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You are receiving this message because we wanted to tell all our members about some changes we have made at WritersNet.

Our third newsletter is a little different. We have made some changes that we thought members who gave us permission to bug them would like to hear about. Those of you who subscribe to the regular newsletter may find that you know some of this stuff. But there is lots we haven't told you...

First though: apologies to newsletter subscribers for the haphazard publishing schedule. We will try to maintain a bi-monthly schedule from here on in.

So, what's in our third newsletter?


We have to do the housekeeping even when we finally figure out what Jack's response to Cherry's question should be and need to put pen to paper.

Posting to the Forums: Can we take this opportunity to remind members that impersonating others when posting to our forums contravenes our forums' terms and conditions. We cannot monitor each post; so it is difficult to totally stamp out this practice. Forum participants should keep an eye on ISP's displayed and read all posts with healthy skepticism.

Now that is out of the way, shall we count the ways WritersNet has changed and will change?

  • New WritersNet Mail: A newsletter reader suggested that we might like to offer Web based email addresses. We liked his idea; so, WritersNet now offers you a personal and private WritersNet email address. Sign up now
  • Editors Section Now Operational: Editors can now join WritersNet just like writers and agents can. Encourage publishing professionals to tell writing members how they can help on a WritersNet editor's page. You will still need a hardhat in the Editors section because work continues. Oh and a hard-nosed attitude will probably help when considering employing paid editorial help.
  • New WritersNet Chat: We noticed some of you were looking to collaborate on writing projects. So, we are now testing a chat facility that we hope to have live as soon as possible. You will soon be able to chat in real time with other writers at WritersNet.
  • Your Opinion on a Critique Forum: We want your ideas and opinions on what makes a good online critique forum. The developers are working on a cyber workshop for writers. Please help us to help you by sharing your ideas and opinions. There has already been some discussion in the forums. Please contribute to the idea pool.

We are always keen to hear about your content ideas. Get in touch with us if you have a writing story to tell or some knowledge to share. But please note that we can't afford to pay for content at present.

Got your own ideas for the newsletter? We'd love to hear them. Contact us

Thought Provoking Stuff

Response to my "thought provoking stuff" haven't exactly flooded the discussion forums. So, ever the populist, I've decided to look to the forums for help. Recent discussion has been energetic and vibrant (see The Word on Writing below).

Girls can be boys but boys aren't good at being girls

Well, that seems to be the consensus. Can male writers capture a female character/protagonist as realistically as female writers seem to be able to take the part of male protagonists? Come on men show you are sensitive enough to be real women... [ Join the discussion ] (I, for one, think the comment about Steinbeck and Hemingway is ill-founded.)

And one from my Web wanderings:

When will epublishing's authors be real writers?

MJ Rose has turned a self published ebook into traditional publishing success. This success and work as a epublishing columnist for Wired (http://www.wired.com) has made her epublishing's poster girl. She tells of her experience as a touring epublishing celebrity in a piece for Salon (http://www.salon.com). It is a tale of desperation from writers and disdain from mean spirited epublishing skeptics. Neither group comes out smelling of roses (sorry couldn't resist). Read more about MJ Rose's success [ here ] (N.B. you will need to scroll down a bit to read Rose's story). Just because a book first came to public attention in electronic form does that make it inherently bad?

Join the discussion: here

(Come across a thought provoking article on writing? Tell me about it.)

Epublishing Lead

Last time, I jumped up on my soapbox and suggested that writers shouldn't be too quick to condemn epublishing. You owe it to yourselves to keep an eye on developments.

I suggested that ebookweb.org is a good place to watch developments. And further suggested a grain of skeptics' salt - the site is very pro epublishing.

This time, I offer a counterbalance. WritersNet's good friends at the SFWA's Writers Beware site have assembled an impressive information page on epublishing. Visit this page to be better informed about epublishing current shortcomings. 


The WritersNet Forum Word on Writing

What are they talking about in the WritersNet forums? Well...

A story to give you hope

First time author, Brian Malloy answered Mark Blanchard's questions about how he went from being a wannabe to banking an advance... [more] But before that he had some questions of his own for the forum... [more]

  Developing someone else's story

An ethical dilemma for writers: what are your obligations to a person that helps with a story suggestion? What should you do if a non-writer shares a great story idea [ more ]

What value does an editor add and should you pay one?

Hal Zina Bennett and Victoria Strauss have differences of opinion on the role and merits of editorial help for writers. There contributions definitely add value to this discussion on the controversial topic of employing editors and when an editor comes into the process of producing a published book... [ more ] and [ more ]

How hard can it be to tag a little dialog?

He said. She said. He moaned. She told him. He protested. She recanted. He said. She said. They smiled... But enough playing. Dialog tags can present any writer with problems. The topic came up in the Craft forum recently [ more ]

My 2 cents: stick to "he said" and "she said" whenever possible. The words spoken and the context should suggest whether he is "protesting" or she is "recanting." (See Words on the Web below.)

Maybe I can be their first sale

This writer is keeping his eyes open, consulting a lawyer and consulting forum members before signing a contract with an agent. The guys think he is still being a little too trusting... [ more

Something to try at home

Read last weeks writing now and see how it reads. Start re-writing.

There is nothing like time between writing and reading to expose the faults in your writing. I can't remember who it was that said writing was re-writing but whoever it was, was a wise writer. You should see me cringe when I read these newsletters a week after I put them together.

Suggest something for writers to try at home.

Words on the Web

They are talking about writing, authors and books all over the Web. Here are some snippets of an ongoing conversation:

Want to know what is happening in the magazine biz? If you are looking to sell your writing to magazines then you should. There a place on the Web you need to be aware of. Get the lowdown on the magazine biz courtesy of Meg Weaver... [more]

Hmm... sounds a bit like an ad... good resources bring out the copywriter within, I 'spose.

Better late than never: Romance publishers try to cash in on the whole Bridget Jones, Sex and the City thing. (Thanks to Bob Kellog who highlighted this article in the forums.)... [more]

Booker Longlist Announced: The long list of contenders for the Booker Prize for fiction has been released for the first time. Salman Rushdie isn't on it but a children's book is... [more]

The ePublishing lowdown: MJ Rose's most recent Wired column makes interesting reading: she reports on ebook price changes, a site that helps writers get paid and self destructing ebooks... [more]

Freelance Writers' Rewards Drop: The NWU took a look at changes in rates paid to freelance writers and found that freelancing was a much better option in the 1960's than it is now. Back then your story was worth twice as much... [more] and [more]

Hey, You Don't Need to be a great writer: Presidents get book deals. Lets not get into whether William Jefferson Clinton was a great president but he certainly got a great deal on his book. Just in case you missed the story... [more]

Death of a Great Writer: I must confess to complete ignorance of Eudora Welty. I will be keeping an eye out in the W's at book stores from now on: [more] and [more] and [more] and [more] and [more]

Inprisonment of a Storyteller: Jeffrey Archer has over 100 million books in print. Being a good storyteller is not a crime. Perjury is. The Independent thinks "Archer deserves no pity"... [ more ]. The Guardian gives the details...[more] and links the bestselling stories to the guilty man's life... [more]. It's all worthy of a great thriller.

Tears at the letter box and tantrums at the post office: Another letter from an agent/publisher/editor. You are up. Another rejection. You are down.  You are not alone. You are most definitely alone; rejection goes with the writing territory... [more]

Seven Deadly Sins: Robert McCrum, Literary Editor of Britain's Observer newspaper, offers his take on the deadly sins writers should not commit. McCrum quotes Elmore Leonard's list ten item list - see 3 & 4 for Leonard's views on dialog tags... [more]

Ethics in writing: You've found an unpublished book with serious bestseller potential. No one would know if you put your name to it. Do you? A novel with insight into publishing...[more]

Writers should be readers: One of the often neglected ways to improve your writing is to read good writing. Complete Review offers a place to find treasures... [more]

Newspapers should be reviewers: Start to worry? It is hard enough to get anyone to take any notice of a new book without newspapers deciding to stop reviewing books... [more]

It is the sentences silly: Should writing be about communicating ideas and entertaining or about crafting the perfect sentence... [more]

Writing a query letter: Search the Web for suggestions. I did... [more] and [more] and [more] and [more] and [more]. The knowledge that is power is out there. And in the forums; two of these links were suggested by regular forum participants.

Poetry People: Peter Porter knew Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. He thinks she is the better poet and, one suspects, human being... [more]

A freelance writer answers faq's: Marcia Rudkin does a good job of answering the questions new freelance writers might have... [more]

Heard/read something that would interest writers? Tell us about it.

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Well that's it for now. I hope you have found something of use here. Please don't hesitate to let me in on your ideas for this newsletter and WritersNet. We want to know what writers want from us; so, we can deliver it.

Hoping your thoughts are creative and the words are flowing.

Hamish Gilbertson

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