Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writing Tips: Your / You're

1. Don’t confuse “your” and “you’re.” “Your” is a possessive pronoun: your books, your wand, your power. “You’re” is a contraction for “you are.”

If you aren’t sure which one to use, try reading your “you’re/your” as “you are.” If it doesn’t make sense, chances are the word you want is “your.”

The error I see most often is the use of the possessive in place of the contraction: “Your going to the store.” That is an incomplete sentence without a verb, and the “your” is referring to the going—it’s a going which belongs to you.

Try “You’re going to the store.” That has everything you need--you are going to the store. Or consider, “You’re going to your school.” That might help you discern between the two.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Though we try to avoid disclaimers here, I do have one. I am associated with this publishing firm. However, I don't make any money; I just think it's staffed by some pretty awesome people who care about giving new writers a chance. If your main fiction experience is writing fanfic, Omnific won't look down on you for it. They are currently accepting queries. You can also follow them and get updates on Twitter under OmnificPub.

As always, if you are interested in submitting to Omnific or any other agent or publisher, we can help you get that manuscript ready!

Omnific Publishing is a publishing company specializing in the publication of authors with a proven track record of online success in transformative works. Omnific Publishing seeks to publish their original fiction in a number of different media, including ebooks, audiobooks, and print books. Omnific Publishing is a publishing house with a myriad of resources for author development and promotion, including post submission editing with Certified Editors, associated art development, publication in various media, national marketing, and profitability.

While Omnific Publishing does not wish to limit its future possibilities, in its initial formulation, it will focus on works of fiction in the genres of romance, fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal, chick lit, and erotica.

Omnific Publishing staff are professionally trained in the fields of editing, graphic art, and audio production, and combined, hold years of experience as writers, editors, graphic artists, and audio producers in a quality-focused publication environment.

Omnific Publishing welcomes queries for novel length pieces in the above mentioned genres. Please submit your query letter and synopsis to:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another Writing Contest

Normally I wouldn't post two writing contests in the same week, but this one has a pretty quick deadline--January 15. Twilighted, a Twilight fanfiction site, is hosting its annual Original Fiction contest.

The theme this year is Cheeky Chicks and Bothersome Beasts. It's being judged by author Rosemary Clement-Moore, who writes Young Adult paranormal fiction. If you'd like us to beta your original entry to give you the best chance of winning, just drop us an email at or

New Writing Prompt on the Website!

This one is a lot of fun! I don't know where Nancy gets these, but they're great.

This week's writing prompt on the website is called I Don't Wanna Work.

As always, send us your writing for this prompt and we'll post it here and on the website!

Monday, January 4, 2010

H.O.W. Journal Short Story Contest

Note: Remember, kids, it is usually legit for contests to charge an entry or reading fee. That's how they get the money for all those prizes. And this particular agency is called H.O.W., or Helping Orphans Worldwide, and is doing their story contest to raise funds and awareness.

Short Story Contest Judged by Susan Minot

H.O.W. Journal is hosting its first short story contest to be judged by acclaimed author Susan Minot.


  • The contest is open to all writers and all themes
  • The word limit is 12,000.
  • We do consider unpublished novel excerpts if they feel like complete stories.
  • It's fine to submit more than one story.
  • Manuscripts should be submitted with a cover note listing the author's name, address, phone number, and email; names should not appear on the stories themselves.
  • All submissions should be clearly typed manuscripts, double-spaced on 8 1/2 x 11 inch white paper, one side only.
  • Submissions will not be returned.
  • No simultaneous or previously published work.


  • 1st Place - $1000 and publication in H.O.W. Journal
  • 2nd Place - $300 and publication in H.O.W. Journal
  • 3rd Place - $100 and publication in H.O.W. Journal

Reading Fee per story

  • $20.00

Send your submissions and reading fee (a check payable to H.O.W. Journal) to:

H.O.W. Journal
Short Story Contest
12 Desbrosses Street
New York, NY, 10013

Submissions must be received in the H.O.W. offices by May 15th, 2010.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Writing Advice from CS Lewis

We can hardly do better than that...

  • Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure you or your sentence couldn't mean anything else

  • Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.

  • Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don't say “Mortality rose.”

  • Don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was “delightful”; make us us say “delightful” when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please will you do my job for me.”

  • Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Are Your Writing Goals for 2010?

It's time for new year's resolutions, everyone! Luckily, it's Saturday, so they don't really have to kick in until Monday...whew! But as with everything, if we want to succeed, we have to have clear, challenging, achievable, well-defined goals.

Let's break those down.

  • Clear. Be specific. Don't say, "I want to become a famous writer in 2010." Instead, tell yourself exactly what you want to do. "I will write 2000 words of fiction a week," or maybe, "I will start sending chapters of my fantasy novel to my betas on June 1."

  • Challenging. Is it pretty easy for you to write 2000 words a week? Then make your goal 2500. Stretch yourself. Do more, commit more, work those creative muscles. Not a lot more...just some more. Improve yourself and your writing.

  • Achievable. Don't set yourself up for failure; make your goals things you can achieve if you work at it. Nothing's more discouraging than saying, "I'm going to write The Great American Novel," then letting day after day slide by with nothing done. You can't write The Great American Novel (what is that, anyway?), but you can fill up this page, or complete this scene. It feels great when you do, and it leads you to want to write even more.

  • Well-defined. This is a lot like clear, but more concerned with details. How are you going to write 2000 words a week? When are you going to write those chapters to send to beta? It might be something like, "I will write for 2 uninterrupted hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons," or "I will write and mail a query letter every Friday morning."

If you're interested, here are mine:

  • Freelance earnings. I will make at least $2000 per month from January - April, at least $3000 from May - August, and at least $4000 from September - December.

  • Freelance writing. I will have at least 13 queries in circulation all the time. At the moment, I have 3, so I need to build up to this one. Also, will have my website up and running (that's actually a goal for this week, not this year!).

  • Fiction writing. I will write at least 2000 words a week. I will complete at least 1 of the 4 fiction books I am working on. I will have something to send to beta on June 1.

  • Blogging. My blogs will earn money! Still working on the specifics of this, but if you see ads, you might click them!

I guess that's enough to be going on with. So now, I really want to know, what are your writing goals for 2010? Please let us know, and remember, we're here to help you achieve them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

This is from The Oatmeal, and it's great! I wish I'd written it. Here are the words you should stop misspelling, but you really need to go to the link and see the pics and examples he put in.

Lose / Loose (a huge one with me!)

Weird, not wierd

Their / There / They're

You're / Your

Its / It's

Definitely (it has no A in it!)

Affect / Effect (affect is a verb, effect is a noun)

Weather / Whether

Alot (which is not a's A LOT)

Then / Than (I don't like this, either, but I find it's often a typo)