#NaNoWriMo: Writing 50K in 30 Days

#NaNoWriMo: Writing 50K in 30 Days

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.
Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

How and when can I sign up? Is there an entry fee?

You can sign-up year-round! To sign up for the upcoming National Novel Writing Month, just click on the "Sign Up Now" box at the top of the site (right above "National), and fill out the User Registration form.

Kapow! You're officially signed up for National Novel Writing Month.

There's no sign-up fee for National Novel Writing Month, but we do ask ably-financed participants to contribute something towards hosting and administrative costs. Because we're a nonprofit, the donation is tax-deductible! The amount you contribute is up to you.

How do I update my word count?

You can update your word count by entering your total cumulative word count in the field on the top of your screen and hitting "update". You can also use the novel info module to update your word count.

The word count module (and other novel info like title, genre, synopsis, and cover art) is in your profile page.

To find it, go to My NaNoWriMo in the main menu, then click "Edit Novel Info".

You have two options here:
  1. Word Count: Simply enter your total cumulative word count (no punctuation please, just numbers) in this box, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click submit.
  2. Word Count Validator: Copy the entire contents of your novel, and paste it into this box.
    Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click submit. Our word count robots will count your words, then delete the file unseen by human eyes. We don't keep a copy of your novel anywhere on our site.
    This option may be greyed out during times of high traffic. During those times, just update your count manually. After November 25th, the word count validator can be used to validate your novel and claim winner status.
All methods of updating your word count will overwrite the previous entry in the database. If you enter the incorrect word count, simply update it again with the correct one.

When and how do I start writing? Do I have to write my novel on your site?

You begin writing at 12:00:01 AM local time on November 1. You write your novel off-line, on whatever word processor you like. If you write 50,000 words or more, you upload the manuscript to our site between November 25 and November 30 for word-count verification to win.

Is there a minimum age to participate?

You must be 13 or older to have an account on NaNoWriMo.org. But all ages are very welcome to take part in National Novel Writing Month, and we encourage younger writers to sign up over at NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program website. It's a similar challenge for participants 12 and under, as well as those participating as part of a K-12 classroom group.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program participants get to choose their own word-count goal for November, and also have access to great noveling workbooks and fun, kid-oriented writing activities. Like NaNoWriMo, membership in the Young Writers Program is free.

How do you win NaNoWriMo and what are the prizes?

The way to win NaNoWriMo is by writing 50,000 words by midnight on November 30. Every year, there are many, many winners. There are no "Best Novel" or "Quickest-Written Novel" awards given out. All winners will get an official "Winner" web badge and a PDF Winner's Certificate.

The real prize in NaNoWriMo is the manuscript itself, and the exhilarating feeling of setting an ambitious creative goal and nailing it. And the $1,000,000.

Just kidding about the $1,000,000!

The actual winning process works like this: From 12:00:01 AM, local time, November 25 until 11:59:59 PM, local time, on November 30, all participants who have written more than 50,000 words can have their winning word counts verified by our site. Uploading your novel to the Word Count Validator makes your NaNoWriMo victory official, gets you listed on our Winners Page, and routes you to the secret spot where you can collect this year's winner's certificate. It will also turn your word count bar purple.

To become a winner, first make sure that you have written a manuscript that is 50,000 words or longer. Then sign in to the site, click on Edit Profile, then scroll down to the area labeled Word Count Validator. Copy and paste your entire novel into this box. Then hit the "Submit" button, and prepare for your accolades.

We understand that you may be reluctant to upload your novel to a random website, even to one as winsome as ours. If you are using Microsoft Word it is very easy to completely scramble your novel before uploading it in a way that will not affect its word count.

1. Open the file and make a new copy of your novel using 'Save As...'
2. Open the Find and Replace dialog box (Edit -> Replace).
3. Click the "More" button to expand the box.
4. Check the "Use Wildcards" checkbox.
5. In the "Find What" field, put this: [a-zA-Z0-9] (include the square brackets, no spaces before or after)
6. In the "Replace With" field, put this: a
7. Click "Replace All"
8. Select All (Ctrl+A) and Copy & Paste into the validator!

The procedure for Open Office is essentially the same, except that Open Office refers to 'Regular Expressions' instead of 'Wildcards'. (Thanks to Peter Dudley for this advice!)
You can get the same effect in a more cumbersome way by just doing a find-and-replace on every letter in the alphabet, one letter at a time. Open the find-and-replace interface on your word processing program and tell it to replace every "b" in your story with an "a," and every "c" with an "a," then every "d" with an "a." And so on.

We realize that people can cheat and upload something that's not a novel and still "win." But since the only real prize of NaNoWriMo is the self-satisfaction that comes with pulling off such a great, creative feat, we don't really worry too much about people cheating. Those who upload 50,000 words they copied from Wikipedia.org just to see their name on the Winner's page are pitiful indeed, and likely need more help than a downloadable winner's certificate can provide them.

Can I participate if I'm not American? Are non-English novels okay?

You bet! We are very proud to be an international event, and don't consider the "National" in the title to refer to the United States. This is an event for all nations. We'd change the name to "International Novel Writing Month," but InNoWriMo doesn't roll off the tongue in quite the same way.

You can write novels in any language you like. Our validator doesn't handle non-Latin characters sets, sadly, so there may be an issue with becoming an official winner. But this is just icing on the NaNoWriMo cake, and we encourage you to write in whatever language is most comfortable for you.

What happens to all the novels written for NaNoWriMo? Has anyone been published?

Novels that are uploaded to us for verification and victory between November 25 and November 30 are counted by a computer script, and then automatically deleted. We do not read or keep any novels sent in, and NaNoWriMo authors retain all rights to everything they write during the event.

Many, many winning novels have been written through NaNoWriMo. Our stats:

1999: 21 participants and six winners
2000: 140 participants and 29 winners
2001: 5,000 participants and more than 700 winners
2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners
2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners
2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners
2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners
2006: 79,000 participants and 13,000 winners
2007: 101,510 participants and 15,333 winners
2008: 119,301participants and 21,683 winners

And a growing number of these novels have found publishers, including one New York Times #1 Bestseller!

Why are you doing this? What do you get out of it?

NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines. Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen. Pies will be eaten at amazing rates. Alfalfa will be harvested like never before. And novels will be written in a month.

Part of the reason we organize NaNoWriMo is just to get a book written. We love the fringe benefits accrued to novelists. For one month out of the year, we can stew and storm, and make a huge mess of our apartments and drink lots of coffee at odd hours. And we can do all of these things loudly, in front of people. As satisfying as it is to reach deep within yourself and pull out an unexpectedly passable work of art, it is equally (if not more) satisfying to be able to dramatize the process at social gatherings.

But that artsy drama window is woefully short. The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.

Why 50,000 words? And how do you define "novel"?

Our experiences over the past nine years show that 50,000 is a difficult but doable goal, even for people with full-time jobs and children. The length makes it a short novel. We don't use the word "novella" because it doesn't seem to impress people the way "novel" does.
We define a novel as "a lengthy work of fiction." Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you're writing falls under the heading of "novel." In short: If you believe you're writing a novel, we believe you're writing a novel too.

Can I share writing duties with a partner?

No. But we would like to take this opportunity to plug our Script Frenzy event. Script Frenzy participants write a 100-page stage play or screenplay in April, and for Script Frenzy you are welcome to work with a partner.

Can I write one word 50,000 times?

No. Well... No.

You can find the answers to more questions about this event at http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/faq
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Interview with Eva Gordon

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My website http://www.ravenauthor.com and my blog http://evagordon.blogspot.com/

What genre do you write and why?

I write paranormal romance and fantasy with a strong element of romance.

Where do you get your inspiration to write?

My inspiration comes from my love for wildlife, nature, mythology and the characters in my story who spring to life and guide me from start to finish.

Tell us a bit about your latest book?

Beast Warrior: Viking Werewolf is what I call a paranormal werewolfhistorical that reads like an epic fantasy. It is book 2 in the Wolf Maiden Chronicles Book 1 Werewolf Sanctuary is a contemporary and has received rave reviews. Each is a stand-alone but all with the same theme. Many more are forthcoming. Here is a blurb for Beast Warrior: Viking Werewolf:

Beast Warrior is an historical paranormal romance that takes place during the Viking Era of the Dark Ages. A time when only the strong survive. It is the second book in the Wolf Maiden Chronicles, which depicts alpha lycans and their human wolf maiden mates. Sigurd, an alpha Norse wolfskin, son of Gunnolf the Red seeks revenge against shape shifting bearskins, Bork the Mad and his son, Mord the Blood Claw for the death of his parents and his older brother Guda. Orphaned, he has been raised by his older sister Brynhild, who convinces him to take a wolf maiden in order to increase their small pack. Despite the warning by Hungerd the wolf witch, he takes a farmer's new bride with tragic consequences. Alone he joins a long ship until the day he can avenge his pack's demise. Emelisse, a Frank wolf maiden, has been raised and educated in the classics, science, literature and languages by female lycans of the Lupercal. Born a runt with a weak heart her father has been overprotective. She refuses to be treated like a delicate vase and rebels by seeking out riding and falconry. Now at age eighteen Emelisse frets that her father wants her to accept Radulf III the Cruel, an alpha lycan of a pack of powerful warriors. She tries to run away with her human lover.

Viking werewolf, Sigurd rescues Emelisse, from the claws of the berserker bear men. He claims her as his ulf hexen or wolf maiden, but she wants to leave lycan society and live with humans. To complicate matters she has been called by her goddess Feronia to save the lycans from a dreaded disease. Their union is wrought with great peril in a world where werewolves must battle against their own kind as well as their fierce enemy, the berserker bear men. Will Emelisse accept Sigurd a foreign lycan as her alpha mate? Sigurd vows to protect her from their enemies but how can he save her before she dies from her ailing heart?

What prompted you to write this book?

I am passionate about wolves and werewolf lore. I have volunteered at a wolf sanctuary, help run the Wolf’s Den ning group and do workshops on wolf and werewolf lore.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’m doing wolf and werewolf lore workshops for both the San Mateo County Fair literary event and the Hollywood Book Fair and few more in mid October. I’m also doing a paranormal workshop for the Sacramento Valley Rose RWA chapter.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, on each full moon I interview a famous werewolf or ‘like individual’ from literature on my blog http://evagordon.blogspot.com/

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OpenLearn free online courses

Open Learn is part of the Open University. They offer several courses of use to writers, free of charge.

How OpenLearn started

The OpenLearn story started in 2005 with a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Sharing our aim to open access to education for all, they agreed to help us set up the OpenLearn website.

Since 1969, The Open University has been a pioneer in making learning materials freely available through its successful partnership with the BBC. Many of our television and radio programmes are already supported by free internet activities and print materials. We wanted to use our knowledge of the latest technologies in education to extend our mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. The vision was free online education.

Website development began in May 2006 and the site was launched in October 2006, with an aim to regularly add new content and features. OpenLearn now offers a full range of Open University subject areas from access to postgraduate level and has seen over 3 million visitors since launch. In April 2008 OpenLearn reached its target to have 5,400 learning hours of content in the LearningSpace and 8100 hours in the LabSpace. It continues to grow representing The Open University's commitment to opening access to education.

What does The Open University bring to the open content field?

The scale and the experience of The Open University are the two significant factors in the development of OpenLearn.

  • Unrivalled reputation in distance learning: our expertise lies in creating and using learning materials designed to be studied flexibly by people who have a range of needs and experience.
  • A vast quantity of high quality learning materials: we specialise in content and support designed for distance and elearning; this includes self-assessment tools, collaboration forums and a personalised learner experience.
  • Recognised communication and support tools: OpenLearn uses a number of learning support and social networking tools to replicate the different informal modes of communication and learning that happen on a traditional campus. Developed by our Knowledge Media Institute, these tools facilitate the creation and support of elearning communities, while allowing us to investigate and evaluate their use in the open content environment.
  • Robust systems: we have a highly regarded record of developing the technological and pedagogical systems required to provide a meaningful learning experience.
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Review: The Darkness Did Not

Title: The Darkness Did Not

Author: William L. Biersach

Reviewed by Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopes, publisher of ''Time with Tannia'' (http://timewithtannia.tripod.com/)

In his book, The Darkness Did Not, author William L. Biersach brings to the adult reader an urban fantasy thriller.

When suddenly corpses of young women with their bodies drained of blood start to accumulate in the morgue, the police are perplexed and extremely afraid. The police seek the assistance of Father John Baptist, a detective-cop-turned-priest, known for his sharp intuition and ability to discern the killers' mind to help them stop the vampire serial killer.

The book cover shows Elza's room, where guests can enjoy a drink, listen to piano music played by Elza, and enjoy a good conversation. This room is located in the middle of the swanky private club, The House of Illusion, a gloomy place where illusions, magic, tragedy, ghost and vampires will keep the audience entertained all night. The back book cover shows, hanging from a door, a scapular, a cross, and a medallion of St. Philomena; key weapons for the protection of the main characters during the investigation and solution of the case.

The author uses Mr. Feeney, St. Philomena Catholic Church's gardener and aspiring writer, to narrate the story and to give the reader vital insight information. On the “Gardening Tip” Mr. Feeney shares his thoughts, point of view, and knowledge in an informative and, at times, hilarious manner. Mr. Feeney writes the story in his personal journal/manuscript draft. Each chapter begins with a brief explanation of the Feast of a Saint followed by the events of that day and a “Gardening Tip”.

Fr. Baptist must use his detective experience and a strange cast of individuals with knowledge of the supernatural to solve this case before Samhain, All Hallow Eve.

With his book, Mr. Biersach has crafted a story full of chillings-haunting scenes with twist and turns on the plot that will deprive you from your sleep and keep you wondering “who is the killer?” Through Fr. Baptist's character, the author illustrates that evil is real and it disguises itself as good to those not equipped with the tools to battle and conquer it successfully with the help of the Divine Providence.

The Darkness Did Not will challenge the vampire thriller's readers to take a look at those creatures from a different point of view and join Fr. Baptist and his companions in their search for the truth entangled with legends, myths, faiths, and old family trades. Once you read this story, you will never judge a book by its cover, but instead will accept the challenge and join the vampire hunt!

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Interview with Mary Deal

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My writing is all documented on my Web site. There, too, viewers can learn writing tips and how to get started. My information is free to anyone who wishes to read. On my site I post some reader reviews of my writings along with one to two minute video trailers that tell what each story is about. Viewers can also read 5-star reviews on my book pages at amazon.com

How long have you been writing?

Most of my life, I kept journals, diaries and so forth. Not until 1990 did I think seriously about a writing career. After an accident in 1991, while having physical therapy, I found I could sit at my PC and write. My stories have turned out to be mystery/suspense/thrillers, though I write short stores and poetry in every genre and form. Whatever triggers a plot of a story in my mind, I will at least make notes until I can finalize the piece.

Tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is my third novel published. River Bones, a thriller, takes place in my childhood hometown area of California’s Sacramento River Delta. Friends I’ve maintained since childhood encouraged me to set a story there. A woman returns to her hometown area to start a new life only to learn she is being stalked by an elusive psychopathic serial killer. River Bones was a winner in the 2009 Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition. The first sequel is presently being written. River Bones has a power sub-plot for one of its minor characters. That subplot comes forward in the sequel.

Who are you published with?

My publisher is iUniverse.com. Over the years I have taken college and other classes in writing to learn format and such, but I write for today’s reader, always keeping an eye to what sells. My promotion includes self-created book tours, participating on many websites, and listing my website link any place I can. Video trailers for each book are a must in todays. Also, entering books into contests helps immensely, especially when you win an award. A nomination in another area, like the Pushcart Prize nomination I received for a short story, also draws attention to your work. I would suggest that anyone who wants to be a write simply start. Forget all you’ve learned. Get the story out. Then go back and polish it to a marketable product.

What are your upcoming projects?

A new thriller, unrelated to my other novels, The Tropics, The Ka, or River Bones – all suspense novels, by the way – is due to be released in Jan/Feb 2010. It’s called “Down to the Needle.” A woman has searched decades for her abducted daughter. She finds her facing lethal injection for a crime she didn’t commit. This idea came to me from a news article. I had to research California’s lethal injection system as well as the Courts’ Appeals process. I learn a lot as I go along.

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News University

Mission and History

Journalists are hungry for more training. In a recent survey, more than 95 percent of professional journalists said they want more training, but they struggle with limited resources and finding time in their busy schedules.

Enter News University. A project of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NewsU is committed to providing interactive, inexpensive courses that appeal to journalists at all levels of experience and in all types of media. Officially launched in April 2005, NewsU offers an innovative approach to helping journalists enhance their skills. We know the most successful journalists never stop learning.

News University is supported by a grant from Knight Foundation, part of the foundation's Newsroom Training Initiative, which aims to increase both journalism education and news industry investment in training.

The Poynter Institute's Mission
Poynter is a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. It promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of craft and in the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse. It carries forward Nelson Poynter’s belief in the value of independent journalism.


What is News University?

NewsU (www.newsu.org) offers newsroom training to journalists and journalism students through its interactive e-learning program and links to other journalism education and training opportunities. The program is a partnership between the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Who is the audience?

Eventually, we expect our scope will be international, with courses in a number of languages. Initially, we are focused on meeting the training needs of U.S. journalists, journalism students and educators. Courses at NewsU vary from beginner to veteran journalist and cover all types of media—print, broadcast and online.

When did NewsU start?

Our official launch was in April 2005.

How much does NewsU charge?

Many courses are free, especially those that are self-directed. We plan to make sure that costs are very reasonable for both individuals and organizations with limited resources.

Does NewsU offer financial aid for fee-based courses?

We know times are tight. So, thanks to a grant from The Harnisch Foundation, we are able to offer journalists a limited number of scholarships to our Webinars. You need to be a registered user at NewsU and explain a little bit about why you need financial help. For details, go to www.newsu.org/scholarships.

What types of courses are offered?

We offer courses across the scope of journalism: leadership and management; reporting, writing and editing; broadcast; online; ethics; visual journalism; and journalism education.

Will special software be needed?

No special software is needed. NewsU’s interactive learning courses are Web-based. Depending on the course, a high-speed or broadband connection might be important for the learning experience. Many of the courses, however, require the Flash player plug-in.

What is the format for NewsU courses?

News University offers four kinds of e-learning:

  1. Self-Directed Learning Modules. (In e-learning language, they’re called “asynchronous” modules.) These are the ultimate in e-learning flexibility. Participants can start and stop whenever they like, progressing entirely at their own pace and going back as many times as they want to review the material. The modules make use of interactive technology, so they're more engaging than a mere collection of Web pages.
  2. Group (or "semi-synchronous") Seminars. Participants gather in a virtual space, logging in from anywhere, day or night, over the course of several days or several weeks. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback.
  3. Webinars or eSeminars ("synchronous" modules). These are live seminars or events broadcast over the Web; participants can tune in from their computer at work or at home and ask questions in real-time. And if they can't join us live, we make recordings of many of these seminars available as self-directed learning modules.
  4. Seminar Snapshots. These are edited video highlights and other materials that capture the key learning points of seminar presentations at The Poynter Institute or at other training events.

How much time do participants need to take a course?

Many courses take about one to two hours. Our goal is to provide tightly focused modules that allow participants to easily find the time to complete a course. Participants will be able to enter and exit the course as their time permits.

How do participants sign up for a course?

It’s very simple. Register. Enroll. Learn. To access any e-learning course, register with NewsU on the site’s home page. Once you've registered, prompts on the site will walk you through the steps you need to enroll in a specific course.

Does NewsU work with other organizations?

Our goal is to provide the technology and expertise to journalism associations and educators so they might offer specific courses to their membership. We are already working with such organizations as the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) and the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) to develop e-learning modules. NewsU is willing to work with any group that wants to help journalists get training through e-learning.

In addition, Access, the NewsU blog, highlights other journalism training available online.

What role does Knight Foundation play?

News University is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This grant is part of the foundation's Newsroom Training Initiative, which aims to increase both journalism education and news industry investment in training.

Why is Poynter going into e-learning?

News University extends Poynter’s mission as a school for journalists. About 1,000 journalists a year visit the institute’s campus in St. Petersburg, Fla. And Poynter's Web site (www.poynter.org) is the most popular trade site used by journalists nationally. NewsU offers interactive training in craft and leadership skills to professional journalists and journalism students who cannot attend a seminar in Florida.

We know that training opportunities for journalists are more important than ever. Journalists want more training, but they struggle to find the time within their own busy schedules. (For more about this topic, please read "Training: It Matters More Than Ever." This report, published in July 2004, outlines the hunger for training among journalists and shows the great potential for e-learning. It was conducted by Urban & Associates, Inc., for The Poynter Institute and News University and builds on the 2002 study by Knight Foundation and the National Council of Journalism Organizations.)

At the same time, news executives recognize the need for training; yet they struggle to make effective use of their newsroom budgets.

News University’s e-learning program hopes to meet these training needs. It also will be an opportunity for Poynter to extend its reach and mission by increasing our ability to teach.

NewsU, however, is much more than Poynter. NewsU is an e-learning portal linking journalists to the growing amount of midcareer training content available through the Internet, including the teaching of the Knight Chairs in Journalism. NewsU also will offer content from a number of different journalism groups and associations, as well as link to other e-learning opportunities.

Is NewsU interested in other courses?

We are open to any course topic that helps journalists do a better job or helps them grow as professionals.

What kinds of courses are we looking for?

The content of NewsU courses will span the spectrum of journalism training needs: leadership and management; reporting, writing and editing; broadcast; online; ethics; and visual journalism. Topics range from writing better leads to understanding photographs as story-telling images to understanding how to cover specific issues such as drinking-water quality to how to manage your boss.

How do I develop a course for NewsU?

If you or your group would like to discuss the development of e-learning courses for journalists, please read the Course Development FAQ.

Other questions? Contact Howard Finberg, Director of Interactive Learning at The Poynter Institute at hfinberg@poynter.org. You can also call the Institute at 727.821.9494.

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Review: Time Management in an Instant

Title: Time Management in an Instant
Authors: Karen Leland and Keith Bailey
Publisher: Career Press
ISBN: 978-1-60163-014-8
SRP: $11.99 (U.S.)
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Do you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in? Are distractions and interruptions making you lose focus? Do you wish you could be a productive, effective leader?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it's time to invest in Time Management In an Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day.

The winning team of Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, partners in Sterling Consulting Group, come together again with this new book to help your life and your business run smoothly, effectively and productively.

Time Management in an Instant is not a quick fix to your time management issues. It is a lifestyle change that will help you overcome that chronic feeling of being overwhelmed that leads to procrastination and diminished productivity. Beginning with how to assess your time management skills, Leland and Bailey show you how to achieve your goals every day, create to-do lists that motivate you, enjoy your vacation and avoid chaos when returning from vacation, plan productive meetings and manage day-to-day tasks while reducing stress.

Having specialized in time management and organization for three years now, I've made some of the same suggestions to my readers and use those tips myself; so I know they work when applied religiously.

With assessment quizzes, exercises and examples, Time Management in an Instant will put you on track and help you stay on track. And best of all, it shows you how to apply these concepts to both your professional and personal life so that you gain a better overall balance.

Every business in America should have at least one copy of Time Management in an Instant.
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Interview with Donald James Parker

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My website is found at http://donaldJamesParker.com . I have links there to my blogs etcetera. You can download my ebooks for free there. I also write book and movie reviews for The Christian Pulse http://www.TheChristianPulse.com and editorials for Ezine Articles and Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/x-8083-Sioux-Falls-Christian-Examiner

What genre do you write and why?
Christian fiction. I do this a means of promoting God's kingdom. I have tried to write something that would cater to the general populace, but I always end up putting stories of people finding God in them because I don't want to write a book that impacts a person for a couple of hours. My desire is to inspire them for a lifetime to seek fo the God who can grant them a blissful eternity.

Tell us a bit about your latest book?
Homeless Like Me is a book that writers can relate to. It is the story of an aspiring novelist who encounters success on his first venture in the arena of publishing and then has to make a difficult choice - between his book being published or hurting the woman he has fallen in love and betraying the God he has sworn allegiance to.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Just say “no” unless you’re willing to sacrifice your time, beat your head against the wall, and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous reviews. This is not a business for the fainthearted. But once you’re convinced you have the talent to do this, never give up.

Be prepared for disappointment. Not many people succeed the first time out of the chute. Check out Randy Ingermanson’s testimony and advice on publication.

What are your upcoming projects?
I am writing a book about Native Americans - focusing on the worldly pastime of high school basketball and the supernatural aspect of the Great Spirit coming to transform reservations from deserts of despair and hopelessness to oases containing a little piece of Heaven on Earth.
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50 Awesome Open Courses for Web Writers

Submitted by Amber Johnson

With the popularity and ubiquity of writing online, there’s a new demand for web writers. If you’re studying to become a web writer, blogger, or copywriter, there are lots of courses that can offer you the education you need. Read on, and you’ll learn about 50 awesome open courses for web writers.

Visit http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org/blog/2009/50-awesome-open-courses-for-web-writers/ for the full list.

Some courses are FREE of charge. Well worth trying.
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Interview with Patricia Bates

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Most of my information is posted on my website www.patriciabates.webs.com as well as my blogs, and my author's pages associated with my publishers sites. I update regularly - and keep adding to my sites to keep everything up to date and fresh.

What genre do you write and why?
I write mostly historical romance because I find it the easiest and most romantic to write. For the most part, contemporary just doesn't stir me as much as history so I tend to write what I love. Which isn't to say I don't write contemporary, I just am limited to how much of it I write.

Where do you get your inspiration to write?
I have to laugh at this question. For me inspiration comes in many forms and from a lot of different directions. Movies, books, dreams, moods. My debut novel Master's Mistress was written after watching a movie and thinking it would be great to have a romance like this...only it didn't go so much like I'd thought it would. Still I can't complain, it made best seller.

Who are you published with?
I'm published with Champagne Books and Blade Publishing both are e-book pubs although Champagne does POD.

How did you research for your book?
I did a lot of research online as well as borrowing books from my library and getting interlibrary loans. I tend to spend as much time researching as I do writing. After all I want to be as accurate as possible without the book being a history lesson. Its a matter of picking out which details to use and which to pass by.

Anything else you'd like to add?
For any aspiring author my best advice would be to not give up. Rejections letters are something we all have to face and they can be devastating to us but if you push through them, they'll help you build your skills and your craft and ultimately you'll get that book contracted. Good luck.
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Writing Competitions this month- October 2009

The Secret Seed Society is creating a series of small books and has invited writers to submit stories to a competition.

If your story is selected to work with you will receive £700 and 5p royalties on every activity pack sold over 5,000, according to the promoter.

The author must assign the copyright of the story to Secret Seed Society. So do read the terms and conditions carefully.

Each book comes as part of an activity pack - with organic seeds, growing instructions and a recipe to take children on an adventure from plant to plate.

Closing date for entries is October 5, 2009.

For details http://secretseedsociety.com/writing-competition/

Penguin Books and The National Theatre Discover Programme have launched The Big Break young scriptwriting competition.

Writers aged between 13 and 18 years are invited to read the novel How I Live Now and take the story, themes and characters as a starting point to create a treatment and the first scene of a script.

Five winners will be invited to spend a day at the National Theatre Studio working with professional writers, National Theatre directors and actors to workshop and develop their scripts.

They will also see a performance of Nation, based on a novel by Terry Pratchett, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, opening at the National Theatre in November 2009.

The competition will be posted on Penguin’s teen book website Spinebreakers and the National Theatre’s Discover website.

Multi-media resources will be available on both websites to give tools and advice on how to adapt a book for the stage, alternative ways for laying out a script and what the National Theatre and Penguin are looking for in successful submissions, said the promoters.

Meg Rosoff’s debut novel How I Live Now (published by Penguin, 2004) won the Guardian and Branford Boase Awards and was short-listed for the Orange Prize for New Fiction as well as for the Whitbread.

Winners will be announced on November 27, 2009.

The winners’ day will take place at the National Theatre on December 12, 2009.

Closing date for entries is October 30, 2009.

For details http://www.spinebreakers.co.uk/Competitions/Pages/thebigbreak2009.aspx

The Beer Writer of the Year Award has been renamed the Michael Jackson Gold Tankard Award in honour of the last singer and dancer.

You don’t have to be a member of The British Guild of Beer Writers to enter its beer writing competition.

The Guild is giving is giving writers, broadcasters, photographers, poets illustrators, designers and webmasters the chance to enter their work in six different categories.
Nominations and entries are being sought for six categories:-

Coors Brewers National Journalism Awards – £1,000 or £500 – for best writing in the national press, consumer magazines, national television and radio.

Wells & Young's Business to Business Journalism Awards - £1,000 or £500 - for best writing in trade and company newspapers, newsletters, magazines and websites.

Brains SA Gold New Media Award - £1,000 or £500 – for best writing using new communication technologies on beer websites, company beer sites, news websites and blogs.

Bishop's Finger Award for Beer and Food Writing – prize £1,000 –to encourage journalists to write or broadcast material on the subject of matching beer with food a subject area formerly dominated by wine.

Entries may be written or broadcast in national, local or regional media, it could be in a trade magazine or a company publication, on the internet or part of a video.

Budweiser Budvar John White Travel Bursary - prize £1,000 plus trip to Czech Republic - for the entrant considered by the judges to benefit most from a travel bursary. The winner will be encouraged to write a feature on wherever they visit.

Deuchars IPA Regional Journalism Award – prize £1,000 or £500 – for the very best regional beer writing or broadcasting - includes local and regional newspapers, radio and television, CAMRA newsletters.

Send four copies of each entry, published or broadcast in the 12 months up to September 30, 2009 - stating where it was published .

Authors of books need to send four copies of the book.

The entry should be accompanied by a letter stating which category or categories are being entered.

Online publication entries submit the web address together with four printed copies of the home page plus other selected pages.

There is no limit on the mu,ber of categories you may enter.

Winners will be announced on December 3, 2009.

Closing date October 9, 2009

For details http://www.beerwriters.co.uk/news.php?awards=1&showarticle=21

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International Book Fairs this month- October 2009


Fair starts: Friday, October 2, 2009
Fair ends: Saturday, October 3, 2009

Location: Bangor, Maine
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Fair starts: Friday, October 2, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 4, 2009

Location: Brattleboro, Vermont
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Fair starts: Friday, October 2, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 4, 2009

Location: Deadwood, South Dakota
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Fair date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Location: Collingswood, New Jersey
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Fair date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Location: Collingswood, New Mexico
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Fair date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Location: Largo, Maryland
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Fair date: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Location: San Luis Obispo, California
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Fair date: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Location: Costa Mesta, California
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Fair date: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Location: West Hollywood, California
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Fair starts: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Fair starts: Thursday, October 8, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Portland, Oregon
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Fair starts: Friday, October 9, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Nashville, Tennessee
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Fair starts: Friday, October 9, 2009
Fair ends: Saturday, October 10, 2009

Location: Selma, Alabama
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Fair starts: Friday, October 9, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Nashville, Tennessee
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Fair starts: Friday, October 9, 2009
Fair ends: Saturday, October 17, 2009

Location: San Francisco, California
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Fair starts: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fair ends: Monday, October 19, 2009

Location: MONTERREY, Mexico
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Fair starts: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Portland, Oregon
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Fair starts: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Seattle, Washington
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Fair date: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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Fair starts: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Location: Charleston, West Virginia
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Fair starts: Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
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Fair starts: Thursday, October 15, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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Fair starts: Friday, October 16, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Location: Port Angeles, Washington
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Fair date: Saturday, October 17, 2009
Location: Rome, Georgia
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Fair date: Saturday, October 17, 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Fair date: Saturday, October 17, 2009
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Fair date: Saturday, October 17, 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Fair starts: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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Fair starts: Thursday, October 22, 2009
Fair ends: Saturday, October 24, 2009

Location: Missoula, Montana
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Fair starts: Thursday, October 22, 2009
Fair ends: Saturday, October 24, 2009

Location: Westport, Connecticut
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Fair date: Saturday, October 24, 2009
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
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Fair date: Saturday, October 24, 2009
Location: Fostoria, Ohio
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Fair starts: Saturday, October 31, 2009
Fair ends: Sunday, November 1, 2009

Location: Austin, Texas
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Fair date: Saturday, October 31, 2009
Location: Keene, New Hampshire
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review: The Amateur American

Book Review: “The Amateur American”, by J. Saunders Elmore

Three Rivers Press, 2009

ISBN 978-0-307-45287-0

Trade paperback, $15.00

303 pages

Reviewed by D. L. Parker

Contains some spoilers

I don’t like to quote other reviews about a book even if I think my fellow reviewers are wrong. That’s because there is really no wrong in a review. A review should be, purely and simply, one person’s honest and personal reaction to a book. Unless the reviewer sets out to maliciously slander─or, conversely, flatter─an author for less-than-ethical reasons, the opinion should stand for what it is: one person’s simple reaction.

But in the case of The Amateur American, I have to say: all the reviewers who described this book as a thriller are dead wrong. They could hardly be more wrong.

What this book is, instead, is a psychological study, less Hitchcock than the Marquis de Sade. This is about corruption of the soul. This is how a man starts out as a petty con, and ends up a murderer.

Jeffrey Delanne escapes America after a string of bad check misdemeanors into a teaching assistant job in France. He’s not making much money, but it would probably stretch if he weren’t drinking it away at a local watering hole. Of course his job has frustrations: the pretty students who flaunt temptation he really should (and of course doesn’t) avoid; rampant anti-Americanism from the glib and hoity-toity French; a shameless fellow teaching assistant whose persistent attentions he despises.

He’s spent his cash and maxed his credit card when Dreyfus, a mysterious teacher at the Lycee, offers a chance to make some dough. Delanne, dithering in doubt and swinging like a weathervane, nevertheless takes him up on his offer.

And it’s the first step into the abyss. Delanne meets a wise old Arab man who needs a good English speaker. At least, that’s what he says he wants.

But step by inexorable step, the ground slips out from under Delanne’s feet. First he’s asked to interrogate an imprisoned man. When the interrogation stalls, the Arab’s bodyguard beats up the victim. Delanne is sickened─but he carries on.

The next interrogation, Delanne does the beating. Suddenly he discovers the thrill of power. When a weak man can bust a strong man in the chops with impunity, it feels good.

Soon no one’s pretending Delanne’s in the picture for his English speaking skills. Soon he’s up to his neck in crooked cops, good cops, left-wing radical students with militant agendas, the poisoning of a Lycee administrator, and a few more murders. Everyone he comes into contact with turns out to have a hidden agenda.

But Delanne still can’t figure out why he was ever brought into the picture─until the end, and its shocking conclusion. There, he finds out firsthand just how far a rat will go when it’s trapped…

We’re supposed to believe this story ends well, but of course, it can’t. Once a man discovers a taste for abuse─giving it, and receiving it─it’s hard to believe riding off into the sunset ends in happy ever after.

As Delanne knows, wherever we go, we take ourselves with us. So, will Delanne find his redemption? Read the book and decide for yourself. You might find it sobering.
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