Thursday, March 29, 2007

Randy Ingermanson

Here's an article on conference-going tips reprinted with permission from Randall Ingermanson's Advanced Fiction writing e-zine. Randy Ingermanson ("the Snowflake guy") is a physicist turned novelist. If you haven't read his novel Oxygen you really are missing a great read.
Louise Bergmann DuMont

Facilitator of the NJCWG

How To Have a Great Conference

Are you going to a writing conference this year? I hope you'll be able to. Writing conferences can be expensive, humiliating, and discouraging, but they can also change your life. My career began to blossom when I committed to going to at least one major writing conference every year. I know many writers who can say the same.

The problem is that writing conferences can also go horribly, frightfully, abysmally wrong. In this article,
I'd like to talk about a few things you can do to have a good conference and a few things you can avoid so as to NOT have a bad conference.

Here are some DOs and some DON'Ts:

1) DO set your expectations based on where you are in your writing career.

* Are you a "freshman" or "sophomore" writer? Then you shouldn't be expecting to sell a book at the conference or get an agent. You should be expecting to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry, to learn more about the craft of writing, and to make some friends. Those are doable goals for "freshmen" or "sophomores."

* Are you a "junior" writer? Then you still can't expect to sell your book, but you CAN expect to get some valuable feedback from editors or agents. You might possibly even find an agent who'd like to represent you. And you can expect to make new friends.

* Are you a "senior" writer?" Then it's very reasonable to see some real excitement among the editors and agents over your book. "Seniors" are pretty rare, and editors and agents are looking for them. You might not sell your book at the conference, but it's likely you'll get some requests to send in your proposal or manuscript. And you might well land an agent on the spot. Or not. Your mileage may vary.

* Are you published already? Then your goal might be to make new contacts with editors and agents. Or you might pitch book ideas. Or both. It depends on you, but you know that by now.

If you're not sure what stage you're at in your career, check out this page on my web site:

2) DON'T try to cheat the system.

I once went to a weekend writing conference at San Diego State University. About 700 writers attended, so it was a big conference! The rules said that you could submit at most 5 pages of your work to a single editor. That was designed to keep the work load down for the editors and agents.

One writer at the conference decided to get around this restriction by submitting 30 packets -- each with 5 pages in it -- all to the SAME editor! Think that endeared the writer to the editor? Nope, it just irritated the bejeebers out of him.

3) DO be nice to everybody.

There is just no good reason to be rude to other people. Those other writers next to you are NOT your competition. They really aren't. If you let them, they'll be your friends, your coaches, your mentors, your cheerleaders, and your shoulder to cry on. And you'll be the same for them.

Want to know who your competition is?

It's you. The one person most likely to keep you from succeeding in your career is yourself. You probably think too highly of yourself OR you think too little of yourself. Sometimes you need other people to tell you that you really aren't Stephen King. And sometimes you need other people to tell you that you aren't kitty litter.

So be nice to other writers. That is the one thing you can do to make your conference stupendously wonderful. I'm assuming you already know to be nice to editors and agents. In fact, you might get carried away, so that brings us to the next DON'T . . .

4) DON'T freak out in the presence of famous editors, agents, and writers.

Look, famous people are a lot like you. I can pretty much guarantee they use the exact same technique you do to put on their pants in the morning.

No doubt when you put on your pants, you toss them up twelve feet in the air, do a triple back-flip with a full twist, plunge your legs into the pants at the peak of your trajectory, and then land lightly on your feet with the pants zipped, ready to go meet the day.

Famous people do that too. So don't freak when you meet them. They're just like you. It's OK to fawn a little, but freaking out is just a no-no.

5) DO expect the unexpected.

No writing conference I've ever been to has gone the way I expected. So I've learned to just go with the flow, try to meet people, set some reasonable goals, have fun, and be ready for anything.

Probably the most fun I ever had at a conference was the infamous "Shaving Babbitt" incident. I had that conference all planned out. It went exactly the opposite of what I had planned. By all rights, it should have been the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me. I loved every minute of it.

I could tell you more, but that's enough for now. To review:
* Set reasonable expectations
* Don't try to cheat the system
* Be nice to everybody
* Don't freak out with famous folks
* Expect the unexpected

Oh yeah, and . . . have fun!

Publisher, Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

Conference Scholarship Opportunity

I have the opportunity to recommend one person for a 50% scholarship ($167) to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference ~ May 16-19, 2007. I need to have my recommendation to the committee no later than April 12 so let me know ASAP if you are interested in pursuing this.

If you accept the scholarship, you would still be responsible for the other half of the registration fee (due by April 16), transportation to and from the conference, and your lodging which includes meals and runs $44 - $112 a night depending on whether you to stay in Mt. Ypsilon or Wind River.

Louise Bergmann DuMont
Author & Speaker
Facilitator of the NJCWG

Writing Op - SpiritLed Writer

From Lisa Crayton, Editor of the SpiritLed Writer

~~~ WRITE FOR US! ~~~

SPIRIT-LED WRITER needs writing-related articles and fillers (including book reviews, conference reports and devotionals). We also seek how-to articles on the business side of writing, and writing for children. Check out the guidelines
and query today.

Yes, we're a paying market, and we accept reprints.

Handling Rejection Article

There is an EXCELLENT article by Sherri Langton at the SpiritLed Writer. Check it out!

* * *Handling Rejection: Don't Burn Your Bridges* * * by Sherri Langton
Snipit: "I'm not writing for you anymore!" Fortunately, the editor never heard those words; I internally screamed them at the computer when I read his e-mailed rejection notice.
To read the full article go to:

St. Davids Christian Writers Conference

An educational retreat for writers serious about their craft.
St. Davids Christian Writers' Conference
50th Anniversary - June 18-23
Special Chicken Soup Feature
Grove City College, PA

Monday, March 26, 2007

Writing Op - Anthology

NOTE: This call went out to authors who submitted to Helen Kay Polaski's anthologies in the past. I am forwarding it on to you with permission. Be sure to get in on this right away! For author's 2007's Christmas is here NOW.


Dear Authors,

Please feel free to share the following information will all of your writing groups and friends. Thank you for your patience! I hope to see many familiar names in my email in the near future.

Take care -- Helen



From Adams Media/F + M Publications, home of the bestselling series, A CUP OF COMFORT, and the bestselling 2006 holiday anthology, CLASSIC CHRISTMAS, True Stories of Holiday Cheer and Goodwill, comes CHRISTMAS MEMORIES, an anthology of True Stories that Touch the Heart and Renew the Spirit.

Christmas is a time for making memories and sharing. All of the things we enjoy -- everything from visiting grandmother and grandfather’s house to opening presents, building snow forts, honoring the Christ Child, and enjoying a generous helping of plum pudding -- are more magical during this special time of the year. All of the holiday memories we've experienced in our lives seem to have been forged in our minds and souls to be shared again and again with others. In keeping with that sentiment, we would be honored if you shared your best Christmas memories with us and with the world.

LENGTH: Word count should be between 800 and 1,200. Please send only complete stories that are inspirational as well as emotional, have a dramatic flair, pack a punch, and bring all of the senses into play. The best stories will invoke tears and/or laughter, or make the reader sigh. In a nutshell, make us feel as though we’re in the story with you.


Submissions should be sent in the body of an email, as well as in attachment form. Include: name, address, phone number, email address, and 50-word bio. Please, also, only one submission per email.

RESPONSE: Because of the sheer numbers of submissions involved in a call for stories of this nature, it’s difficult to contact authors personally, however, upon receipt of submission an automatic response will be sent. This response will be your confirmation that your story arrived safely to my desk. (Please allow up to two days for a response. If/when time permits, the editor will do her best to contact authors personally.)

Authors of work that is selected to be in the book will be contacted prior to publication. Once selections have been made, entrants will be informed of the status of their work. (When in doubt, do not hesitate to contact me at the above email address.)

DEADLINE: May 30, 2007

COMPENSATION: $50 and a free book will be given to the author of each story that is accepted and published. Authors may submit more than one story for consideration. Authors will be limited to no more than three stories in the book.

Helen Kay Polaski
Book Editor: A Cup of Comfort for Weddings and Classic Christmas

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CLASSeminar, an international Christian speakers organization, is once again coming to NEW JERSEY!!! I am a CLASS graduate and attending this seminar was one of the very best things I could have done for my writing career.

The early registration (April 21) is fast approaching for the first 2007 CLASSeminar, held at America's KESWICK in Whiting, New Jersey May 21-23, 2007. The CLASSeminar is for both aspiring and established leaders, speakers and writers--in fact those whom God has given a message to deliver. Register by calling today at 800/433-6633.

If you are intersted in knowing more about this,drop me an email.

Louise Bergmann DuMont

Friday, March 16, 2007

Writing Op - New Jersey Savvy

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30B Vreeland Rd.
Florham Park NJ 07932

Phone: (973)966-0997
Fax: (973)966-0210
Web site:


Format: Magazine covering New Jersey residents with affluent lifestyles.
Frequency: Bimonthly

"Savvy Living is a regional magazine for an upscale audience, ages 35-65. We focus on lifestyle topics such as home design, fashion, the arts, travel, personal finance, and health and well being."
Freelance Facts

* 90% freelance written
* Established: 1997
* Circulation: 50,000
* Pays on publication.
* Publishes manuscript 3 months after acceptance.
* Byline given.
* Offers $50 kill fee.
* variable rights.

# Editorial lead time 3 months.

Accepts queries by: Mail
* Accepts simultaneous submissions
* Response time varies
* Sample copy for 9x12 envelope.

* Interview/Profile (people of national and regional importance)
* Photo Feature
* Travel
* home/decorating, finance, health, fashion, beauty

Does Not Want: No investigative, fiction, personal experience, and non-New Jersey topics (excluding travel).

* Buys 50 manuscripts/year.
* Submission method: Query with published clips.
* Length: 900–2,000 words.
* Does not pay the expenses of writers on assignment.

* State availability of photos with submission.

Photos Require:
* Captions
* Identification of subjects
* Model Releases
* Buys one-time rights
* Offers no additional payment for photos accepted with ms.

Columns & Departments:
* Columns open to freelancers: Savvy Shoppers (inside scoop on buying); Dining Out (restaurant review); Home Gourmet (gourmet cooking and entertaining).
* Buys 25 columns/year.
* Submission method: Query with published clips
* Pays: $300 minimum for columns.

"Offer ideas of interest to a savvy, upscale New Jersey readership. We love articles that utilize local sources and are well focused and keep our readers informed about trends affecting their lives. We work with experienced and stylish writers. Please provide clips."

Writing Op - Relevant Magazine

Relevant Media Group
100 S. Lake Destiny Dr.
Suite 200
Orlando FL 32810

Phone: (407)660-1411
Fax: (407)660-8555
Web site:
Contact: Adam Smith, managing editor


Format: Magazine covering God, life, and progressive culture.
Frequency: Biweekly

Relevant is a lifestyle magazine for Christians in their 20s.
Freelance Facts
* 80% freelance written
* Established: 2002
* Circulation: 70,000
* Pays 45 days after publication.
* Publishes manuscript 6 months after acceptance.
* Byline given.
* Offers 50% kill fee.

Rights purchased:
* First North American serial rights
# Editorial lead time 4 months.
# Submit seasonal material 5 months in advance.

Accepts queries by: E-mail

* Accepts simultaneous submissions
* Responds in 6 weeks to queries.
* Responds in 3 months to manuscripts.
* Click here for sample copy
* Sample copy available at website.
* Click here for manuscript guidelines

* General Interest
* How-To
* Inspirational
* Interview/Profile
* New Product
* Personal Experience
* Religious

Does Not Want: Don't submit anything that doesn't target ages 18-34.

* Submission method: Query with published clips.
* Length: 1,000–1,500 words.
* Sometimes pays the expenses of writers on assignment.

Tips: "The easiest way to get noticed by our editors is to first submit (donate) stories for online publication."

Writing Op - 108 Celebrating Baseball

Sandlot Media
Celebrating Baseball
517 N. Mountain Ave.
Upland CA 91786

Phone: (909)912-0134
Fax: (909)912-0197
Web site:
Contact: Phil Osterholt, managing editor.

Format: Magazine covering baseball.
Frequency: Quarterly

About 108: "108 celebrates baseball's contribution to and role in American history, culture, and community through in-depth feature articles, short fiction, photography and original artwork."
Freelance Facts

* 75% freelance written
* Established: 2006
* Circulation: 40,000
* Pays on publication.
* Publishes manuscript 1-2 months after acceptance.
* Byline given.

Rights purchased:
* First North American serial rights
* One-time rights
* Electronic rights
* Makes work-for-hire assignments
# Editorial lead time 3-6 months.
# Submit seasonal material 3-6 months in advance.

Accepts queries by:
* Mail
* E-mail
* Sample copy for $7.95.
* Writer's guidelines available via e-mail.

Submit nonfiction to

* Essays
* Historical
* Humor
* Inspirational
* Interview/Profile
* Personal Experience
* Photo Feature
* Buys 20-30 manuscripts/year.
* Submission method: Query with or without published clips or send complete manuscript.
* Length: 1,000–7,000 words.
* Sometimes pays the expenses of writers on assignment.

* State availability of or send photos with submission.

* GIF/JPEG files

Photos Require:
* Captions
* Identification of subjects
* Model Releases
* Buys one-time rights
* Negotiates payment individually.

Columns & Departments:
* Columns open to freelancers: Growing Up (children of MLB players, what it's like); Beyond the Boxscore (greater significance of a single game/moment); Whatever Happened To (profile on player who fell out of the limelight); Teammates (tales of extraordinary baseball friendships), all 1,500-2,000 words.
* Buys 16 columns/year.
* Submission method: Query with or without published clips or send complete manuscript
* Pays 50¢-$1/word.

"As long as baseball is an integral part of the story, we'll take a look." Submit to

* Historical
* Horror
* Humorous
* Mainstream
* Mystery
* Slice-of-life Vignettes
* Suspense
* baseball
* Buys 10-15 manuscripts/year.
* Submission method: Send complete manuscript.
* Length: 2,000–7,000 words.
* Pays 50¢-$2/word.

Publishes baseball-related poetry.
o Buys 4-6 poems/year.
o Submit maximum 3 poems.
o Pays 50¢-$1/word.

Tips: "We tell the great stories that help make baseball the great game it is. We're looking for great stories—not statistical-laden entries from a baseball encyclopedia. We prefer complete manuscripts to queries."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Women's Chocolate Retreat

For the members of the NJCWG

I was asked to speak at a Women's "chocolate" retreat this weekend and I will be in Pennsylvania from Fri-Mon of this week.

Now I don't want to get anyone envious, but I think I think I hit the jackpot this weekend. Here is what will happen.

I get to speak to a group of wonderful Christian women (which I l-o-v-e to do), they will have chocolate every day (the theme is chocolate), I've been asked to speak about chocolate every day (can't think of anything I'd rather talk about), the event is about twenty minutes from the famous Pennsylvania mall outlets (yes, we have a number of unscheduled hours on Saturday where we can go shopping), I am going to this event with one of my favorite people (Amanda, my future d-i-l), I've been asked to bring a case of books that they want me to sell, Amanda & I both get free hotel accommodations, free food, free chocolate AND they pay me for all of this!!! If anyone out there can beat this deal I'll be more than happy to listen to your offer. LOL

Anyway, keep me in your prayers - think we are expecting snow again.

Louise Bergmann DuMont

Author of Faith-Dipped Chocolate: Rich Encouragement To Sweeten Your Day

Writing Op - Breakaway Magazine

Breakaway Magazine
Focus on the Family
8605 Explorer Dr.
Colorado Springs CO 80920

Phone: (719)531-3400
Web site:

Format: Magazine covering extreme sports, Christian music artists, and new technology relevant to teen boys.
Frequency: Monthly

"This fast-paced, 4-color publication is designed to creatively teach, entertain, inspire, and challenge the emerging teenager. It also seeks to strengthen a boy's self-esteem, provide role models, guide a healthy awakening to girls, make the Bible relevant, and deepen their love for family, friends, church, and Jesus Christ."
Freelance Facts

* 25% freelance written
* Established: 1990
* Circulation: 96,000
* Pays on acceptance.
* Publishes manuscript 5-12 months after acceptance.
* Byline given.
* Offers $25 kill fee.

Rights purchased:
* First North American serial rights
* First rights
* One-time rights
* Electronic rights
# Editorial lead time 5 months.
# Submit seasonal material 8 months in advance.

Accepts queries by:
* Mail
* Responds in 2-3 months to queries.
* Responds in 2-3 months to manuscripts.
* Sample copy for $1.50 and 9x12 SASE with 3 first-class stamps.
* Writer's guidelines for #10 SASE.

* Inspirational
* Interview/Profile
* Personal Experience
* Buys up to 6 manuscripts/year.
* Submission method: Send complete manuscript.
* Length: 700–2,000 words.
* Does not pay the expenses of writers on assignment.

Columns & Departments:
* Columns open to freelancers: Epic Truth (spiritual/Biblical application devotional for teen guys), 800 words; Weird, Wild, WOW! (technology, culture, science), 200-400 words.
* Buys 2-3 columns/year.
* Submission method: Send complete manuscript
* Pays 12-15¢/word

* Adventure
* Humorous
* Religious
* Suspense

Does Not Want: "Avoid Christian jargon, clich├ęs, preaching, and other dialogue that isn't realistic or that interrupts the flow of the story."

* Buys 3-4 manuscripts/year.
* Submission method: Send complete manuscript.
* Length: 600–2,000 words.
* Pays 15-20¢/word

"Some of our readers get spiritual nurture at home and at church; many don't. To reach both groups, the articles must be written in ways that are compelling, bright, out of the ordinary. Nearly every adult in a boy's life is an authority figure. We would like you, through the magazine, to be seen as a friend! We also want Breakaway to be a magazine any pre-Christian teen could pick up and understand without first learning 'Christianese.' Stories should spiritually challenge, yet be spiritually inviting."

Writing Op - AARP Magazine

601 E St. NW
Washington DC 20049

Phone: (202)434-6880
Web site:

Format: Magazine
Frequency: Bimonthly

"AARP The Magazine is devoted to the varied needs and active life interests of AARP members, age 50 and over, covering such topics as financial planning, travel, health, careers, retirement, relationships, and social and cultural change. Its editorial content serves the mission of AARP seeking through education, advocacy and service to enhance the quality of life for all by promoting independence, dignity, and purpose."
Freelance Facts

* 50% freelance written
* Prefers to work with published/established writers.
* Circulation: 21,500,000
* Pays on acceptance.
* Publishes manuscript 6 months after acceptance.
* Byline given.
* Offers 25% kill fee.

Rights purchased:
* Buys exclusive first worldwide publication rights.
# Submit seasonal material 6 months in advance.

Accepts queries by:
* Mail
* E-mail
* Does not accept previously published submissions
* Responds in 3 months to queries.
* Free sample copy.
* Click here for manuscript guidelines

Articles can cover finance, health, food, travel, consumerism, general interest topics, and profiles/first-person accounts.

* Submission method: Query with published clips. No unsolicited mss..
* Length: Up to 2,000 words.
* Sometimes pays the expenses of writers on assignment.

* Photos purchased with or without accompanying mss.
* Pays $250 and up for color; $150 and up for b&w.

"The most frequent mistake made by writers in completing an article for us is poor follow-through with basic research. The outline is often more interesting than the finished piece. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. " This means query first.

The Writer Magazine

The current issue of The Writer is filled with great information for the novice and for the accomplished writer.

The April 2007 Issue Features

Step by Step: A daily plan to boost your output using a ''treadmill'' writing journal

Step by Step: How to use setups and payoffs in your fiction

Step by Step: 10 ways to make your manuscript agent-ready

Fiction writing for the thrill of it

Build your imagination and power of expression with these writing exercises

Research: Blending fact with fiction

Research: primary sources-handle with care, but do handle

7 essential tools for narrative writing

What you need to know before you publish

Archive: Vintage advice from The Writer

Friday, March 09, 2007

Answer #3 - Too Much Clutter

Answer #3 - Too Much Clutter

These questions come from a NJCWG member.

Too Much Clutter - Question #3
Ann Asks: . I have many art (painting) supplies sitting on an open book case. They are all jumbled up. Some are in bags on the floor as I have too many for the shelves. How can I organize these?

Clutter Queen, Kathryn Porter Answers: If you have too many paint supplies than what will comfortably fit on the shelves, then the problem is not a storage issue. The problem is that you have too many paint supplies. Use the same organizing principles as you would for any other project:

Assess what you have. Do this by grouping all like objects together such as all water based paints in one box, all oil based paints in another, etc. How many are dried and no longer fit for using? Throw them away. Do you have duplicates? Put them in a donation box. Are there items you know you won’t use in the next year? Those go too.

Before you put everything back on the bookshelves, consider what’s working and what’s not with your current system:
*Are the bookshelves located where you paint and create your art?
*Are you putting other items on the bookshelves that are unrelated to your art?
*Is the bookshelf the style of organizing that fits your situation best?

Answer #2 - Too Much Clutter

Answer #2 - Too Much Clutter

These questions come from a NJCWG member.

Too Much Clutter - Question #2
Ann Asks: My attic is a mess. My husband & I are older and not terribly strong but we are active and can do a good bit. We don't want to leave this for our daughters to clean up after we die. Ditto for our basement.

Clutter Queen, Kathryn Porter Answers: This sounds like the perfect scenario for hiring a professional organizer. Getting assistance outside the family can be extremely valuable in order to get the job done. When we ask family or friends for help, we get stuck waiting on their schedules—which sometimes means that the de-cluttering won’t get done because more important things pop up for them. You also risk being talked into keeping things you really don’t need.

If you are determined to take on this challenge by yourself, start with the easy stuff. If it takes more than ten seconds to decide on whether to keep or toss, then move on to the next item. This is called the pre-sort. Here, you are simply paring things down quickly and easily as you come across them. While you do this, start grouping like things together. This will allow you to assess exactly how much you have. It’s easier to make decision on parting with things when you can make informed decisions. It’s one thing to go through your t-shirts. It’s another to take them all out of your closets and drawers to witness the sheer number of what you own. Once you pare down, implement organizing systems. Create homes for things based on where they are used, how often they are used, and who uses them.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Message from Cecil Murphey

As many of you know, on the morning of February 27, 2007 Cecil Murphey lost his house to a fire. His he, his wife and his daughter were able to escape but his son-in-law was killed during the fire.

God seems to have performed miracle after miracle since that fire. His hard drive was recovered, most of his important papers (passport etc) were recovered and the least damaged of all the rooms was Cec's office. His church, his community and writers from around the world have poured out their hearts in prayer and opened their wallets to help Cec and his family out until the insurance money comes through. I thought this particular paragraph from an email Cec sent was a great example of where this writer's heart continues to reside:
From an email sent 3/6/07 by Cecil "Cec" Murhpey
"For a long time I sat by myself and watched the fire fighters try to put out the fire. In the midst of that, the words of Job 2:10 came to me. Job's wife saw all the chaos and loss and told her husband to curse God and die. He replied, `We have received good from the hand of the Lord. Shall we not also receive evil?' As that verse filled my mind, I heard myself say, `Who am I to feel I should be exempt?' "

Of course the greatest loss to this family is Alan Hege, Cec's son-in-law. Please continue to pray for the family and for Cec's daughter, C-C (Cecile) who is obviously mourning the loss of her dear husband.


It seems that blogspot has finally worked out some of the kinks in its new system and I am once again able to post items as needed.

Stay tuned for more writing opportunities and writing info.


Louise Bergmann DuMont
Author and Speaker
Facilitator of the NJCWG


Easter Sunday is April 8.
Our next meeting would have been on April 7.
Due to the proximity of the two dates, we will NOT have a meeting on April 7.

Saturday, MAY 5, 2007

Here is the second hand-out from our 3/3/07 Meeting

The Query / Cover Letter
Required Elements
Presented to the NJCWG Group on 3/3/07
by Louise Bergmann DuMont

THE HOOK (Pitch)
Your first line should hook the reader’s attention. It must demonstrate that you can write effectively, and that you understand the publication’s market.

1. Show a problem and how you solved it. (Carpenter ants will destroy your home but not everyone wants to use toxic chemicals to exterminate them. I recently used an earth friendly system to rid…)
2. Share information that is not common knowledge or show why your reader needs to know what you are writing about. (The mothers of 2003 are no longer surrounded by a previous generation of women who will mentor them in child rearing. What do these women do when their newborns come down with diaper rash or their toddlers throw their first temper tantrum? They often turn their peers. I have written an article that explains how young mothers can start their own support groups.)
3. Ask a question. (Did you know…?, What would you do if…?, Have you ever wondered…?)
4. Use a personal anecdotal approach. (When my five year old son, Jason, was diagnosed with leukemia…)
5. Grab the reader’s attention. (As my grip slipped from its slender hold on the mountain’s ridge I wondered if my life would truly flash before my eyes when I fell from its heights…)

1. Personal Introductions (Hi, my name is…)
2. Sucking Up (I just LOVE your magazine and have subscribed for 20 years)
3. Sympathy Ploy (I really need the money that this article will bring because…)
4. Too Humble / Unprofessional (I’ve never been published before… I know you’ve probably got other articles better than mine but…)
5. Too Proud (I am a highly experience professional… My article would be perfect for your magazine because…) Skip words like wonderful, perfect, fascinating, etc when referring to your work. Let the editor decide for himself how good your work is based on the writing.
6. God Sent (God told me…) When God tells the editor to publish your work, THEN he’ll listen.

Once you have the editor hooked, pitch your idea with solid information. This should include a working title, a word count, the target audience, and a brief summary of the article. The actual pitch is often the first line of the body. The longer the article the more detailed the body. Doing a point by point outline of your intended article (for you, not for the editor) will make sure you include the important information when writing this section. If you are writing a cover letter (not a query), this information section will be no longer than a few lines.

Example: I’d like to offer you a 1,500 word article entitled “Dressing the Mother of the Groom.” This article describes the ordeal of a slightly plump, jeans and T-shirt mom who sets out to purchase the perfect formal gown. Its target audience is every woman who has experienced the stress of trying to find the ultimate dress for her special occasion. It is a light-hearted look at a society that highly prizes the petite and fit forms of youth…a society that often leaves the average woman with less than sophisticated choices in the dressing room.

Even if you’ve never been published, you must address the issue of your credentials. The editor wants to know why YOU are the best person to write the article you have proposed. This is usually the last or next to last paragraph.

Some things you could/should list.

 Professional experience pertinent to the subject you are writing about
 Academic degrees or training pertinent to the subject you are writing about
 Teaching experience pertinent to the subject you are writing about
 Personal experience pertinent to the subject you are writing about
 Writing experience – ANY writing experience
 Interviews with experts (if you don’t have expertise in the area you are writing about this is an excellent way of demonstrating that you know how to GET the information you need)

“Thank you very much…” – plus one last nudge.

Example: Thank you for taking the time to review my query. If you would like to see my article, I could have it on your desk within two weeks of receiving notice from you. I am looking forward to your response.

 Create a nice, clean looking letterhead that includes your name, address, phone number and email address.
 Business Style (Block or Modified Block Style with spaces between paragraphs)
 Formal Salutation (Dear Mr. Robert Rowe or Ms. Roberta Rowe – Not Dear Bob or Bobbie)
 Clean copy.
 Proofread and corrected copy.
 Quality paper – Use at least 20-lb bond paper in white, linen or parchment – no colors
 Enclose a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope). Don’t use ‘insert’ envelopes (A4, A6, etc); instead fold a full-size business envelope (#10) in thirds and send that. If you are sending a full manuscript with the cover letter and you would like both returned, make sure the envelope is large enough that the manuscript is not folded.
 Send clips only IF the guidelines request them.

Handout from the 3/3/07 Mtg

Here is the first hand-out from our 3/3/07 Meeting

Tantalizing Sentences, Tempting Paragraphs
Presented to the NJCWG on 03/03/07
by Louise Bergmann DuMont

When you gather tantalizing sentences they soon create tempting paragraphs. These will quickly lift your writing above other manuscripts and you'll soar toward publication

Carefully research and study your subject matter. Know what you want to say and how you are going to say it. The essence of writing an interesting article is simplicity… but to make your writing stand out, you must add a touch of the unusual. The more you know about your subject, the more likely you will be able to interject something that the reader does not already know.

Examine your sentences and paragraphs to ensure that the words flow smoothly. A paragraph should deal with ONE (and ONLY one) idea. This idea is developed through sentences that logically advance the point you are trying to make. Each sentence should add meaning or develop the story (plot). Check, recheck and then check again for logic.

A new author's brain fairly bursts with plot twists and character information. If the author does not pass this information on to the reader in a logical fashion, the reader doesn't "get" the words. Imagine a river filled with small smooth stones. The water gently ripples over the stones but continues forward without much trouble. Whirlpools are like breaches of information. They spin the reader around and around while he tries to find a way to move on. Dams are like too much information. They stall the reader as maneuvers around the mass to get through the story.

Logical, linear sentences that vary in length but provide the appropriate information are like a babbling brook. There is a flow that is almost musical in quality.

Passive writing is boring to read. Active verbs and strong nouns create friction and energy. They are the difference between a flat, warm cola on a hot day, and freshly opened bottle of sparkling champagne on New Year's Eve. Read good contemporary literature and it will "pop" with active voice.

If you haven't yet found your own voice, don't fret. The more you write, the more you'll realize what works and what doesn't. Practice writing the way some of the better contemporary writers do. You'll find you can not mimic some, but the voice of others will come easily. Concentrate on the "sound" of the words. Are you a forthright person - the first to arrive at every party? Or do you amble into a room fashionably late, waiting to see who else arrived first? Know your style, your writing will likely follow similar patterns.

The length of a sentence can create drama, provoke tension or evoke mood. As a rule, sentences within a paragraph should vary. This helps to hold the reader's attention by allowing the reader to breathe, think and even ponder the thoughts you are presenting

Example (From Ursula Le Guin's The Earthsea Trilogy:
The boat rounded a short promontory, and he saw on the shore what he took for a moment to be a ruined fortress. It was a dragon. One black wing was bent under it and other stretched out vast across the sand and into the water, so that the come and go of the waves moved it a little to and fro in a mockery of flight. The long snake-body lay full length on the rock and sand. One foreleg was missing, the armor and flesh were torn from the great arch of the ribs and the belly was torn open, so that the sand for yards about was blackened with the poisoned dragon-blood. Yet the creature still lived. So great a life is in the dragons that only an equal power of wizardry can kill them swiftly. The green-gold eyes were open, and as the boat sailed by, the lean huge head moved a little, and with a rattling hiss, steam mixed with bloody spray shot from the nostrils

Lenten Poetry

I thought many of you might enjoy this message (and poetry) from fellow auther, Latayne C. Scott. Latayne. She is an award-winning author and poet who lives New Mexico and I've created a link to the site where you can read her poetry.
Since the Lenten season is one in which many people devote themselves to an even deepercommunion with the Lord, I'd like to offer my help through verse. Every couple of days I am posting on my website ( )a new poem and devotional thought to anchor (and incite) our minds as we approach Good Friday and Easter.

Today's, for instance, builds on a little-known item from first-century history: the fact that when the Passover lambs were sacrificed in the temple, their blood flowed down a drain that emptied into the Kidron River, over which Jesus passed on His final visit to the Mt. of Olives.

Latayne C. Scott

Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Jersey News

North Jersey Christian Writers Group (NJCWG) member Chris Sagona just happens to be the Assignment Editor for News 12. She is looking for any leads you might have for New Jersey stories.

In her words - "let people know that if they have ideas for features or better yet, for breaking news to please call or email me!"

Chris Sagona
Assignment Editor
News 12
732-346-3270 office
201-755-4149 cell

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the NJCWG is this Saturday

SATURDAY, March 3, 2007