sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

Submit to writing contests December 28, 2009

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Stephie Smith’s site is a combination of writers’ resources, photos, novel excerpts, and PC help; but one of her most helpful pages is an ongoing list of writing contests. She has arranged all the information in easy-to-read columns, a visual dessert for writers.


Stephie’s historical romance, “The Masquerade,” has garnered 1st- 4th placements in various contests in 2008, and the awards helped her win an agent’s attention—she is now represented by Helen Breitwieser.

Read more about Stephie.

Stephie’s experiences prove that entering contests is a great way to:
—gain invaluable critique
—improve writing
—get attention from agents/publishers

There are many scams when it comes to contests and entry fees, so here are some tips and warnings when entering writing contests (from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).

More writing contests
List from Manuscript Editing
List from Freelance Writing
List from Writers-Editors
List from Tectonic Designs

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

The ex before Christmas December 24, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 1:06 am
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‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except for one spouse
She’d hung up the fur-lined, white stockings with care,
and wished that her ex hadn’t said he’d be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
With visions of more faithful dads in their heads;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bright red Toyota, big bow on its rear,
With a happy ex husband, so lively and quick,
She knew in a moment he’d met some new chick.
                                                                 
He was dressed all in gold, from his neck to his shoes,
And his hair was all greased back with hair gel like glue;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—still like chocolate! His smile—still a charm!
His mouth still had lips that could set off alarms!
He still had his ten-pounder, massive pot belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was middle aged, charming, so not like himself,
And she laughed when she saw him, in spite of herself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave her to know she had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.
He sprang to his phone, gave his new chick a call,
And away he flew like the belle of the ball.

Did he hear her exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Thank God for Natasha, a great friend alright.
Now who can I beg to seduce him next year?
Who cares, let it empty his wallet with cheer?”

This Christmas she laughs at her heretofore plight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Timeless Christmas Classics December 20, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 6:09 pm
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What are the best Christmas books of all time? There are lists to be found everywhere, but the best lists are filled with the books that have proven themselves to be classics.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Dr. Seuss

“The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville’s holiday celebrations, and plans to steal all the presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his amazement, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday.” —Product description
                                                                                                                                  
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens

The three spirits of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future haunt mean old Ebenezer Scrooge one night, with the intention of turning him into a nice guy.

                                                                                                                                  
The Night before Christmas Clement Clarke Moore

“Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring
except for a mouse . . .”
                                                                                                                                  
The Nutcracker E.T.A. Hoffman

“This vivid tale of intrigue, wicked curses and rodents hot on revenge satisfyingly reveals why the Mouse King and the Nutcracker were such bitter enemies.” —Amazon
                                                                                                                                  
The Little Drummer Boy Katherine K. Davis.

“A magical figurine—a regal drummer whose companionship and soulful percussion offer comfort to a lonely child—is accidentally cast out with the trash. The drummer boy braves a string of harrowing encounters with wildlife, a steep fall from a bell tower, and the blustery winter weather the only way he knows how—by dutifully playing his drum.” —Booklist
                                                                                                                                  
The Polar Express Chris Van Allsburg

“The tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip, with other children, to the North Pole.” —Amazon
                                                                                                                                  
The Gift of the Magi O. Henry

“In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, the discovery of what each has done fills them with despair, until they realize that the true gifts of Christmas can be found more readily in their humble apartment than in any fine store.” —Product description
                                                                                                                                  
The Very First Christmas Paul L. Maier

“Maier . . . sets the story in the American West, where a curious 8-year-old boy named Christopher wants a ‘real’ bedtime story. His mother then tells him the miraculous story of the Nativity.” —Amazon
                                                                                                                                  

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Write to free Christmas music December 13, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:54 am
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A quick poll at our house revealed that three out of four PC users prefer to listen to music while they amuse themselves/work/avoid housework at their PC. I am the odd one out, as I need silence when I am trying to think. Keeping that in mind, I downloaded this week’s free download from iTunes for the times when thinking is not important.

I was surprised at the great mix of Christmas music on this album, and especially at how much I enjoyed David Archuleta’s voice and Meaghan Smith’s song “It Snowed.”                                                                 

Amazon is also feeling musically generous. Called “The Twenty-Five Days of Christmas,” Amazon is giving away one free download of Christmas music per day.


For those of you who love to support new artists, Free Christmas Music also has a list of twenty-six songs you can download legally.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Make a simple flyer with Word. December 8, 2009

Filed under: Copywriting,Technology tips,Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:28 am
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There comes a time for most writers when they wish they could do simple design work. A simple flyer, a brochure—couldn’t be too hard . . . could it?

If you want to do graphic work, you must have graphic software, and most writers only have Microsoft Word 2003. So what can you do? Use Microsoft Word. 🙂

Directions for making a simple flyer
Open a new Word page.
Write the text you would like for your flyer.
Block your text from beginning to end with the mouse.
Click on “Format” in the top line of buttons on your screen.
Click on “Borders and Shading.”

Those tabs
Borders is for a border around the text you block.
Page border puts a border around the entire Word page.
Shading shades in the space you have blocked.

Borders and page border
The left column helps you decide on the type of border you’d like.
The middle/style column helps you to pick out the border width, color, line thickness.
The right column asks you if you want a border around all of the text or just one side of it.

Shading
Click on the color you would like your box to be filled with. There are more than the colors you see to choose from—click on “More colors.”
The “style” button is for choosing how solid or see-through you’d like the color to be.

You can use your new image in your documents. So far, I have not been able to save it as a useable image with any other program, but I know it has something to do with saving the image as a PDF first.

Keep in mind that this flyer will only be a low-quality printed work, but knowing how to do this can give you the confidence to break into higher-tech learning in the future.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

7 tips to finding paid writing work December 4, 2009

Filed under: Business advice,Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:39 am
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Over the last few days I have continued on my quest. To be honest, I feel like Don Quixote with Sancho Panza on my shoulder. Nevertheless . . .
                                                                                                                                
More things you can do to get in line for paid writing.

• DON”T follow all the bunny trails leading to articles on SEO optimization, blog analytics, etc. You end up with too many questions seeming to ask you if you really can reach your goal of finding paid work.

Sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out). You can sign up as a writer/reporter and as a possible source for reporters’ questions. This will help your platform and help you discover a wealth of helpful information for your own articles.

Take a look at AppBank. You can write quizzes for them and earn some income when people use them.

• Don’t automatically assume that you can’t blog for companies. Despite the fact that you may not know a whole lot about real estate or kitchen cabinets, the internet is now your knowledge source. Just be sure to verify the information you read. Look for blogging jobs on ProBlogger.

• If you have any technical writing skills, Your Writing Department might be interested in helping you break through the gates into bigger and better jobs.

• Subscribe to “About Freelance Writing.” Anne posts a list of freelance writing jobs 2-3 times a week, and not all of the jobs are for writers with ten years of experience behind them.

• Check Freelance Job Openings daily.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

The quest to make money through writing December 1, 2009

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I recently wrote to a friend who makes approx. $140,000 a year from writing, and she is not a novelist (not that novelists make that much; try $15-$30k instead). She has managed to build up her writing and editing business to the point where she now has a list of repeat clients, and she has fine-tuned her weekly process for getting new work. I asked her what her advice to me might be were I to recreate her footsteps in my town, and here is what she advised:

Scour craigslist for listings for writing/editing and also under the Art/Media/Design. Often there are freelance opportunities there that might fill the need.

Next contact local newspapers and magazines. Call and ask to speak to the managing editor. Don’t email as it is easy to ignore an email, less easy to ignore a call. At least if they say no, you can still ask to send a resume and now you have a contact person.

Also, contact local advertising agencies. Sometimes they are on the lookout for people who can write good marketing material. Even if that is not your forte, you can learn.

Look for employment elsewhere until you can get a foot in the door. Small local papers are often the way to go, because once you have a couple of articles published in a weekly or monthly paper, you have the beginnings of a portfolio and the ability to link from your site to the articles.

Day One of my quest for paid work began with verve.
Day Two could be stated as beginning with swerve, but I’ll save you the details for another day.

What I have done so far
I scoured Craigslist.

I found Demand Media. I liked what I saw, but was it true that they managed to pay their writers every week, and was it true that they didn’t expect free content for pennies? I did what I always do when I’m not sure—I typed a search into Google for Demand Media and added the word “review.” Here’s what I found. I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and apply as a writer.

$5-$15 an article might be pittance, but it’s still money, and if I don’t make some, I’ll have to look for a 9-5 job standing at a checkout desk for $7 an hour. I’d rather starve, slowly, in a basket of snakes.

Demand Media wanted a resume, so I dutifully did another search on how to write one that would be different from all the others that came their way, but one that wouldn’t be so artsy-fartsy that they’d throw it away. I found this site. I’ve written stellar resumes for clients that have gotten them fabulous jobs, but I wanted to be creative, not stuffy, with this one, and so I looked to outside inspiration. (On a side note, never feel as if you have to be a total original with the things you do—everything, including writing, is a mishmash of the things that have influenced people over time.) (On another side note, if you want to write resumes, I highly recommend this fabulous book, Resume Magic—it was my personal trainer.)

I wrote, or should I say created, my resume and applied.

The worst thing I could do now would be to do nothing until I hear back from Demand Media. The point of this quest is not to make a few dollars; it is to earn an income.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 
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