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 January, 2007


There! A Biblical Chronicle, by David C. Cook and Jenny Wren (Cook Communication, 2006)

Author David C. Cook III, president of a religious publishing company, was unable to complete his vision of present tense stories placed in Bible times. Jenny Wren stepped in a few years after his death and added her chapters to complete this exciting chronicle, written as if you are there, in Bible times!

To order/preview:   http://www.lulu.com/content/553895



Impartial review of your book. Send a complimentary copy (including Press Release, including a short bio and your e-mail address - Required) to Cook Communication, P.O. Box 451, Dundee IL 60118 USA.  ReserveBooks.com reserves the right to choose which titles to review.


Advanced Techniques:  Show - Say it Once, Say it Right


by Sandy Tritt  www.InspirationForWriters.com

        Let’s face it. We’re writers because we love words. We love the way they sound and we love the way they roll off our tongues. We love to string them together and give meaning to our existence through them. Words are our babies. And one of the toughest things we must do as professional writers is to weed through these babies we’ve created and eliminate those that don’t pull their own weight. Yes, we are talking infanticide here. Killing our babies.

            Redundancy is one of the carnal sins of writers. We don’t trust our words to do their job. We don’t trust our reader to catch our meaning the first time. So we repeat ourselves. Unfortunately, any word that doesn’t add to a story, detracts.

            Now, before you slam this book shut on me, let me offer an alternative. For large groups of words that I just don’t have the heart to kill, I keep a file on my hard drive titled “Babies.” Whenever I write (what I consider) beautiful prose that just doesn’t fit my story, I cut it from my manuscript and move it to my “Babies” file. That way, I don’t feel like a murderer.

            But for those little redundancies, the little repetitions (like in this sentence), the best alternative is death. Let’s take a look at an example:

            Shelly sat cross-legged on the over-sized sofa. Her life was about to change. She peeked inside the envelope. The letter in the envelope was neatly folded. She took the letter out of the envelope and opened it. She was afraid of what it would say. She was scared that Larry was giving her the brush-off. Her trembling hands held the paper open. With great trepidation, she read the words that would change her life forever. She would never be the same again.

            Okay, redundancy irritates us. Did the writer think we were so bored we had nothing better to do than read the same thought over again? Or did the writer just think we were too stupid to catch on to what was happening? My guess is that the writer was trying to slow down the pacing and became lazy.

            Regardless of the reason, we, as writers, don’t want to irritate our readers. Therefore, we need to use care in choosing words that best say what we need to say, and then say those words once. We gotta trust our words to do their job and we gotta trust our reader to do his. So, let’s revisit Shelly’s letter and see what we can do with it:

            Shelly sat cross-legged on the over-sized sofa and peeked inside the envelope. She removed the neatly folded letter and opened it. Her hands trembled as she read the words that would change her life forever.

             Well—it’s better, but we can see the need to slow the pacing. To do that, we can add one of the following to the paragraph:

·        “She wiped her palms on the shirt Larry had given her.”

·        Something to give the depth of her feelings: “She wouldn’t be able to bear life without Larry.”

·        The use of other senses: “The letter smelled of Old Spice. Shelly took a deep whiff and imagined Larry sitting next to her, holding her hand, rubbing her knuckles, bringing her fingers to his lips for a soft kiss.”

            Redundancy can also come in the form of a single word or phrase. For example, “free gift” or “sum total.” Entire websites are devoted to naming and eliminating these little nuisances.

            Some writers repeat ideas in a list, such as, “She was tired, worn out, and exhausted.” Okay. Wouldn’t just saying she was exhausted serve the purpose? Better, say it more creatively and actively, like, “Exhaustion hung to her like possums to their mama.” (just kidding!)

            Be aware of repetition in your writing. Crisp prose has no room for it. So, the next time you feel like a redundancy, repeat this to yourself ten times:

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

            Any word that doesn’t add to your prose, detracts from it.

Exercise: Say it Once, Say it Right

 Give your hand a try at eliminating these redundancies.

1. Janie had a tiny little hand

2. Wilbur ate quickly, in a hurry, and rushed through dinner.

3. Jacqueline looked at the old antique and quietly whispered to the neighbor next to her.

4. “I don’t wanna go home!” she whined.

5. “Don’t touch me,” she warned.

6. There was three seconds left on the clock. The arena was quiet, totally silent. Not a sound was heard anywhere. No one shouted. No one breathed. No one moved. Michael stood on the court and posed, then raised his arms and aimed the basketball at the net. He shot the basketball. It left his hands and in slow motion, it lifted into the weightless air, then silently slid through the net without so much as a swoosh. The quiet crowd exploded with cheers, catcalls, applause, clapping and screaming. With less than a single second left on the time clock, the Lakers stole the lead. They won. They had done it. (Hint: my solution to this one might surprise you)

(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those listed here. The article can 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 www.InspirationForWriters.com.for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.

   Keep writing!

Sandy Tritt
















Stranger than Fiction

by Sharif  Khan

I recently had the pleasure of watching Marc Forster’s film, Stranger Than Fiction, which I found to be a delightfully charming, intelligent comedy written by first-time screenwriter Zach Helm. I give it two guitars up. Way up. (Platonically speaking of course).

It’s about an uptight IRS agent, Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), who realizes that his mundane life is being narrated by the voice of a chain-smoking novelist played by Emma Thompson. The novelist is suffering from a bad case of writer’s block and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because she can’t decide the ending to her story.

Going mad with the constant narration in his head that accurately predicts his every move, Crick solicits the help of a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) to help find his voice. To his utter shock and dismay, Crick learns that the voice of his narrator belongs to this eccentric author that writes tragedies in which her heroes are killed off.

But Crick does not want to die! For the first time in his life he is discovering who he really is and what his true passions are. He sets out to meet the author with the determination to alter his fate. And upon meeting, the two worlds collide. The author is petrified to see that her main character has come to life and that he is very real indeed.

I can certainly relate to this movie as a writer working on my first inspirational novel. The movie raises some intriguing questions: What does it mean to be real? To find one’s voice? To express one’s voice? Who is narrating our story? Can fate be altered? Where do the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction collide?

I certainly don’t pretend to know the answers. I can only share my perspective as a writer. One of the challenges writers face is to know their characters inside and out and to have a complete understanding of the world they have created so that everything magically comes to life. As the story-writing guru, Robert McKee, likes to say, “Not a sparrow should fall in the world of a writer that he wouldn’t know.”

I believe in a sense that we are all writers. We are writers of our own play. In
The Hero Soul (www.HeroSoul.com), I close the last chapter of my book with a quote from Shakespeare:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

The world is a stage upon which we perform. Each age consisting of the acts and scenes of the play. But it’s our play. We choose how we act in each scene moment by moment. What type of play do
we want to write? What type of a life do we want to live?

Realizing that he is going to be killed off, Harold Crick asks the literary professor for advice. The professor gives him a deceptively simple answer, “Go
live your life! Do what you love to do!”

At first, Crick is offended by the professor’s triteness; but he realizes later that he has no control over his mortality and decides to do just that: live his life. He’s always wanted to play the guitar but never really had the time. For the first time in his life he walks into a guitar shop and sees this wicked turquoise guitar starring back at him. He picks up the guitar and begins strumming. In that moment his life is transformed from a tragedy into a divine comedy.

What have we been denying ourselves? What type of play do we want to have a starring role in? Sometimes we act in an “If Only” play with a bit part in shoulding all over ourselves until we are mired deep in our own pile of dung.
I should write a novel. I should exercise. I should be a painter. I should start my own business. I should go on a dream vacation. If only I was younger. If only I was older. If only I had the money. If only I had the time.

In the professional world of writing there is a clause known as the “kill fee.” The kill fee is a fee paid by the editor to the writer for an assigned piece of writing that is killed off and never published. It’s usually a percentage of the total amount that was originally agreed upon between the editor and writer. Although there can be many reasons for rejecting a piece, the kill fee is often executed because the writing simply isn’t up to par.

When we’re not being our best selves, when we’re not expressing our unique voice, when we’re not being true to ourselves and not doing what we love to do, something inside of us dies. Life then pays us a kill fee: something less than what we truly deserve.

Are we living a life that’s worthy of being published, or will we live a life of mediocrity and accept the kill fee that’s assigned to us?

Sharif Khan (http://www.herosoul.com; sharif@herosoul.com) is a freelance writer, inspirational keynote speaker, and author of the leadership bestseller, "Psychology of the Hero Soul." He publishes his monthly Hero Soul ezine for cutting-edge advice on success, leadership and personal growth. To contact Sharif Khan about his writing and motivational speaking services, call: 416-417-1259.

Copyright © 2005 by Sharif Khan























































































































































































AuthorMe in 2007

by Bruce Cook  

The publishing world has radically changed for new writers. In the recent past, chances of publication were slim to none, unless you used a vanity press costing thousands. Today new writers are creating Print on Demand Books with no initial outlay.

With such a change, Author-me also needs to change.

First, rather than simply posting stories, we are considering them for inclusion in our new paperback book series scheduled to emerge under the ReserveBooks.com label. Also, if a single author has a complete work which they consider worthy of publication on Author-me (as excerpts) and as a paperback book, we are willing to consider setting this up for them with
Lulu.com. (See, for example, the book we just put together for Alfredo G. Herrera, Reaching An Loc, now available from Lulu.com for $6.63 plus shipping.) See http://www.lulu.com/content/603568

Second, we continue the service which other writing websites skip - actual editorial feedback, and a system which represents the typical structure of a publishing house. We are not a service where someone can just drop 100 poems onto a web page, for this only serves the vanity of a writer. We feel it is important to improve every work we receive (although we occasionally
receive manuscripts which require no revision).

Third, we remain open to audio and video clips to go along with stories, as long as these are properly licensed, etc. In January we will move to a web host with an amazing 25 gigabytes of disk space and 500 gigabytes of bandwidth dedicated to our use, so there is little that we cannot do for you. I would like to see authors try experimenting by reading their stories aloud so we
can post it in audio form.

Fourth, we have simplified our submission process. The best way to submit your manuscript is this:

1. You must first register (which you have done if you receive this newsletter) at ...



2. You can then submit your manuscript to us on a highly secure server using the link on our home page (left column):



We have other ideas too, but we'd like to hear from you. Write us at cookcomm@gte.net!



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Announcement from Patricia Fry

Patricia Fry has added 3 dozen more FREE resources and articles for freelance writers and authors to her generously informative Web site. If you haven't visited www.matilijapress.com  to peruse and use the 260 strong resource list and highly useful articles, here's your chance.

Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) www.spawn.org and the author of 25 books, including "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book," www.matilijapress.com



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Publishing New Writers,

January, 2007 (no. 801)


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

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