The Electronic Write Stuff

Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

North Florida Writers * April 2006

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In this issue:

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By Any Other Name -- Tom Lane

The Holy Code to Getting Rich Quick -- Howard Denson

Dahlonega Novel Contest is Accepting Entries

April is Coolest Month, Thanks to Writers' Festival

Quote from a Writer's Quill -- Georges Simenon

Writers Born in March -- Hans Christian Andersen, Maya Angelou, Eudora Welty, Henry James, William Shakespeare, Annie Dillard, and many others

Calendar of Events

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BY ANY OTHER NAME

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By TOM LANE

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Writers who succeed at their craft are those in touch with their writer's identity. Writers discover their identities when they find out what they write best, value it, and pursue it through practice. Aspiring writers once studied literature, hoping to master their art, until the advent of the MFA programs, currently the rage. But neither course of action guarantees getting in touch with one's writer's identity.

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I studied literature and assumed that someday I would write it. I snubbed nonliterary writing like genre fiction and nonfiction, despite the fact that most of what I wrote lacked literary excellence. I still believed that after creating some lesser pieces, to be later termed my early period, I would be magically transformed into a literary artist. To date, it has not happened, and I don't think it will, but that doesn't take it out of the realm of possibility.

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Writing over the years, I amassed a body of work, and through trial and error submitting practices, I discovered that some nonliterary publications were more accepting of my work than the literary magazines. It did not dawn on me immediately that possibly I had more to offer them than I had to offer the literaries. At the time, my ego, which propelled me to proclaim myself a writer, equated lessening a goal with failure, two outcomes, it deemed impossibilities.

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The nonliterary magazines have not exactly welcomed me with open arms. Marketing manuscripts remains a grind, but the occasional green light from one of these publications, restores my belief in myself as a writer. A nonliterary acceptance does not close the door on literature. It just shows that the work submitted appealed more to a nonliterary market. These markets, however, may become more literary in the future.

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Today's political climate has blurred the distinction between literary and nonliterary publications. The literary publications have changed. The presumption that work accepted by them has literary merit is no longer tenable. Originality, erudition, and depictions of the human condition as an enigma, not easily understood, now share space in these publications with multicultural selections for the sake of diversity, feminist writing, and mediocre manuscripts, containing occasional digs against the founding values of Western Civilization. These digs show the authors conforming to, and believing in, the reigning ignorance. Such a lack of free thinking disadvantages those who would be literary. Meanwhile, the works of some excluded writers of talent, are finding homes in nonliterary publications.

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Irrespective of trends, writers in touch with their identities tend not to write, thinking they are creating literature. Instead, they write their strengths with maximum effort, which develops their capacities and talents. With some marketing efforts, they find niches for their work. Out of their number, a few will emerge, capable of creating literature, a capability they may, or may not know, they possess. It doesn't matter. As long as they write every piece, intent on making it better than their last, luck and posterity will determine their literary rank.

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Aldous Huxley rose above the adventure/sci‑fi genre with Brave New World.  Agatha Christie, in addition to being one of the most prolific writers ever, set a new precedent for the mystery genre with The Mousetrap.  "Fir Tree," a Christmas story, by Hans Christian Andersen and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows are children's stories, but both have value as literature. Biography as literature brings to mind Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson.  Dr. Johnson himself broke the literary barrier by writing a dictionary. His Dictionary of the English Language remains a classic. These works illustrate that writers create literature via excellent writing in the forms that they write best. From there, it's a small leap to see that with the right commitment, there's hope for us all.©

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THE HOLY CODE TO GETTING RICH QUICK

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By HOWARD DENSON

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The lawsuit in London against Dan Brown for his The Da Vinci Code started my little gray cells to cogitating like mad about copyright and plagiarism.  Of course, I'm wrong about half the time concerning the way that courts decide their verdicts, but the Court of Denson is coming down on the side of Dan Brown.

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His novel, of course, is a bunch of silly nonsense.  I don't mind his claiming that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had a child.  That wouldn't shake the beliefs of this defrocked Baptist.

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(Quick digression:  Actually "defrogged" Baptist due to an unfortunate encounter with nature during my full-immersion baptism in Lugswater Creek.)

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Jesus was a rabbi, and a rabbi is generally married and all that by his thirties.

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I also don't mind that Robert Graves in King Jesus had Mary as a "temple virgin" and that he wrote a novel about Jesus actually having royal blood and a claim to the throne.

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It doesn't bother me that Jewish-writer Scholem Asch had a center section of The Nazarene entitled "The Gospel According to Judas Iscariot" -- which was fascinating because it explored more motivations for the betrayal other than "the devil made me do it."

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However, I do object to assertions that Mary Madgalene was depicted in Leonardo's "Last Supper" as being one of the apostles and sitting to Jesus' right.  My chief art advisor, Governor Schwarzenegger, states that the figure is sort of a girly man, but Leonardo painted other effeminate-appearing males.

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Even with that flaw, Brown is entitled to create a narrative that entertains.  Since various sources say Brown's novel has sold more than 30 or 40 million copies worldwide, we recognize that it is satisfying some readers.  That represents a potfull of money that went into the coffers of Random House.

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And that alluring cash, that folding stuff, and that money-money-money was enough to entice two other Random House authors, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, to want some court to shovel some of the loot their way.  They claim that the central premise of The Da Vinci Code was taken from their nonfiction book, Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (which was published in 1982).

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The Court of Denson has to agree with Random House's British attorney, John Baldwin, QC (Queen's Counsel), who said Baigent and Leigh's allegations were "spurious and bogus."

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Baldwin said, "Many of the ideas complained of are not even in both books, some are not even either, so they cannot have been copied from one to the other."  He adds, "In the main, the ideas complained of were not original to HBHG anyway."

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It is argued by Denson, RCC, MP (Royal Crown Cola and Moon Pie) that Frederick Jackson Turner's work has long been in the public domain, but let's pretend he published his concept of the expanding frontier way back in 1982.  He would not have a legal complaint if someone was writing about Dan'l Boone, perhaps in this manner:

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DAN'L:  It's an expanding frontier that's driving us all, Buddy.

SIDEKICK:  Mebbe.

DAN'L:  Mebbe, nothin'.  There's a driving force at work in us settlers.  We have a rendezvous with destiny and the Pacific Ocean.

SIDEKICK:  The only expanding frontier, I'm interested in is the backside of that new gal at the tavern.

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And so on. 

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One's a non-fiction book, and the other is a novel or screenplay.

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By the same token, if you have a best-selling non-fiction book, you and I do have some limitations.  For example, A Beautiful Mind by Columbia's Sylvia Nazar caught the attention of Hollywood.  Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes is non-fiction, but only McCourt, not you or I, may produce a novel or a screenplay about his family's poverty-stricken story.

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A quick rule of thumb is this:  Does my adaptation take money out of anyone's pocket?  If I write a novel or screenplay about Dr. Samuel Johnson and rely on Boswell's biography, I'm not depriving the Scotsman of any payment since he has been as dead as Monty Python's parrot for a couple of centuries.  But, if someone has a new biography of Dr. Johnson and if Oprah, Jon Stewart, and others praise it to high level, you and I can get into trouble if we adapt that bio.

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It's comforting to know that, if you only end up selling 500 to 5,000 copies of your book, you won't have to worry about any "spurious and bogus" lawsuits. ©

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DAHLONEGA NOVEL CONTEST IS ACCEPTING ENTRIES

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The Dahlonega Literary Festival is accepting entries for its annual novel contest until July 31 (or earlier if 200 entries have been accepted).

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Unpublished entries may be from 50,000 to 150,000 words long and on any subject or genre.  An identification page should identify the author's name, address, phone number, and e-mail (if available), but the author's name should not appear on the novel manuscript itself.

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The contest has an entry fee of $35, with checks or money orders made out to The Dahlonega Literary Festival.  It will offer monetary prizes of $500, $300, $200.  Entries should be mailed to DLF Fiction Contest, 420 Wal‑Mart Way, Box 514, Dahlonega, GA 30533.

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For complete rules, go to this website: http://www.literaryfestival.org

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APRIL IS COOLEST MONTH, THANKS TO WRITERS' FESTIVAL

BEING HELD AT RADISSON ON THE RIVERWALK

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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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Additional speakers have been confirmed for the Festival:

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John Byram ‑ Editor. He is the associate director and editor‑in‑chief of the University Press of Florida where he has worked since 2002 after spending the first 12 years of his publishing career at W.W. Norton & Company in New York. Besides supervising UPF's annual publishing program of 100 non‑fiction titles, he is also the senior acquisitions editor for the press's natural history and travel lists. One of his projects, Tora Johnson's Entanglements: The Intertwined Fates of Whales and Fishermen, recently was selected for the national Barnes and Noble booksellers Discover Great New Writers program in fall 2005.

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Rick Campbell ‑ Writer. Campbell's most recent book is The Traveler's Companion (Black Bay Books, 2004). His first full‑length book, Setting The World In Order (Texas Tech, 2001) won the Walt McDonald Prize. His poems and essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, The Tampa Review, Southern Poetry Review, Puerto Del Sol, Prairie Schooner and other journals. He has won an NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and two fellowships from the Florida Arts Council. He is the director of Anhinga Press and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and he teaches English at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

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Camille Cline ‑ Editor. She opened The Literary Spa in 2001 to help fiction and nonfiction authors to develop their works for submission to literary agents and publishers, via substantive editing, revising, and polishing. She understands authors' challenges and has developed a gentle method for editing powerful novels. Writers Digest Books will be publishing Cline's The Secret Black Book of Novel Revision in Spring 2007. She is the editor of The FAQs of Life (Andrews McMeel). Cline has served as editor‑in‑chief at LifeCast; senior acquisitions editor at Taylor Trade Publishing and Cader Books, where she also served as  executive editor of the People Entertainment Almanac; and as associate editor at Tor / Forge Books, a division of St. Martin's Press. She started her career in New York as a researcher /  reviewer at PC Magazine, after completing the Radcliffe Publishing Course in Cambridge, Mass.

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Victor DiGenti ‑ Novelist. DiGenti had a diverse career in broadcasting and communications and as producer of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival before turning to writing. The first in his acclaimed Windrusher adventure / fantasy series has been honored with both a Royal Palm Award (Florida Writer's Association) for Best Young Adult Novel of 2004, and a Muse Medallion  (Cat Writer's Association) for Best Fiction of 2004. The sequel, Windrusher and the Cave of Tho‑hoth, also won top awards from FWA and CWA, as well as an Honorable Mention in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Competition. Both books are published by Ocean Publishing of Flagler Beach. He is working on an adult suspense novel. His website is www.windrusher.com.

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Sorche Fairbank ‑ Agent, Fairbank Literary Representation. She represents best‑selling authors such as Robin Moore, Xaviera Hollander, Edgar‑winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee John McAleer, O. Henry Prize winner Charlotte Forbes, AP Journalist of the Year David Yonke, jazz legend Benny Golson, Edgar‑winner Rex Burns, and sports and political dynamo Charles Euchner.  Subjects of interest include literary fiction, topical or narrative non‑fiction, a strong interest in women's voices, class and race issues, war and its alteration of people and nation, and works addressing the meeting of art and science. They are most actively seeking select new fiction voices and Latino works, biographies, one‑subject narrative non‑fiction (a là Mark Kurlansky), topical works (politics, current affairs), true crime, sports, and pop culture.

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John Henry Fleming is the author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, a novel of Florida  He has published more than 20 short stories in magazines such as McSweeney's, The North  American Review, and Mississippi Review. Raised in Florida, he lived in seven other states before returning in 2001 to teach creative writing at the University of South Florida.

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Kelle Groom's poetry collections are Underwater City (University Press of Florida 2004) and Luckily, 2006 Florida Poetry Series selection, sponsored by Anhinga Press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Agni, Barrow Street, DoubleTake, Florida Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Texas Observer, Witness and other magazines. Her honors include the Norma Millay Ellis Fellowship from the Millay Colony, three fellowships from Atlantic Center for the Arts, a Tennessee Williams scholarship from the Sewanee Writers Conference, and grants from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Fund, United Arts of Central Florida, and New Forms Florida. Groom has taught writing at the University of Central Florida, Seminole Community College, and Valencia Community College. She lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

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Lola Haskins ‑ Poet.  She has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems (BOA, 2004). Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The London Review of Books, Beloit Poetry Journal , Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, etc. and has been broadcast on NPR and BBC. Among her awards are the Iowa Poetry Prize, two NEAs, the Emily Dickinson/Writer Magazine prize from the Poetry Society of America, and narrative poetry prizes from The New England Review and the Southern Poetry Review. For more information please see  www.lolahaskins.com.

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Diane Higgins ‑ Still keeping her New York connections strong, she has begun a full‑service literary agency, establishing an opportunity for emerging talent to seek editorial guidance from an accomplished professional. With her new agency, Diane is editing book projects for a fee; she also has begun very selectively to acquire fiction and non‑fiction writers for literary representation. In these cases, as is standard for literary agents, no editorial fees are charged. She has been in New York publishing for 21 years, six of those with Houghton Mifflin Company, and fifteen at St. Martin's Press as a senior acquisitions editor. In 1995, she was one of three to launch Picador USA, the literary fiction and non‑fiction imprint of St. Martin's. As Picador transitioned into a trade paperback house only, she moved her hardcover acquisitions to St. Martin's. Although she gravitates toward narrative nonfiction, she also sees the value in solidly based self‑help and inspirational books that address the challenges of parenting, dating, marrying, divorcing and, in general, living and loving in our complicated contemporary society. She has published many notable titles, including the extraordinary holocaust memoir, The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman, In the Face of Jinn, a mesmerizing first novel about a woman searching for her kidnapped sister amongst the Taliban and various tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, by Cheryl Howard Crew, Ron Howard's wife; Wisdom's Daughter by India Edghill, a rich biblical novel with the scope of The Red Tent (which she published in its bestselling tradepaperback format in 1998).

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Anne Haw Holt ‑ Mystery, adventure writer. She attended Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville where she graduated in 1987. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., in 1989. She has a Masters in Historical Administration and Public History and a Ph.D. in History from Florida State University. Her dissertation was on the early years of Florida's convict‑lease system and prisons.  She continues to write fiction, poetry, and non‑fiction on parenting and parents in prison. She is researching a book on the early years of the Florida Hospital for the Insane at Chattahoochee.  She also writes grants and teaches grant writing and leadership. She speaks on writing, leadership, women as heroes and prison issues. She is a member of Women Writing the West, The National Association of Women Writers, Tallahassee Writers Association and Western Writers of America. She serves on the Art in the Court Committee of the Florida Supreme Court and is Director of Development of the Eason Museum of Civil Rights History in Tallahassee.

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Jeanne Leiby -- Writer, professor and editor. Leiby is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Central Florida and Director of UCF's brand new MFA in Creative Writing program. She is also the editor of The Florida Review. Her stories have appeared widely in national journals, including Witness, Indiana Review and Story, among others. She is a past winner of Poets and Writers magazine's Writer Exchange and the Flyway Fiction Prize.

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Richard Mathews ‑ Author, editor, professor. Mathews wears several hats as editor of Tampa Review, director of the University of Tampa Press and the Dana Professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa. He is the author of several critical books about science fiction and fantasy writers, and his poetry has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. His most recent book of poems is Numbery (Borgo Press, 1995).

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Brenda Mills ‑ is the managing editor of Fiction Collective Two (FC2), where she supervises the workflow on all publication projects, generates funding for the press, and works to publicize and promote FC2 books. Before coming to FC2, she was an editor and writer for newspapers and magazines for 15 years.

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William Slaughter ‑ Poet, editor. William Slaughter is editor of Mudlark, an electronic journal of poetry and poetics, and author of The Politics of My Heart and Untold Stories, books of poems and essays. His work has been published in magazines across the globe, including Poetry and Exquisite Corpse in the United States; Malahat Review, Prism International, and Fiddlehead in Canada; Critical Quarterly (England), Poetry Australia, Frank (France), and People's Daily in China. He currently teaches at the University of North Florida, has had Fulbrights to China and Egypt, and has taught at the Florida State University London Study Center.

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Jane R. Wood ‑ Children's author. Jane is the author of Voices in St. Augustine, a mystery‑adventure for children 10‑14. This is the first book for Wood, a former middle school and high school English teacher. Resources for teachers, including vocabulary words and discussion questions, are available on the author's Web site at  www.janewoodbooks.com. Wood, who has also been a newspaper writer, a television producer, and an educational consultant, resides in Jacksonville with her husband Terry.

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The schedule of workshops and full information about speakers mentioned in previous issues may be found at the website  http://opencampus.fccj.edu/wf. These include:

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Bill Belleville, an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker from Sanford.

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Steve Berry, a best-selling novelist whose fourth novel is The Templar Legacy.

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Jackie Estrada, editor and co-publisher of the Supernatural Law series of graphic novels from Exhibit A Press.

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Lenore Hart, author of Ordinary Springs, a coming of age novel set in the 1960s. 

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Joan Hecht's, novelist and author of The Journey of the Lost Boys.

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Terry Kay, journalist and novelist, including The Valley of Light.

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John Moran, photographer and author of Journal of Light: The Visual Diary of a Florida Nature Photographer.

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Gary Mormino, historian and co-editor of Spanish Pathways in Florida, 1492-1992 (Pineapple P).

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Andra Olenik, editor of fiction and nonfiction in the New York office of Algonquin Books.

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Anne Petty, literary critic and author of Dragons of Fantasy, Tolkien in the Land of Heroes, One Ring to Bind Them All:  Tolkien's Mythology

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David Poyer, best-selling novelist and author of 25 books.

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Rick Reichman, former winner of America's Best Screenwriting Competition and author of Formatting Your Screenplay.

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Poet Reginald Shepherd, poet and author of Some Are Drowning, Angel, Interrupted, and Wrong.

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Ginny Stibolt, computer/webpage guru and founder of Sky-Bolt Enterprises.

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Cynthia Thayer, short story writer and novelist, including  A Certain Slant of Light and A Brief Lunacy.

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Sophie Wadsworth, poet and winner of the Jessie Bryce Niles Award with her book, Letters from Siberia.

 

QUOTE FROM A WRITER'S QUILL

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Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.

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-- Georges Simenon

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WRITERS BORN IN APRIL

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.1--Leonard Bloomfield (1887) and Milan Kundera (1929); 2--Hans Christian Andersen (1805), Émile Zola (1840), and Edward Dorn (1929); 3--George Herbert (1593); John Banim (1798) and John Burroughs (1837); 4--Bettina von Arnim (1785), Henry Bataille (1872), Marguerite Duras (1914), and Maya Angelou (1928);

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5--Booker T. Washington (1856) and Arthur Hailey (1920); 7--William Wordsworth (1770) and William Ellery Channing (1780); 8--John Fante (1909) and Barbara Kingsolver (1955); 9--Fisher Ames (1758), Charles Baudelaire (1821), and Paule Marshall (1929);

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10--Joseph Pulitzer (1847); 11--Mark Strand (1934); 12--Alan Ayckbourn (1939); 13--Jonathan Carver (1710), Nella Larsen (1891), Samuel Beckett (1906), Eudora Welty (1909), and Seamus Heaney (1939); 14--René Boylesve (René M. A. Tardiveau) (1867), James Branch Cabell (1879), and Bruce Sterling (1954);

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15--Henry James (1843), Bliss Carman (1861), Giovanni Amendola (1882), and Jeffrey Archer (1940); 16--Grace Livingston Hill (1865) and Kingsley Amis (1922); 17--Samuel Austin Allibone (1816), David Gravson (Ray Stannard Baker) (1870), Isak Dinesen (1885), and Thornton Wilder (1897); 18--Henry François Becque (1837); 19--Etheridge Knight (1933);

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20--Louis Bertrand (1807); 21--John Capgrave (1393), Charlotte Brontë (1816) and Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818); 22--Henry Fielding (1707), Jørgen Engebretsen Moe (1813), Vladimir Nabokov (1899), and Jan de Hartog (1914); 23--William Shakespeare (1564), Margaret Avison (1918), J. P. Donleavy (1926), Rod McKuen (1933), and Barry Hannah (1942); 24--Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825), Marcus Clarke (1846), and Robert Penn Warren (1905);

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25--Giuseppe Marc' Antonio Baretti (1719), Clarín (Leopoldo Alas) (1852), Walter De La Mare (1873), Ngaio Marsh (1895), and Darcey Steinke (1962); 26--Robert Herrick, U.S. (1868), Alice Cary (1820), Bernard Malamud (1914); 27--Ulysses S. Grant (1822), C. Day Lewis (1904), and Gilbert Sorrentino (1929); 28--Charles Cotton (1630);

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30--John Crowe Ransom (1888) and Annie Dillard (1945)

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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. 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@gct.net)

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

Kathy Marsh, Secretary (kmarsh@fdn.net)

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

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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

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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

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Homepage editor

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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.  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40

for a family.  (Make out checks to WRITERS.)

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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.

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Won't you join today?

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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___________________________________________

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St. address____________________________________

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Apt. No. ______________________________________

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City ________________State _____ Zip __________

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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