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Right Writing News, May 25, 2004, Issue #008
May 25, 2004

Welcome to the eighth issue which highlights a best-selling author's writing life and some writing tips. This publication appears bi-monthly.

If you like what you see here, please forward this copy and use this link to subscribe.

Table of Contents

1) Facing A Silent Issue -- Frank Peretti By W. Terry Whalin

2) Professional Writers Begin as Professional Readers By Dr. Dennis E. Hensley

3) Eliminating Passive Writing By Laura Backes, Children's Book Insider

4) Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success Is Available

5) Fifteen Minutes of Fame: How to Get the Most out of an Editor Appointment By David E. Fessenden

6) Seven Strategies For Boosting Your Freelance Income by Kelly James-Enger

7) Contract Do's and Don'ts by Sallie Randolph

8) Writing Tips

9) New Links to Check

Facing A Silent Issue --- Frank Peretti

By W. Terry Whalin

Frank Peretti has a keen sense of observation. It’s a skill which has served him well through his best-selling novels such as The Present Darkness or The Visitation. A popular speaker, Peretti often speaks to college and high school students. As he visited a college campus, Frank could easily see the social divisions. “The big tough dudes selected out the fatter students or the jocks made fun of the ugly students,” Peretti explained. “Even on a so-called Christian campus, the cruelty of the students with their peers was amazing.”

More than an observer, Peretti is an active participant in change. He often speaks at the Focus on the Family Life on the Edge seminars. These seminars draw large numbers of high school students and have open discussions about common teen issues such as sex, drug use, self-esteem, etc. At a Life on the Edge seminar in California, Peretti was scheduled to deliver the closing address. “In my mind I was going to use my personal experience one of these days and I decided it would be this session,” Peretti explained recently. “It was something that no one ever talks about at these types of sessions.” Peretti himself had never broached the topic yet held it in reserve in his back pocket.

Only a few weeks before the talk, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had caused the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 2000. “Everyone was talking about violence and guns as the motivation and no one mentioned their wounded spirit, and they had been ostracized—even to the point where the other kids squirted ketchup on them.” After the organizers encouraged Frank to speak out, he took a week for the painful dredging process. Wildly successful in the fiction area, few people knew how Frank Peretti carried a wounded spirit.

Many do not realize the tragic story of Peretti’s injury at birth and how he developed a medical condition called cystic hygroma that nearly killed him. Throughout his childhood, he had repeated surgeries. The process left him with a tongue, which hung out of his mouth, oozing a bloody, blackish residue around his chin and mouth. Peretti’s loving family showered him with affection but his wounding began when he attended school. Smaller than many of the other children, he was teased and tormented. When he reached the seventh grade, Frank’s tongue continued to stick out of his mouth and he had a speech impediment. He bore a timid personality from the teasing and personal torment of his previous years.

At the Life on the Edge seminar, Peretti “spilled his guts.” As the final speaker, he didn’t get much feedback from the teens but many adults and the other speakers told him how the talk touched their lives. “Everyone is carrying a wounded spirit,” Frank explained. “At some point in their life, they too have been teased, name called, and wounded.”

Dr. James Dobson listened to the tape during his treadmill workout, and then shared the tape with Shirley Dobson in a ride around Colorado Springs. Before long, Focus on the Family broadcast the tape with a massive response from thousands of people.

Few people recall the slow success in the early days of Frank Peretti's fiction career. He wrote This Present Darkness while working at a ski factory in Washington State. The book was rejected 14 times before Crossway Books published it. For the first year and a half, the book had a slow reception; then people (like Amy Grant in her concerts and word-of-mouth) began to talk about it and the sales figures took off like a rocket.

Talking about his writing process, Peretti says, “It takes me about two years to write a novel. I’m kind of a slow writer and I’ve never been able to write a book faster than that.” When it comes to preparing to write, Frank creates a complex outline of his story. Then as he writes, it’s like watching a movie in his head. He smiles and says, “I know where I’m going and I know what has to happen, but after that anything else can happen. It’s fun to watch.”

For writers, Peretti advises, “If you really want to write, make sure to do it. The most frequent excuse that I hear from people who want to write but aren’t writing is that they don’t have the time. If you want to be a writer, it has to be important enough that you will make the time to write every day—even if it is just for an hour.”

Why did Frank decide to talk about his wounded childhood? Peretti says, “I wanted to get it on the table so people could talk about it and develop a change in their own attitudes. Every adult has their own stories of struggles.” For change to occur, the first step according to Frank is to recognize the wound, then change your attitude about it. “Besides teaching teens about drugs and sex and self esteem, we need to teach kindness. If they bully and mock others, it’s a mockery of God’s image since we’re made in the image of God.”

As he writes in The Wounded Spirit, “We call it by many names: Abuse. Teasing. Taunting. Bullying. Until now, we’ve been strangely quiet about it. It happens, we say. We all go through it. All kids do it. It’s part of life. It’s no big deal. It happened when we were kids. Is it wrong? Let me ask again, Is it wrong? Consider your answer carefully. If the answer is yes, that immediately raises another question: Then why do we allow it? Why do parents, teachers, teacher’s assistants, fellow students, friends at school and church, coworkers, extended family members and others see it happening, hear it happening, and know it’s happening but fail to take it seriously? If devaluing human life—and thereby mocking God’s creation—is wrong, why do so many do so little to stop it? Worse yet, why do so many participate as part of the problem?”

At the conclusion of The Wounded Spirit, a number of resources for dealing with bullying, abuse, intimidation or the effects of other compulsive or addictive behaviors are listed. While not exhaustive, it gives readers a place to begin their journey of change. Peretti calls the list a printed equivalent of the altar call at the end of a service. The Wounded Spirit is a quick read and much shorter than the original idea according to Peretti. “I said what I had to say then I quit talking.”

During a local election, Peretti went to a grade school to vote and noticed a large stop sign which read, “Stop Bullying, Teasing and Harassment. Let’s make this a safe school.” The sign fits the theme of The Wounded Spirit, and for Peretti, the change is a welcomed one.

Fiction lovers and writers alike will be waiting for the next novel from Peretti. Like many writers, Frank’s wounded spirit is a key part of his background which he brings to every single effort.

W. Terry Whalin understands both sides of the editorial desk--as an editor and a writer. He worked as a magazine editor for Decision and In Other Words. His magazine articles have appeared in more than 50 publications including Writer's Digest and Christianity Today. Terry has written more than 55 nonfiction books and his latest is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Teaching the Bible (Alpha Books). See more about his writing For more than 12 years Terry has been an ECPA Gold Medallion judge in the fiction category. He has written extensively about Christian fiction and reviewed numerous fiction books in publications such as CBA Marketplace and BookPage. He is the Fiction Acquisitions Editor for Howard Publishing. Terry and his wife, Christine, live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

© 2004 W. Terry Whalin

Professional Writers Begin as Professional Readers

By Dennis E. Hensley

When Jack London was a struggling writer, he used to copy in longhand the short stories of Rudyard Kipling, just to experience the flow of the words. When G. K. Chesterton was creating his series of Father Brown detective stories, he read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes over and over, saying passages aloud and making extensive notes in the margins.

Personally, I've never met a successful writer who wasn't also a voracious reader. However, the converse is not true. I've met many voracious readers who were not successful writers, although many of them wanted to be. This is because professional writers learn how to read and study and analyze books in ways that lay readers, who read merely for pleasure, never master.

As director of a university professional writing major, I require all of my writing students to take a course in "Critical Approaches to Literature," as well as additional courses in world literature, American literature, and drama. When incoming freshmen balk at this, I explain to them that until I teach them how to read, I will never be able to teach them how to write.

Literary Autopsies

Dissecting a work of literature--whether a classic by Flaubert, Tolstoy or Austin or a modern work by Tyler, Updike or Bellow—is done differently, based on whether one is looking for literary applications or one is looking for writing techniques. Both are valuable, certainly. However, a literary analysis will focus on symbolism, metaphor, mood, and social message. A techniques analysis will focus on narrative drive, plot complication, story plausibility, target audience, genre uniqueness, word choice, and writing style. It is the analysis of the "techniques" used by an author that reveals what makes his or her book something that holds a reader's attention. If a would-be writer can recognize and emulate these successful writing techniques, he or she will have taken the first steps toward finding success as a writer.

The process begins with the use of felt tip highlighters and a coding system. I instruct my students to purchase inexpensive paperback editions of the novels we are going to read and analyze. I tell them to create a coding "key" with their colors. For example, if they come across a fascinating paragraph of description, they are to highlight it in yellow. If they discover a captivating passage of dialogue, they are to highlight it in pale blue. If they find sentences that later prove to be elements of foreshadowing, they are to highlight them in tan. And so it continues for setting, flashbacks, transitions of time or place, character backstory, and uses of comic relief, irony, or action.

What usually is gained once a student has finished color coding a novel is a new understanding of and perspective on the work. As one student told me recently, "I read Brave New World and The Grapes of Wrath in high school, and I came away with an appreciation of the social commentary both books made. However, until I used color coding to discover the intricate planning, composing, and structuring of the books, I never understood how each author had made the story so compelling and captivating."

During the reading and coding process, the writing student should not pause for detailed analysis of whatever passage is being marked. That comes later. What is important during the reading stage is just to recognize that, wow, this passage is extremely well written, i.e. It makes me see this scene vividly…accept the plausibility of this argument…buy into the notion of this character's actions. Later, with the entire story in mind, the reader can go back and ask, "How did word choice affect my response to this passage? How did sentence length control the pace of this paragraph? In what way did my human emotions respond to the tension of this scene?"

Post Mortem Processing

Having dissected the novel via color coding and, thus, having gained a "vision" for how the work was structured and stylized, additional matters can then be considered.

The reader can ask such questions as, "Who would the target audience for this book be, and how do I know that? [Tolkien's The Hobbit was considered a children's book, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy was read by adults.] Could this story have been written from a different point of view, set in a different place or era, or put in a different genre and still have been equally as successful? ["Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story" are basically the same story, though set in different times and places, and one was done as a drama and the other as a musical.] Are there places where the story could have been improved, been made more realistic, or edited to improve pace and continuity?" [In 1903 Jack London wrote a version of his classic short story, "To Build a Fire," but he allowed his main character to survive at the story's end because an editor requested it; the story was a failure, as London warned the editor it would be. London rewrote the story in 1908, killed off the main character at the story's climax, and created the masterpiece of short fiction that is now found in all high school and college American literature texts.]

It was Robert Louis Stevenson who put this whole matter of the reader as writer into perspective. In a letter to a friend, Stevenson wrote, "I never go anywhere without two books on my person. One is something to read, as intervals of time permit. The other is a blank notebook for making notes. I've discovered that the two are valuable companions and integral to each other."

So, if you have designs on writing a best-seller, go buy some colored markers. Make your marks…and then make your mark.
Dr. Dennis E. Hensley is director of the professional writing major at Taylor University Fort Wayne (IN). He is the co-author of the Leslie Holden mystery-romance novel series released by Harvest House and also the author of such writing books as How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It (Random House) and Alpha Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 Hours (Macmillan).

Eliminating Passive Writing

By Laura Backes, Children's Book Insider

Passive writing is common pitfall, one so insidious that it even pops up in the writing of very experienced authors from time to time. It can sap the life and energy out of the most exciting story.

I've read entire manuscripts written in passive sentences, which make the story sound like it's about to start, but never takes off. Passive writing tells rather than shows; the author circles the story without ever letting the reader become involved in the action. Here's an example:

In the field was a mouse. He was sitting in the tall grass. There was a cat across the road. The cat smelled the mouse, and began to walk to the field. There was a noise in the grass. The cat and mouse looked at each other.

Each sentence falls like a lead weight on the page. Sentences that start with forms of there was, there is, and there are (or he/she was, he/she is, etc.) are telling and almost always passive. Search for these constructions in your writing and eliminate them. Began to can also be passive.

When writing actively, verbs are your most valuable tool. Pick verbs that describe exactly how your character is acting; alternate words for sat carry different emotional meanings (perched, slouched, squat ). The subject and verb contain the important information in each sentence, so keep those elements close together and toward the front of the sentence to achieve the greatest impact.

Another problem with the above example is that there is no main character. The viewpoint of both the cat and mouse are shown. In one sentence -- There was a noise in the grass -- you're not sure who is hearing the sound. If you write the story from one point of view it forces you to see the events through your main character's eyes, thus leading to active writing.

Here is the cat-and-mouse scenario with the passive writing eliminated, using specific, descriptive verbs, and adding a bit of dialogue:

The mouse lolled in the field, nibbling on a seed. He sighed as the soft rustling of the grass caressed his ears. Suddenly, he leapt to his feet as a rumbling purrr floated through the breeze. The mouse stared straight into two yellow eyes and a wide, cat grin. "Egads!"; he shrieked.

The reader will assume that the cat smelled the mouse and stalked his prey across the field. By eliminating passive writing, the mouse is poised for action, and the story is off and running.

It takes time and practice to eliminate such problems as expository dialogue and passive writing from your work. But the payoff for your hard work and diligence will be a smoother style and a heightened ability to create remarkable stories.

About the Author: Laura Backes is the publisher of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers. For more information about writing children's books, including free articles, market tips, insider secrets and much more, visit Children's Book Insider's home on the web at

Copyright 2004, Children's Book Insider, LLC. Reprinted with permission.

Book Proposals That Sell Available

Some people estimate more than six million manuscripts and proposals are in circulation with publishers. What makes the difference when it lands on a publishers desk? So many people want to write a nonfiction book (85 percent of what was published in 2003) but they begin the process backwards. They write a manuscript instead of a book proposal. The industry says 80 to 90 percent of nonfiction books are sold on the basis of a proposal--not a manuscript. If you want to sell your book idea, then you need this ebook!

If you want to write a nonfiction book, then your first step is to learn how to write a nonfiction book proposal. You need Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success and you can have this product in a few instant clicks for only $19.95. Besides the ebook, Book Proposals That Sell includes a real nonfiction book proposal that Terry wrote (and an agent sold) for a six-figure advance from a traditional publisher.

Besides several valuable appendices in this ebook, Terry includes several bonuses with each purchase. Use this link to purchase Book Proposals that Sell!

Fifteen Minutes of Fame: How to Get the Most out of an Editor Appointment

By David E. Fessenden

Your first writer's conference may yield a lot of surprises -- not the least of which may be the opportunity to have a one-on-one appointment with a real, live editor. It can be pretty intimidating, but if you prepare well, everything should work out fine. So, aside from hyperventilating, how do you prepare for this?

First of all, get the editor's guidelines and review them. Be sure you choose an editor who publishes the kind of material you are writing. Next, decide what your reason is for making the appointment--and be sure to share it with the editor at your meeting. Pitching a completed writing project is only one reason for an editor appointment. Whenever I prepare a book proposal, for example, I always show a rough draft to an editor for feedback. By the time I show the final version of the book proposal to an editor, it's already been critiqued by several others.

You also may want to use an editor appointment to brainstorm a writing idea you have. That's fine, but be sure your expectations are realistic; an editor may be able to help you focus your idea, but don't expect them to outline it for you!

Speaking of expectations, let's take a look at what to expect from an editor appointment:

1. You should get an honest, even perhaps a blunt, critique. Remember that you may be the umpteenth person the editor has seen today, and diplomacy can wear a bit thin after a while! I find that if you steel yourself emotionally for the worst, it's never that bad--you might even be pleasantly surprised!

2. Expect encouragement. An editor should never criticize your work without giving you some encouragement and a few hints on how to make it better. If you get nothing but negative feedback and no real help, shake the dust from your feet and go to the next editor. Don't waste your energy worrying about that negative person--they'll never make it in this business, anyway. Besides, I am continually amazed at what God can do in a yielded life, given enough time. Some authors I thought were hopeless are now veteran pros.

3. Expect suggestions for improvement. You can usually get some very good advice, along with a little bad advice as well--no editor bats a thousand. How do you tell if the advice is valid or not? Show it to three different editors; if two or even all three say the same thing, you probably should listen. More often than not, however, you won't need to verify the advice; you will know the editor is right. Editors have an uncanny ability to zero in on the very thing you know--but didn't want to admit--is wrong with a manuscript. Ouch, that hurts! But in a way, it shows you are improving as a writer; you've gotten past the point of being oblivious to the weaknesses in your manuscript. I sometimes stuggle with a piece of writing, frustrated that it isn't working right. Then an editor looks at it, makes three or four words of critique, and I say, "Of course! Why didn't I see that?"

4. Expect to hear some obscure writing jargon or vague comments. We editors are supposed to be experts at communicating, we all fall short once in a while. So don't be afraid to ask what a "lead" is, or what they mean by a "flowery style" or the "take-away." If an editor tells you your writing is wordy, for example, ask him or her to show you a specific paragraph and how it might be shortened.

There are also a few things not to expect at an editor appointment:

1. Don't expect to be laughed at. (Now be honest ? isn't that your secret fear?) The editor will take you seriously. And if you have prepared well, the editor will take you even more seriously. Remember that the editor is not there for fun. He or she is looking (often desperately) for material to publish. Most editors I know are also writers, so they know what it's like to be in your shoes.

2. Don't expect to be offered a contract for the book, or a commitment to publish an article. Most editors do not (and for that matter, cannot) make the decision to publish on their own. The best you can hope for is that the editor will take your manuscript or proposal to show it to others at the publishing house.

3. Don't expect to learn secrets that will magically transform you into a great writer. The editor only has a few minutes with you! (Besides, if I knew some great secret like that, I'd put it in a book and make a million dollars.) But you may be able to pick up a few tips that, combined with time and diligence, can improve your writing.

A typical appointment is about 15 minutes. Try to present yourself and your manuscript, idea, or proposal in the first three minutes. The editor may ask a few questions, make a few comments, and spend some time reading your material. Don't talk while the editor is reading. (The temptation is overwhelming, I know!)

If all goes well, you have about five minutes to get a critique, encouragement and advice from the editor. Doesn't sound like enough time? It's not! Editors and writers often say how frustrating it can be. But sometimes you continue a conversation with an editor over a meal or in the hallway between sessions of the conference. Some of the best advice I've gotten came through a post-appointment conversation.

David E. Fessenden is a freelance editor and consultant for Honeycomb House Publishing. The author of four books and dozens of articles for magazines and newspapers, he also serves as a columnist for Cross & Quill and a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Dave and his wife, Jacque, have two adult sons.

Seven Strategies For Boosting Your Freelance Income

By Kelly James-Enger

How much can you earn as a freelance writer? There aren't many hard numbers to go by, but one study conducted by the National Writers Union found that the average freelancer made only $4,000 from his or her writing, and a mere 16 percent of full-time freelancers made more than $30,000 a year.

If that sounds depressing, take heart--plenty of self-employed writers make double that and more. How? By finding higher-paying markets for their work, developing relationships with editors and other clients, working more efficiently and reusing their research. If you want to boost your bottom line, try these simple steps:

Set financial goals. You may set goals for yourself as a writer-to be published in a major magazine, say, or to finish your novel--but have you also set financial goals? Consider the work you currently are doing and how much time you spend writing, and pick a dollar amount to aim for. Then break that down into monthly, weekly and daily goals.

For example, say I want to make $60,000 freelancing full time. That number might seem daunting, but when I break it down (assuming I work 240 days--five days a week, with four weeks off for holidays and vacations), it comes to $5,000 a month or $250 a day. Instead of trying to make $60,000, I focus on producing $250 worth of work each day--and then I track my progress. As long as I meet my daily goals, I'll achieve my annual income goal, as well.

Aim higher. It doesn't take exceptional math skills to realize that writers who are paid more for stories are going to make more money than writers who are paid less. That means you need to start targeting higher-paying markets, if you're not doing so already. There's nothing wrong with writing for smaller publications that pay less, especially when you're inexperienced and need to build your portfolio. But as you gain experience, you should start going after work that pays better. If you spend all of your time working on stories that bring in only minimal income, you won't have time to pitch the larger, better-paying markets. Make it a goal to average more for the stories you write over time, regardless of the markets you're working for.

Think in hours, not words. Many freelancers are paid per word for their work. This figure, multiplied by word count, tells you how much you'll make for writing the story--but it may not tell you whether it's worth the effort. The real question is how much time the story will take--divide the assignment amount by the number of hours you put into it to get your hourly rate for the piece.

For example, if I'm offered a 1,000-word story for a national magazine that pays $1.50 per word, but I spend 40 hours researching and writing the query, researching the story, writing the piece, doing a revision or two, submitting my backup material and answering additional questions from the editor, my rate will be only $37.50 per hour. Compare that to a 1,000-word piece for a smaller magazine that pays only 50 cents per word, yet requires minimal research and only 5 hours to finish. That's $100 per hour--and a much better use of my time.

Ask for more. Get more money for the work you're already doing and you'll wind up making more. Don't be afraid to ask for more when an editor offers you an assignment, and be prepared to back up your request. Is the topic one that will take significant time to research? Is the editor requesting a quick turnaround that will require you to work over the weekend to complete the piece? Have you done a good job on past stories that you can point to? Remind the editor of your abilities as you request a better rate, and don't worry that you'll lose the assignment--in more than five years of freelancing, I have never had an editor pull a story because I asked for more. (I have had editors say, "Sorry, that's the most I can offer," leaving me to decide whether the piece was worth the money.)

Develop regular clients. There's an old business axiom that says 80 percent of your work will come from 20 percent of your customers. I've found this to be true for freelancing, too, and it's one of the reasons I'm such a big believer in the importance of developing relationships with editors and other clients. First, it's much easier to get work from an editor you've worked with before (assuming you did a good job, of course). Second, you're more likely to get more money because editors usually pay their regular contributors a higher rate than "one-shot" writers. Finally, when you build a relationship with an editor, he or she will often come to you with ideas. Tell the editors you've worked with that you'd like to write for them again, and follow up at regular intervals with ideas, or touch base to keep your name in front of them.

Think beyond one-time stories. Rather than looking at a story as a one-shot piece, look for ways to resell your research and work--in other words, think beyond a one-story/one-sale mindset. Come up with multiple angles to pitch to multiple markets, and see how many stories you can spin from the same basic concept. Find markets that will buy reprints and resell your work. Sell reprint rights to articles. Look for new ideas or updates on topics you're covered before. The more mileage you get out of your research and work, the more you'll make from it, too.

Set new goals. Finally, revisit your goals at least once a year. Are they reasonable--challenging but not impossible? It's a good idea to review where you are in your career, the types of writing you're doing (and the types you want to do), the amount of time you have to devote to writing, and other priorities that will help you set new goals. Ultimately, the money you make is only one aspect of the satisfaction you'll get from freelancing--but that doesn't mean it should be ignored. The time you spend focusing on ways to increase your income pays off.
Freelance journalist Kelly James-Enger is the author of Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create Your Own Writing Specialty and Make More Money (The Writer Books, 2003.) She can be reached through her website at:

© 2004 Kelly James-Enger This article is from the August 2002 issue of The Writer. Used with Permission.

Contract Do's and Don'ts

By Sallie Randolph

Sallie Randolph is an attorney who focuses on representing author clients. She is also a journalist and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and other writers' organizations. Readers are reminded that this information is for general information only and that any specific legal problems should be discussed with an attorney.


* Read your contract very, very carefully.
* Expect to negotiate. Be very skeptical of any "take it or leave it"offers.
* Use a businesslike approach to your negotiations.
* Take your time to carefully consider any contract. Ask for additional time if you need it.
* Be sure you understand what the contract means. Ask about anything you don't understand and seek competent help if you have any questions.
* Propose any changes you think are reasonable but be prepared to compromise if necessary.
* Have a book contract reviewed by an agent, attorney, or organization such as the Authors Guild.
* See the contract clearly and read what's really there, not what you wish was there.
* Remember that a contract doesn't always have to be in writing.
* Recognize that if you haven't signed a written contract for a magazine or newspaper article, you've only granted one time rights to publish.
* Remember that the most effective way to negotiate is to pause when you're offered a deal. Silence can definitely be golden.


* Sign anything you don't understand.
* Don't sign any contract that says "all rights"or "work made for hire" unless you understand clearly that you're giving up rights in your work.
* Rush – the person who seems to be in control of time has a distinct advantage in a negotiation. The offer isn't going to evaporate just because you want to consider it carefully.
* Make assumptions.
* Rely on verbal assurances. If it's important, get it in writing.
* Accept the first offer. A contract doesn't take effect until both parties have signed. Until then it's just an offer and any offer is subject to negotiation.
* Answer quickly when an offer is made. A pause is an effective negotiating tool and silence can be golden.

Law Office of Sallie G. Randolph
Copyright 2004 by Sallie G. Randolph. All Rights Reserved.
May not be copied or distributed without permission.

Writing Tips

Many writers--modern and classic--write stories with a painful past. It's often a hidden quality, but Frank Peretti reveals his wounds and also gives every writer some additional courage. What can you learn from his experience?

Writers are readers and Doc Hensley reminds us of this truth and encourages us to pour reading into our daily lives. What book is on the top of your reading list? What type of time commitments are you making for reading (as well as writing)?

One of the biggest mistakes writers make is writing in the passive tense. Children's Book Insider Publisher provides valuable insight into this situation. Review this article and make sure your writing is in an active tense.

Editor appointments are often incorporated into a writer's conference. David Fessenden gives insight and wise advice so you can get the most from that brief time with the editor.

If you want to boost your freelance income, then follow the advice in Kelly James-Enger's article on Seven Strategies. Kelly has a new book on how freelancers can earn a six-figure advance which will release next year from Random House.

When you get a contract, pull out the Do's and Don'ts from Literary Attorney Sallie Randolph and review these valuable principles. They will help every single time.

New Links to Check

Catch Terry Whalin's May 6, 2004 interview on the Institute of Children's Literature website about the Growing and Changing Christian Magazine and Book Markets--13 pages long

Want to build a platform? Your best option is to build a theme-based website. Learn more at:

Do you write fiction? Check out this page because it contains numerous new articles and the page has been reorganized:

Want to be more productive? Then read this article from Tim Perrin. It is loaded with great advice:

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