...  Publishing New Writers

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 November, 2004


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Getting Ready to Write: A Special Place, A Special Time

by Sandy Tritt


Many successful writers advise that it is important to have a special place set aside in which to write. A room, a desk, a closet—somewhere that is reserved only for the act of writing. I think this is wonderful. If you can do this, and if this helps you get into the “writing mood,” do it.
Many writers also suggest setting aside a special time to write. To sit in your special place for 30 minutes or 4 hours or however long you’ve set aside, and discipline yourself to write. Again, I think this is great. Some writers are very disciplined and get up at 4 a.m. to have 3 hours to write before starting their workday. This impresses the heck out of me, but I know I’d choose slumber in this circumstance.
In fact, none of this has ever worked for me. I write any where, any time. I keep a pad of paper by my bedside, so when I awaken at 3 a.m. with the solution to my writing dilemma, I am ready to write. I keep paper in my car, so when I’m waiting to pick up my kids or stuck in traffic, I can write. I keep paper in my oversized handbag, so while I’m at the doctor’s office or the PTA meeting, I can write. And I keep a laptop computer in my living room, in the same room as the television set and the energetic teenagers and the dog and the husband, and while I’m enjoying family time, I write.
For me, finding the time to write or the place to write has never been the problem. For me, forcing myself to finish my chores before I write, making myself accept my other responsibilities before I write, is the problem.
Writer’s Block? Uh-huh. I believe that writer’s block is what happens when we don’t know what comes next in our story. So, start another story. I always have several projects open at one time—two or three novels, two or three short stories, and usually a few nonfiction or workshop projects. Anytime my brain gets tired or stuck on one story, I’ve got another to go to. Of course, the danger in this is that it is easy never to actually finish any one project, but that, again, is where discipline comes in. I try to assign “priorities” to my work. I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction project that is my current priority, and I don’t switch to one of the other projects unless I am truly stuck and need a break.
It is also easy to be overtaken by distractions. During the day, when I am home alone, I never turn on the television set. And those wonderful computer games that are so compelling? I have to admit, I love them. I compete against myself constantly in trying to do better all the time. But I only allow myself to indulge in the late evenings, when my house is usually so active that I would have difficulty concentrating on writing anyway.
I wrote my first novel while working full-time, with three small children at home. I wrote during lunch breaks, while stirring spaghetti sauce, while pumping gas. I wrote at every possible snippet of time, and when I wasn’t physically writing, my mind was busy working out plot and such so that when I could grab a pen and paper, I’d be ready to go.
The moral of the story: if you want to write, you will find the time and you will find the space. If you are the type of person who needs structure, then give that to yourself. Set aside a desk and a special time. However, if you have such a burning desire to write that nothing will stop you from doing it, then don’t limit yourself to a special place or a special time. Just do it.

(from Section 1, Workbook)

Want more great tips and techniques? Our Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more topics, reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and much more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States.

(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those listed here. November 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









When the Writing Ends

by W.R. Logan

It’s finally finished. The work you have slaved over for so long has come to an end. Wow, now you can call yourself a writer. I mean you’ve already written the book and found a publisher. What more is there for you to do but sit back and wait for the royalties to pour in? Did someone say rewrites?
That’s right, rewrites. I know it’s hard to believe, but publishers have these people called editors who do nothing but find faults in our work. They actually send us parts of our work back to rewrite them, or worse, delete them all together. Now as writers we put our heart and soul into every word in our work, and any attack on it feels like one on us personally. But should we take it personally? And when should we fight?
After throwing a few tantrums and getting over my own ego, I came to realize there are only three good reasons to raise objections to an edit.

1. If it changes a defining style. Example: Removing something that makes your writing your own or deleting something a character does (nervous twitch, stutter) that defines him or her.
2. If the statement or passage is going to be used later on in the story. Remember, editors don’t always know where we are going with our writing. Sometimes they see something as filler that we intend to use in book two.
3. If the change distorts or impugns the point or message we hope to make. Remember that editors have opinions too and they won’t always agree with yours. But that doesn’t give them the right to change your view.

When I got over my God complex and took a look at what the editor was suggesting, most time I found them to be right. It turns out their goal in this whole process was the same as mine- to make my book the best it can be.

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Publishing New Writers,

November, 2004 (no. 510)


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

Submissions /comments  cookcomm@gte.net.

Links are welcome.


To subscribe and/or  review our archive of past newsletters, go to






Copyright III: Myths about Copyright

by Jim Colombo

Brad Templeton has written, "10 Big Myths about copyright explained." He is Chairman of the Board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the leading foundation protecting liberties and privacy in cyberspace.  He is not an attorney and these are his interpretations of copyright:"EFF is a nonprofit group of passionate people — lawyers, volunteers, and visionaries — working to protect your digital rights."  


These days, almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written, and no copyright notice is required.


Copyright is still violated whether you charged money or not, only damages are affected by that.


Postings to the net are not granted to the public domain, and don't grant you any permission to do further copying except perhaps the sort of copying the poster might have expected in the ordinary flow of the net.


Fair use is a complex doctrine meant to allow certain valuable social purposes. Ask yourself why you are republishing what you are posting and why you couldn't have just rewritten it in your own words.


Copyright is not lost because you don't defend it; that's a concept from trademark law. The ownership of names is also from trademark law, so don't say somebody has a name copyrighted.


Fan fiction and other work derived from copyrighted works is a copyright violation.


Copyright law is mostly civil law where the special rights of criminal defendants you hear so much about don't apply. Watch out, however, as new laws are moving copyright violation into the criminal realm.


Don't rationalize that you are helping the copyright holder; often it's not that hard to ask permission.


Posting E-mail is technically a violation, but revealing facts from E-mail you got isn't, and for almost all typical E-mail, nobody could wring any damages from you for posting it. The law doesn't do much to protect works with no commercial value.


The internet is a blessing and a cure presently because it gives you the audience you wish, but the exposure you don't want. Unlike a work of art with a public display, posting on the web reduces the value of your writing because it now lacks exclusivity. Posting on the internet is like buying a new car, it smells great, but as you leave the dealership the value of your car is diminished. Use the Internet wisely, Luke.

Jim Colombo

Critiquing Special

  • Limited time special, one cent per word.  Just mention Publishing New Writers  Newsletter (November, 2004).

    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 - left column.)











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