Archive for February, 2007

One of the authors here on The Writers’ Block has her interview on The Writing Show up and ready for downloading! She is the award-winning author of the popular books Mr. Touchdown and Peace I Ask Thee, Oh River.

The Writing Show is a great site dedicated to showcasing writers and everything having to do with writing–from publishing, seeking agents, entering contests, the time it takes to write–you name it. It’s one of the most popular podcast shows around. Paula Berinstein, the host of the show and site, presents writers with the information they need to pursue their careers. You can find some great links as well as great interviews and other information on The Writing Show website. Educate yourself!

I came across the site a while ago when doing radio marketing research & I’m glad I did. Check it out! And be sure to download the interview with award-winning author Lyda Phillips!

Click here to go to the page and download the interview–> LYDA PHILLIPS INTERVIEW

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Yes, I’m looking forward to the new Harry Potter book.

I became a fan of the HP books and of J. K. Rowling as an author pretty much by accident, as I see it. I avoided the books for a while; there are so many best sellers that I’ve spent my money on just to find out that the particular novel is garbage, so I’ve become a bit skeptical of the validity of the bs list sometimes, as it pertains to quality anyway.

But a few years ago I was looking for something light to read after finishing a wonderfully profound but somewhat grim novel. I just needed something to relax with and pass the day while I was at work (no, not slacking. It was a job w/ enormous amounts of approved downtime). So I thought, what the hell. One Harry Potter book can’t hurt. So I bought the first one. And I enjoyed it. And a couple of years later I bought the second one–at that time I believe the first four in the series were on the shelves.

So now I’m awaiting the next one along with most of the world. And while I’ve yet to participate in any message boards, etc., I too wondered if the author would kill Harry Potter.

But I don’t think so. Why? It’s just something simple that I’ve noticed. It’s not a deep philosophical examination of fantasy lore or symbolism present in the books. Again, I have yet to participate in the fan boards, so it may very well be that just about everyone has made this observation already, but I think that the last HP book will end on a good note for one simple reason – the order of the series:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone (Philosopher’s stone in England/Canada) (the Philosopher’s stone was a force of good)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chamber was a force of evil)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Prisoner [Sirius Black] good)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Goblet bad)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Order good)
Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince (Halfblood Prince bad [so it seems])

So based on that, I’d say that the Deathly Hallows will be a force of good, or at least results in good things eventually happening for Harry Potter. I also think that Sirius Black will be resurrected.

If the Deathly Hallows turns out to be a a good thing in some way, it really brings everything full circle for Harry as well. Plus, there’s something, it seems, in the importance of his age at the different stages/years at Hogwarts and it just appears that this book and the character’s age present the perfect time to make him a full-fledged wizard. To do that and then kill him, well, seems kind of pointless. But that’s just my opinion and speculation.

As far as the rest is concerned (who else might or might not die, come back, etc.) anybody’s guess is as good as mine. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Nancy O. Greene

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I’m coaching a person at the moment on how to write screenplays. He’s very good but his ego at times seems a bit meager to me. At other times, his confidence brims over. He’s wanting to submit something to an agent or production company and he asked me if I thought he was ready.

I said yes, but let’s polish your work and make sure it is exactly as you want it. He then asks, “I don’t want to submit if I am going to be rejected…”

WHAT? I proceed to tell him that 99.99999% of the writers I have known (including me) have been rejected at least once or twice in their lifetime (I was being kind). He seems baffled by that statement.

“But you said I was good, right?” Hell, John Grisham is good and he was rejected by every major publishing house when he was shopping The Firm around.

So I asked this question, “What drives your destiny? If an agent or other critic tells you your work stinks, does it? Are you going to change your work to suit every single opinion you recieve?”

Maybe it’s because he is new to this process. I don’t know. He simply states, “Everybody that has read my work says my work is awesome.”

There’s something to be said for knowing the truth deep down inside however unpleasant or pleasant that might be.

Having the courage to acknowledge it one way or the other speaks volumes about a person.

It’s something to think about.

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I’m putting together my March newsletter and I like to declare a deserving soul as “Writer of the Month.” So. Tell me why you should be “Writer of the Month”.

A paragraph will do, telling me about your writing, business or whatever you do in the craft of writing. Send me an email to TSim681157@aol.com with this info and a link you would like me to include and I will do so.

I’ll announce the winner on March 1st in The Writer’s Pub.
Good Luck! (Free advertising kids, my favorite four lettered “F” word)

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I have been involved in an ongoing chain story since July of 2005.   There are five main contributing authors living all across the US and one German who lives in Austria.  The story’s premise is a silly romp about talking mice who live on a popular band’s tour bus. 


We decided to put the story into book form and sell it for charity.  All authors are donating their contributions.  I am donating the editing and formatting.  We found an illustrator who donated the book cover.  The intention is to print on Lulu, which, with the purchase of an individual ISBN, will cost $150.  Not bad for getting one book out the door!


However, as the main editor for the project, I quickly realized that it was too long for one book. So, it was split into two. The second book gave me a lot of trouble.  It didn’t ‘hang’ right, so I spent one morning outlining it.  Sure enough, there were so many plot inconsistencies, my left eye developed a tic.  I’ve spent most of last week trying to smooth out the plot, and wound up cutting about 3000 words.  It now keeps the right pace, the right tone, and actually makes sense!

I can’t wait to get it to the printers and see people’s reaction to it.  It mentions several people by User IDs of one particular on-line forum, and I know they’re anxious to see their “name” in print.

Our last hurdle is to get permission from the band’s business manager before we can print.  Keep your fingers crossed for us, folks.  A lot of people are hoping we get the green light soon.

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Welcome to the February 25, 2007 edition of the writers’ block carnival. There are some great blogs listed in this edition. Shall we?

Terrell presents A Poem to Start the Week: Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening posted at Alone on a Limb.


Tristan presents How to Capture Your Thoughts posted at The Synergy Institute.

Dean presents 5 Massive Benefits Of Not Having A Television posted at Mr. Cheap Stuff, saying, “Good article on the benefits of not having a TV.”


EelKat presents Writing The Latest Segment of The Twighlight Manor Series and Looking for Your Advice: 1920s, Gansters, RumRunners, Crime Lords? posted at EK’s Star Log.


Shamelle presents Reaching Your Potential By Norman Vincent Peale posted at Enhance Life.


Rajesh.P.I presents March of destiny posted at open windows, saying, “A picture that speaks more than a thousand words…”


RachelAPP presents Reclaiming the word ‘fantaisist’ posted at Food for your mind, saying, “It’s an article about what fuels the creative mind”


Rocket presents Passionless Display posted at The Rocketman’s Change For A Dollar, saying, “It’s never what you think – especially if you’re the author. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more surprised by the direction of my own piece.”

Anne-Marie Nichols presents Single Moms: Grab a Cup of Comfort adn Let Your Voices Be Heard! posted at A Mama’s Rant.

LolaLondon presents 12. A Rose by Any Other Name posted at L’undone, saying, “Here is a tale of high-weirdness, big love, cyber-crime and the mutual insane obsession of two people that never even met. This blog is the true story of how it happened.”

Chris Dolley presents What to Do When the Words won’t Flow posted at Author Chris Dolley’s Page.

David Arseneau presents Incantations Magazine – Writer’s Guidelines posted at Incantations Magazine, saying, “The free online magazine of fantasy fiction. Looking for writers to submit fantasy stories!”

Lauren Baratz-Logsted presents Controversy/Lauren Baratz-Logsted posted at litpark, saying, “This was a guestblog I wrote at LitPark where I was asked to discuss controversy in my fiction.”

Elvis D presents Trolling For Columbine posted at 365fiction, saying, “She knew it, she knew I liked her and she did nothing about it.”

RachelAPP presents Write ten minutes a day posted at Food for your mind, saying, “An motivational article for writers, setting attainable targets”

That concludes this edition. Did you find something you liked?

Submit your blog article to the next edition of
The Writers’ Block Carnival
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carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

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On the Poets & Writers website, there is an article (click here to read it in full) about a contest that has some writers that submitted to it up in arms. Supposedly the sponsor promised that each manuscript would receive an individual, personal critique from him. The entry fees for the contest were $35 for poetry and $45 for fiction. He would publish the winning manuscripts.

But instead of giving the authors personal reviews, he decided to create several different form letters that he felt would address issues in any work submitted. This plan backfired when writers received letters with different titles listed and when some that had entered decided to compare notes and realized that their “personal critiques” were identical except for the name of the work.

On top of that, he sent some of the entrants a request for $300 in exchange for more critiquing. Some were told that their submissions would be entered into the running for another prize and would automatically move ahead in the first round of judging, even though that particular contest is supposed to be judged blind.

This article interested me because the subject of contest worth came up today during a free critiquing session I attended. Before we started giving feedback on one another’s work, one of the other writer’s asked about a contest that he’s never heard of (prior to a few days ago) but offers several thousand dollars as the prize. He’s going to look into it, figure out whether or not the contest is worth his money before he enters–which is probably the best anyone can do.

I think that there are some contests out there that are valid and well worth the money to enter, within reason (or budget…), but the problem sometimes isn’t just the cost. Some competitions, not unlike the one mentioned in the Poets & Writers article, seem to be a gateway for the sponsors to ask the writers for even more money or even all of the rights to the submitted work.

Years ago I overheard a one-sided conversation on a bus. The man was talking on a cell phone and said: “Yeah, I know I should feel bad that I’m probably taking the girl’s life savings, but if she’s stupid enough to pay for it, I’m going to take her money.”

That seems to be the way some of these sponsors operate. Maybe they start out with good intentions, maybe they don’t and feel a little guilty about that fact, but is the guilt going to stop them?

Payment aside (because there are some legitimate reasons for fees, such as administrative costs), what about simply not giving guarantees that can’t be kept, or at least letting the entrants know immediately when things turn out differently than expected? Such simple notice can help, and it doesn’t take anything away from the legitimacy of the contest. But something as complicated as making up form letters and sending them out as personal reviews does.

I try to always look into any contest I’m paying to enter. How many years it’s been around, how many people have won, and whether or not there have been issues like the ones mentioned above. It may not be a flawless system, but if there have been a lot of substantial and negative issues surrounding the contest, I’m going to do my best to not be “stupid enough to pay for it.”

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Welcome to the February 24, 2007 edition of A Contest Carnival – Submit Your Article. This is a separate Writers’ Block Carnival. If you would like to enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble and free books and/or promo materials (bookmarks and postcards – no “spammy” stuff) from authors on The Writers’ Block, scroll to the end of this edition and click on the “carnival submission form” link.


Dorothy Thompson presents How Self-Syndication Leads to Free Publicity posted at Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion.


David Maister presents Writers and Performers posted at Passion, People and Principles.

That concludes this first edition of A Contest Carnival – Submit Your Article. Click the link and you will be taken to the contest submission form and guidelines page. These contest carnivals will be posted at various times until we announce our winner! Submit your blog article to the next edition of
A Contest Carnival – Submit Your Article
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

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The Writers’ Block is available in multiple languages!

If you would like to translate this blog to a specific language, please click below or in the future, click on the corresponding tabs in the right hand column.


¡El bloque de los escritores está disponible en idiomas múltiples! Si quisieras traducir este blog a una lengua específica, chascar por favor abajo o en el futuro, chascar encendido las lengüetas correspondientes en la columna derecha. ¡Gozar!

O bloco dos escritores está disponível em línguas múltiplas! Se você gostar de traduzir este blog a uma língua específica, estalar por favor abaixo ou no futuro, estalar sobre as abas correspondentes na coluna righthand. Apreciar!

Le bloc des auteurs est disponible dans des langues multiples ! Si vous voudriez traduire ce blog à une langue spécifique, cliquer svp ci-dessous ou à l’avenir, cliquer sur les étiquettes correspondantes dans la colonne droite. Apprécier !

Der Block der Verfasser ist in den mehrfachen Sprachen vorhanden! Wenn du dieses blog zu einer spezifischen Sprache übersetzen möchtest, bitte unten klicken, oder zukünftig, die entsprechenden Vorsprünge in der rechten Spalte an klicken. Genießen!

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Hello, everyone! I make no claims to being a Wittgenstein expert–I’m just beginning to learn more about him, having noticed he has some affinities with Kierkegaard, one of my favorites, and thinking about applying Wittgenstein’s thought in my upcoming book Witch Hunt.

It strikes me that Wittgenstein’s work is profoundly mystical and religious. I gather that the early Wittgenstein, represented mainly in the Tractatus, his first and only published work, offers something of a pictorial view of language–that words name objects, so that statements are either true or false if the real world corresponds to the statement. For instance, “The cat is on the mat” is either true or false, depending on whether we can verify it in the world. “The world is all that is the case,” as Wittgenstein puts it. The logical positivists really ran with this, people like A.J. Ayer going so far as to say, with his verification principle, that any statements that could not be empirically verified, such as religious statements like “Jesus is Lord,” are nonsensical.

But I don’t sense that with Wittgenstein. Rather, he ends the Tractatus with the idea that, of what we cannot speak, we should be silent. There’s a sense of a reverential silence there. It reminds me of Kierkegaard’s views that religious truth cannot be objectively formulated–that real, passionate truth is subjectivity for Kierkegaard.

The later Wittgenstein seems to me to reject his own initial view of words as only naming objects and realizes different types of language function differently–here he comes up with his views on language games. 

Wittgenstein argues there is no essential meaning to any word, and that the meaning of a word is its use in a particular context. Words are like tools in a toolbox–the meaning of a word is its use. A word has no ultimate, Platonic, universal definition. Thus, his example of what we call a “game”–some games are competitive, but some are not (tossing a balloon back and forth with a child), some games are team games, some are not (Solitaire), etc.–so that there is no essential meaning to the word “game.” Rather, the various things we call “games” have family resemblances to each other.

This impacts religion, for there is no single definition of religion. Some religions have one God, some many, some none. And even what seems common to all of what we call religion, such as that they have ritual, does not apply in all cases (such as a solitary monk who follows no rituals, unless you call the monkhood itself a ritual).

Thus, Wittgenstein in many ways responds to A.J. Ayer and makes room for such statements as “Jesus is Lord,” which does make sense in its own language game. Where science and religion get confused is when they try to apply their own criteria to another discourse. It makes no empirical, scientific sense to talk about Adam and Eve, for instance–science cannot deal with that. However, from a religious standpoint, that story has a lot to say about human destiny, free will, sin, our relationship with God and estrangement, etc. So scientific and religious discourse can complement each other.

I like that about Wittgenstein–he makes room for faith and the language of faith, but it’s mystical and does not have to be scientific. Of course, the criticism I would have of Wittgenstein is that, if taken too far, science and religion then have no way to criticize each other, and I think mutual criticism is beneficial for both. Religious thought should always take scientific thought seriously, and, since science cannot really answer ethical questions, or ultimate “why” questions either, I believe science has to be in dialogue with religion.

In my own work, not only do I have an admiration for Wittgenstein because of that mystical quality, but also his fight against our craving for generality, as he calls it: our attempts to universalize the meanings of words. For instance, “harassment,” and this is how I’m thinking of using Wittgenstein in Witch Hunt–we use that word “harassment” in very many different ways in sexual harassment law, especially “hostile environment” sexual “harassment”–and some of those ways seem very harmful to me (quid pro quo extorting someone for sex, and real types of intentional harassment, for instance), while others not so much (merely asking someone out and being too shy and hence awkward about it, or telling a joke). And yet, when we hear the word “harassment,” we have a craving to generalize it all as wrong and slam people for their “immorality.” (Again, I’ve been accused of it twice, in both cases I think unfairly and maliciously, and I was lied to and entrapped–I am combining those two experiences into one, fictionalizing it, and using that to form the basic story of Witch Hunt). I personally think we toss that word “harassment” around and bewitch ourselves as to its meaning, and Wittgenstein can help us clear up our philosophical confusion. That’s how I’m going to try to use his work in Witch Hunt. (I hope that made some sense–I’m just beginning to formulate the ideas about Wittgenstein and haven’t fleshed them out fully yet, plus I’m trying to be somewhat brief here.)

Anyway, that’s my .02 for today, for what it’s worth. Again, I’m not claiming any fantastic expertise in Wittgenstein. That’s why I say he is “perhaps” amazing. 🙂 I’m just saying I like him so far, even though I’m just beginning to study him in depth, for many of the reasons I like Kierkegaard–they both seem to me to go beyond a literalistic interpretation of religious language (and language itself) and instead have a mystical reverence for that which language often cannot adequately express.

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