site stay that way.

Check out this great site and find just the right home for that literary masterpiece that's been sitting there gathering dust!

Happy hunting!

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