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 February, 2001


Writing Assignment: Interaction

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 another setting. 

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.)

Good luck!






to Magazines

You impress the magazine publisher when you...
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 upcoming months.
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.

Writerly Websites...

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...






E-Book Update........................

 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 Reader 2.0. 

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

Go 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 cookcomm@gte.net. Links are welcome.


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