Sunoasis X 2005 V2 Issue 4
Apr 29, 2005 21:21 PDT
S U N O A S I S X 2 0 0 5
Volume 2 Issue 4
"A sentence should read as if its author, had he
held a plow instead of a pen, could have drawn
a furrow deep and straight to the end."
-- Henry David Thoreau
_____________________T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
1) [Professional Notes- Structure]
2) [Resource Notes]
3) [Markets and Leads: Business management publications]
4) [C/Oasis- new stories]
5) [New Forms of Publishing]
6) [The Free Media ]
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I FINALLY FOUND A WAY TO MAKE A LIVING AS A WRITER
I'm averaging about $150 an hour working a few hours each
morning, leaving me with most of the day to pursue my first
love: Fiction. Imagine a job in which you set your own
hours, and live wherever you please. As a copywriter, you
can. Here's how:
__________________P R O F E S S I O N A L N O T E S
It was a fascinating revelation for two little boys. A
plastic, see-through model of the human body that my
cousin got for his birthday. It was stiff and hairless
but glowed inside with blue muscles, purple organs,
a white spine, bones, and red blood vessels.
"This is us," my cousin would say, pointing inside the
He became a doctor. And it was one of the first things
that came to mind when I thought about what to write
What is apparent exists only because of the structure we
can not see.
The challenge is this: How to keep an article, story, or
book hanging together, threaded expertly, as it bounds
through different alleyways, entertaining and informing
the whole trip? How best to present the material at hand
and come out the other end filled with more value than when
you went in?
Are you telling a story? Or are you analyzing an event
or series of facts?
The narrative needs some kind of conflict and chronology
to keep it structured.
Every writer wants a narrative that, "writes itself," but
that is difficult to come by. If it doesn't "write itself,"
then you need to choose the structure that will carry the
piece from beginning to end. The chronology is one such
technique, using a dominant theme is another. Raw content
needs to be organized by conscious decisions.
Give yourself a head start by thinking about these things
as you are collecting the raw material and roughing it in.
In journalism we learn about the inverted pyramid style.
We learn about writing ledes, nut grafs, foreshadowing,
set-ups, tie-backs and the like. We learn that the raw
story is jumbled post-it notes and scribbled copy, and
that to successfully execute an article we need to think
through and then apply some of these techniques. Where does
a transition need to take place? Where is it appropriate to
foreshadow something later in the story?
Later on I will suggest two books that bring great understanding
on how best to structure a non-fiction article or book. And,
as always, there are very useful, informative articles in
the resource box. Read them to get the fullest appreciation
of structure in non-fiction writing.
* * * * * * * * *
There's no handy formula to apply structure to a specific
piece of writing because each story deals with its own
complication. And the nature of the complication is going to
make demands on the writer in different ways.
Non-fiction narrative, as many observers point out, is
changing quite a bit. Most articles, however, still have a
lead, a structured narrative as the body, and an ending.
And it's still the best practice to take these three
elements apart and work on them separately before putting
them back together.
Structure is often a mysterious interplay between the words
on the page, memory and the internal narrative structure of
* * * * * * * * *
Structure is often a process of asking questions of what
you've written. It is reflecting on the piece and asking,
"does it makes sense? Why am I doing this? Would this work
The first word a writer writes is not so important. But, the
first moment he or she ascertains a structure to a raw work
is very important.
The writer has to think through the totality of the writing,
beginning to end, and make sure that, at least, she
understands what is taking place.
Think of each section of your piece as a zone of
concentration passing to successive zones. Each zone is
equally notable. The management of this creates story.
Jon Franklin advises to write "active images." That is, the
image driven by active verbs so that an emotion is being
expressed. I think that is a sound principle.
* * * * * * * * *
The intention of the writer is very important. What are you
attempting to do? What do you want the reader to see or feel
at the end of the piece? Edgar Allen Poe had a famous
formula that structured a story from the "effect" a writer
wanted the reader to experience and then working back
through the narrative to get that effect.
We know there is an implied intention of "selling the
piece," but what effect do you want it to have for the
The great thing about the principles of structure is that
it frees the writer, once he's confident, to riff in any
number of directions, knowing that ultimately the whole is
subject to the structure he chooses for it.
This interplay is one of the more engaging acts in writing.
Just to get a sense of structure one of the best things to
do is study an art like painting or music. Study the
structure of a favorite tree. Study a bit of cosmology and
what keeps a star from imploding. There are all kinds of
structures outside the writing world. Study the ones that
have meaning for you.
When I was a young writer I found painting, of all places,
the best place to "get structure." The surrealists, cubists,
abstract expressionists and so on always worked from a plan
however chaotic the result.
One last piece of advice. Simply stop writing at some
point, after the raw material has been spilled on the
paper, and think about what is happening. Who are the
actors? What is happening to them and why? What are some
of the implications of what is happening? What anecdotes,
quotes, or background material can come in to get the piece
flowing swiftly for the mind of the reader?
The ability to reflect on a piece that is being built is a
good gift to give to yourself.
And done right you end up, not with a plastic, transparent
toy but a flesh and blood piece of writing that runs far
into the mind of a reader.
<<<<<<<....never regret spending money on good books>>>>>>>>
Last month I mentioned "The Journalist's Craft" to get a
writer up and running. The two I recommend now are "Writing
For Story" by Jon Franklin and "Follow The Story" by James B.
Stewart. Both writers bring a lot of experience to bear on
Franklin makes the point that non-fiction has incorporated
many of the techniques of fiction. He says this is important
because it gives the writer a fertile area of training for
larger works, temporarily lost when the literary short story
fell from grace. His book is an attempt to synthesize the
fiction and non-fictional narrative.
Stewart runs passages from a story he wrote on the Vince
Foster suicide that are still haunting. And we know that
the life of a piece of writing is measured in dog years.
What both these books emphasize is, "take care to do the
good, necessary and difficult work, and the results will
<<<<<<<<<...so who are these freelance writers?>>>>>>>>>>>>
According to this survey from the University of Nevada, Reno,
the typical freelance writer is a 49 year-old white female
who makes between $40,000 and $49,000 per year.
One of the most significant points raised in this survey
is the belief that it takes up to five years to get
traction and understand what it takes to make the money.
"The most common steps they took to become established were
networking, sending out queries and cold contacts."
One reason it takes time to develop a freelance life is
the need to shift from "taking orders," to "giving yourself
orders." The overwhelming majority of people, even in this
culture, are taught how to obey.
Through our work lives we are divided people. Eventually we
are led by fear and desire and end up happy or no depending
on a number of factors. Most people just plop at the finish
line exhausted and not caring any longer.
To freelance or do any independent contracting you need to
be as little divided in yourself as possible. You can't
be fighting against yourself all the time because you don't
like this, don't like that and so forth. A strong belief
in your mission is the first step to the freelance life.
All we want as people are options. Take options away from
us and we will rebel. Provide options and we will move
* * * * * * * * *
I would like to know a few of those freelance writers who
report incomes in excess of $200,000. Newsletters?
The veteran writer wrote it very succinctly in his blog
the other day. "Writers must view themselves as publishers.
And publishers are businesspersons."
Perhaps a day will come when the writer is at the center
of the publishing world; when the writer is creating the
values of publishing simply because the writer has taken
responsibility for what he or she believes in.
It's not to that point yet but it seems to be inching
* * * * * * * * *
The reporter who was jailed for not disclosing source is
Since journalism has been on our mind for awhile here are
some of the best blogs and sites to keep up on what is
really going on in journalism today. Journalists can be full
of themselves but they, along with librarians, are the
most resourceful people around. Journalists, by nature, are
reformers and they've got the "big media" by the short hairs.
Tim Porter's First Draft
Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism
Jay Rosen's Press Think
______________________________R E S O U R C E N O T E S
In journalism there is the infamous nut graf used to
synthesize the significance of the article early on. Some
writers hate them; editors usually insist on them.
This article on structure in writing is valuable.
Leads, Nut Grafs, Bodies, End, Headlines.
Advice on nut grafs and other edifying advice for your
Bob Baker's News Thinking. Impressive run-down on the nuts
and bolts of non-fiction writing.
The basic formula of column writing by Tom Ferrick Jr.
Writing and editing the lede.
Read Nick Usborne's review of Bob Bly's course, "Selling
Yourself as a Copywriter - How to Earn $100,000 a Year".
For Freelancers Only:
Ten Tips on How to Cultivate Relationships with Editors.
FreelanceRights.com is the ASJA site for those who feel
their work was put online without compensation. The ASJA
won an $18 million settlement.
San Francisco freelance writers share their tips with Media
Are you a freelance court reporter? Here is a survey for you.
____________________________________________C R A F T
Tips on journalistic writing
The Craft of Writing: An Interview with Catherine Boo from
The art and craft of feature writing from the Detroit Free
The craft of copy editing.
______________W R I T I N G O R G A N I Z A T I O N S
Audio Publishers Association
American Society of Indexers
The Canadian Public Relations Society, Inc.
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Society for News Design
______________________________P U B L I S H I N G
Here is the most solid proof yet that young people are
abandoning the newspaper and not the "news." It's a report
from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
A nice outline on the process of self-publishing through
The NY Times has an extensive article on self-publishing.
You need to register with them to get the article.
__________________________M A R K E T S A N D L E A D S
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT MAGAZINES: Make sure you locate the
editor of a magazine, contact her and request a sample copy
and writer guidelines. If you think you have a story for
her, send an excellent query. Search back issues and try
to understand the type of articles the editor looks for.
We provide the guidelines or mail addresses and phone
number of the publications when available.
Across The Board
Pays $50- 2,500 for article
Pays $1,000 for cover story
Consumer Goods Manufacturers
Pays up to $900 for assigned articles
Pays $100-500 for articles
Pays $500-700 for articles
Pays $300-700 for articles
Pays $50-1,000 for articles
Pays $150-700 for articles
Pays $200-500 for articles
Stamats Meetings Media
Pays $500 for articles
Pays $250-700 for articles
Pays $90-700 for articles
Don't hesitate to tell us what you are looking for:
There is an index of writer guidelines here:
Seeking Copywriter for direct mail
| ||>>>>>>>>>>Job Openings<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<|
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Our client is an direct mail industry leader with
operations nationally. They are a worldwide,
direct and targeted marketing company that provides
direct marketing services and shopper
advertising opportunities to a wide range of local,
regional, national and international
consumer and business-to-business marketers is
seeking a writer experienced in writing direct mail
for financial products.
For Full Ad:
Seeking Experienced Ezine Copywriter
This small e-commerce company is seeking a copywriter who
has experience writing for ezines, & understands not any
writer will do.
For Full Ad:
Location: West Bridgewater, MA</font>
Redcats USA, an international catalog retailer in West
Bridgewater, MA, is looking for a Copywriter.
For Full Ad:
Location: West Chester, PA
QVC, Inc., a $5.5 billion company, is an e-commerce
leader and we are in search of an action/results oriented,
hands-on, self-motivated organized and seasoned Editor
for QVC s Information Services Division.
For Full Ad:
___________________________________________C / O A S I S
When my native guide plunged to his death, just seconds
after he had stepped on a firm-looking glacier, I
remembered Reinhold Messnerís words. "Mountains are not
fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."
Americans who worked for China Relief Mission were on the
guest list of the American embassy.
Two poems from Lynn Strongin
You're Getting Unique Treatment
A review of the book, "How To Make a Living As A Poet," by
Gary Glazner. No, it's not a joke.
| ||>N e w f o r m s o f p u b l i s h i n g<<<<<<|
The Village Voice details the phenomena of "lit blogs."
If you don't think American novels are in trouble read this.
A plea to a talk show host to save the novel! Oh my, what
times we live in.
A young woman wrote to us a few weeks ago, "excuse me for
asking but what, exactly, is a blog?" Let this Business Week
article take you through what blogs are doing and the
bandwagon people are leaping on.
| ||>>>>>>>>> t h e f r e e p r e s s <<<<<<<<<<<<<|
This is an excellent resource to scope out the critical view
of mass media.
In the Philippines it is dangerous to call attention to
The focus is on the demise of the newspaper and its possible
salvation. Everyone is giving an opinion on this.
Newspapers will learn what every person must learn:
Transform or die. In some ways it will be a very exciting
time for newspapers.
The assistant professor at NYU chimes in with his take. Whatever
the fate of print, "...whether we're talking today or 10
years ago, it's not the medium, it's the reporter."
_______________________________________C O M M U N I T Y
Applications are being accepted for the 2005 Kurt Schork
Awards in International Journalism.† Two prizes worth
US$5,000 each will be awarded to a freelance journalist
covering foreign news and a reporter in a developing nation
or country in transition.
See the Tips Page for more information:
The 2005 Backspace Writers Conference will be held
June 2 in New York City.
The 2005 Iowa Summer Writing Festival runs from June 12th
through July 29th.
Shaw Guide for Writing Conferences in May.
_______________________________________E T C/ E T C/ E T C
Editor/Publisher: David Eide
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