Subject: 20th Festival and Satisfaction (Write Stuff 3-06)
From: "DENSON III, WILLIAM H"
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 15:36:19 -0500

The Electronic Write Stuff

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Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

North Florida Writers * March 2006

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In this issue:

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Satisfaction -- Tom Lane

Wow, It's Been 20 Years since First Festival for Poets and Writers in Jax; Mark Calendar for Mar. 30-Apr. 2

The Wrong Stuff

Quote from a Writer's Quill -- Bette Midler

Writers Born in March -- Ralph Ellison, Dr. Seuss, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Flannery O'Connor, Robert Frost, and many others

Calendar of Events

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SATISFACTION

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By TOM LANE

In "$75 and Climbing," a recent essay of mine, I referred to the Story Prize Group who listed a fiction competition in Poets & Writers with a $75 entry fee. The listing supported my prediction that before long writers, other than me, would be willingly paying $100 contest fees. Daily, my prediction comes closer to fruition. In Poets & Writers for May/June 2005, the National Book Foundation listed a fiction competition with a $100 entry fee. It made Gival Press' listing, a competition, charging a paltry $50 fee, look like a two‑for‑one sale.

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These obscene fees moved me to reexamine the reading entry fee game re: contests to see if there was anything I missed to justify this meteoric rise in contest fees. There wasn't.

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If I remember correctly, and I don't always, fee charging got underway in the eighties. The first fees were modest, hovering between $2 and $5 per piece of work. I objected to the $2 fee just as much as I now object to the $100 fee because I could see what was coming.

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I hear that fees are necessary because magazine production is costly, judges have to be paid, etc.  These reasons are baloney. Fees are charged because people, who should not be involved in writing, are, and they discovered that they could make money charging them.

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Publishing a magazine, literary, or any other, has always been costly. In the past, people with literary taste, and sufficient funds to publish a literary magazine, did so. Their compensation was discovering quality work. Publication was the writer's prize, not winning a contest. Contests caught on because it was easier to justify a contest fee over a submission fee. However, I have another prediction: submission fees are coming. Writers other than me too will willingly pay them. They will begin modestly, and gradually reach for the sky.

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In Poets & Writers, literary competitions are listed as grants, awards, or contests with some crossing over. A competition may appear under an awards listing, and also under a contests listing. Many of the grants and awards listed are free, but they are not open‑competitive. Most are regional, restricted to the residents of a given state or region. Others are based on ethnicity, or are for women only.

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The fees are related to the size of the work, the longer the work, the higher the fee. Today, fees average $21. Poetry competitions are slightly less expensive.

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Relating fees to work length should alert any thinking person, but it doesn't, that those reading the submissions aren't looking for quality work. They're performing a duty for pay. They may, however, be impartial, in that they most likely want little or nothing to do with any of the manuscripts they are obligated to read.

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Writing magazines may at times appear to befriend the fee‑burdened writer with exposés on rip‑off competitions, but really they are part of the problem as they advance it.

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Whether their status is not‑for‑profit, or commercial, the ads listing the competition still generate revenue, and sources of revenue most magazines find difficult to abandon.

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Several issues back, Poets & Writers began the "The Contester," a series of essays, dealing with all aspects of the literary contest. Some Contesters covered contest corruption well, but the essays' attitude towards the chicanery is soft. The only outrage expressed in the magazine comes in an occasional letter from a spurned writer.

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Writer's Digest, a commercial publication, adds contests of its own which have an average fee of $12 per entry.

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The trend today is to drive the obscure, but possibly talented writer to the poorhouse. It will not faze those who have more funds than intelligence. Writers who can must now derive all their satisfaction from the act of creating work, and not worry about a work’s destiny. Those who cannot will soon find that from their craft they no longer get any satisfaction.

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WOW, IT'S BEEN 20 YEARS SINCE FIRST FESTIVAL FOR POETS AND WRITERS IN JAX; MARK CALENDAR FOR MAR. 30-APR. 2

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In 1986, Dean Jack Surrency of Florida Community College at Jacksonville created the State Street Writers' and Poets' Festival on the Downtown Campus.  He and a team made up of Kevin Bezner, Mary Sue Koeppel, Bill Slaughter, Mary Baron, and others invited the late Donald Justice to be the main speaker.

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In its second year, the workshop called itself the State Street Poetry Festival, and in the third year the Festival moved to Kent Campus, eventually changing its name to the current one.

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Besides Justice, the early speakers included Philip Levine, Peter Klappert, Stanley Plumly, and others.

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During later years, the Writers' Festival featured such speakers as Pulitzer Prize-winner Peter Taylor, novelist Harry Crews, non-fiction writer Stephen Birmingham, poets Peter Meinke and David Kirby, plus many others.

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Thanks to David Poyer and Lenore Hart, frequent speakers and final-round novel judges, the Festival has helped to develop the careers of New York Times best-selling novelist Steve Berry, along with Robert Bailey and Brian Corrigan.

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During this time, the most important connection and magic occurred when individuals awakened the professional in themselves and learned what it takes to make it as a writer.

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Writers in 2006 will have a chance to do this again from Mar. 30 to Apr. 2, with its annual workshops being held Friday and Saturday at the Radisson on the Riverwalk.

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For registration information, click on http://opencampus.fccj.edu/wf.

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Sixteen speakers have been confirmed so far:

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Bill Belleville, an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker from Sanford, has written over a thousand magazine articles and essays and four books.  He has scripted seven films.  His latest book is Losing It All to Sprawl:  How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape.

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Steve Berry's fourth novel, The Templar Legacy, is seeking to join the three previous ones on best-seller lists.  Berry lives in St. Marys, Ga., where he serves on the Camden County Board of Commissioners.

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Jackie Estrada is editor and co-publisher of the Supernatural Law series of graphic novels from Exhibit A Press.  She has also edited Comics:  Between the Panels, a coffee table book by Mike Richardson and Steve Duin.  She also manages the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (the "Oscars" of the industry).

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Lenore Hart has recently published Ordinary Springs, a coming of age novel set in the 1960s.  Her first book was Waterwoman, a Barnes & Noble Discover novel, as well as being a selection for Literary Guild and BookSpan.  She also writes children's books.

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Joan Hecht's first novel, The Journey of the Lost Boys, received first place in the education category at the 2005 Promoting Outstanding Authors (POW) Awards.  She has established a non-profit foundation that assists the Lost Boys of Sudan with their medical and educational needs.

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Terry Kay spent 14 years writing for the Decatur-DeKalb News and the Atlanta Journal before going into public relations.  During those years, he completed three novels.  His latest novel is The Valley of Light.

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Photographer John Moran focuses on natural Florida and tries to capture what Ponce de Leon and early travelers might have seen in this New World paradise.  His Journal of Light: The Visual Diary of a Florida Nature Photographer was published by the University Press of Florida.

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Gary Mormino, a full professor at the University of South Florida, has been involved in several historical projects, including Immigrants on the Hill:  Italian-Americans in St. Louis, 1882-1985.  He co-edited Spanish Pathways in Florida, 1492-1992 (Pineapple P).

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Andra Olenik is editor of fiction and nonfiction in the New York office of Algonquin Books.  She has worked with such authors as Cynthia Thayer (A Brief Lunacy), Nina Solomon (Single Wife), and Andrea Barnet (All-Night Party:  The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem).

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Anne Petty is the author of three books of literary criticism, including Dragons of Fantasy, Tolkien in the Land of Heroes (a finalist in the Mythopoeic Society Inklings Award for Tolkien Studies), One Ring to Bind Them All:  Tolkien's Mythology.  She has also written two novels and is working on a series of dark fantasy novels for Simon & Shuster.

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Novelist David Poyer, a one-time Jacksonville resident, created the novel contest for the Writers' Festival.  He has 25 books to his credit.  He is now retired from the Navy Reserve and lives in Franktown, Va.

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Rick Reichman is a former winner of America's Best Screenwriting Competition.  He has taught screenwriting classes to students at Georgetown University, American University, Tennessee State University, and the University of Virginia.  His first book is Formatting Your Screenplay.

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Poet Reginald Shepherd, a native of New York City, recently published his fourth book of poems, Otherhood (U of Pittsburgh P). His other books include Some Are Drowning, Angel, Interrupted, and Wrong.

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Ginny Stibolt is a computer/webpage guru who founded Sky-Bolt Enterprises in 2001.

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Cynthia Thayer wrote her first short story ten years ago and became hooked on writing when it was published in the Antigonish Review.  Her first novel was Strong for Potatoes, followed by A Certain Slant of Light and A Brief Lunacy.

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Poet Sophie Wadsworth of Boston won the Jessie Bryce Niles Award with her book, Letters from Siberia.  Her poems have appeared in Sycamore Review, Meridian, Crab Orchard Review, Southwester, and Sanctuary.

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THE WRONG STUFF

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The February issue of the NFW's The Electronic Write Stuff in a sentence about novelist David Poyer:

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His most recent book is The Command, about the coming of women to the surface navel. 

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W.S. SAYS:  No, no, it's really right.  See, they sit in hot-tubs and contemplate their belly-buttons, and. . .and. . . .  Oh, all right.

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QUOTE FROM A WRITER'S QUILL

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Writing a book is not as tough as it to haul 35 people around the country and sweat like a horse five nights a week.

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-- Bette Midler

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WRITERS BORN IN MARCH

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1--Lytton Strachey (1880), Ralph Ellison (1914), Robert Lowell (1917), Howard Nemerov (1920), and Richard Wilbur (1921); 2--Janos Arany (1817), Theodor Seuss Geisel or Dr. Seuss (1904), Tom Wolfe (1932), and John Irving (1942); 3--Colonel Fred Burnaby (1842), Edward Thomas (1878) and James Merrill (1926); 4--James Ellroy (1948);

5--Frank Norris (1870); 6--Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806), Johan Bojer (1872), and Gabriel García Márques (1928); 7--Luther Burbank (1849) and Georges Perec (1936); 9--William Cobbett (1763), Vita Sackville-West (1892) and Mickey Spillane (1918);

10--Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (1833), John Rechy (1934); 11--Douglas Adams (1952); 12--Jack Kerouac (1922), John Clellon Holmes (1926), Edward Albee (1928), Randall Kenan (1963); 13--L. Ron Hubbard (1911); 14--Théodore de Banville (1823), Algernon Blackwood (1869);

15--Johann Jakob Breitinger (1701) and Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse (1830); 16--G. A. Bredero (1585), Camilo Castelo Branco (1825), and Alice Hoffman (1952); 18--Wilfred Owen (1893) and John Updike (1932); 19--Philip Roth (1933);

20--Thomas Cooper (1805), Henry Ibsen (1828) and Louis Marie Émile Bertrand (1866); 24--Joel Barlow (1754), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919), and Ian Hamilton (1938); 23--Sir Thomas Chapais (1858);

25--Alexander Ivanovich Herzen (1812), Flannery O'Connor (1925); 26--Edward Bellamy (1850), A. E. Housman (1859), Serafín Álvarez Quintero (1871), Robert Frost (1874), Joseph Campbell (1904), Tennessee Williams (1914), and Gregory Corso (1930); 27--Michael Bruce (1746), Budd Schulberg (1914), Denton Welch (1915), and Louis Simpson (1923); 28--William Byrd (1674), Alexandre Herculano de Carvalho e Araújo (1810), Nelson Algren (1909), Mario Vargas Llosa (1936), and Russell Banks (1940); 29--Alexander Chalmers (1759);

30--Paul Verlaine (1844) and Sean O'Casey (1880); 31--Octavio Paz (1914), John Fowles (1926), and John Jakes (1932).

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

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Meetings of NFW are held at 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

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You may receive feedback from specific individuals by mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address.

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Mar. 11 -- NFW Critiques (Crispers, corner of Roosevelt Blvd./US 17 and St. Johns Ave.)

Mar. 27-30 -- Free pre-Festival events at campuses and centers of FCCJ.

Mar. 30-Apr. 2 -- Actual workshops of 20th annual Florida First Coast Writers' Festival.

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Past speakers have included novelists Jack Hunter, David Poyer, Page Edwards, Ruth Coe Chambers, William Kerr, Tom Lashley; poets, William Slaughter, Mary Baron, Mary Sue Koeppel, Dorothy Fletcher, George Gilpatrick; columnists Vic Smith, Tom Ivines, and Robert Blade; editors Buford Brinlee and Nan Ramey;

agent Debbie Fine; magazine editor Sara Summers; medical writers Elizabeth Tate and Michael Pranzatelli; oral historian Robert Gentry; plus many others.

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"WE ASPIRE TO CREATE

WITH WORDS."

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The Write Staff

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Richard Levine, President (RichieL@clearwire.net)

Carrol Wolverton, Vice President (carrolwolve@hotmail.com)

, Secretary

Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (hdenson@fccj.edu)

Joel Young, Public Relations (joshua7786@aol.com)

Doris Cass, Hospitality (ostie46@aol.com)

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Presidents Emeritus: 

Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson (Davent2005@comcast.net), Margaret Gloag (haggisgal@juno.com), Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, Jo Ann Harter, Carrol Wolverton

 

Newsletter address

The Write Stuff

FCCJ North, Box 21

4501 Capper Rd.

Jacksonville, FL 32218

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Homepage address

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http://www.northfloridawriters.org

Homepage editor

Richard Levine

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Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about writing or publishing.  We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying.

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We pay $5-10 for submissions accepted.

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MEMBERSHIP IN THE NFW

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If you are writing a story or poem, you will need some expert feedback ‑‑ the sort that you will receive at a meeting of the North Florida Writers.

You won't profit from automatic praise that a close friend or relative might give or jealous criticism from others who may feel threatened by your writing.

The NFW specializes in CONSTRUCTIVE feedback that will enable your manuscript to stand on its own two feet and demand that it be accepted by an editor or agent.  Hence, you need the NFW.

The North Florida Writers is a writer's best friend because we help members to rid manuscripts of defects and to identify when a work is exciting and captivating.

Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family.  (Make out checks to WRITERS.)

Is your membership current?  To find out, check the mailing label. If it says "0106" next to your last name, your membership expired in January 2006.  You do not have to pay back dues to activate your members, so, if you last paid in 1998 or 2002, don't worry about the months you were inactive.

Won't you join today?

The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS, Box 21, FCCJ North, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218.

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Name___________________________________________

St. address____________________________________

Apt. No. ______________________________________

City ________________State _____ Zip __________

E‑mail address(es) ___________________________________

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HOW DOES CRITIQUING WORK?

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When you attend a meeting of the North Florida Writers, you eventually discover that NO ONE has ever died while his or her manuscript was being read and critiqued.  You may be ready to face the ordeal yourself . . . or, reading this, you may wonder what exactly takes place during a critiquing.

First, you pitch your manuscript into a stack with others' works‑in‑progress.  Then one of the NFW members hands out each piece to volunteer readers, taking care NOT to give you back your own manuscript to read.

Second, as the reading begins, each author is instructed NOT to identify himself or herself and especially NOT to explain or defend the work.  The writer may never have heard the piece read aloud by another's voice, so the writer needs to focus on the sound of his or her sentences.

Third, at the finish of each selection, the NFW members try to offer constructive advice about how to make the story better. If a section was confusing or boring, that information may be helpful to the author.

The NFW will listen to 10 pages (double‑spaced) of prose (usually a short story or a chapter).

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