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This Page is a series of hints and tips that writers should find useful in their quest to be published.

Tip #4: Formatting manuscripts for digital press

Before submitting your stories make sure they are in digital manuscript format. The rules are as follows:

              This is the end of one paragraph.

			And this is the start of the next paragraph. 
	Note that the text is double-spaced, and non-justified.
     	Jane Smith                                       3200 words
    	123 Home Lane
	Writers' Ville PA 15206
GREAT STORY

by

Jane Smith
With a whimper, Bob died.

*

	It was a dark and stormy night, very dark, very

Tip # 3:

Rejection Slips

All the famous writers I heard of could paper the walls of their offices with rejection notices.

Rejection slips are the bane of all writers, yet they are inevitable. The most successful of writers had their share of them, and even get them now that they are prosperous.

Although rejections are inescapable, they should not be considered maleficent; they should be considered helpful. Though when first received, they can be disheartening, they should be contemplated as a valuable learning experience. Even if they come as form letters, they can serve as valuable lesson in determination.

Look at it this way: One more “no” is that much closer to a “yes”. Each time a manuscript comes back, the quicker it should be sent to the next market prospect, and the writer should get on with the job of writing. Hesitating will only prolong the period of time before the piece is accepted for publication.

If the rejection notice has a personal message attached with a critique from the editor it should be studied carefully and heeded. If that happens, the writer knows that the composition had merit, and with a little more work can be placed.

Once the “work of art” is further improved, it is time to send it on its way again. When the writer is confident that it is the best that can be produced, then it is ready to return to the eyes of editors, whether it is an anecdote or a mammoth saga. It must be out there to be considered

As Anaïs Nin says in her autobiography “Beware of allowing a tactless word, a rebuttal, a rejection to obliterate the whole sky” that should be a writer’s philosophy about rejection slips.

Tip # 2:

Write Every Day

           If you want to be a writer, then you must write—you must write something every day.

          If possible, have an established time to write every day. Budget your time to make that period available even if it is only a few minutes. You will be surprised how much you can write in a short period of time. This writing should have a dual purpose: first, to improve your writing skills, and, second, to record your ideas.

            As well, a special writing place is also helpful. It should preferably be a spot where you are free from the distractions of daily living—a corner of a bedroom, living room, or even kitchen, but it should be your writing site. Of course, an office of your own would be a preferred location. It is surprising how the mind can develop creatively if given the chance.

            To write every day requires a plan; it requires a time; it requires a location; it requires a focus; and it requires a reason. The first two have already been dealt with, so what is a focus plan? A focus plan is a decision of what kind of writing one will do: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, articles, short stories, etc.

Here, the writer has to find his/her voice. Do not spend the writing time thinking about it; the important thing is to write and the voice will come.

            Of course, a focus requires a reason for writing. Is it for personal satisfaction and enjoyment only? On the other hand, is it for public consumption and financial augmentation? Perhaps both. Usually, though, one writes to share one’s thoughts and ideas with readers.

            What about ideas and topics? Without them, a writer is lost. In writing every day, the goal is to express whatever comes to mind—a memory, a gripe, a desire, a feeling, an incident, or grammatical exercise. It really does not matter; the important activity is the writing. Once started the words usually flow.

            So, write something every day.

Tip # 1:

The Practice of Writing

Virgil, the great Roman poet, wrote “Practice and thought might gradually forge many an art.” From this we can assume that practice comes before thought, and so it is with present day writers.

What must be practiced? If one is to be a successful writer then one must be able to practice good grammar. In order to practice good grammar, a writer must know the rules of good grammar and therefore must study the rules of good grammar. Most editors reject quickly those writers who do not know how to construct a proper sentence with at least a subject and predicate.

Besides knowledge of a simple sentence, a writer must use compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. In order to perfect the ability to use these sentences, one must practice their use until it becomes second nature.

Once a writer—through practice—has mastered the sentence then it is time to work on the paragraph. Again, composing a unified, effective paragraph requires practice so that it has unity, coherence, rhythm and acceptable syntax.

English syntax can only be learned by practice, particularly the practice of reading. A “wannabe” writer must be a reader—one who reads voraciously and eclectically so that good syntax will come naturally. However, this reading must be done studiously with awareness of the writer’s style and composition, because syntax is the way in which one puts the words together. Now the writer must practice and develop his own style of syntax.

This brings us to the next practice: the use of the dictionary and thesaurus—not the dictionary and thesaurus that are found with most word processors. Although they are helpful, they are not as beneficial as a complete and unabridged dictionary or thesaurus. If a writer depends completely on the dictionary and thesaurus found with most word processors, one’s writing will be full of mistakes.

Finally, but not the least, is punctuation. Although most punctuation is a personal preference, there still are basic rules that should be learned and practiced.

In all case of grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and syntax, the writer must know the rules before he breaks them. Moreover, the only way to become proficient in their use is by continual practice.

Once the basics are acquired, then the writer can proceed to writing fiction or non-fiction in poetry, articles, essays, short stories, etc., again practicing until one has develop a personal voice or style.
 

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