This monthís Writing Assignment article is the fifth in a series of
how-to-write-fiction exercises designed to help new writers become more
familiar with fiction writing. The first Writing Assignment focused on
characterization. The second on setting. While character is central
to a story, the writer must also pay close attention to context. In the
third, now that you had created a character and setting, you were asked to
meld the two. In the fourth you were asked to create a second character, using the same or
Assignment--For Next Month...
This month you are asked to put the two characters
together, allowing them to interact. Here we see their personalities in
action, and we see how they relate to the setting you created.
Treat this as more than a chance encounter between two
characters. Instead, consider it the first of many interactions which will
define the characters' statement, or reason for being in the story. This
encounter will foreshadow future relationships which will prove a point.
Does this sound like a new idea? Do your characters exist
for themselves, but for no other purpose? Think about it. As much as we each
need to define our own lives, surely our characters need the same chance. For many
of us, becoming published is goal enough for now. For our characters, it may
be to prove themselves, overcome selfishness, achieve the impossible, or
even to walk away from a bad situation.
Naturally, there are some exceptions. For example, if you
introduce a butler to open the door for your protagonist, the butler serves
his/her purpose in defining the protagonist's power and wealth. Other than
that, the butler may have no purpose.
Beyond the exceptions, you need to work on meaning and purpose now
that your story is starting. You are about to transcend technical matters
and go into a more noble dimension.
(More on this next week.)
You impress the magazine publisher when
1. Study the editorís publication for
content and style, and donít forget to request a copy of the
writerís guidelines as well as a schedule describing themes in
2. Consider submitting articles that share
information from your experience, in areas where you have particular
expertise, with publishers of magazines who regularly feature content in
that area. Nonfiction is fine, by the way. It gains you a publishing
record, and is far more predictable.
3. Send a query letter along with the
manuscript and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope). You donít
need a publisherís request to submit your manuscript to a magazine.
4. Let the publisher know that, if your
article or story is rejected, you would be willing to write another,
upon request. If the publisher likes your work, you may become part of
the publisherís ďstableĒ of writers. Feels great! But the oats
arenít always too good.
5. Let the publisher know a recognized
expert in a related field looked over your manuscript, and that you have
incorporated their suggestions.
Remember, a successful track record in
magazines will build your credibility when it comes time to market your
manuscripts, be they fiction or non.
Visit Emily Vander Veer's Writing for the Web. It's a clean website
with sensitive advice for new writers. Emily has a great newsletter, too.
Thorough lists of writers' resources. See...
Writing for the Web:
Visit our sister websites...
Last December's BookTech Expo West awarded the Inaugural Alan Kay
Award for eBook Innovation to Microsoft Corporation. Perhaps this time
Microsoft will earn its kudos before it challenges the established
innovator (Adobe ) and makes off with a giant share of market. Votes were
taken on the Mibrary site.
Note that Microsoft beat out other final nominees Stephen King and
Gemstar for this award.
Not sidelined yet, Adobe Systems Inc. is joining venerable bookseller
www.Barnesandnoble.com to promote its new e-book software, Acrobat eBook
Read our latest e-book...
Rites of Passage by James Hall at www.author.me.com/poetry.htm
Sample view at www.author-me.com/rites.PDF
Guide to low-cost e-book publication at... www.author-me.com/e-book.htm
Back in Time!...
Check out our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C.
Cook III. Visit...
Publishing New Writers, February, 2001 (no.202)
Editor Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL
60118. Fax (847) 428-8974.
Submissions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links are welcome.