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Wild Writing Women Magazine | Writing: Your Passport to Life

Wild Writing
Writing your passport to life
Women TM



Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline

by Constance Hale
The author of two books on language advises us on her writing philosophy

The Memoir Craze

by Cathleen Miller
The best selling author of two memoirs explains the
intimate genre's appeal

The Business of Writing

by Lisa Alpine
Lisa deconstructs the starving artist myth

by Jacqueline Harmon Butler
The muse visits Jacqueline in some surprising places

Writing for the Web

by Carla King (1 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:04 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Writing: Your Passport to Life

The WWW's own personal Web dominatrix shows you how it's done

The Literary Hotel: Where B & B Means Bed and Books

by Cathleen Miller
These inns provide a cozy haven for bibliophiles

Writing 10 Tips for Beginning Writers

Tips Cathleen figures that even Virginia Woolf started somewhere.

10 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

Appreciate how Pamela overcame writer's block to write this

10 Tips for Making Money as a Writer

Haven't penned a bestseller yet? Lisa has other ideas on how to
make money from your writing skills.

Mining for Gold on the Internet

Jacqueline offers tips on searching for new markets.

The Economist's Style Tips

Orwell wrote them, The Economist uses them, Lisa practices

After the End

Jacqueline tells you what to do after you've toasted the
completion of your manuscript.

Raw Readings
Lisa lets the audience become part of the creative process.

The Potato Exercise

Lisa shows how even the humble potato can provide

Links to the WWW (Wonderful World of Writing)

Cathleen compiles a list of our favorites.
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Wild Writing Women Magazine | Writing: Your Passport to Life

Columns Food Flirt

Jacqueline on mouth-watering fiction

Gear and Gadgets

Carla teaches you how to create an online travelogue

Lisa tells you why she whistles while she works

Miller To Go
Cathy tours literary Dublin

What Goes Contributions from our students

Around River of Words: Pamela Michael presents some of the
poems she receives from children around the world as part of
her work with River of Words.

Reports Books About Writing

& Reviews From inspiration to reference, here are our picks.

Daunt Books for Travellers

Cathy finds a travel reader's haven in London.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:04 PM]

Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline by Constance Hale

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline
Women TM by Constance Hale

Guest contributor Constance Hale shares her writing philosophy with WWW readers.


We're sorry. This article is no longer available.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© [1/2/10 1:17:05 PM]

The Memoir Craze, by Cathleen Miller

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing The Memoir Craze
Women TM by Cathleen Miller

In recent years critics have maligned the "memoir craze" as a

self-indulgent diversion where writers (and everyone else)
try to outdo one another with the revelation of every facet of
their lives--from the most lethally boring minutia available,
to the most sordid secrets imaginable. Agents, editors, and
publishers change their minds hourly about the genre's
status: the memoir's in--oops sorry!--the memoir's out, as if
they were peddling shoes at Macy's.

None of these groups seems interested in considering what makes memoirs popular with
readers: America is a nation of 250 million voyeurs. Everyone wants
to know the private details of other people's business--what goes on behind closed doors. How
does my life compare with everyone else's? This explains the explosion in popularity of
nonfiction writing in general, and autobiographical writing in particular, with books like The
Liar's Club, Angela's Ashes, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius topping
bestseller charts. (This same voyeuristic obsession can be extended to tabloid journalism--
which today has become almost all journalism, and the proliferation of reality TV and daytime
talk shows that delve into the lurid details of ordinary people's lives.)

While on the surface the memoir obsession may seem like just another fad, I believe the
reasons for its popularity can be explained by transitions in our society. All of the old ground
rules have been cast aside: most of us no longer structure our lives by the tenets of the church;
we're separated from the stability of our childhood homes and families. And the careers and
material rewards we embraced as the guiding light for all our days, fizzled out when we maxed
the credit cards at the same time our employers discovered they could create profit by axing
thousands of workers and making half the workforce do twice the amount of work. Even the
lucky ones are questioning what to do once they cash in their stock options. So where does that
leave us? Millions of people are looking for answers, someone to tell them how to live their
lives, and by
reading memoirs, we can sample other people's
lives, try them on for size and see how they fit.
In short, trends change, but human nature doesn't. We are all in this strange life together, and (1 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:08 PM]

The Memoir Craze, by Cathleen Miller

it helps to have someone to talk to. Maybe your circle of cronies and acquaintances haven't had
the experiences you've had, or the experiences you're curious about. Aha! Enter the beauty of
autobiographical literature. A memoir can take you into the thoughts and feelings of someone
else's life with an honesty that few of your best friends will provide.

My passion is nonfiction, as I consider reality more

fascinating than anything I could create. Like most of my fellow
nonfiction writers, I possess an infinite curiosity about the world; this passion for life keeps us
going--traveling the globe, looking under rocks, seeking new experiences, gathering data,
delving into the psyche of everyone from field hands to heads of state. We report back to
readers on our findings, knowing that the best nonfiction narratives enable them to feel like
they're living the experience with us. I look at my own life as a laboratory for material, much
like the mad scientist who tries his latest concoction on himself. And like the mad scientist,
oftentimes the outcome of my experiments may provide empirical knowledge for the observer,
but turn me into a freak in the process.

After I had taken on the assignment of writing Waris Dirie's story, Desert Flower, I met her for
the first time in New York. I asked her why she wanted to write this book, and she gave me two
reasons: 1) Waris wanted to publicize the issue of female genital mutilation and tell the truth
about its horrors from her firsthand account and, 2) she wanted to educate the American public
about the beauty of Somalia, because she felt that all the Western world knew of her homeland
was poverty, drought, famine, and war.

I felt that the first goal was easily attainable. But the second one presented a considerable
challenge. As two seemingly unrelated events become fused in a person's mind because they
happened at the same time, Waris and Bill Clinton's tribulations became fused in mine.
While I was furiously writing Desert Flower, the media storm was
breaking over Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. I remember thinking
wryly: "If I can put a positive spin on Somalia for American readers, then perhaps when I get
through with this book I'll get a job helping the Clinton administration."

Another challenge of writing Desert Flower was in understanding a

person who was seemingly the complete opposite of me: a black
woman from Somalia who had grown up as a nomad in the desert,
worked as a maid in London, then transitioned to lead the glamorous
life of an international fashion model and human rights activist. By
comparison I was a white woman who had grown up in a strict
Baptist household in the swampy Missouri cotton fields, worked in advertising in San
Francisco, then transitioned to the decidedly non-glamorous life of a writer and academic. I
feared that I would be unable to relate to Waris's life and thus the book's message would ring
hollow. (2 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:08 PM]

The Memoir Craze, by Cathleen Miller

I needn't have worried. After spending over a hundred hours interviewing her, we found out
that we had numerous points in common: we were both victims of strict, patriarchal
upbringings that left us resentful and angry; we both grew up in the wide open spaces and
moved to cities that left us feeling disconnected from nature; we'd both left home as teenagers
and spent the rest of our lives searching for a place to fit in; we both viewed the world of
business with queasiness and mistrust; and we both shared the same grievances against men
that any session of "girl talk" will usually unearth. When I began to write the book, I paid close
attention to areas where I felt a special connection to Waris, knowing that these episodes would
relate to readers from every culture. To date, Desert Flower has been published in sixteen
countries, sold over two million copies, and ranked on the bestseller lists of England, Ireland,
Germany, Holland and New Zealand. But my biggest gratification has been comments from
readers that tell me they connected with Waris's story like I did: "This extraordinary biography
describes in perfect detail her journey through seemingly unconquerable feats that leaves the
reader gasping for breath with laughter and having to put the book down because you can't see
for the tears."

I employed the same narrative

techniques I used in Desert Flower to
write my memoir about moving to rural
Pennsylvania. In The Birdhouse
Chronicles, my husband, Kerby, and I
move from Pacific Heights in San
Francisco to a ramshackle farmhouse in
the midst of an Amish cornpatch in
Zion. I use sensory images to make
readers feel like they're right there
beside us, watching buggies bounce
down the dirt road--lanterns swinging
in the darkness, canning tomatoes,
burying rabbits, catching fireflies, and
exorcising spirits from our old house.
During the course of the book, we struggle to transform ourselves from frantic city dwellers to
unflappable country dwellers.

In the narrative I include a wealth of seemingly mundane daily details to create an old-
fashioned sensibility of time--a sensibility that hails from an era when every action was not
measured by its cold-cash profitability. The result is a portrait--not only of our lives--but of a
way of life that is rapidly vanishing from the American landscape.

Critics have called memoirists every evil adjective that derives from the word "self": self-
indulgent, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self ish . But writing a memoir is the
antithesis of selfishness. It is the art of offering one's life as a lesson to others, and displaying (3 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:08 PM]

The Memoir Craze, by Cathleen Miller

all one's embarrassing foibles and failures in the process. What's could be less selfish than that?

Portions of this essay originally appeared in Contemporary Authors.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (4 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:08 PM]

The Business of Writing by Lisa Alpine

Wild Writing: Your Passport to Life

The Business of Writing
Women TM Deconstructing the Starving Artist Myth
by Lisa Alpine

How DO you make a living as a writer? It is not an impossible dream. Let me

share with you many tips that will facilitate living the writer's life. These
include: marketing your writing effectively, multiple ways to make money with
your writing skills, time management, financial planning, and lifestyle choices.
Let's rewire your life to make it work for you in a creative way.

Be the turtle, not the hare

Prepping your mind and body for success
Can you afford to be an artist?
Making a living as a writer
Marketing your writing


Make a long-term commitment to your passion. Don't think your writing should support you
immediately--it's a child and won't be an adult for quite a while. Experts say it takes upwards of five
years to grow a successful business.

Be committed but realistic about your writing. Yes, you can write, but you aren't
Ernest Hemingway or Barbara Kingsolver. Editors will not be licking your boots
and begging you to write another novel.

Your writer's ego is fragile and will have a lot better chance of surviving the
turbulent waters of rejection and acceptance if you are patient yet persistent,
confident yet humble.


When you work for yourself, you are the janitor, bookkeeper, innovator and CEO. That takes a
tremendous amount of focus and energy. The learning curve is extremely high and challenging, but
when you work for yourself, you reap the benefits of your efforts. In order to achieve this success,
you need to have good energy and health.

Energy maintenance: Notice where your energy goes. It fuels your life. Are you using it to
enhance and create, or do you worry and spin your wheels? This may be the most difficult change to
make in your life--getting control of you and learning to deconstruct the internal stress patterns. (1 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:11 PM]

The Business of Writing by Lisa Alpine

The mind uses a tremendous amount of energy to think and weave its
stories. It is usually out of control--rather like an undisciplined child. I
don't think the Western mind understands its true function. We are not
our brain; it's just an organ with a job to do. Give it assignments and
when it completes them, let your brain take a well-deserved rest. Learn
to not think by creating down time for your mind, a time that is quiet
when there is no mental activity. Perhaps going for a hike in nature or getting a massage. Many
creative ideas and solutions come out of the "no mind" state that is induced through relaxation and
letting go of mental focus.

Dietary maintenance. The brain needs calories to function properly and I get very hungry when
I write. In the past I would skip breakfast and exist on coffee when I was on deadline. I thought
"who needs calories when you are just sitting in a chair typing?" But what I discovered was that my
brain would shut off rather suddenly and I would go blank. Welcome to low blood sugar!

The brain needs protein and fluids to function. I suggest creating a "brain food" meal you eat before
you sit down to write. High in protein, low in carbohydrates and sugars. Think omelets and keep a
glass of water at your desk--or even better--a water bottle with a secure top.

Sleep maintenance . Fatigue causes "foggy mind" and you can't write a sentence worth reading in
that state. The deepest rest happens before midnight so if you have a creative writing project or
deadline slated for the next day, get to bed before 11 p.m. if possible. Don't watch violent or
depressing movies before you go to sleep. Create a peaceful state of rest. Be a mental Olympic
athlete and train yourself to succeed with the energy you need.

Relationship maintenance. I personally believe stable relationships are a great boon to

creativity, but your partner, family and friends need to really understand and appreciate your
artistic efforts. If you feel undercurrents of competition or belittling that you are a writer, stand up
for yourself and ask for their support. Surround yourself with other writers and artists, people who
understand the ups and downs of creativity.

If you aren't in a writer's group already, join one or start one. The editing meetings keep you on
track and give you deadlines, plus the feedback is a constant source of learning for improving your
writing skills.

Time maintenance. How much time is spent during your workday talking to
friends on the phone about their latest breakup or an epiphany you had in the
hot tub last night? I've wasted a lot of deadline time in this manner. Time
management is like dieting, you need to cut out the fat (unless you are on the
Atkins Diet).

Figure out a writing schedule that you can stick to. In order for this to work, you need to eliminate
all distractions--unplug the phone, turn off the stereo, stay away from the refrigerator and don't
suddenly decide it's time to clean the house (my house is always the cleanest when I have a writing
deadline). (2 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:11 PM]

The Business of Writing by Lisa Alpine


One of the main areas of stress in people's lives is money or lack of it. If you get smart about your
resources, you can overcome the roadblock of debt and money worries. This does not mean you will
become a millionaire, it means you'll use common sense in financial matters and take control of the
wheel so that you can open up space in your life to write and be creative.

How can you tailor your life to meet your income? I don't own a cell phone or have cable modem. I
drive a Saturn. I don't shop unless I really need something. I get airline tickets through my Mileage
Plus program. I avoid credit card debt and bank charges. I still clean my own home. I have no goals
to be a multimillionaire; my goal is for my art to support me.

Educate yourself about financial management and budgeting. Take a course, read one of Suze
Orman's books, ask friends how they manage their money. Be frugal but not a tightwad--that in
itself is a sign of stress and if you aren't enjoying yourself--what's the point?

MAKING A LIVING AS A WRITER: How to organize a freelance writing business

Be organized! Don't think an elf is magically going to organize all the paperwork piles around your
office. Deal with that paperwork daily--before it piles up and deliquesces into a big heap of worry. I
believe 50% of most people's energy goes to obsessing about what they have to do instead of just
doing it. Streamline your energy application. This means thought followed by action.

File fanatic. Develop a filing system that works for you. It should resemble the way you organize
information in your brain. Don't overlay an organizational or lifestyle model that does not match
your personality. Know thyself. It prevents the feeling that you are swimming against the tide and
never quite getting to the place where you feel organized.

● Open and deal with all mail daily. Immediately toss all junk mail.
● The same goes for your e-mail. I keep 40 messages--no more--in my box at a
time. Do a daily review of your email inbox to see what has not been dealt
● Also return all voicemail messages immediately (unless you are writing).
● When you save emails or other word documents, create file names that make
sense to you one month later.
● Keep your computer files clean and delete files immediately that are not of use.
● Use FileMaker Pro to file the names of professional contacts where you can source them by
individual and by group (Magazine Editors, Professional Writers, Friends, etc...)

I love to throw things away. Your office, and home, should be a place that feels supportive and not
cluttered with OLD business. Keep your business fresh by constantly tossing the excess. Get rid of
those piles of paperwork that are daunting and create a mess on your desk.

MARKETING YOUR WRITING (3 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:11 PM]

The Business of Writing by Lisa Alpine

Be prepared for rejection but be consistent, focused and diligent in contacting editors and keeping
the query letters flowing. It will pay off! That is the law of nature. The turtle is the one that made it
to the finish line, not the hare.

With thousands of newspapers and magazines in the U.S., writing feature articles is
the backbone of many writers' income.

There are several ways to find out which publications are appropriate for your
writing subject and style. You can start the process right now by hopping on the Internet search
engine train (or check the list of links included in the Writer's Tips section).

You can search Google for a specific magazine or do a search for a genre that matches your subject
material. After perusing their Web site, go to the submission guidelines page. If you can't find it on
the site (sometimes they are buried deep), go back to Google and type in, for example, "submission
guidelines for San Francisco Chronicle travel section."

After you study the guidelines closely and I recommend giving the editor a phone
call to request information directly from the source. Most students who take my
classes are not enthusiastic about reaching out in this way and think the editor
will be offended. I promote the idea that it is healthy and totally correct to contact
the person you want to do business with and start up a professional relationship.
This means that if you get to speak directly to the editor, don't waste their time
explaining yourself. Keep the purpose of the phone call clear and to the point and ask them, "What
do you want for your editorial section and is there some way I can provide that?" Maybe they'll tell
you to get lost. Never mind. Just submit your query or article via snail or email, following the
format they specify in their guidelines. They will never remember your name anyway, so don't think
it will detract from your chances of getting published if they are annoyed that you called.

Here is a big secret: the more special interests you have, the more chances you have for publication.
Special interest magazines sometimes pay more due to their captive audience and advertiser base
and there isn't as much competition as when you query mainstream publications.

One of my many occupations and passions is whitewater kayaking. I've become

known as a female journalist who can write about whitewater expeditions for
adventure magazines and sport travel sections of newspapers. More esoteric than
that, one of my friends is a travel writer who loves dressage. A tour operator found
out that she is an equestrian and invited her on a riding tour of the Irish coast. She sold this story to
several equestrian magazines that paid quite well.

Another market that you can submit stories to is anthologies. They usually pay a pittance ($100 to
$200) but are good for the ego and give you a longer shelf life than articles.

Good Stories Never Die. Obviously, you can't make a living selling one article. My solution--
multiple submissions. This means you query several publications at the same time on the same
story idea. It is like fishing--one hook can catch one fish--a net can bring in a bounty! (4 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:11 PM]

The Business of Writing by Lisa Alpine

Again, there is the issue of, "What if they all want the article?" Oh, what a nice dilemma! I say to my
students. Ask them how much they pay, and tell them you are offering "one time North American
rights." This means they can publish it once and you own it and can do whatever you want with it.
This is controversial, as many big publications want exclusive rights. Fine. But are they paying you
enough to give them this exclusivity? Rights are negotiable! Again, check the Writer's Tips section
for a list of links that will help educate you on this subject.

My policy is a good story never dies. That means it has a shelf life and I can just keep updating the
sidebar information and re-circulating it to markets farther a field. For example, I have a story
about a sea kayaking tour around an island in the Sea of Cortez. It is a timeless piece and when I sell
it again, I just update the information in the sidebar. (Of course, this does not work if the place or
tour changes or there is a timeliness to the article that only makes it relevant shortly after it's

Send queries out en masse and keep track of submissions. Create a map and
timeline for submissions and contacts. I usually recommend a plan that
incorporates writing one story a month and submitting it to five to ten
publications. Keep this program up for a year to see how things progress.

In order to not have to reinvent the wheel every single time, keep a thorough and
useful mailing list including email addresses so you can just paste the editor name and address into
the query letters.

Persistence pays off. I take the turtle approach to success. You would be surprised how many
editors think they have published my stuff just because I've called them and chatted so many times.

Take yourself seriously and life will respond in kind. Are you constantly improving your writing
skills? Deadlines (external or self-imposed) do it; taking classes and participating in writing group
meetings will help, too. Approach your creative career from all fronts and before you know it, you
will be living the writer's life.


See Lisa's related article 10 Tips for Making Money as a Writer.

The Business of Writing is just one of many writing workshops Lisa Alpine teaches at The
Writing Salon in San Francisco, Book Passage in Corte Madera and her studio in Marin County.
To find out when she is offering the next course, and all the other workshops on her calendar,
go to

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (5 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:11 PM]

Inspiration by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Inspiration
Women TM by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Inspiration for stories comes from the most unexpected places. You imagine you'll come up with
ideas while walking in the woods, wading along the seashore, listening to beautiful music or
looking out at the view from the window of your study. Sure, all these situations are where one
would expect enlightenment to show up. But for me inspiration comes at the oddest times in the
strangest places.

For example, I had just arrived at my boyfriend Claudio's home in Italy a few
years ago to shocking news. His other girlfriend was pregnant, and that very
afternoon her parents had kicked her out of the house and she had no other
place to go except Claudio's. It all seemed like a bad dream. And, because I
was planning on spending a week with him, I hadn't made arrangements for a
hotel. It was already evening when I arrived, so I agreed to stay the night. I
tossed and turned in the master bedroom at the top of the house while Claudio
and the other girlfriend slept in the twin beds one floor below.

It wasn't one of my favorite memories. However, the next morning in a fit of inspiration and
frustration, I began to re-work my novel, "Sono Claudio." I had already decided to change it from a
memoir to a fictional story and with the new situation my imagination caught fire. I spent the
entire day writing and plotting and drafting the story all the way to the end. Yes,
I used
the pregnant girlfriend bit, but from there on, the story is
completely fictional. I turned the other girlfriend into a lying venomous bitch who
would stop at nothing to trap Claudio into a relationship with her.

Another unlikely muse appeared a year or so ago when I was lying flat out on a gurney in the
emergency room, so dizzy I couldn't walk. There were countless medical people swirling around,
poking at me, and asking questions. While they were waiting for my lab tests to be completed they
moved on to other emergency patients and left me alone. Well, you can imagine I was scared. I
thought I might be dying--I certainly felt like I was. My usual meditations and methods of relaxing
weren't working, so in desperation an idea for a new novel began to form and I started plotting the
story as I lay on the gurney.

I decided that my heroine--I named her Julie Taylor--would be dying of a rare disease and was
given six months to live. The more I thought about Julie and her story, the more I began to relax.
Making up Julie's illness and problems and figuring out what she was going to do completely took
my mind off my own situation.

As medical people passed by me, I told them I was working on a new novel and
asked them questions about Julie's possible illness. What kind of disease might she (1 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:14 PM]

Inspiration by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

have that would be deadly, but wouldn't incapacitate her? She

have any physical signs of her illness and be able to
function quite normally while her ailment was
slowly killing her. The concept ignited as we talked about all sorts of exciting topics like
pancreatic cancer and leukemia. One of my doctors referred to pancreatic cancer as "peek and
shriek" because that's what happens when they open someone up and find that type of cancer. It is
quick and deadly. But I wanted something that could magically be healed or misdiagnosed or just
go away to provide more freedom with my plot.

Well, you can imagine the reaction from the medical staff to my constant questions. They were
captivated. It got so that various staff members would stop by every so often to hear more about the

One sleepless night, when my usual getting-to-sleep aids weren't working at all, I tried using what
had always been a foolproof way to doze off. I imagined I was in Venice, and I was walking from the
apartment where I usually stay near the Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio to the Piazza San Marco. I
visualized the entire walk, all the little bridges, all the restaurants and houses. I checked out the
wares in all the shop windows. I pictured myself in front of my favorite antique jewelry store. The
shop keeps the lights on all night to illuminate the windows where the collections are displayed by
stone: rubies in one tray, sapphires in another, emeralds and diamonds and pearls in yet others. I
always like to play a game with myself that if I could choose one of the trays, which one would it
be? The only rule was that I could select just one tray, and all the jewels on that tray. But even the
total concentration of remembering each treasure in the collection didn't put me to sleep. I was
getting nervous because I was almost to the Piazza San Marco and still wide-awake.

In desperation, I imagined a totally new shop, one I had never seen before. Although
was late at night, the lights were still on, shining on exquisite
silk garments shimmering in the window. The door was open so I went (2 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:14 PM]

Inspiration by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

inside to look around. Almost hidden on a rack of garments, I

discovered an incredible strawberry red silk dress. On impulse I tried it
on, and magically it fit perfectly. As I twirled around in front of the
mirrors I felt that I had never been more beautiful. Every detail of the
dress burned itself into my memory and I happily fell asleep wearing
that dress. I couldn't forget about it.

The dress haunted my thoughts and I constantly saw myself dancing in

the Piazza San Marco wearing the strawberry red dress. It wasn't until a
week later, while driving my car across town, that I finally realized that
I had to give that dress to Susan (the heroine in "Sono Claudio). I
stomped and raged about it for days and finally agreed that I would give
"my" dress to Susan. It was another turning point in the writing of the
story. From there I virtually flew to the ending--the happy, romantic

Years ago I read a book that recommended for those of us whose

families never supported our dreams or offered the kind of
encouragement we wanted, to create a fantasy family. They could be living or dead. So I did. It is a
wonderful family and I still call on some of them sometimes to help me. There was Uncle Vincent
Van Gogh who helped me with color. Uncle Fred Astair who danced with me and thought I was
very graceful. Grandmother Eleanor Roosevelt who encouraged me to be who I am. I chose Jane
Fonda as my workout leader but she was a little hard on me so I replaced her with Dolly Parton
who always called me "honey" as she coaxed me into exercising.

I got myself into a bit of trouble with my real family

over my fictional family. I telephoned my daughter one day to say that I
had a wonderful conversation with Uncle Vincent and he had inspired me to create a
new painting. I went on and on about how excited I was.

"Who's Uncle Vincent?" Laura inquired.

"Vincent Van Gogh," I replied.

"Mom, isn't he dead? How could you have a conversation with him?"

I tried to explain about my imaginary family but I could tell Laura thought I'd stepped off the deep

A day or so later my son Tim called and asked in a very serious voice, "so Mom, do you want to tell
me about Uncle Vincent?'

I was pretty much amused by the whole incident but I know for certain that I had them worried
about my sanity for a while. (3 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:14 PM]

Inspiration by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Months later on Laura's birthday I gathered a big paint box with brushes, canvases, and various
other art supplies. I wrapped it all up in a plain brown package and tied it up with string. In what I
hoped looked like Van Gogh's handwriting, I wrote: "To Laura, Happy Birthday, Love, Uncle
Vincent." Laura's long-time roommate took a look at it and asked, "Who's Uncle Vincent?"

Well, I thought if that idea worked so well, why not a literary group? I had had a falling out with my
normal support group and had spent a couple of days on the pity-pot feeling like no one
understood me. So I created a new group. I call them the Board of Directors. They consist of: F.
Scott Fitzgerald, who helps me weave romance and magic into my stories. Annie Lamott, who
keeps me realistic about story and pacing. Charles Dickens to help me with memorable characters.
Rosamunde Pilcher for her sense of place and ability to bring surroundings alive. And Maeve
Binchy for her ability to weave magic around normal, everyday people. I added Isabel Allende
because she is so full of love and good will that she brings a healing energy over the whole group.

When I was much younger my real family worried over my active imagination. My mother thought
I spent too much time daydreaming. At one point in high school, I thought I was crazy because of
all the characters I created and situations I made up. As an adult I realize that
those voices were telling me their stories so I would write them. Susan Paige
and Julie Taylor are extensions of myself, I know that. But I also know that
they are my best friends and will guide me in telling their stories.

But I've got to run, because right now the Board of Directors is pressuring me
for the next chapter and Dolly is sweet-talking me into going out for a walk.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (4 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:14 PM]

Writing for the Web by Carla King

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Writing for the Web
Women TM by Carla King

Study after study shows that readers read differently when they're reading on their
computer than when they're reading a printed page. If you're writing today, you're
probably writing for the Web. Luckily, there are many of great articles on how to
write for the Web. Here are my best recommendations.

Online Writing Tips

Weblogs (Blogs)

Online Writing Tips

Johnathan Dube's Online Writing Tips is focused on writing news features, but anyone writing for
the Web, online travelogues included, would do well to listen to his advice, including, "take risks,
but heed the basics," and, "never bury the lead."

Read Mark Bernstein's 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web for some honest words: write for a
reason, write often, write tight, make good friends, find good enemies, and be sexy.

Daniel Will Harris' Writing for the Web is a good, short description of how writing for the Web is
not so different than writing for print, and how to be effective online by formatting your page
correctly. "Use plenty of subheads," is one recommendation. "People skim headings looking for
specific topics—so use subheads liberally. If you started by creating an outline, your outline
headings will automatically become subheads." Make sense? Sound obvious? So does his other
great advice.

Good stories often include quotes from sources in the know. Don't forget to follow good
interviewing etiquette when you're collecting your data. Check out the very good email interviewing
tips by Sandeep Junnarkar for Poynter Online.

Weblogs (Blogs) (1 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:16 PM]

Writing for the Web by Carla King

Are you thinking of using the Weblog as your online journal? I love Dennis A. Mahoney's How to
Write a Better Weblog, which starts with a classic example of professional vs. amateur writing:

The professional writer writes:

New York is magnificent in spring.

The amateur writer writes:

I know this is a cliché nowadays, especially after 9/11, but I live in New York,
which is much cleaner and safer now because of Giuliani, who really ought to
be president after handling the crisis so well, and I know I’ve had some issues in
the past with the mayor’s handling of the NYPD in regard to African Americans
and his war against art involving sacred religious icons and feces (hello!?
freedom of expression!?), but when all is said and done, New York, as maybe
the best example of the ‘melting pot’ etc. etc., is a great city, especially when it
starts getting warmer and people go outside more, like around March or April. you agree?

Weblogs began as a way to share

comments on the news, but have
quickly become a way to disseminate
your opinion about anything. To be a
popular blogger, you need to be a great
writer or have a really hot topic;
preferably both. Here's where "niche"
really works.

One of my favorite blogs is Rebecca

Blood's Rebecca's Pocket. She literally
wrote the book on Weblogs, and
though her interests are broad, her site
really works. If you're going to start a
Weblog, please take a look at hers first.
You'll probably find it easier to focus on just one topic, for example, I chose to make my focus
Motorcycle Misadventures, though I also write bicycle travel articles, technical articles, and general
adventure stories.

A Weblog is also a great way to keep an online journal for sharing because you can post from any
computer anywhere by accessing a Web page. I'm finding the Typepad tool extremely user friendly,
and it costs only about $5.00 a month. (2 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:16 PM]

Writing for the Web by Carla King

Hypertext (linking to details)

When writing for the Web it's important to link to deeper sources of information, or sources of
tangential information you think your readers will appreciate. If your article is long, you'll want to
break it up into titled sections and link those using anchor links hooked to a table of contents at the
beginning of the page -- or from a sidebar.

Here are several ways to link to different Web pages or to information on the same page:

1) Here's an example of an inline hyperlink like to my Motorcycle Why use a sidebar instead of an
Misadventures blog. inline hyperlink? If you've got a
lot of links, it's more important
that your reader isn't disrupted
2) You can collect links in a reference box or sidebar like the one by hyperlinks in your text. So list
them here, or at the end of your
to the right. article, like this:

3) You can list all the links in a footnote at the end of your article. Rebecca's Pocket
Motorcycle Misadventures
4) You can create an anchor link that connects items on the same
page. The list of headings at the top of this page is an example of an anchor link. When you click on
the heading for "Weblog" the reader jumps to that section.

Be selective about links when you're writing for the Web. Your readers, and your editor, will
appreciate it.


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:16 PM]

Bibendum in the Afternoon, by Cathleen Miller

Writing: Your Passport to Life

The Literary Hotel:
Writing Where B & B means Bed & Books
Women TM by Cathleen Miller

The lobby of the Algonquin offers the type of sedately luxurious parlor we'd all have if we'd
chosen our ancestors more carefully--and they'd left us something besides our damned good
looks and rapier wit. The grand room features coffered ceilings lit by amber Venetian sconces,
dark oak paneling punctuated by Corinthian columns, and old-money furnishings. The
comfortable wing-back chairs, red leather settees, reading lamps, folding screens and tea tables
form oodles of cozy nooks for conversing, devouring books, sipping cocktails, or plotting the
overthrow of a government--in fact or in fiction.

The centenarian Algonquin is the dowager of America's

literary hotels, an unusual breed of establishment which
offers both shelter to the transient, and safe haven for lovers
of the written word. These inns provide a focus on books,
either through their long association with scribes, or their
current promotion of literature through readings, signings,
and publishing parties. Bibliophiles can usually count on
literary hotels to offer a comfortable library, books to peruse
for their enjoyment, or even events where guests can meet
writers. These inns are places where the contemplative life is
celebrated, not shattered by big screen TVs blasting through
you like an x-ray machine.

The Algonquin is, of course, also renowned as the birthplace

of the Algonquin Round Table, the 1920s literary set that
included Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander
Woolcott and Harold Ross, who founded The New Yorker
using the stable of talent he lunched with daily at a soon-to-
be-legendary round table in the hotel dining room. The
regulars would stumble in hung-over each day, joined by a
revolving group of peripherals which included everyone from
Edmund Wilson to Harpo Marx. In the evening, the young
writers would dash off to the theater, and then to a friend's
apartment for liberal doses of bathtub gin--since Prohibition
relocated the gin from the public house to the private toilet. The Vicious Circle
A portrait of the infamous Algonquin
Round Table
Perhaps the Algonquin's long attraction to the literary set,
however, is one that continues to this day when authors like Reynolds Price and Studs Terkel (1 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:19 PM]

Bibendum in the Afternoon, by Cathleen Miller

come calling: the Algonquin's policy of protecting the privacy of their guests, sheltering the
sensitive artist from the overwhelming demands of the city.

One senior bell captain tells of how William Faulkner used to arrive and swear him to secrecy.
Faulkner hid out at the Algonquin to work on his books, while he was supposed to be in
Hollywood writing screenplays.

The Library Hotel--as the name would suggest--is another

addition to New York's literary hostelries. Appropriately
positioned a block from the New York Public Library, this
boutique hotel opened in 2000 and is a booklover's paradise.

Rooms have a tranquil Zen quality and each is furnished with

books grouped around a theme. For example, the Love Room
offers the titles Aphrodisiac, Kisses, Kama Sutra, and
Casanova, making the suite a good spot for brushing up on
some of the finer points of amour.

But what really makes this hotel special are the public rooms
where you want to curl up and read throughout your stay--
leaving Manhattan to honk and grind itself to a pulp without
your participation. Breakfast is served in the Reading Room,
a light-filled space lined with over 1,000 books. The fourteenth floor offers two secluded nooks
for contemplation: the Writer's Den, a study with leather chairs and fireplace; and the Poetry
Garden, a cheerful greenhouse with a private wrap-around terrace.

Not to be outdone, the Left Coast has two equally delicious literary hotels of its own. San
Francisco, a city infested by bookworms, sports the Monticello Inn, a small boutique hotel at
Union Square. As the name would suggest, the Monticello is decorated as an inn where Thomas
Jefferson would feel at home, loaded with overstuffed chintz upholstery, traditional
furnishings, and a library with a wood-burning fireplace. Each Wednesday the hotel offers
literary events--ranging from writer's salons to author's readings. The salons are attended by a
mix of the Bay Area literati and hotel guests. Over a glass of wine, featured speakers discuss
everything from self publishing to travel writing.

The Monticello features an innovative Book Honor Bar, a

take off on the mini-bar, but you become literate instead of
hung-over. Cellophane-wrapped volumes are placed in each
room, and if a guest breaks the seal and takes a book home,
the item is charged to the bill.

A few blocks away is the Hotel Rex, which offers an Art Deco
lobby that's reminiscent of a 1930's men's club. The dimly- (2 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:19 PM]

Bibendum in the Afternoon, by Cathleen Miller

lit room offers an intimate ambiance, with original portraits,

period library tables, antiquarian books and leather club
chairs--a place where Dashiell Hammett would look at home
sipping a martini. Cocktails are available from the sleek
chrome and glass bar, which reflects liquor bottles and
vintage globes. The Rex has been the scene of many
publishing parties, from signings to book launches, and is a
preferred lodging site for visiting authors.

The trait all these hotels share is offering bibliophiles the chance to be surrounded by the
objects they love--even when they're away from home. And in today's current frantic society,
perhaps the chance to actually stretch out and read a good book--in a strange city where no one
knows how to find you.


For more information visit the hotels' Web sites:

The Algonquin
The Library Hotel
The Monticello Inn
The Hotel Rex

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:19 PM]

10 Tips for Beginning Writers by Cathleen Miller

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Wild Virginia Woolf Started Somewhere

Writing 10 Tips for Beginning Writers
Women TM
by Cathleen Miller

So you want to be a writer. Why not a movie star? Why not an astronaut? Why not president?
Maybe you could take Queen Elizabeth's place when she steps down--now there's a more
accessible career to consider.

Admitting the desire to be a writer to ourselves --much less others--can seem so ridiculously
daunting that we cringe at the mere thought. Yet, I have personally known dozens of people who
took that first step, i.e. actually writing vs. talking about writing, and they have begun publishing
in less than a year. If you think about it, that's rather like starting piano lessons and giving your
first concert a year later.

As for myself, I published the first story I ever wrote, not because I'm a prodigy, but because I
felt like I had nothing to lose by trying. If you're nutty enough to mutter those words to yourself,
"I want to be a writer," then here are some steps to start you down that Sisyphean path:

1. Keep a journal. Don't show this journal to anyone, which frees you from censoring
yourself. Give yourself permission to write anything that comes into your head, even
thoughts crazier than, "I want to be a writer." This freedom primes the pump and let's you
become adept at transmitting your thoughts into the written word.

2. Set a weekly writing schedule for yourself and stick to it. Yeah, I know the pros all say they
write everyday. But in the beginning--when you're working two jobs to pay the rent--you
may not have that luxury. Tell everyone you go to church on Sunday mornings, unplug the
phone, and then write till noon. If you write five pages a day, in a year you'll have a book.

3. Take classes. Whether it's a one-day workshop at the local bookstore or an MFA program,
having someone else help you with the fundamentals can tame raw talent into publishable

4. Read. You must know what good literature is before you can hope to create it. Read the
classics, current bestsellers, The New Yorker, the daily paper. Give away your TV and
devote your evenings to becoming enriched and informed instead of "entertained."

5. Join a writing group. One of the reasons so many writers are nuts is that they spend their
lives alone in a room. Having other people critique your work offers invaluable feedback,
because we writers are artists who seldom have direct contact with our audience.

6. Jealously guard your time. If you're serious about becoming a good--no--great writer, (1 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:20 PM]

10 Tips for Beginning Writers by Cathleen Miller

there is one fact you cannot dispute: the more time you put into the practice of writing,
the more chance you have of achieving excellence. This means eliminating other
distractions that waste your time and sap your energy.

7. Learn to take criticism without becoming defensive. One of the toughest challenges of
being a writer is learning who to listen to and who to tune out. Seek the opinion of
colleagues whose work you respect, and those who seem to have your best interests at

8. Protect your dream by avoiding negative people. You know, that friend who always
cackles when she asks, "So when is your bestseller coming out?" Stay away from her. And
that blouse you bought for her birthday? You can go in the bedroom and put that on right

9. Submit your work for publication. It's important to begin to build a body of published
work--whether it's your neighborhood paper or The Atlantic Monthly. Be brave. Send
your darlings out into the world and see what happens.

10. Rejection is part of the game. It happened to James Joyce and it will happen to you. If you
hear the same reason for rejection over and over, pay attention. Otherwise, forge ahead
and like Joyce, let literary history vindicate you. Oh, and be sure to send an autographed
copy of your bestseller to that friend for her birthday.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:20 PM]

Overcoming Writer's Block by Pamela Michael

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Ten Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block
Women by Pamela Michael

I Had to Overcome Writer's Block to Write This:

block (verb) to stop, hinder, impede, jam, frustrate

block (noun) obstruction, child's toy, street (as in "around the block"), building unit

Writer's Block. All writers have faced it. Indeed, anyone whose job involves creative effort has
struggled with it. (Maybe it's a conceit to imagine that only creative people have to deal with this
bugaboo; perhaps we're unaware of Plumber's Block, Banker's Block, and Truck Driver's Block.)
For some it's a sporadic and short-lived annoyance; for others it's a terrifying, career- and sanity-
threatening fog.

To look at the number of books, websites, even clubs dedicated to overcoming writer's block is to
conclude that the condition is epidemic. Some bromides counsel to "write through" it, others
suggest taking a break. Different strokes for different chokes; you'll have to experiment to see what
works for you. Years of battling this demon, admittedly one of my own creation, have afforded me
some weapons that may be of help to others. I offer them with my best wishes and heartfelt

1. Leave it alone for a while. Work on something else, or take a short break from writing altogether.
Take a walk or a swim, workout, take a bath, weed the garden. Get your blood and breath and chi

2. Change your writing location or routine. Move to the kitchen, the yard, the park, the library. If
you usually write in the morning, try writing at night.

3. Make a "sense map" of your surroundings: smells, textures, sounds, sights. Slow down and dig
deep. Embrace the subtle. Track nuance. Pay attention.

4. Change the mechanics of your writing. If you usually use a computer, write by hand. Buy a
fabulous fountain pen and some beautiful paper. Try talking into a tape recorder. Sing your
sentences. Paint your story. Dance your story. Turn your story into a poem.

5. Try "cluster" writing. Write down one word or idea, perhaps a key phrase from the piece you're
working on, circle it, then free associate, writing down phrases and words as fast as you can,
connecting one idea to the next with lines. Fill the page. Let your imagination loose. Don't question
or judge, just let it rip.

6. Seek inspiration and feedback from your friends, writing (1 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:22 PM]

Overcoming Writer's Block by Pamela Michael

group, teachers, or family.

7. Read a book. Read some poetry. Read aloud.

8. Try writing personality profiles of people you know, or of

characters from your work in progress.

9. Keep a day book or journal. You needn't make it a grand opus--just recording the weather, what
you did that day, or current events can be enough to keep your writing muscle flexed and active
until the next burst of creativity strikes.

10. Relax. It's only ink.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:22 PM]

Ten Tips for Making Money as a Writer by Lisa Alpine

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Cashing in Your Words
10 Tips for Making a Living as a Writer
Women TM by Lisa Alpine

No more living in a chilly Parisian garret dining on stale baguettes and

undrinkable plonk. You, the modern day writer, CAN make a living at your craft,
you just need to be resourceful and learn to mine your already developed abilities
and resources (writing and otherwise) that you can turn into money-making
ventures. Early in my writing career I started making a living using my writing skills in various ways,
and I've listed ten below.

1. Write press releases for businesses.

2. Write book proposals for people who have good ideas but can't write. If they like your book
proposal, they will more than likely hire you to ghost write the book for them. Believe me--
there are a lot of published authors who didn't write their book!

3. Write the text for web sites. Small businesses need help with this endeavor.

4. Do guidebook research. Researchers often make more money than the editor of the guidebook
who is just looking for an author's credit.

5. Write ad copy. Send exciting samples to companies large and small.

6. Create the small blurbs (usually less than 100 words) that run in the "departments" section of
magazines. Many times this is the best way to begin a relationship with a publication. Call the
editor and ask how you can submit material.

7. Sell reprints of your already published works to get maximum income from one article.

8. Call the newspapers in your area and see if they need a writer who will produce local features
on spec.

9. Promote yourself as an assistant to a professional writer who might be overwhelmed with

projects and paperwork. This way you learn the ropes from the inside. In order to offer
services, you will need to develop your skills.

10. Practice pithy prose in a medium that affects people's lives: Get a job in a fortune cookie
factory writing the messages. Think of all the perks!

How do you find these jobs? Advertise on networking sites like Post flyers
advertising your services. What to charge? Make sure to set an hourly fee that matches your skill
level. Are you still on training wheels? If so, your rate must reflect that. Join writer's organizations (1 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:23 PM]

Ten Tips for Making Money as a Writer by Lisa Alpine

that post jobs available (look under Links to the WWW for listings). Be persistent in your hunt for
writing gigs and your determination will pay off in cash dividends. (2 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:23 PM]

Mining for Gold on the Internet by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Mining for Gold on the Internet
Finding new markets for your work
Women TM by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

I often refer to my latest copy of the Writer's Market, but with the vast majority of publications
now with Web sites, I find I'm relying on my search engines (like Google and Yahoo) far more.
It's fast and easy to go to and request a search for either a publication or a more
general search of, say, newspapers, magazines, or editorial calendars. For instance, I just asked
Google to look up "magazine editorial calendars" and was amazed at the number of listings that
showed up. Possibilities I had never even thought of! Publications I've never heard of before.

Find a publication's Web site using your favorite search engine. Next, look for their writer's
guidelines and editorial calendar. A big advantage in going directly to a publication's Web site is
that you get their up-to-the-minute information, which will help you craft a story or article
especially for them. Now you're ready to start sending the editor your work.

You can narrow your search by going to the link at the bottom of the search results page and
asking for a more specific search. For instance, I began my search requesting "magazine editorial
calendars." I narrowed my search by adding the word "travel" to "magazine editorial calendars."
Almost like magic, a list of magazines with travel sections came up on my screen, some
surprising and more than a few very interesting.

Of course the possibilities for searching are endless. You could ask a search for writer's
guidelines or author's guidelines, or what about contributor's guidelines?

After spending the time researching and coming up with important information, where to store it
is often a problem. When you find a publication's Web site or other information that interests
you, be sure to bookmark it and place it in a folder called "markets" or "guidelines." Another
option is to copy the data and paste it into a Word document and save it on your hard drive in a
specifically named file. I have one I call "Writer's Markets." You can easily do a "save as" from an
Explorer page directly onto your hard drive. Just make sure to label it and save it in a place
where you can find it again, because these nuggets of information could equal a goldmine.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© [1/2/10 1:17:23 PM]

The Economist's Style Tips by Lisa Alpine

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing The Economist's Style Tips
Women TM by Lisa Alpine

I read The Economist Magazine to get a more balanced view of what is

happening around the globe. But they publish more than politics. On the first
page of their stylebook they recommend that writers follow the six rules George Orwell
Orwell set out in his 1946 essay, "Politics and the English Language." Here they

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an
everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Well, I, for one, have abused all of these "nevers" but over time I will learn.... [1/2/10 1:17:24 PM]

After "The End" by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing After "The End"
Women TM by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Well, you finally made it to the end of your book. Congratulations! You deserve
a little time off. That's right--take a break to celebrate your accomplishmentr,
have a glass of champagne, and treat yourself to a nice dinner. Put the story
away for at least a week or two and try not to think about it.

When you get ready to work on it again, take the time to read the manuscript
slowly from beginning to end. Make mental notes of what works and what
doesn't. Then read it again, and on the second time around, mark what you
think are any problem areas. This is the time to look at the total project. Does
the story work?

Revising gives you the chance to reflect on the entire narrative, and the editing
process is a good time to consider what the story is all about. How it moves from beginning to
end. You no longer have to worry about where it's going; you just want to make sure the going
will hold the reader's attention.

Ask yourself, are the characters believable? Do they retain their

unique individuality throughout? Be on guard for secondary characters that take up too much
room in the story.

Take a close look at your chapter breaks. Are they correctly

placed? Is there a natural pause between them?

You might want to take a look at your pacing of the story,

making sure that the chapters flow smoothly into each other.
Be on guard for two slow moving sections together. Your
reader might fall asleep. You want to keep the pace moving and
the pages turning.

This is the time to go over each scene, sentence by sentence, making sure the flow is smooth.
You might wind up moving a sentence or a paragraph or even a
whole chapter to give them more force.

Now comes the time when you may want to cut parts--repetitive words, sections, even whole
chapters from your book. Be ruthless. If the story isn't dramatically moved forward by a
particular scene, cut it. If you are using the same adverbs over and over, cut them. Sharpen up (1 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:26 PM]

After "The End" by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

the action. Tightening the whole manuscript can make an enormous difference. By the same
token, some scenes, sentences or chapters may need a bit of expanding to make them more

Watch out for repetitions, especially with unusual words.

They can be distracting as the reader goes along and
become tedious if used too often. Make sure you do not
repeat the same adjectives over and over. Don't repeat
statements excessively: we know she had red hair and a
wicked temper, you told us that in the first chapter, we
don't need to be reminded again and again. We
examples of how that wicked temper
manifests itself.
Save your revision and mark the file as version 2. That way you have the file of your original
manuscript intact to refer back to if you realize you cut something important.

The editorial process can be painful as you go along, sometimes deleting entire sections or
characters who don't matter to the story. However, there is an immense satisfaction in
completing the first serious revision of your manuscript, so celebrate yourself and your

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 1:17:26 PM]

Raw Readings by Lisa Alpine

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Raw Readings
Women TM by Lisa Alpine

Lately I'm entranced by giving readings from my "works in progress" instead of from the already
published story. It is so much more vulnerable for me--not just a repeat of the last book reading,
but fresh and raw. I am exposing my creative process. It can be rather like watching an artist put
the final vibrant touches on her painting, and not just listening to her talk about it as it hangs,
dusty, in the gallery.

I like to get the audience involved and intrigued by the writing process.

You might want to try this: Have a party and invite your writer friends to read from stories they
are in the process of writing. They do have to be well-edited even if they aren't completed. And
when you read, what if you ask their opinion on two different endings? It's a theatrical way of
getting feedback. But can you handle it? Or do you want to be perfect all the time and not reveal
that many times the artist stands at a crossroads of decision?

Try it. I call it a " raw reading" and it still scares me. In fact I did it last night at our Wild Writing
Women Literary Salon in San Francisco. Six of us read from works-in-progress--fiction and
nonfiction. The audience loved the behind-the-story stories we told on how (and why) these
yarns were being birthed. I read from "The Coptic Priest"--a tale of my time in Palestine. I began
writing it last week and from the audience's response, I will finish it. Their positive feedback let
me know the story has depth and is worth completing. [1/2/10 1:17:27 PM]

The Potato Exercise by Lisa Alpine

Writing: Your Passport to Life

The Potato Exercise
Is there a potato story in you?
Women TM by Lisa Alpine

Jane Underwood at the Writing Salon in San Francisco sent this writing exercise out to her writing
teachers. She asked us to write a short piece about a potato, and wanted us to read them at her next
Salon. It is a fun exercise that got me to write out of the box and had unexpected results as I found
out when I discovered that -- by George! -- I did have a potato story to tell.

The Pivotal Potato

I was traveling over the altiplano on a road that circles around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The Indians
there are very poor and the environment harsh (16,000 feet elevation and freezing). There are no
tourist facilities so I spent the night in an Aymara Indian family's hut. I was hungry, and they invited
me to dine with them.

They were eating what they ate every day of the year--small freeze-dried potatoes in weird mottled
colors -- purple, green, and red. The potato originated in South America and there are more varieties
in Bolivia and Peru than any other part of the world. The ones we were eating had been reconstituted
with boiling water. No salt. No flavor. My hosts savored them. Obviously, these puny potatoes were a
main part of their existence. When they weren't eating them, they were cultivating them. "How were
they grown?" I asked to spark conversation among this very reticent and superstitious family with
whom I was renting dirt floor space for the night and sharing a meal.

The mother, whose mahogany face was cracked and polished from exposure to extreme weather, told
me, "We dig them up when they are ready and leave them on the hard ground to freeze. Then we go
through the field in our bare feet and roll each one under our feet to remove the skin. Then we store
them in baskets and they last a year."

"Oh," was my only comment. I looked down at her feet. They were blackened and cracked and had
calluses as thick as history books.

Maybe I did detect some flavor in my meal after all... [1/2/10 1:17:27 PM]

Links to the WWW (Wonderful World of Writing)

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing Links to the WWW
(Wonderful World of Writing)
Women TM Compiled by Cathleen Miller

The Web offers a plethora of information to writers -- markets, job opportunities, professional organizations,
references, research tools, and more. Listed below are some of our favorite sites; like old friends, we visit them
again and again.


OUR WWW FAVORITES is the site of the Travelers' Tales publishing house. Here you can read their great
monthly newsletter, and learn about their large selection of books, which include some of the best
travel narratives in print (most of the Wild Writing Women are featured in one volume or another).
But more importantly, their site lists the books for which they are currently accepting submissions;
they are happy to work with unpublished authors as long as the material is terrific and it fits the
theme of the anthology.

The English Department at San Jose State University maintains Literary Locales, a site featuring 1,100 images
related to authors. Here you can see photos of everything from Plato's Academy to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to
Edgar Allen Poe's museum to Langston Hugh's schools to Borges's childhood home. We can virtually visit Illiers,
France, the setting Proust used for the vacation home in Remembrance of Things Past. You can also find links that
connect to biographical information about the authors, criticism, quotations, even fun trivia like Proust's recipe for
bouillabaisse. This site is a helpful reference source, but an even better rainy-day activity for those curious about
the literary world. Brad Newsham is quite a guy: writer, diplomat, cabdriver,

visionary, world traveler and philanthropist. While most residents of the Bay Area--
certainly those with a family to feed--are just focusing on paying the bills, Brad decides
to travel around the globe, select a worthy individual, and pay to bring this person to
America. And naturally drive them cross-country in his taxi. And give interviews to
the BBC, CBS, and NPR along the way. And of course write a book about it all called
Take Me with You. He now has new projects afoot, Brad's personal vision of how world
travel will make the planet a better place--and who are we to argue? His organization,
Backpack Nation, will also be seeking and accepting stories that emphasize encounters,
relationships, and acts of kindness between individuals who have met through travel. Read more about him on his
website. And of course our own Wild Writing Women site! Here you can read our dispatches
from the road; in fact, since we're all traveling, this is where we frequently learn what each other is up to. You can
subscribe to this magazine, learn about new events and workshops, and even if you're trapped in the office, you can
take a virtual trip to far-away places by surfing through our gallery of photographs.



Links to the WWW (Wonderful World of Writing) Women's National Book Association. Among other things, they hold an annual Meet the
Agents Day, a forum for writers to meet and talk to agents about their work. California Authors is a non-profit site that features authors, events,

advice, independent bookstore lists and more. If you are a published author, you can list your book and bio with
them for $25 a year. The Writer's Digest site has all sorts of information on copyright, jobs, writer's tips and
much more in their free weekly newsletter. Pat Holt is a writer who puts out a free newsletter with advise for authors on the
publishing world. Edit Pros offers a good overall writing resource and monthly newsletter: BookExpo America, now in its 104th year, is a showcase for books in all formats, gift
and music merchandise, as well as new technology and services. BEA offers an educational forum that looks at the
business of publishing from many viewpoints, and is a meeting place for the entire book industry. The National League of American Pen Women sponsors a writing contest, and the
local Bay Area branch produces a monthly series called "Pen Women Presents: Interviews with Creative Achievers"
which airs on channel 29. Their email address is:



The following sites offer job opportunities for writers.

SFStation.comzz -- Calendar link to Bay Area events.
Poetry Flash

NATIONAL: Writer's Union



Links to the WWW (Wonderful World of Writing)

These organizations can answer your questions on copyright and other legal issues. - American Society of Journalists & Authors has a free newsletter and Contracts Watch archive
service where you can search for answers regarding your print rights. - The National Writers Union is the trade union for freelance writers of all genres who work for
American publishers or employers. They have chapters around the U.S. and offer many workshops on a variety of
subjects from writing skills to selling rights (workshops are also open to non-members). -- Media Alliance is based in San Francisco. By joining you get discounts on classes;
invitations to free discussions, panels, and social events; and access to their credit union, reference library, and job
listing service. offers many services including a CONTENT WATCH: where you can check
illegal use of your words.



The following sites offer listings of readings, workshops, and literary events.

BAY AREA: -- Calendar link to Bay Area events.Poetry Flash
Travel Writers Calendar (Laurie King's email newsletter)




Before contacting any agents, refer to the latest edition of the Literary Market Place or the Writer's Digest Guide
to Literary Agents for agents' specific submission guidelines and marketing areas.

( charges a subscription fee for info on some of its literary agents. This URL has it for
free: is very helpful because you can search their database by various criteria and hone in on (3 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:30 PM]

Links to the WWW (Wonderful World of Writing)

the ones most to your liking. $30/year.


The following directories of agents vary in the kind and the amount of information they provide. For best results,
check what several of them include about the same agency.

Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents by Jeff Herman (Prima). This directory is unique
in that it asks agents questions that give you a sense of their personality as well as their approach to their job. Its
list of publishers enables you to find out more about their editors and what types of books the company specializes
in. If you decide to approach publishers yourself, verify Jeff's listings because editors tend to move around. Also
contains a ton of other helpful information.

Guide to Literary Agents (Writer's Digest Books). An annual sold in bookstores that gives thorough info on 550
agents, including a subject index, and includes a wealth of helpful articles.

Writer's Market, (Writer's Digest Books), an annual sold in bookstores. Also lists information on magazines and
publishers. Since it is published for writers, it goes into more detail about publishers' needs and requirements.

Literary Agents: A Writer's Guide by Adam Begley (Penguin) is published in association with Poets & Writers. After
a solid, systematic explanation of how agents work and how to find one, this guide contains a listing of almost 200
agents who do not charge reading fees.

Literary Market Place (LMP): The Directory of the American Book Publishing Industry with Industry Yellow Pages,
which is in your library, is the annual two-volume, all-inclusive trade directory of publishing. The listings include
basic information on 500 agents and the interests of publishers of all kinds that do three or more books a year.

The Writer's Handbook, which is published annually by The Writer magazine. The Handbook lists the names and
addresses of more than 150 agents, and also includes articles about all kinds of writing.


American Booksellers Association
American Society of Journalists and Authors
Authors' Licensing & Collection Society
Authors Registry Barnes and Noble
BookExpo America
Copyright Law -- An Overview
Copyright Law -- Hypertext of Title 17
Currency Conversion
Elements of Style (online version)
The Electronic Newsstand (4 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:30 PM]

Links to the WWW (Wonderful World of Writing)

Horror Writers Association

Ingram's Top 50 Mystery List
Inkspot -- writing resources on the internet
Library of Congress
Media Bistro
Mystery Writers of America
National Listing of Publishers
National Writers Union
New York Public Library
New York Times Book Page
New York Times Reference
Novelists, Inc.
Pen American Center
Publishers Weekly
Romance Writers of America
R.R. Bowker (access Books in Print)
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.
Screenwriters/Playwrights Information
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
U.S. and International Copyright Information Site
U.S. Copyright Office
USA Today Extended Bestseller List (51-150)
The Writers Guild of America
Writers Weekly

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (5 of 5) [1/2/10 1:17:30 PM]

Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

The way to a reader's heart...

You've heard the old adage, "The way to a

man's heart is through his stomach." But have
you heard the parallel writer's adage, "The
way to a reader's heart is through her
stomach?" The same principal applies to both
-- appeal to the senses of smell and taste, and
you will soon have the intended recipient
eating out of your hand.

In fiction, how characters eat can tell us as

much about their personality as what they say
or do. The first step is to bring readers to the
table with your protagonist; permit them to
silently join the scene in which a meal takes place. Many beginning writers make the mistake
of merely listing the foods. Yes, a dinner of steak, baked potatoes, green beans, cornbread and
iced tea sounds delicious. But that's merely a menu, not a meal. By seasoning this dinner with
a few tempting details, you enable your reader to TASTE this scrumptious repast along with
your character. Let's spice up your steak with a black peppercorn marinade and grill it to a
juicy medium-rare; add sour cream and freshly chopped chives to the baked potato; top your
green beans with a concoction of bread crumbs, butter and paprika; and let sweet, honey-
butter drip over the edges of your cornbread. Drop a sprig of fresh mint into your iced tea, and
now your reader is enjoying this mouth-watering feast.

Don't forget the setting in which the meal takes place. Was it a
restaurant? What type, expensive or modest? Who was there?
What time of day? Season? Was it a picnic somewhere? Perhaps
a crowded lunchroom or a diner alongside the highway. Dinner
for two in a romantic place? Even room service at the
character's hotel? The setting adds an important dimension to
your story.

Be adventurous. There is more to life than the standard

American meat-and-potatoes fare. Take your reader on a
vicarious culinary world tour. Consider writing about special
foods from far-away places: African, Asian, Caribbean, French, Greek, Hungarian, Indian,
Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, or Spanish. Each conjures images of delectable delights
associated with distinctive and unique flavors. (1 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:32 PM]

Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

When writing about foreign foods, it's important to know what ingredients are used in the
food, how the food is prepared and what is used to flavor it. For instance, much African cuisine
is associated with cumin or coriander. French is associated with heavy sauces seasoned with
tarragon or chervil, a la the classic Béarnaise sauce. Greek cooking invokes flavors of olives
and lemons. When you think Mexican, you think cilantro
and chili peppers. It isn't necessary to give the entire
recipe, (unless required by your editor); just hint at some
of its more flavorful ingredients.

At this point you may be throwing your hands in the air

and saying, "But I can't even boil water without burning
it!" Don't despair. You don't have to be a gourmet chef in
order to create tantalizing stories about food. Read what
other authors have said about food, memorable meals
and culinary delights. When dining out, jot down quick
notes about what you ate. Texture, taste, smells. Did you like it or not? What was your total
experience? What was going on around you? Did other diners seem to like what they were
eating? What was the wait staff like-helpful and attentive or lazy? Or spend some time on the
sofa with your television tuned to one of those twenty-four hour cooking stations.
Incorporating little details regarding the preparation process can make your story come alive.

Remember that man (or woman) does not live by dinner alone. It's a refreshing change to
write about breakfast, lunch, brunch, or a cocktail party and wax poetic on the various textures
and tastes associated with high-class hors d'oeuvres. And don't overlook the sensuousness of a
decadent dessert.

Always add beverages to your stories, and remember to describe their flavors or serving
temperatures. Perhaps Pierre drank an ice-cold fizzy soda, tangy juice, an exotic coffee or
maybe a cozy, hot buttered-rum. Use a few choice words to describe the taste of wine: wild
herbs, hay, lemon, berries, chocolate. These additional details make the experiences of your
characters come to life for readers.

When you sit down to write, spend a few minutes going over sections of your
story where the food scenes takes place. Close your eyes and conjure up the
actual food, beverages, who is there, what is going on, where the scene takes
place. If in a restaurant, what did the restaurant look like? Or was it a picnic on
a park bench, a deserted beach, a crowded train? Maybe dinner in someone's summer garden.
Whatever the place, imagine yourself in that picture. Open your nose to the smells in your
imagined surroundings. Fresh bread, ripe strawberries, smoked meats, vine-ripened tomatoes,
olive oil. Next, imagine the taste and texture of the food, the sounds around you. This simple
exercise will bring to mind images of your own experiences and help you re-create the scene in
your story. (2 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:32 PM]

Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

We aren't talking about writing restaurant reviews here. We are talking about simply
describing a memorable meal. Bringing the food to life. You can draw your reader into your
characters' experience and leaving them absolutely drooling!

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:32 PM]

Creating an Online Travelogue by Carla King

Writing: Your Passport to Life

xxCarla King's Gear and Gadgets
xxGear for creating an online travelogue

In 1995 I put my laptop computer in the sidecar of a Russian Ural sidecar motorcycle and took off across America,
sending weekly dispatches to a Web site called American Borders. My photos were Fed-Exed to an editor in California
and my stories were sent via an America Online email account.

After editing, my materials were handed over to an HTML programmer and graphic designer
who scanned and cropped my photos, then formatted and designed my pages. By the time my
readers saw it on the Web it may well have been touched by half a dozen people.

Things have changed a lot since those early days of the Internet and today I'm armed with all the tools I need to do it
myself. At first glance, it's a formidable collection of equipment that includes a notebook computer, digital still camera
and digital camcorder, and all the supporting chargers, adapters, converters and cables. Not to mention storage and
transfer media like CD-ROMs, SmartCards, Memory Sticks, and a portable mouse that is also a memory card adapter.
Software includes word processing, photo manipulation, video editing, Web design software, and backup and data
transfer programs.

The addition of the necessary protective bags, cables, locks, motion detectors and alarm systems, along with your
regular camera equipment, ensure that there's little room for a change of clothing in your baggage.

Now if that doesn't deter you, read on for recommendations for basic hardware and software followed by a checklist on
how to put it all together, and more:

Putting it All Together
Connecting Overseas
Averting Disaster


Notebook Computer

I've used both Apple and Windows machines while traveling and, though there are a lot of good
laptops out there, I currently recommend the Apple iBook with System X. If you're using a digital
camera you'll appreciate the built-in iPhoto application that arranges your pictures in thumbnail
format and lets you file them into albums, and even easily make a Quicktime slideshow for
sending via email or uploading to the Web.

Digital Camera

I highly recommend the Olympus C-series cameras for quality and performance, a prosumer
camera that costs around $500. I've tested them in India's humidity, dust, and the vibration from
my Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle; in Europe, and America, too, and they've performed very (1 of 6) [1/2/10 1:17:37 PM]

Creating an Online Travelogue by Carla King

well. Buy a recharger and nickle-metal hydride rechargeable batteries for longest performance.
Lisa just bought the Canon


I finally entered the digital video world with Sony's popular DCR-PC9, a tiny digital video camera with a swivel
screen and night shot. It's loaded with features but user friendly, too, which perhaps explain its popularity.
Professional videographers probably scoff at the editing software that comes bundled with this camera, but I'm not
ready for anything more than the basics. I tried iMovie (which comes with the Apple iBook) and found it incredibly
intuitive. Look on the Web for the best price.

Backup Media

CD ROMs are passé and for good reason. They're not large enough to hold all the data you need to
store, and they are notoriously flakey. You really need two copies of the same CD, just to be sure.
So make the investment in a pocket hard drive and make backing up easy. There are a variety of
pocket-sized hard drives on the market and any of them will do, but my best recommendation is
the Apple iPod. You heard right. Basically, the iPod is just a hard drive. You can plug it in to any
computer and download (and upload) data. The more expensive the iPod, the larger the hard drive in it. It's as simple
as that.

Connectors, Transformers, Plugs, Cables, etc.

TeleAdapt has the most complete array of connectivity products and services in the world, including
telephone adapters, plug adapters, transformers, converters, and even a phone-in tech support
service. Buy one of their "country" packs or a "world pack" if you're making big travel plans. If you
have trouble connecting overseas, just call their nearest office, and they'll walk you through the
connectivity process, wherever you are. Don't wait until your overseas to find an adapter...unless
you're visiting a big city, you probably won't find one.

Paranoia is a Heathy Travel Companion

I carry this laptop cable with me everywhere, for peace of mind when I leave it in a hotel room, a
conference center, or I'm working in a public place where I'm wary of thieves. I also carry the
DEFCON 1 Ultra, below.

This is one of the most versatile devices I've found and I really never leave home without it. The
DEFCON 1 Ultra has a retractable cable that attaches to the security slot in your laptop and can also
be looped around your purse, suitcase handle, camera bag...whatever, and secured to your chair or
another difficult-to-move object. If the cable is cut the device shrieks, and really loudly. You can also
activate the motion detector to sound the alarm if it senses movement. I've set it on my motorcycle to
alert me if someone's messing about on it, I've used it to secure my backpack, camera, and purse on
long train trips, as a peace-of-mind system in airports and in busy restaurants, and as a hotel-door
alarm, too--I just hang it from the door knob so it'll sound if someone tries to open it. (2 of 6) [1/2/10 1:17:37 PM]

Creating an Online Travelogue by Carla King


I tested the TrackIT 110 decibel alarm (with a key ring transmitter) when I worked at PC World as a
gadget reviewer, and it's a great little device. You put the alarm in your suitcase, purse, computer bag...
whatever, and keep the transmitter in your pocket. When the alarm is separated from the transmitter by
more than 10 to 40 feet (you select the distance), the alarm goes off and the thief will (usually) drop it and
run. It works through walls, windows and around corners, too. This is a great device for dicey areas where
thieves are especially clever at quietly separating you from your valuables.

Web Design Software

Web design software allows you to create Web pages without actually having to code in
HTML. You can insert text, photographs, graphics, video and audio from other programs
and experiment with page layout using all the WYSIWYG menus and windows. To begin,
save a Web page you like as "source," then open the HTML file in your Web design
program to modify it and insert your own photos. I use Dreamweaver but many graphic
artists and photographers tell me they prefer the GoLive! package. These programs are
really key to creating a Web site quickly.

Photo Editing Software

These days every digital camera comes with easy-to-use photo enhancing software. While they're
adequate, I wouldn't dream of using anything other than Photoshop. However, unless you're an
expert, or plan to become one, you won't need this expensive program for basics like color
enhancement and sizing, and if you're using iPhoto, it's getting better with every release.

Word Processing / Text Editing

Word processing programs like Microsoft Word are handy because they have features like spell check and now even
feature a "Save As HTML" function that works pretty well at creating a basic Web page from the document.

Data Transfer Program (FTP)

You can find a variety of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) programs on An FTP program is
necessary to transfer your pages to your Web site. You simply connect to your server (ask your ISP how), enter your
identifying data (host name, user ID and password) into the FTP program window, and then simply drag the web
pages you created from your computer hard drive to your ISP's server, which will "publish" it on the Web for
everyone to see. This is the last, magical step to publishing your page. I recommend the Transmit FTP program for the

Putting it All Together (3 of 6) [1/2/10 1:17:37 PM]

Creating an Online Travelogue by Carla King

It's very important to carefully organize your site before you go so that when you're5 on the road you won't become
confused. You'll write your text and enhance and size your photos, insert them into your pre-designed pages, connect
to the Web, FTP them to your site, and enjoy the rest of your evening. Here's what it takes:

1. Carefully organize your folders so that your HTML files can find your images, audio and video clips, and so that
the links between your pages remain consistent. Your Web design software has an organization tool that makes this
easy. Pay careful attention to where your program wants your images to be.

2. Decide upon naming conventions for all of your files, such as Paris_Day01.html and Paris_01.jpg. Stick to them!

3. Collect existing graphics, text, and other common elements in a separate folder.

4. Create empty folders on your computer's hard drive that match each section of your site (such as Home, Dispatches,
Photo Gallery, Credits and Contact).

5. Create a template for each style of page you'll be creating, and create the shells of pages you anticipate needing. Put
text in them like "Stay tuned! This page will be active November 7th."

6. FTP these to your site and test them on the Web, making sure that all the links work.

7. When you've worked out all the kinks, FTP the folders to your server and, voila! You have a site!

Connecting Overseas

Internet Connection Software

America Online and Earthlink are two great big companies that provide Internet access all over the world. It might be
worth it to sign up with one of them if you travel a lot for short periods of time, but the bill can be high if you're
working for an extended period overseas, as our own Cathy Miller found. "I hooked up on Earthlink until I got a bill
for $600 and that was the end of that little foray into the cyber world. After that was when I found Traveler
(see the review I wrote in the Europe issue). I love them! They provide unlimited access in most countries for $27.95/
month and have great 24 hour support—in English—with 800 numbers in every country in Western Europe. And they
answer immediately. Try that with Earthlink!"

Miller also recommends a chain of internet cafes called Easy Internet Cafes, "which are springing up all over Europe.
We used them in Munich, Rome, Edinburgh and other places. In Rome I took my laptop into a cavernous black
basement and hooked it up to their DSL line. They are like these huge warehouse places with little customer service,
but cheap at 2 Euros/hour."

As a professional journalist I've been able to finagle Internet access with companies I work with when I travel. When I
motorcycled across China, I traded realtime articles for Internet access with China Business World, who gave me an
all-China access number. In Italy I used the RoadPost cellphone and Internet connection service which was great,
reliable, even luxurious, but not cheap.

Wireless Internet Access (4 of 6) [1/2/10 1:17:37 PM]

Creating an Online Travelogue by Carla King

Recently I put an Airport card in my iBook to get access to WiFi (wireless Internet) connections everywhere. Check
the WiFi freespot directory for free WiFi access spots all over the world. Check the Wi-Fi Hot Spot Directory for both
commerical and free access where you're going. (I just paid a $10 fee for a day-long WiFi access at Oakland Airport,
because I really needed it, and not too long ago took advantage of San Francisco airport's free access. Starbucks used
to offer free WiFi hot access, but now they've implemented a for-pay system. Apple Computer stores have free WiFi,
so you can just sit outside and dial-up. Some cities, like Portland, Oregon, are starting to offer free WiFi access
anywhere in the downtown area. San Francisco is full of hot spots, as you might imagine, but so is Rome, Italy. I've
used WiFi access at friends' houses and in companies where I am interviewing someone for a story. Wireless access is
becoming so pervasive that it's worth considering putting a WiFi card in your computer, even if you only use it at
home and around town. (It's great to be able to get out of the office and connect from the living room, the back yard,
or in bed.) Here's an interesting tale I found while researching free WiFi: wireless in san francisco: a day's travel{b}
logue is a virtual tour of the city and also a very good example of how weblogs can be put to good use as a tool for
writing travelogues.

Connecting by Phone

WARNING: Hotel Digital PBX systems will literally fry your modem (smoke and all, no kidding).
If I'm uncertain about the connection I use digital line tester (small gadget that plugs into the
telephone plug), or just ask to use the hotel's fax line instead, because fax lines are always analog.
TeleAdapt also sells a TeleSwitch Plus device that provides an analog connection over virtually
any office or hotel digital PBX or, multi-line phone system, directly to your computer's fax
modem. See TeleAdapt's Connectivity Tips for more detailed info on this solution and other
connectivity tips.

Averting Disaster

Maybe you'll be lucky and you'll have no equipment disasters on the road. But most people I know have had at least
minor problems due to human or computer error. For example, I accidentally deleted several application programs
while I was in India, and had to drive to Bangalore to buy new ones. Cathy's hard drive crashed in the middle of a
lengthy journey in Europe, and she lost all of her data and momentum while researching a project until her return to
the USA many weeks later. So take heed:

1. Get used to your equipment before you leave. Use your hardware and your software together and make sure
everything works perfectly.

2. Copy key pages of instruction manuals to take along, like troubleshooting pages, especially if the equipment is new
to you.

3. Put copies of all installation CD-ROMs for your operating system and programs in a hard-sided case to bring along
with you in case you need to re-install them.

4. Back up your entire system and leave one copy home, take another copy with you - whether it's on CDs or a pocket
hard drive. (I'd leave the CDs at home, and bring the hard drive with you -- consider the iPod as a backup hard drive.
It's compatible with both Apple and Windows machines.)

5. Buy adapters, transformers, chargers, etc. TeleAdapt has a huge selection, a great reputation, and even has a help
hotline. (5 of 6) [1/2/10 1:17:37 PM]

Creating an Online Travelogue by Carla King

6. Collect phone numbers for technical support for all your equipment and software.

7. Buy theft-prevention hardware listed above in hardware.

8. Print out your contacts, phone numbers, email address.

9. Email important documents, emails, contacts to a trusted friend who will file them away, just in case.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (6 of 6) [1/2/10 1:17:37 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

x Writing: Your Passport to Life

Lisa Alpine's Getaways

T Working... and Whistling all the Wayx

"Well worth traveling 6,000 miles to fly in a Beaver!" quipped my across-the-
aisle seat mate from New York City as our floatplane skidded along the placid
surface of Green Lake. Mike Quinn, owner and pilot of Whistler Air Services,
agreed as he took us upward into the sapphire heavens and announced we were
going to get a "beautiful view of God's masterpieces."

On days like this one I'm really grateful I chose travel writing as a profession. I imagine that I
could be sitting in an office all day, every day, staring at a carpeted cubical wall. Instead I'm
working while I tour Whistler, one of my favorite outdoor destinations for both winter and
summer activities.

To get acquainted with the mountainous surroundings--Whistler sits in a large verdant valley
crowned by snow-capped peaks in British Columbia--I decided to get aerial on this visit and see
the big panoramic picture.

We flew over the Alpine terrain of ice and rock, glacial

remnants of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago. The shadow of
our plane followed us, silhouetted on the glaring snow below
as we climbed toward the razor sharp shoulders of Mount
Garibaldi. Along a ridge top were fresh tracks of a mountain
goat. We peered into glass-blue fathomless crevasses as we
swooped down low over the face of Warren Glacier. This trip is
not for the queasy-stomach people. Our pilot soared and
swooped like Sky King.

On land again, I savored a hearty, grounding breakfast at Chef Bernard's Café (which has the
best breakfast in town). Now it was time for exercise.

The Mountain Bike Park, right outside the Pan Pacific Lodge where I stayed, has a world cup
downhill course. I hired a guide because there are a plethora of trails to choose from and I didn't
want to find myself on the equivalent of a black diamond run. Scott suited me up in protective
gear (think Michelin Tire Man) and gave me a lesson on weight transference and other handy
tips to make sure I didn't fly over the handlebars. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my readers! (1 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:40 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

There are 25 trails for all different skill levels, a total 200 kilometers
of single track. Scott said there are, "lots of trails for high end riders
and free riders who like the big jumps." I emphatically told him, "I
am not a free rider. No big jumps for me." I was much more
interested in seeing a bear on my downhill run than a bump or a
stump to jump.

Some 50 bears make their home on Whistler and Blackcomb

Mountains. Michael Allen, black bear researcher and guide for Bear Viewing and Mountain
Ecology Tours, filled me in on the details of bear life. He and his compatriots have even planted
huckleberry bushes up on the mountain so the bears don't come down to the village and stroll
around looking for snacks.

Whistler is designed like a small village and the architecture is so perfect and uniform in a
Tyrolean way I expected Snow White to rollerblade past, followed by Goofy on a mountain bike.
The first paved road to Whistler came in 1975 and cars are not allowed in the village. Before that
it was just a fishing camp!

Dusty and slightly achy from my mountain bike foray, I craved a massage and a sauna. I limped
over to the Westin Resort and Spa, sweated myself silly, and then had a divine Chinese Tui Na
massage from Kendra Starr.

Since, after all, I am a travel writer, I wanted to learn as much as possible while here in British
Columbia. And indeed, I learned something new at the Bearfoot Bistro. Did you know that
Napoleon would only go into battle if his attempt at opening a
bottle of champagne with a saber succeeded without
shattering it? News to me.

André Saint-Jacques, the owner and sommelier, told us this.

We raptly watched as he demonstrated in his wine cellar. My
friends and I followed him down a spiral staircase on the
promise of a glass of bubbly. It was dank and dim with dusty
bottles from floor to ceiling. André lit a taper and chose a 1929
Clos de Vougeot. He explained Napoleon's method. He simply said, "It's all in the wrist," and ran
the saber blade up and down the bottle seam three times and then whack! He thumped the
bottle's neck at an angle with the blade and the top fell off cleanly. Not even a pop. It tasted

This spectacle was followed by an exquisite five-course tasting menu featuring ingredients "from
our local farms, wilds and waters." Their bar is also unique, with willowy champagne flutes
arranged on banks of ice, lit from below. Truly classy! André has an artist's eye that extends from
the ice bar to the handsome décor in the dining room. Make your reservations way ahead of time (2 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:40 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

for this delightful dining experience and make sure to ask for a
tour of the cellar.

The next morning, fresh air was in order. After finding a village
café open at sunrise, I walked the paths through ancient cedar
groves up to Lost Lake. A beaver waddled across the path, and
then snuffly bear noises emanated from the huckleberry shrubs.
I started power walking. Marmots popped up like jack-in-the-
boxes from the granite boulders edging the lake. Fish broke the
water's calm. A bald eagle wheeled overhead. Once again,
another tough day at the office.


All rates are in Canadian dollars.

Where to stay:

My favorite hotel is the Pan Pacific. It is posh but not pricey and located right at the base
of the ski runs. Room rates can start as low as CAD $115 for a studio. Special packages
offered on their website include a Two-Day / Three-Night Ski Package for CAD $279 a
night for:

● Accommodations in a studio valley-view suite (upgrade to a one- or two-bedroom

suite at a surcharge)
● Two adult, two-day Whistler/Blackcomb ski passes
● Breakfast for two daily in the Dubh Linn Gate Restaurant

For other special offers visit or call 800-327 8585.

Whistler's Official Central Reservations offers accommodation packages online at www.

Air and ground transportation:

Air Canada flies direct to Vancouver daily. Visit or call 888-247-2262.

This can be a no-car vacation. Everything is within walking distance in Whistler and if it
isn't, they will pick you up. Busses leave for Whistler from the airport and downtown
Vancouver regularly. It is a 75-mile, two-hour drive on the scenic Sea to Sky Highway. (3 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:40 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

To find out about all your transportation options from Vancouver airport to Whistler, go to

Activities and dining:

Whistler Air Services: The 30-minute Majestic Glacier Tour costs CAD $99. Other longer
tours include a dinner and more for CAD $129 and up. Call 888-806-2299 or visit www.

Whistler Mountain Bike Park: For bikers 10 years old and up. Bike rental starts at CAD
$30 and guided tours with bike rental and lift passes start at CAD $40. Call 866-218-9690
or visit

Westin Resort & Avello Spa: A variety of massage treatments range in price from
CAD $90-$140. Call 877-935-3444 or visit

Bearfoot Bistro: Call 604-932-3433 or visit

Bear Viewing and Mountain Ecology Tours: Tours cost CAD $169. All tour proceeds
are invested in environmental education. Call 866-218-9690 or visit www.whistler-

Tourist Information:

For information, planning and reservations, visit or call 1-800-


Tourism British Columbia invites travelers to order its two free BC Escapes guides, by
calling 1-800 HELLO BC (435-5622) or visiting

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (4 of 4) [1/2/10 1:17:40 PM]

Miller to Go: Touring the Lunatic Asylum

Cathleen Miller's Writing: Your Passport to Life

xMiller To Go...
xxxTouring the Lunatic Asylum

You must respect a government so judicious that it doesn't extract income tax from its writers.
Being here in Ireland I get the feeling that their native scribes are indeed their national heroes,
much as athletes are in America. And while some of the most famous like George Bernard Shaw
and Oscar Wilde have infamously turned their pens on the British, most have spent their entire
literary careers trying to make sense of their homeland, the country Shaw referred to as "the
world's largest open-air lunatic asylum."

For a deeper understanding of Eire's authors,

nothing can match a visit to the nation that bred
them, especially its capital -- wandering the lanes of
Dublin, strolling around Merrion Square to see the
childhood home of Oscar Wilde, or visiting the
stately campus of Trinity College, where for
hundreds of years literary giants from Jonathan
Swift to Samuel Beckett have attended classes.
While at Trinity, you can even see the Book of Kells,
a ninth-century work considered the greatest Anglo-
Saxon illuminated manuscript ever produced. For
bibliophilic bliss, see the college's Long Room in the
Old Library, a 200-foot-long chamber containing Ha'penny Bridge
over 200,000 volumes. Across the Liffey River in Dublin

For further literary exploration of the city James Joyce referred to as, "dear dirty dumpling," you
can visit the museum devoted to him on Great George's Street. Or tour the sites associated with
other Dubliners: at St. Patrick's Cathedral, pay homage at the tomb of the satirist Swift, who was
a dean of the church. South of the Liffey River, you can visit the humble birthplace of playwright
George Bernard Shaw, one of Ireland's three Noble Laureates.

However, two experiences offer an overall feel for the

literary Dublin: the Dublin Writers Museum and the Dublin
Literary Pub Crawl.

Located in a Georgian townhouse on Parnell Square, the

Writers Museum takes you through the history of Ireland's
dead authors (possible inclusion giving the living ones
something to look forward to). The exhibits include letters, (1 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:42 PM]

Miller to Go: Touring the Lunatic Asylum

manuscripts, first edition books, portraits and other

memorabilia such as Brendan Behan's old typewriter, the
one legendarily thrown through the window of a pub in a fit
of temper. These artifacts provide a behind-the-scenes look
at the artists' lives, such as a letter written by Richard
Brinsley Sheridan pleading with his creditors. Composed
two centuries ago, this document proves that some things
haven't changed much in the writer's life.

The museum also provides surprising information on

women authors who haven't made it into the commonplace
canon of literary studies in America. Maria Egdeworth, born
in 1767, is credited with writing the first Irish novel and
influencing the work of Sir Walter Scott. Lady Gregory (also
known as Augusta Persse) penned 40 plays, and she joined
with Yeats to launch the Irish Literary Revival. Together
they founded the Abbey Theatre and supported dozens of Memorabilia at the Writers Museum
aspiring writers.

Interestingly enough, there always seems to be a connection between the history of any Irish
writer and a pub. This fact is what prompted the creation of the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, a
rollicking tour of the city's public houses that have a literary connection -- and that would seem
to be most of them. Dramatically presented by two actors, the evening's narrative was like
watching a play with a constantly changing set. As we did, you can visit Davy Byrnes pub,
familiar to readers of Joyce's Ullyses.

In December we spent more time at another Joyce hangout, McDaids, because the interior has
retained its authentic atmosphere.

The space is odd, with the ceiling seeming taller than the room is
long, as if one were drinking in an uprighted shoebox. The soaring
arched windows provided an occasional glimpse of humanity
beyond the pub, as Grafton Street shoppers passed by with holiday
packages. Inside, the lovely walnut bar festooned with garlands
and the miniature Christmas tree made the establishment feel like
home -- which it appeared to be for many.

McDaids is one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, an establishment

that's seen plenty of writers pony up to the bar in its history,
particularly during the 1940s and 50s when it was the scene of the
avant garde Irish literary set. They came for the craic and the
inspiration -- it's rumored that McDaids regulars have been the
The Joyce Hangout
basis for numerous fictional characters. It was also the local of the (2 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:42 PM]

Miller to Go: Touring the Lunatic Asylum

rambunctious Brendan Behan, who must have roused some concern entering with his


More information on these Dublin destinations:

Going to London?

Visiting Dublin via London? Read Miller's review of Daunt Books, "a terrific shop of new and
used tomes, located in London's fashionable Marylebone district..." and stay in one of the
hotels she reviewed in her column, Literary London.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:42 PM]

River of Words

Writing: Your Passport to Life

Writing River of Words
Women TM

With great pride and admiration this issue of our magazine spotlights the work of Wild Writing
Woman Pamela Michael. Pam's organization River of Words has trained thousands of classroom
teachers, park rangers and youth leaders on how to incorporate nature exploration and the arts
into their work with young people. Below please find some of the children's poetry that has
resulted from her work.

Pam has added yet another hat to her growing collection--travel writer, radio host/
producer, non-profit director, and now . . . gallery director and curator. River of
Words has opened one of the first galleries in the country devoted exclusively to
children's art and poetry from around the world.

The Young at Art gallery opened in November with art from Afghan refugee children
(featured in the Nov. 30, 2003 issue of Parade Magazine), an exhibit of art from children living
50 miles from Chernobyl (site of the world's worst nuclear disaster) and a retrospective of
winning art and poetry from River of Words' extraordinary collection of children's work. River of
Words has conducted an international children's art and poetry contest for the last nine years, in
affiliation with The Library of Congress. Winners are selected from the tens of thousands of
entries by Pamela and judges Robert Hass and Thacher Hurd. Nine of them (and a Teacher of
the Year) win a trip to Washington, DC for the award ceremony at The Library of Congress: eight
kids from the U.S. in various age categories, four in poetry and four in art, and an international

"I probably read more children's poetry and view more children's art than anyone
on earth," Pam says, "and what's remarkable is that a pattern seems to emerge
each year--either in the images submitted to the contest, or in the poems, as if all
the kids in the world secretly decided that year on a common theme. One year it
was tree hollows; it seemed every other painting had a tree hollow, often with a
rabbit or squirrel peeking out. Or snow-capped mountains--one year those
predominated. Another year, it was a verbal theme: the word 'everlasting.'"

Pamela wasn't prepared for the themes that surfaced in the last couple of years, however. "After
September 11, many poems submitted to the contest contained words like 'sorrow, grief,
suffering,' or 'tears.' Some poems directly addressed the tragedy in New York, of course, but so
many of the others that ostensibly were not about the event were nonetheless full of grieving
words. Last year, and the year before, the theme was war. Beetles 'battled.' Crows 'attacked.'
Storms 'raged.' The powerful effect of world events on tender psyches is painfully apparent in the
art and poetry of young people. We may think they don't know what's going on, but they do.
That's one reason giving them avenues and skills to express their deepest feelings and ideas (1 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

through the arts is so important."

The idea behind River of Words is simple: give kids an informed and heartfelt
connection to the place they live, its natural and cultural history, its flora and
fauna, landscapes and watersheds and the art, poetry, songs and legends the place
has inspired. The organization believes that children who grow up with a sense of
belonging to a particular place, who have an intimate connection to that place, will
become engaged citizens and effective earth stewards. "People take care of what
they love, " Pam offers. "All the dire statistics and finger-wagging in the world won't make
people take care of the planet; we've seen that. Only love and education will."

To see more of this remarkable work from the earth's children, visit , or, if
you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, call Pam at the Young at Art Gallery (which shares a space
with the River of Words office on 8th and Dwight) in Berkeley at 510-548-7636. Currently, the
gallery is open on Thursdays and by appointment. They sell original art, as well as prints, books,
calendars and notecards of the children's art and poetry. All proceeds support the organization's
educational work around the world.


Children's Poetry from River of Words (2 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

Dear Aquarius

Tonight you bend

because the stars are fearless
enough to glow on you
They speak their truths in muted light
If one grain of sand is traced from a
twisting kiss in the North
to this forgiveness draped around my feet
then salvation lies in every loop and thrash
You keep your secrets well
in lengthy, passionate channels,
too gargling and gracefully
knitted to control
But Aquarius, I have
long held this view of you
basking in your semiprecious charm
When I was small, seven or so,
I'd put on brother's dingy jeans
and rill my way through silted grass,
to the steady saplings
blooming at your edge
Toe by toe, foot by dirtied foot
I disappeared
Everything from the mirror down
was me no more

Kt Harmo, Age 16
Vicksburg, Mississippi
2000 Grand Prize, Grades 10-12


The Rain


Maddison Boewe, Age 6 (3 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

Clarkston, Michigan
2000 Finalist


Festival Day

it started as a good day

the water was moving smooth
it wasn't all crazy with the gleam
of the sun walking along the bridge to Cape Verdian
festival that happens once every two years music
all day to the red water at sunset here it's dark
there it is clear but my grandmother doesn't talk
about it they came after dark twenty of them twenty of us
with more coming because everyone likes a fight
the flood of the fight rushing from near the water
to the street the sunlight just about gone you
can't change this

Leeron Silva, Age 17

Providence, Rhode Island
2003 Grand Prize, Grades 10-12


Time Changes Everything

Gritty creeky waterway.

Chilly air wraps the silence.
Bird tracks impress me.
The ancient oak dangles its roots over the water.
Times changes everything.

Dillon York , Age 12

Woodside, California
2003 Finalist



Often have I come to you (4 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

In the fitful light of evening

Or the constant sheen of morning
And often have I sought your solace,
Show me the secret of your solitude
That thing, that unknown certain thing
Which has brought you through a hundred shifting seasons
And will bring you through at least a thousand more.
Teach me to be alone through summer, autumn, winter, spring
And still to catch the gleaming sunset
And dance in golden eddies in the shadow of the islands.
Tell me all the secrets of those silent seasons
Or one thing only--
When spring comes, show me how to break the ice.

Alexandra Petri , Age 14

Washington, DC
2003 Finalist


The Flame

The flame of orange persimmon collides

with the dark of the pomegranate
as the seeds circle the thing of
change they learn how the inside
is the outside. Within an apple of rust
is a seed that is born and how the hill
is alive and dead at the same time.
As the rattle of the snake is the
fate of the tree and if the mouse
steps here the bird will live and
if it does not the bird will die.
And the wind in the tree is

Forrest Ambruster , Age 11

San Francisco, California
2003 Shasta Bioregion Prize

___________ (5 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

There is a dark river / Hay Un Rio Oscuro

In the gutter of the street

In front of my school.
It was born in the rain
And isn't flowing anymore.
It's sort of sad
With drops of gasoline
And a red wrapper
Some kid tossed
After eating a candy.
But although it's sad and filthy
It carries the shadow of my face
The tattered clouds
And in white and black
The whole sky.

Hay un rio oscuro

En la alcantarilla de la calle
En frente de mi escuela.
Nacio de la lluvia
Y ya no corre mas.
Se queda triste
Con gotas de gasolina
Y un papel rojo
Que tiro un nino
Despues de comer un dulce.
Pero aun triste y sucio
Lleva la sombra de mi cara
Las nubes andrajosas
Y en blanco y negro
Todo el cielo.

Michelle Diaz Garza, Age 9 & Rosa Baum, Age 9

Watsonville, California
2003 Finalists


Oda a la Fresca

O strawberry
Forgive me because (6 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

You have so many

Freckles on your face
But I couldn't
Bear it and I ate
You in one bite
And locked you u
In my stomach
So warm and filthy.

O fresca
Perdoname por
Si tienes muchas
Pecas en tu cara
Pero yo no pude
Aguantar y te
Comi en mordisco
Y te encerre
En mi estomago
Caliente y sucio

Cinthia Martinez , Age 10

Oakland, California
2003 Finalist



Oh skies
of blue,
Cerulean shades,
Evening's painted beauty made
In artist's eye
flowing dark
Wisping crawl,
Whispering call
Of twilight glories shining

E.A. Blevins , Age 16

Boutte, Louisiana
2000 Finalist

___________ (7 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

River of Words

The Storm Is Coming

Wind whistles through

The pine needles twirl
Sawgrass sways
While clouds dash by
Little creatures hide
The pond waters splash
Rain gushes down
And tickles my toes

Kevin Brown, Age 5

Lake Park, Florida
2000 Finalist


River of Words:

Young at Art Gallery
8th and Dwight, Berkeley

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (8 of 8) [1/2/10 1:17:45 PM]

Books About Writing compiled by Cathleen Miller

Wild Books About Writing

Writing compiled by Cathleen Miller
Women TM
Books about writing books offer advice on mastering this elusive art. Below we discuss a few of our
favorites and provide a list of others we recommend.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott says that, "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was
trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day.
We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears,
surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the
hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's
shoulder, and said, "'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

Of all the instructive books on the craft of writing, somehow this one stands out as the one that has
been the most helpful to me. Writing a 500-word article can be intimidating, so you can imagine
how daunting a whole novel can be. But Annie's advice to take it "bird by bird" really gets me
through the hard parts.

In this book she covers the entire process from "Getting Started," through to the section on "How
Do You Know When You're Done?" She continues to give very good advice as she guides you
through the subsequent chapters. By the time you have finished this book, you will have all the
tools you need and hopefully enough gumption to write your own book. —Jacqueline Harmon

One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty

I can't quite bring myself to call this iconic author Eudora, although the eponymous email
program has co-opted her first name in a way to make it a household word. No, I will refer to her
as Ms. Welty, because she was a Southerner, an independent woman from another era, who never
married, preferring instead to devote her life to writing and travel. In her advanced years, after she
had become a literary legend, she was goaded into writing a book on the craft she had long-since
mastered. With characteristic modesty, here she seamlessly weaves together advice on writing
with an autobiographical look at her own life, a beguiling tale of that rarest of all birds: a writer
who had a happy childhood. When Ms. Welty tells us of the years she struggled to sell her stories,
saving up to take the train from Mississippi to New York so she could call on editors--only to leave
that city again and again in defeat--she offers inspiration to every writer who's ever received a
rejection letter. And indeed, this book is a gift to all of us who aspire to write. —Cathleen Miller

The Art of Creative Nonficiton: Writing and Selling the Literature of Reality by Lee
Gutkind (1 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:46 PM]

Books About Writing compiled by Cathleen Miller

Creative nonfiction has to be the hottest genre going, with every poet, novelist, and journalist who
ever hammered a keyboard experimenting with its hybrid form, which blends fact with the
techniques of fiction. Lee Gutkind is the author of eight books, and the founder and editor of the
publication Creative Nonfiction, a literary journal devoted exclusively to short works in the genre.
All this activity earned Lee the sobriquet "the godfather behind creative nonfiction" in James
Wolcott's Vanity Fair article on the subject. As is only fitting for a godfather, he has taken care of
the rest of us by publishing a straightforward primer offering step-by-step advice on writing
creative nonfiction--telling you what it is, isn't, and how to make it what it should be. But Lee is
not a fairy godfather; he expects you to work hard and make the magic happen yourself, a fact he
makes clear in the introduction. Luckily, armed with his text and your own determination, you'll
have everything you need to succeed. —Cathleen Miller

The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image, by Bay Area
brain surgeon Leonard Shlain.
Ignore the terrible title, the book is great. This intriguing examination of the evolution of
communication and cognition, which looks at how learning to read and write reconfigured our
brains and culture, has given me a much deeper, more interconnected, understanding of history,
religion and gender relations. Shlain handles a rich melange of heady topics like a novelist. And
his passion for the material is infectious. This is one of those books you want to buy for everyone
you know. A big plus--an interview with the author and discussion questions for book groups at
the end of the book. (Shlain is appearing at our March 2004 salon in San Francisco.) —Pamela

E-What? A guide to the Quirks of New Media Style and Usage: How to handle
inconsistencies in punctuation, capitalization, Internet addresses, and more.
From the editors of EEI Press. Is it web site or website or Web site...or Web page? Why is Internet
capitalized when intranet isn't? Is it email or e-mail? Got questions on Internet copyright issues?
Want to know when to use a forward slash / or a backward slash \ ? This book has all the E-
answers you need. Order direct from EEI. —Carla King


The Chicago Manual of Style 2003 by the University of Chicago Press

The Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the
Doomed, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Strunk and White: The Elements of Style 4th Edition, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White

On Writing Well: the Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

Sin & Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale

INSPIRATION (2 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:46 PM]

Books About Writing compiled by Cathleen Miller

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

A Writer's Journal by Henry David Thoreau

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Martin Eden by Jack London

The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron


The American Heritage Dictionary

Roget's Thesaurus

Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions

Rand McNally World Atlas

The New York Public Library's Writer's Guide to Style and Usage

The Timetables of History

World Weather Guide

Funk & Wagnall's Standard Handbook of Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 1:17:46 PM]

Daunt Books for Travelers by Cathleen Miller

Wild Daunt Books for Travelers

Writing by Cathleen Miller
Women TM
Its Palladian interior resembles a cross between a temple to books and a greenhouse where ideas
grow. I'm talking about Daunt Books, a terrific shop of new and used tomes, located in London's
fashionable Marylebone district. The downstairs houses current releases while the upstairs holds
the real drama: a glass pitched roof rising two
stories above the wooden floor and a gallery of
treasures where bibliophiles can lose
themselves for hours.

The way the store is organized is truly inspired

and a treat for the traveler (or as the British
spell it, traveller). Volumes are grouped by
region, e.g., in the France section I found
Madame Bovary, Colette's biography, and
Lonely Planet's guides to Provence and the Cote
d'Azur, all side by side. Mr. Daunt obviously
knows something about how the literate
traveler's mind works. If one is interested in
going to France, then why not French culture?

This establishment operates the way a

bookstore should, books hand sold by a
knowledgeable staff, a refreshing change from
the BooksRUs model where items are sold as a
commodity rather than as literature --
something people actually read. Visit when
you're in London and let your mind wander the
world along with your feet.



Daunt Books for Travellers

83 Marylebone High St., London, W1U 4QW
Telephone: 0207-224-2295

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© [1/2/10 1:17:48 PM]

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