...  Publishing New Writers

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 August, 2005


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The Basics: Point of View (Part 3)

by Sandy Tritt


(continued from last month)

The first paragraph can actually be from anyone’s viewpoint (including an invisible narrator), but since the scene opens with Ray, the reader will assume it will be from Ray’s perspective. Therefore, it is wise to always open a scene with the viewpoint character to keep from confusing the reader.


            Ray walked the mile from the hospital to Bob’s Sunoco. He found Gary in the bay, changing the oil on a pale blue Cadillac. He kicked his brother’s feet until Gary rolled from beneath the car. “We gotta talk.”

            Gary wiped sweat from his eyes. It wasn’t like Ray to interrupt him at work. “I get off at three.”


            Gary stood and wiped his hands on an oily rag. “What’s up?”

            “Let’s walk.” Ray feared his brain was going to explode. Too much was going on, too many things were changing. He’d read the front page of the newspaper over and over while waiting in the doctor’s office. The Apollo 7 astronauts were heading home after eleven days in space. President Johnson was negotiating for the release of fourteen North Vietnamese POW’s. And Jackie Kennedy, the dead President’s wife, was marrying a Greek billionaire the very next day. He didn’t even know if it was legal for the President’s widow to marry a foreigner.

            Gary followed Ray outside and toward town. He didn’t like it that Ray was so quiet. “What did the doctor say about Mom?”

            Ray hated to break the news. “He put her in the hospital.”

            Gary watched colorful leaves swirl around their ankles, the drier ones crunching under their heavy steps. He kicked them out of his way. “Why?”

            “He got the tests back.”


            A young mother, her sweater flapping in the wind, pushed a baby carriage over the uneven sidewalk with one hand and pulled a stubborn toddler with the other. Ray stepped into the street to let her pass, wondering if she realized that the world had changed that day.

            “What did the doctor say?” Gary repeated.

            “She’s got cancer.”

            Gary stopped walking. “Cancer?”

            Ray slowed down until Gary caught up. “Something about a mass in her brain.”

            Gary’s hand automatically went to his own head. He looked at Ray, waiting for more, waiting for reassurance that it would be all right.

            But Ray was silent.

            “Does she need surgery? Does she have to take chemo? Or radiation?”

            “He says there ain’t nothing they can do. He says it’s too late.” Ray remembered that part very well. He’d argued with Dr. Brown, insisting there had to be something. She had three young boys who needed her.

            “Too late? Too late for what?”

            “Dr. Brown says . . .” Ray rubbed his head. “He says it’s too late. He says she ain’t coming home.”

            They walked slower, silently, past the library and into the park. Pre-schoolers played on the swings and slide, laughing and shouting.

            Gary leaned against an oak tree, his dirty gray jumpsuit blending into the trunk. He had always thought of his mother as being like a tree, strong and immovable. “What’re we gonna do?” he said.

            “About what?”

            Gary took a new pack of Marlboros from his pocket and tapped it against his palm. “The boys.”

            Ray watched the children play. “I guess we gotta pick them up from school and fix them something to eat.”

            “I don’t mean now,” Gary said, opening the cigarettes. “Until they’re grown. Who’ll take care of them?”

            “Mom will.”

            Gary stared at his older brother. The dull, distant look in Ray’s copper eyes worried him. “You okay?”

            Ray scratched the five-day-old stubble on his chin. “They made a mistake. We just gotta find Dad and get this all straightened out. Dad will know what to do.”

            Gary lit a cigarette and slowly exhaled.

            Ray watched the smoke disappear into the October-blue sky. A foreigner. Two hundred million people in the United States and the President’s widow was going to marry a foreigner. No wonder the world was so damned screwed up.

As you can see, hopping from one head to another allows us to see everything each character thinks. However, it also makes it hard to empathize with any of the characters, and, when overdone, leaves the reader feeling like he’s watching a ping-pong tournament at close range. This scene could be much more powerful if it concentrated on only one person’s viewpoint.

(continued next month)

(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those listed here. August be reproduced for educational purposes (such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt at tritt@wvadventures.net for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.

   Keep writing!

Sandy Tritt

Inspiration for Writers tritt@wvadventures.net







What Fiction Are you Writing?

by Robert Lee Brewer



(Reprinted with permission)


Since it helps to know what you're offering before you actually approach markets here's a quick list of lengths for the various types of fiction. If you aren't sure what kind of fiction you've been writing, here are the word count guidelines to help you figure it out.  

  • Up to 1,000 words—short-short, flash fiction or vignette
  • 1,000-6,000 words—short story
  • 6,000-15,000 words—long story or novelette
  • 15,000-45,000 words—novella
  • 45,000-120,000 words—novel (though most commonly 50,000-80,000 words)

Anything more than 120,000 will probably need to be broken up into a series of books or condensed.


Novels tend to be published by book publishers originally, though excerpts can be sold to magazines. Short-shorts, flash fiction, vignettes, and short stories are usually sold first in magazines—with the possibility of releasing a collection in book form after several have been published.


Long stories, novelettes, and novellas can be tougher to place, but the norm is for them to originally appear in magazines or collections of short fiction.


Dealing With Copyright or Trademark Violations

by Sharon Housley


(Reprinted with permission)

Who, What and Where
Before reacting, it is important to do homework and research the alleged content violator. Arm yourself with information. Determining the who, what and where will guide you in taking the appropriate steps.

Determine WHO is violating your copyright
Research the website: do a Whois lookup to determine the site's owner. The domain owner can be found by entering the domain into http://www.whois.com and clicking on the link that says "Whois Lookup". If the copyright on software has been violated, check the PAD file for the author and release date.

Determine WHERE the website hosting is located
Determine where the website is hosted. Web hosts located in progressive countries will be more cooperative in addressing copyright violations. After determining the webhost's location, check the host's Terms of Service (TOS) and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to determine the level of cooperation you will likely receive. More often than not, a physical address and detailed information on how to report an abuse claim will be found in the webhost's terms of service.

Determine exactly WHAT violations have occurred.
When determining if a copyright violation has occurred, it is important to go back to the question of what constitutes a copyright violation.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship." This work can be literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, or similar intellectual works. Copyright protection is available to both published and unpublished works. It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright. It is important to note that ideas can not be copywritten, and while it may be morally and ethically questionable, cloning a software application is not a copyright violation, yet copying a helpfile is a copyright violation.

Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright. Evaluate the violator's work to determine if text, graphics or any of the program or website's artistic qualities are the same as your creative works. Print hard copies of any documents and save electronic versions of web pages and executables. Capture screenshots of offenses, save documentation or the Help file that contains any duplications of text. Enter the URL of the offending website into http://www.archive.org to see the website's history and determine a timeline during which violations occurred. Look and feel can be subjective, try to focus on obvious or flagrant violations. Copied text or Help files is obvious when filing a complaint with web hosts or other third parties.

What is Next?
If you feel your copyright has, in fact, been violated there are a number of steps that you can take. Contacting third party service providers is a good starting point. Make a list of the providers with whom you can contact to report the violations.

1. Hosting
2. Online Ordering
3. If Software, Download Sites
4. Associations or Organizations

Aside from service providers, consider using existing relationships with parties who have a mutual interest or relationship with the other party. Often, knowing key people can result in a rapid response and increased dialogue with the purported offender.

Send simultaneous emails to each of the parties identified. Include details of the violation; using a PDF that displays screen captures or copies of text violations with website pointers is helpful. In the email, explain the action you wish to occur. If you want the web host to remove the website, say so. Also, ask that they keep you apprised of the situation.

In most cases you will receive responses from webhosts or registration services that require you to provide additional details so that the infringement can be investigated. It may seem obvious to the copyright holder, but the web hosts typically have a contractual agreement with their clients and are legally obligated to research any infringements before removing hosting or registration services.

Send a Cease and Desist letter and an email detailing that a copyright has been violated, include a reasonable deadline by which the offending copy or application should be removed. It is not necessary to provide the offender the details of the violation, as it is likely they are already aware of the offenses that have occurred. These actions will generally open a dialogue with the offender. If the offender ignores requests to remove the material that infringes on your copyright, pursue action with third party services. This will likely get the offender's attention.

Artists, developers, and writers all work hard to create unique material and copyrights should be respected by all.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software company.

Critiquing Special

  • Limited time special, one cent per word.  Just mention Publishing New Writers  Newsletter (August, 2005).

    Critiques by Sandy Tritt

  • Unlike most editors, I consider my role to be a mentor or a coach. Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I explain how to correct the problem, and I work with you to teach you how to write effective prose. More than 50% of my business is repeat business, and I relish establishing long-term relationships with other writers.

  • Treat you with respect and compassion. All criticism will be of the "constructive" sort. My purpose is to improve your writing, not to destroy your confidence.

  • Mark your manuscript, correcting grammatical and spelling errors and suggesting alternative wording where appropriate, line-by-line.

  • Highlight areas that are especially well-written, so you will know where your strengths are.

  • Where appropriate, offer suggestions for plot development, character development or other areas that could be strengthened.

  • Return a two-to-four page written analysis of your work. This will include evaluation of: plot, setting, characterization, dialogue, special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks, etc.), voice, point of view and any other areas particular to your work.

  • If appropriate, recommend reading or resources to strengthen your areas of weakness.

  • Answer any questions you  have via email.

  • Provide my telephone number for a personal follow-up, if you desire.

For Sandy's success stories, see http://tritt.wirefire.com/Manuscript_Critique.html

Write Sandy at tritt@wvadventures.net

(See Sandy's article - above.)








Writing for an Illustration

by Larry Brenza

In the following article, Larry refers to his illustrations on author-me.com. See:

Murfree's Revenge

Scarlan's Run

Nightmare's End

I draw what I see, but I don't write what I see. I look at the scene and hear what noises it makes: the footfalls of the people, their breathing, the chink of armor, noises in the background. I aim them in a particular mood and listen to their background stories. Sometimes their first few background stories don't make sense as to what I'm seeing in the picture, maybe they're eyes are shifty and their telling me their innocent bystanders. I don't buy it. Maybe it's a case of, 'I'm just defending myself!', but there's got to be a reason why five guys are piling lumps on him. Other characters start to pitch their own ideas of what's happening. (Here's some advice, never listen to the big huge characters. It always comes down to eating!)

By now you're asking yourself, 'What's this guy doing? He draws a picture and doesn't know what he's drawing? What about composition? Balance?

Let me explain myself. First of all, 95% of these drawings started out as exercises in drawing action poses. A simple stick figure leaning one way or another, balanced at a weird angle. Maybe I'd draw two stick figures if I was feeling ambitious. That was enough for one sheet of paper. I'd take out another sheet and draw another pose, and so on.

Around this time, my ten year old brother-in-law was playing the dungeons and dragons game, and being the big kid brother-in-law that I was, indulged him in his hobby. We'd paint the pewter figures and play the games. Sometimes the game would influence the drawings, by me adding a sword or dragon. I would go back to earlier drawings and flesh out the stick figures with period clothing and shields and weapons. Some drawings were influenced by the storylines our characters found themselves in during the course of the games. As I sketched and went back to fill in the older drawings, I would fill in the backgrounds which would lend themselves to the whole adventuring theme.

This went on for years and I finally amassed hundreds of these drawings. (This habit continues today and on a nice day I go out to the swing in my yard and alternate between drawing and writing.) While adding to the drawings, I would have a basic running dialogue with myself as to what these scenes that were emerging were about. "'This bad guy is doing this and this good guy is stopping him.' or, 'This guy looks a certain way, so let's make the surroundings reflect the mood. Basic ideas with no real stories to them.

Being a comic collector helps. From the world of super heroes and the fantastic, ideas were always swirling around in my noggin. I get the themes of comics: Good verses Evil. One person against all odds to battle for what they believe in. Also things thrown in to make it interesting for the reader. Setting up side stories to continue once the current story is over. I also get the 'in-jokes' comic artists throw in to see if anyone is paying attention or just to amuse themselves and their buddies.

So when I look at my pictures, I try to add a twist to it (if there's one to be had) mostly for my own amusement, but also to give the viewer/reader something to think about. It's not just a description of the illustration, but a telling of a tale that goes beyond the "snapshot" of the action scene.

I see their situation and hear the stories of the characters. I listen to the story beyond the picture and try to recap it in one page, approx. 525 words. It's a limitation I put on myself because that's about the amount of space on a single side of a college bound notebook page. I see all these drawings I have and tell myself that I'll just do a short piece for each one and some day go back and write a full story. But, who knows, on a second look at the drawing I might hear a whole different story.

This is what I hope will happen when other people view my drawings. They get a first impression and then read my take on the picture, then say to themselves, "Oh, I thought it was about..." and make up a whole
new story!

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Publishing New Writers,

August, 2005 (no. 608)


Publisher: Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL 60118.  Fax (847) 428-8974.

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