Issue #95

Free Writers' Newsletter

Feb 27, 2011  



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Poetry competition winners and new magazine

This month, has announced the winner, runners-up, and special commendations of its Ninth International Poetry Competition, as well as releasing Issue 18 of firstwriter.magazine, Over the Moon

Clare Ferguson-Walker, of Carmarthen, was announced as the winner of the competition for her poem "Amroth Revisited", and wins £500 (around $750). Nicollette Foreman, of Chelmsford, Essex, wins £100 for submitting the best entry from the United Kingdom with her poem "Art of Mind", and Tori Grant Welhouse of Green Bay, Wisonsin, wins $150 for entering the best runner-up poem from the United States, "The Theory of Cake". The winning poems can be read online at

International Copyright Registration 
Register your copyright online for instant copyright protection in more than 160 different countries worldwide. Click here for more information.

 All the winners will also be published in a future issue of firstwriter.magazine, and receive vouchers worth £20 / $30 – as will the ten Special Commendations:

  • Louise Sheffield, United Kingdom, "Goodbye 2007";
  • Joseph Faybish, Belgium, "Beauty";
  • Emily Grace Cummings, United States, "She Says Goodnight";
  • Elnaz Rezaei Ghalechi, Iran, "A naked woman in man’s poem";
  • Karen Tobias-Green, United Kingdom, "Thirst";
  • Maude Larke, France, "Night";
  • Lloyd Emmons, United States, "Contest the Inevitable";
  • Piotr Stankiewicz, Poland, "Downpour";
  • Alan Riley, United Kingdom, "Legacy";
  • Jack Barton, United Kingdom, "Monday Morning Black".

The Tenth International Poetry Competition is currently underway. To submit your work for the chance of winning £500 (that's roughly $750) click here


firstwriter.magazine Issue 18: Over the Moon
The latest issue of firstwriter.magazine has also just been released, featuring quality fiction and poetry submitted from around the world, plus your first chance to see not just the winning story from our Sixth International Short Story Contest, but also all ten Special Commendations. To view the magazine click here. To enter your work in our Seventh International Short Story Contest click here.

All those whose work has been included in issue 18 have now been notified, so if you submitted work for issue 18 and have not received notification of inclusion then, regretfully, on this occasion your submission was not successful. Please do feel free to try again, however, through


The Writer's Handbook ceases publication

In future, writers are going to have to learn to do without the book described by The Times as "a book no writer should be without". That's because Macmillan Publishers have announced that the 2011 edition of their long-running Writer's Handbook will be the last. One of the main reasons given for the decision is the rise of online resources providing the same information – often in a cheaper and more convenient way.

While such a longstanding stalwart of the industry will undoubtedly be missed, former users of the handbook will be pleased to know that they can find lots of the information it contained – plus a lot more information that it didn't – at All the information can be accessed for a fraction of the price of the old book, and at the same time you can benefit from the additional features offered by online resources: instant searches to find what you're looking for faster; user feedback on listings; daily alerts by email of new and updated listings; searchable notes and reminders, and more! 

To try out for free, and see the kinds of listings available before spending a penny, click here

Click here for great value writing classes!

2011 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize

Prize: Winner will receive $300 cash award and publication in CALYX Journal. All finalists will receive a one-volume subscription, and their poems will be published on CALYX’s website. All U.S. entrants will receive an issue of CALYX Journal.

Each entry can include up to three (3) unpublished poems, no more than six (6) manuscript pages total. Do not put your name on the same page as a poem; all entries are read blind. Include a separate cover letter with name, address, phone, email, and titles of poem/s. Please do not send simultaneous submissions or previously published work.

Reading fee: $15 per entry, all checks in U.S. currency on a U.S. bank, checks payable to CALYX. 

Send submission to: 
CALYX Journal
Lois Cranston Poetry Prize 
PO Box B 
Corvallis, OR 97339

Final Judge: Sidney Wade is the author of five collections of poetry including Stroke, Celestial Bodies, Empty Sleeves, Green, and Istanbul’dan/From Istanbul (published in Turkish and English by Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, Istanbul). Wade received a Fulbright Fellowship and was a senior lecturer at Istanbul University. She served as President of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) from 2006–2007 and is currently the poetry editor of Subtropics.

For details of over 200 other writing contests, click here

Plot or character? Which is more important?
By Emily Hanlon

Although it is an often asked question, I think it's the wrong question for the fiction writer to ponder. Both character and plot are vital to storytelling. 

A better question to ask is this: Am I a plot driven writer or a character driven writer? 

I suspect that you know instinctively which you are. It comes down to which you are more intuitively drawn: character or plot? There's no right or wrong answer. It is, however, quite helpful to know which you are. Knowing whether character or plot draws you when you are first developing a story gives you a better understanding of how the creative process finds expression through you. It will also focus in on areas in your writing that need more or less attention. 

I'm going to begin by examining character driven writing. In my thirty years of coaching writers, character driven writers outnumber plot driven writers four to one. Again, no value judgment here. You have to learn to do both!

Strengths of the character driven writer:

  • You depend more readily on intuition, emotions and the right brain as the entry way into your writing. This is helpful because the first part of the creative process depends heavily on intuition and right brain processing. 
  • You are more at home in the chaos of the first part of the creative process, where you are basically flying without radar and anything can happen.
  • You see more readily through the lens of your characters. Thus you allow your characters to drive the story. 
  • You are more at home with the unexpected. You may like road maps for your characters and story, but these road maps tend not to be detailed and are easily redrawn by the moods, actions and dialogue of your characters.

This is on ongoing series on Emily Hanlon's Blog: Fiction Writing, the Passionate Journey. The series began on January 12, 2011. reading is having a Reading @ KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St, NYC on Wednesday, April 27th, 7-9 p.m.

Announced readers:

MAC BARRETT's fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Salt Hill Journal, Hanging Loose, on the radio for WBAI, and at He works as an associate producer for CUNY TV and lives in present-day Brooklyn and 1920's Paris. 

MARIA MODROVICH is a Slovak writer and freelance journalist. She lives in NYC and writes for magazines in Slovakia. She is currently working on a novel. 

Anderbo Contributing Editor AZIZ FRIEDRICH is a graduate of The Fieldston School in Riverdale, New York, and of New York University's Gallatin School, where he studied "Writing the Fragment" and "The Letter as Literature" with Professor Victoria Blythe; he also studied there with the writer Ed Park. Aziz is one of four founding editors of and is working on a novel. He is also a Contributing Editor of the literary magazine Open City. 

LAUREN WATERMAN is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer whose nonfiction has been featured in Vogue, InStyle, New York and Boston Magazine; her fiction has appeared online on MonkeyBicycle. She has an M.F.A. in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence, and she is (hard) at work on a novel. 

Anderbo Contributing Editor WAYNE CONTI's short stories appear online on Pindeldyboz and Anderbo, and in Open City magazine. Wayne is one of four founding editors of, and is the proprietor of Mercer Street Books & Records in New York City's Greenwich Village. 

JENNIFER HANKS is an Anderbo Editor at Large. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She enjoys writing poems about sunken ships and is torn between pursuing a career in publishing or marine biology. 

Anderbo Editor-in-Chief RICK ROFIHE will read from his memoirs, which explain how various accomplished individuals, including Donald Sutherland, Johnny Cash, Lee Strasberg, Gloria Vanderbilt and Colonel Harland Sanders, have affected his own life and work. 

Several Anderbo Editors will co-host the reading. See the masthead @ thanks Magazine & Books' Joanna Yas for tossing their APRIL KGB night to us. Catch their FEBRUARY KGB reading on Wednesday, February 23rd 
and their MARCH KGB reading on Wednesday, March 30th 

Open City magazine is also the home of the annual RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest (8th Year!) 


Workshop: photography skills for freelance writers

The world of image publishing need no longer remain a mystery to freelance writers wanting to develop their photographic skills. 

Prolific author, feature writer and photographer Andy Stansfield has announced an innovative one-day workshop for aspiring freelance writers, to help them extend their skills base to encompass photography for publication.

Aimed at writers wishing to increase their earnings potential in the world of publishing, the workshop will coach participants in the skills necessary for shooting images which are suitable for editorial use, and which will complement their writing and appeal to editors.

With an increased understanding of editorial requirements, freelance writers can easily learn to provide ‘words & pictures’ packages. These will be more appealing to editors than copy alone and, most importantly, will bring repeat commissions thereby increasing the frequency with which their work appears in print. Making the most of a wider range of publishing opportunities leads to an enhanced reputation and, of course, substantially increased income.

At a later date, workshop participants can subscribe to a mentoring scheme if they wish, allowing specific one-to-one tuition tailored to the individual.

The maximum size of the workshop will be 10-12, depending on venue, and the cost will be £85 which includes light refreshments and lunch free of charge. All workshop venues will provide a pleasant and inspiring environment in which to learn and develop greater confidence.

Each ‘Photography Skills for Writers’ workshop will run back to back on a weekend with a ‘Writing Skills for Photographers’ workshop the previous day, enabling involvement in both workshops if participants are that way inclined.

Details of venues and dates can be found on Andy can be contacted directly from the website or by email at


Writing with Grandma Savvy
By Marcella Simmons

Back in the days when my children were in diapers (and believe me, there were several in diapers at one time - there were eight little kids running around the house who were all different ages!) It seems like there was never an end to baby diapers and bottles back then, but a few years passed by and it all faded away. Those same little ones back then are now producing babies now, and the diaper and feeding saga is on once again! And Grandma is taking the slack off these tired, bedraggled mommas who just don't measure up to the kind of momma I once was years ago! And one or two of these mommas only have one baby to care for - I had eight! 

Looking back - that was over twenty years ago, I spent at least four hours a day writing stories, and submitting them to different markets. Rejections were constant but in the midst of all those rejection letters, I received hundreds of published pieces - most were paid in copies but that was a good thing. With over six hundred published credits in two hundred or so small press publications - it sure looked good on my writing resume - the clips added up! Between the dirty dishes and dirty laundry, sick kids and washing cloth diapers out by hand and hanging them on a clothesline in the sun, I found time to write. I made time to write. 

This Grandma is still tending to kids when I can and pursuing a career in writing like there is no tomorrow! Why? Because it is what I do - it's what I have always done for many years. Writing is my refuge, my strength, my way of life. Take it away from me and you might as well put me out to pasture because writing is my pressure valve! Tending to kids is another part of my life that I love to do...but just not anyone's kids!!! They're either mine or my grandchildren - there isn't enough time for any others, I'm afraid. 

Writing is a wonderful talent and a great way to earn money - in different kinds of ways. I write press releases, ad copy and things like this every day of my life for a variety of reasons - I don't always get a byline for my work but still earn money from it nevertheless. When there is time, I write for a variety of markets and earn a little cash here and there, as well as a credible byline and a published clip. So I am still writing - it's just a different way of earning money from it. 

The nest is empty these days and the grand kids come at least three or four times a week - I make time for them in spite of my work. If they call me and need me for something, they know they can count on me if I am the only solution. At the same time, I make time to write as well. That's what we writers do - we make time. This Grandma might be getting older, but she hasn't stopped writing and probably never will. With the dawn of disposable diapers and all the new fangled gadgets that are supposed to make our life easier, why can't these new-aged mommas find time for extra activities like writing? If I had had some of these things back twenty five years ago, there's no telling how many books I would have published by now! Or how many I would have completed. 

At the present time, this Grandma is editing 4 completed novels and a reference guide for writers - my plan was to have them on the market by the first of last year but I am behind schedule and will bump it up to next year. In the meantime, I am working on two new novels and a variety of articles for a series of travel websites and markets. That's what I do everyday of my life - I write. That's how I stay sane - I write!!! 

And in order for you to become a professional writer with published clips under your belt, it's time to write like there is no tomorrow! Don't wait till you're a grandma - what's wrong with right now? The babies have to nap sometimes. Why not then? Get up an hour earlier and write for thirty minutes and breathe in the fresh morning air another thirty minutes - free your mind of the cobwebs and the excuses that hold you back. 

There's no time like the present to start writing that short story you want to submit to that contest or that romance suspense novel that's been bouncing around in your head for the last few years. Start writing now! 
Write with the savvy or a momma at war to tackle the day jobs or with a grandma savvy that gets the job done! Just write!!! 

About the author
Marcella has been writing for many years and has hundreds of published credits in several hundred small press publications. She is working on several romance suspense novels at this time. She is a member of
the Shreveport Wrter's Group and leader of the Ark-La-Tex wrtier's group.She is the editor/publisher of the new magazine Housewives' & Husbands' Writers Network - 


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