A Question About Possession

Friday, April 28, 2006


I realize that this is a really dumb question, and I'm sure I do know the answer, but right now I'm having a bit of a mental block!

When I'm saying that something belongs to somebody, am I right in using an apostrophe?
Like this:
Erica slipped out from Franny's trembling hands.
or is it:
Erica slipped out from Frannys trembling hands?


Yes, an apostrophe donates possession. It should not be used for plurals, or almost anything else. Except contractions.

Characters Wearing or Clothing’s


At my school I have created a writer's club and right now we are working on our novels...But, some of my friends are stuck on what kind of cloths their characters should be wearing;

Any Tip about writing characters wearing.


When I do character design, one of my activities is deciding what that character should wear.

Try taking into account what the character is like, their background, etc. A homeless guy wouldn't wear a tuxedo, obviously. (Or maybe he would? That would be interesting.)

Try surfing around online for different types of clothes. Look at the pictures. Check out gothic clothes, cyberpunk, renaissance, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Connections in Stories


I was wondering how many of you do what I call "long-range connections" in your stories? They're where you put an event in a story that is insignificant at that point in time, but then several chapters, or even many chapters, later, it makes a huge difference. An excellent example is in Hugo's Les Miserable when Eponine writes "The cops are here" to prove she's literate, and a few chapters later, Marius uses that note to get out of his dilemma of what to do with Thenardier. So, how many of you do that?


I'm sort of doing that with what I'm writing now. I didn't go in with ANY planning, so I just forced several unrelated vignets together. After doing that, I found interesting phrases that cropped up, or internal jokes, or whatever, and turned them into plot points.


I only recently started doing it, and I find it requires backwards planning. I think of an event that must happen, and then go backwards in order to make sure I put something in the story that connects to it. It's fun, IMO, to go back and look at it and go, "Yeah, that's good."


Girls Character Description


I'm writing a story now that has three girls as the main characters...I guess what I'm asking is how vague or detailed should I make the descriptions without getting boring? They are all Greek, skinny and pretty.


Go for one characterizing physical detail for each, and maybe a secondary one for the main persona.

After that, have them characterized by what they do and say or how others react to them.

[Ted Truscott]


An example of your current descriptions would help. Perhaps they are not as boring as you think.

For my female characters I use detail, I mainly describe the face first, then the hair and then (*ahem*) the body. I use a respectable description of course, don't mention the breasts for the love of god! Unless that's what you're writing...

I would need an example and perhaps I could improve on it for you!


What matters is if this is a story or a novel... in the latter, you have more time and opportunity to round out the characters both physically and emotionally... in a short story, you have to give a quick take on them that will still make the readers picture them and develop a like or dislike, as the case may be...

what you have is pretty boring and borders on an info dump... and, as anarkos wisely noted, if a detail isn't important to the plot, leave it out...


Lyrics Formation Questions


If you are to have say, three lines of lyrics of a made up song (no copyright problem), how should it be formatted? Should it be centered and separated by "#" above and below? Italics (underlined)?


That depends on where you're using it... if in a short story, or chapter of a novel, you can indent on both sides, but don't 'center' it... and italics aren't necessary...


The other question...how do I create a header in Word to to show surname/title keyword/page as Shunn’s-ms format shows? There are other choices of headers but not that in header/footer. In "insert, auto text, auto text", there is an "author, title, page #" but how do you format it to yours and put it in the upper right corner. I need to add this header to all pages (not the first) after the story is written.
Any help would be appreciated.


First, go to 'file' menu and open 'page setup'... click on the 'layout' tab. Check the 'different first page box... then click 'ok' at the bottom...

next [before you start--or now--not after the story is written!] click on 'view' and select 'header and footer'... header box and outline will then show on your document... put cursor in header outline, then hit tab to take cursor to middle of page... type 'last name / title key word(s) / page #...

close header box... your header will now appear on all pages but the first, and your page numbers will change automatically, as you write...

Obtaining Copyrights on Song Lyrics for a Book – Copyright Problem


So here's my dilemma. I have a book I am attempting to get published. Sounds simple right? Eh. A bit. HOWEVER, here's the problem.

I have approximately five songs that I want to use in the book, but I don’t even know where to start trying to get the copyright info. Can ANYONE give me advice on how I should go about doing this?

I would appreciate it. Thanks.


How will you use the songs? References and quotes are fairplay; you don't need permission to use them. I'm assuming you're talking lyrics here, though sheet music has the same rules. If you wish to quote the entire song, you may still be okay. Typically, borrowing artwork for the purposes of creating new artworks is legal (if not always ethical) - Us3 (or was it Diggable Planets?) aside.

Your publisher or agent should be able to provide you with specific advice on whether or not to consult a lawyer and/or the musician’s agents.

How are you using the songs?

Explanation of Question:

I am using the songs for quotes. I only use one full song. They are used as in

Bob sat back with his headphones on. The eighties pop sounds of The Outfield allowed the world to melt away.

"Josies on a vacation far away
come around and talk it over"

they spoke to him. Bob just simply identified with the lyrics...."

Something like that. Plus, I don’t have a publisher yet. I'm just trying to cover all my bases.


The only one I'd be worried about is the full quote. Try googling ASCAP or other recording artists' websites for usage information. Also you could google .gov sites for copyright information.

Good luck on your book!

Publish America--How Good is it/is it Worth it?


Hello every one! I'm just looking for some info about publishamerica.com I had sent in a lil' submission to them and they replied back wanting my manuscript and blah blah blah. I was just wondering, before i send it in, is it worth it really? How good are they, anything hidden, etc. anything would be helpful from people who ether know about it, or have gone through it thanks.


Kinda funny. I actually sent them my manuscript and they said "Yeah, we want it, cool, great, wonderful" etc. And they sent me a sample contract.

I'm a bit wary though. I mean, I've heard a lot of talk about them (if you glance around this site a bit you might find some talk of them as well) and none of it is horrible.

But, and I know I will take some flack for saying this, I feel like they are just one eensy-weensy step above self-publishing. They have only online distribution, no shelf and a
LOT more of the legwork is up to you. Granted, legwork is not such a huge problem - and if you are afraid of it you shouldn't be trying to get published anyway - but they seem to be thinking you are going to be doing all of it.

In an age of gigantic bookstore chains and less mom-and-pop type places its much harder to talk your name onto shelves.

I would say submit your manuscript, see what they say, and then if they say yes, you can always say "no thanks"

As for me, I'm still considering it.


I heard that it's a scam. Not your usual type, and those feedbacks sound very pleasant but I suggest that you look elsewhere. A traditional publishing house is always better than those houses who guaranteed you success, I know it sounds great when we all can be published but it's a bit too good to come true, isn't it? I got my manuscript accepted too and let me tell you, it wasn't good at all. After many revisions, it still needs work, and I send them the second draft. You get my point? Good luck!

Reading Fee's


I was wondering if anyone could help clarify some of this stuff for me. I contacted a couple of people who were advertised in the back of Writer's Digest. On the ad it said that there were no reading fees for work that is sent in. However the ad also said to call in before submitting (to make sure the idea is valid I guess). I was told that the fee for editing and line evaluation is $75 an hour. I'm in college so I really can't pay it. I'm just trying to figure out what the reading fee's actually mean. I'm new at this so I don't want to take any chances. But hey, they seemed enthusiastic about the idea.

The other situation is I'm not through with my book yet. I have 9 chapters but I want to eventually have 19 or 20. It's a short story book so I don't want it to be too long. Should I wait until the book is finished before I start submitting to editors and agents or publishers. I just don't know what I should do. If anyone can clarify this I would really appreciate it.
[Questioned by Eric]


If your book is a novel, you definitely have to have it completed before querying agents or publishers...

if it's non-fiction, you need to show that you have some sort of qualifications for writing about the subject and prepare a good proposal...

no legit agent or publisher will charge a reading fee, so don't even consider any who mention money going FROM you TO them... the money is supposed to go in the other direction! [Answered by Maia]

Translator has tons of languages.

AltaVista Babel Fish Translation enables you to translate short passages of text or entire Web sites among 19 pairs of languages.


As an automatic translator, Babel Fish works best when the text you wish to translate uses proper grammar. Slang, misspelled words, poorly placed punctuation and complex or lengthy sentences can all cause a page to be translated incorrectly. Expect Babel Fish to allow you to grasp the general intent of the original, not to produce a polished translation.

Books for Self-Publishing

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

If you're thinking about diving into the world of self-publishing, you might want to do some homework first with any of these Top Ten Self-Publishing Books recommended by Donna Moss of the Apex Publishing Services:

"1001 Ways To Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers"
by John Kremer, 2000. ISBN 0912411481

"Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers"

by Pete Masterson, 2005. ISBN 0966981901

"Complete Guide to Book Marketing"

by David Cole, 2004. ISBN 1581153228

"Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to
Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book, 4th Edition"

by Tom and Marilyn Ross, 2002. ISBN 1582970912

"How To Start And Run A Small Book Publishing Company: A Small Business
Guide To Self-Publishing And Independent Publishing"

by Peter Hupalo,2002. ISBN 0967162432

"Make Money Self-Publishing: Learn How from Fourteen Successful Small

by Suzanne Thomas, 2000. ISBN 0966469127

"Print-on-Demand Book Publishing: A New Approach to Printing and
Marketing Books for Publishers and Self-Publishing Authors"

by Morris Rosenthal, 2004. ISBN 0972380132

"Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book

by Thomas Woll, 2002. ISBN 1556524625

"The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days"

by Fern Reiss, 2003.ISBN 1893290859

"The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own
Book, 14th Edition,"

by Dan Poynter, 2003. ISBN 1568600887

Guidelines For Self Publishing

Self Publishing Question

I'm beginning work on a how-to type book and am considering going the self-publishing route. Anyone have general information on costs involved. Also, what should I be aware of before embarking on this process? [Asked by Penpal]

You can get a general idea of the cost of self-publishing books by picking up a copy of Reader's Digest. I've seen dozens Print On Demand companies promoting their services in the magazine. There are also articles that discuss the highs and lows of self-publishing.
But I have a question for you...
Have you ever thought about publishing your book electronically?
The reason I ask is that online publishing is cheap, easy, and in some cases, free. You have total control over your work and you can sell an unlimited number of your electronic works. Your ebooks are delivered instantly to your customers, which cuts out shipping costs. And you know what else? You have no contracts to sign and you get to keep almost 100% of your ebook profits. Smiley Just something to think about...
Hope I was able to help.
Answered by Chantal Lima]

Booklocker.com and pagefree.com are two ebook publishers you must check these for ebook publishing.

Also check out LuLu.com (http://www.lulu.com), a company that self-publishes ebooks for free and handles the transactions. I think it makes sense first to self-publish in ebook format to see what type of results it generates in the marketplace before self-publishing in paperback. Plus it's easier to send ebook review copies to people to garner testimonials for the paperback version.
[added by K.Brain]

Suggested Books
There are two comprehensive guides to Self-Publishing,

Complete Guide to Self Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross
The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter

for anyone considering publishing a children's book, Aboon Books has an ebook,
Could You, Should You Self-Publish a Picture Book? by Anne Emerick
although the title references picture books, it would be helpful for any format children's book.

Self Publishing - Writing for A Magazine

Writing for A Magazine

Question :
I wanted to start sending in my informational works to some magazines. Do you have any advise on which ones I should pursue? [by Christluv]

The first thing you need to do is track down the writer's guidelines for the magazines you want to write for. They will describe what they want on what subjects at what length, submission info. etc.
Few magazines accept completed pieces. Most want a query letter first, which is itself an art. But there are lots of books out there about how to write them, and you can probably find info. on the web, too.
Most magazines post their guidelines on their websites, or you can find them through sites such as Writer's Digest.
I guess you're thinking of consumer magazines, but it you're interested in writing for the smaller, alternative magazines there's a great list of them, with links at NewPages http://www.newpages.com/
Perhaps this helps.[by Lois Peterson]
Reviewed by M.K. Raza

Article Writing Contest - Wincyclopedia


Wincyclopedia offers cash prizes for the writers who contribute.
Wincyclopedia will be awarding four $25 prizes on April 1, 2006, and will be awarding monthly prizes thereafter.
prize Details

1. The writer who writes the most read article in the month of March 2006 will win $25.
2. The writer who writes the best article (as judged by the Wincyclopedia editorial team) will win $25.
3. The writer/editor who makes the most contributions will win $25.
4. One random editor/writer will win $25.

To learn about how to write articles you may want to visit:

Wincyclopedia.com accepts articles on any topic. For examples of some of the hundreds of articles that have already been submitted, visit the Wincyclopedia.com Web site:

There is no cost to participate in the Wincyclopedia.com writer's contest, and no limit to the number of articles you can contribute.

Essay Writing Contest - Write on One Topic


YourOwnWords accepting entries for a website showcasing many voices on a single topic. Write from your experience, write from your heart. The best story will win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com.
You can email your entries to yourownwords@comcast.net

Word files are acceptable.
Please keep it to 500 words or less.


Poetry Contest - The Sword Review

The Sword Review continue their week-long anniversary celebration by announcing The Sword Review 2006 Poetry Contest--
Entry is free!
Find out all the details!

Writing Contests - Picnic Story

Share Your Picnic Story & Win Prizes

See the Prizes and Find Out More At:

What's your picnic story? Is it a fond memory of reconnecting to nature and delighting in the company of friends and family? Could it be the recounting of a family story lovingly passed down through the generations? Or is your story a vision of a "picnic to be" with fresh air and warm sunshine offering a serene backdrop for al fresco dining?
Whether real or imagined, your story is just waiting to be told. Why not share it with others through Picnic-Basket.com. In addition to deriving the pleasure that comes from sharing your story, you also get a chance to reap other more tangible rewards.

*They'll giving away some really great prizes to the winners.
*All writers will be given a section at the end of their story for a bio and link to their own website *Currently picnic-basket.com has a Google PR ranking of 5 so the author will immediately gain a nice link to their website which should only improve over time.

See the Prizes and find out more here:

Electronic Publishing


Book Publishing


Fiction Books

Fiction Books

Nonfiction Books

Books Club

Book Signings / Author Appearances

Workshops and Seminars

Writing Contests

Marketing / Getting Work


Business of Writing


Technical Writing


Writing for Kids

Novel Writing

Journalism/News Writing

Travel Writing

Fiction Writing

Nonfiction Writing

Magazine Writing

Character Name in Script Writing

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Character Name-Definition

Couldn't be more obvious, the Character Name element is where you indicate who's talking.


Not much to say, except that you want to be consistent. Don't call a character MR. JONES in one part of the script and DAVE somewhere else (with Scriptware, it's easy to check to see if you've done this; you just look at the Character List and see who's on it... then you can change the wrong ones with just a keystroke or two).
If you have two characters speaking simultaneously and saying the same thing, you can make a character name out of both of their names. For example:
Wait! Stop!

If you had two characters saying different things at the same time, use Dual-Column Dialogue.

Try to avoid using Names that look similar to avoid confusing the reader. Some suggest that you don't have two characters who have names that start with the same letter for this same reason.

To introduce a Character in a mysterious way, by hearing her/his voice, without revealing who it is, call the character something like MAN'S VOICE or WOMAN'S VOICE. Since we're hearing but not seeing them, it would typically be: MAN'S VOICE (V.O) or WOMAN'S VOICE (O.S.). (You wouldn't underline the extension, that's happening because those are links). Then, in the Action, you can reveal to the reader that:
...we see that the voice belongs to:
Hello, dear.


A Character Name is uppercase, 3.5" from the left edge of the page. There is one blank line before a Character Name.

What is Dialogue and its Description

Dialogue Definition

Dialogue is simply every word we hear on the screen. Everything that comes out of everyone's mouth (whether we see them on the screen or not).


Simply, write what you want your characters to say.

But I don't know what to say.
It's not like I, well, it's not
like this is something I enjoy.

There's not a whole lot of advice to give here beyond the ever-present, "show it, don't tell it." Apocalypse Now could have been a guy's head, on the screen, as he narrated the story, but who would pay to see that?! Same thing in your dialogue: see if there's a way to write so that we get to see something rather than hear someone talk about it (unless you have a good, dramatic reason, to not show us... ooooohhhh, mysterious).

In a similar vein, be careful of monologues. Readers get a bit concerned when they see a page that's 99% Dialogue. After all, for movies and TV shows at least, we want to see something beyond a talking head. If you have a monologue, ask yourself, "Are there ways to break this up with some action (either the speaking character's, the listening character's, or something in the environment)?" Breaking up a monologue makes a page read faster and, remember, we want them to keep turning the pages!


Dialogue margins are 2.5" from the left and 2.5" from the right.