The Electronic Write Stuff
Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System (Dec. 2002)


     Many aspiring writers may feel stymied by the challenge of putting their memoirs on paper.  If so, they may be interested in Mims Cushing s Treasures for Tomorrow, a memoir writing course.
     The course will have students sending in  homework  (the written assignments).  Ms. Cushing will return them with her feedback.

     The course will start students off with information that will enable them to continue on, on their own, and finish their memoirs. A 40-page booklet will discuss such topics such as Story Starters (or) Memory Joggers; A Simple Way to Find a Great Title; Great Beginnings; Finish Your Vignettes with a Bang, Not a Bore; Self-Check: About Your Writing, Ask Yourself; How to Organize Your Memoirs; Easy-to-Use Tips on How to Write Everything Better  NOW!; Making Each Sentence Stronger; Adding Sparkle to Your
Memoirs; Selected Memoirs to Read on Rainy Days; Good Books on Writing; Quickies: Short Topics to Rev Up Your Writing Hand; and finally, a Writing Assignment for each of the four weeks.

     Ms. Cushing says that memoir writing is more than a mere playground for creative thoughts. The written page is the perfect vehicle for anyone to achieve a richer, healthier life, regardless of whether one has done a lot of writing or done none.

The writer will have a gift to be left to his or her family.

     The cost of this course is $75, plus $7.50 (S&H). To order, make out your check to The Neuropathy Association and send it to

Mims Cushing
7028 Cypress Bridge Dr. N.
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.

For further information, contact Ms. Cushing at or call her at (904) 285-5781.

      Mims Cushing is the author of If You're Having a Crummy Day Brush Off the Crumbs!, which may be ordered at the above addresses. The cost of the book is $10 plus $2.00 for S&H per
book. All the proceeds go to  TNA.

*  *  *


     Local writer Patti Levine-Brown told members and guests of the North Florida Writers that she has written over 2,000 articles as a freelancer during the past twenty years.  You succeed in writing articles, she said, when you send your articles to appropriate publications (e.g., don't send something to Field & Stream that should belong in a woman's publication).

     She also said that the hardest writing she has ever done is on a textbook that will be published in 2003.  What made it so hard?  She said she had to take what she does in classes at the South Campus of FCCJ and then try to put down in a step-by-step process what she may do instinctively while teaching.

     She said a successful freelancer also needs enough flexibility to listen to any special angles that editors may have for potential articles or textbooks.

*  *  *


     The Florida Writers Association honored several Northeast
Florida writers when it presented the Royal Palm Book Awards at
the recent annual convention.
     In the published books category, the award for Best Book of
the Year went to Language of Souls by k.t. Frankovich, Ruth
Solomon, and David Taub.  The first runner-up was Family Secrets,
A Memoir in Verse by Ann Sims of Ponte Vedra.
     In mystery-suspense, Jacksonville s William Kerr was the
winner with Death s Bright Angel, while the first runner-up was
Belly of the Dragon by Jack E. Romig.
     The Bio/Autobiographical Award went to Camp David Diaries:
Volume II - Bess Truman by Pamela K. Thorson, while the first
runner-up book was Living Crazy Like Fly by Caryn Suarez of
     The Short Stories Award was also given to Ms. Suarez for
Passing Thoughts, while Mims Cushing of Ponte Vedra was first
runner-up with If You re Having a Crummy Day ... Brush Off the
     In the unpublished books category, Robyn Gioia won the Young
Adult Award with Rinny and the Trial of Clues, while Jo Ann
Harter of Jacksonville was first runner-up with Olo of the Mound
* * *
     Sohrab Fracis, author of Ticket to Minto, now has a website
at  The winner of the prestigious
University of Iowa Short Fiction prize, Fracis spoke to the North
Florida Writers in November about striving for excellence in
one's writing.
* * *
                             THAT TIME AGAIN
                               By TOM LANE
     Every two years, I buy a copy of the Novel & Short Story
Writer's Market.  It's published yearly, and, despite a rash of
new publications that come and go yearly, I still buy it every
other year.  Most of the newer publications aren't worth anyone's
attention, and, in two years time, I'm ripe for an update on what
the various magazines represented are seeking.
     The volume claims to be updated yearly.  Maybe, but I
question the quality of the updates for even at its newest, when
you submit, you're likely to receive more dead addresses and
magazine-no-longer-publishing notices than you anticipated.  A
woman once wrote me, wondering how had I heard of her magazine as
she was in the midst of a seven-year break from publishing it.
     Novel & Short Story Writer's Market also contains essays on
successful writers, and on writing itself.  Written by both
staffers and freelancers, the essays range from excellent (rare)
to just okay (often).
     Writers written about this year include Joyce Carol Oates,
John Updike, and T. C. Boyle.  I read that Mr. Boyle has changed
his name from T. Coraghessan Boyle to T. C. Boyle to better
accommodate book jackets.  Good idea.  Coraghessan as a name
often eluded me, and I'd find myself referring to the man as T.
Congressman Boyle.
     These essays I term the book's stuffing.  By varying both
their length and their number, the volume's size is kept constant
despite market fluctuations.  This year, the number of literary
magazines is way down from the year 2000.
     An Online category has been added.  Some missing literaries
have crossed over into it, abandoning their print operations.  A
distinction is made between the Online category and the Zine
category.  The former has work appearing only on the internet,
whereas the latter may have a desktop publication, showing a
writer's work as well as providing internet exposure.
     An example of good advice that I gleaned from the essays
over the years was not to scatter shoot submissions at magazines,
but, instead, to try to fit in by discerning the publication's
needs.  Reading the publication's a good way to do this, but
success isn't guaranteed.  Both needs and editors change.  And
editors,  like all of us, don't always know what they want,
especially the less experienced ones.  The older the magazine,
the better a job it does in defining its needs personality.
     Good advice or not, I didn't take it until years after
reading it.  Instead, I told myself I was good and couldn't
imagine a publication that didn't want good writing.  Today I'm
not so sure either that I'm good or that all publications want is
good writing.
     Writers must believe in themselves, but they should refrain
from telling themselves they're good.  Writers who tell
themselves they're good will at times be distorting reality
because all writers have in their possession some poorly written
     Writers who believe in themselves write daily.  They also
save and remember all positive feedback received.  Enough
positive feedback defines a writer as good.
     I destroy negative feedback, but not before I understand it.
For me, that means holding onto it for weeks, since to this day I
have difficulty dealing with negative feedback that is freshly
received.  I'm such a spoiled old pussycat.
     Enough digression.
     In conclusion, the Novel & Short Story Writer's Market is
worth the purchase at least every other year.  It doesn't even
hurt to read the prosaic essays despite having read or heard
their contents a thousand times.  On some Saturdays I work as a
proctor, administering civil service exams.  On every assignment,
we receive an instruction chart.  The instructions are identical
with only minor variations for each exam which are always
explained verbally.  Yet I read this sheet before every
assignment because then when I'm working, I feel more confident,
and in control.(c)
* * *
     The Writers' Festival has extended its novel contest
deadline to Jan. 3, 2003.  Aspiring writers may want to enter the
contest, if only because a respectable finish often boosts
attention for a novel (or short story or poem).
     Any original and unpublished novel manuscript, regardless of
genre, may be entered.  There is a $30 entry fee for each
manuscript (check made out to WRITERS), with first through third
prizes of $500, $200, and $100 respectively.
     Short fiction ($10 entry fee for each ms.) will have a
deadline of Jan. 2.  The check should be made out to FCCJ
     In poetry, two contests have a Jan. 2 deadline, with the
Douglas Freels contest focusing on traditional poetry topics and
the Robert Grimes contest focusing on ecology and nature.  There
is a $5 entry fee (checks made out to FCCJ FOUNDATION).
     Only disposable mss. should be submitted in all categories.
     Entries should be sent to Contests, FCCJ North, 4501 Capper
Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218.
     For complete contest information, go to the Festival
homepage at  Click on "homepage" and
then "contests."
     1--Rex Stout (1886) and Woody Allen (1935); 2--Robert
Bloomfield (1766), Nikos Kazantz kis (1885), Jon Silkin (1930),
and T. Coraghessan Boyle (1948); 3--Joseph Conrad (1857) and
Hermann Heijermans (1864); 4--Jean Chapelain (1595), Frances
Power Cobbe (1822), Samuel Butler (1835), Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875) and Cornell Woodrich (1903);
     5--Christina Rossetti (1830), Walt Disney (1901), Joan A.
Williams (1925), Joan Dideon (1934), Hanif Kureishi (1954); 6--
Elizabeth Carter (1717), Thomas Ingoldsby (Richard Harris Barham)
(1788), Joyce Kilmer (1886), and Peter Handke (1942); 7--Paul
Adam (1862), Joyce Cary (1888), and Wilma Cather (1873); 8--
Bj rnstjerne Bj rnson (1832), James Thurber (1894), Delmore
Schwartz (1913), and James Tate (1943); 9--John Milton (1608);
     10--William Plomer (1903); 11--Naguib Mahfouz (1911), Grace
Paley (1922), Jim Harrison (1937), Tom McGuane (1939); 12--
Gustave Flaubert (1821) and Arthur Brisbane (1864); 13--Heinrich
Heine (1797), Drew Pearson (1896), Kenneth Patchen (1911), and
James Wright (1927); 14--Nostradamus (1503) and Shirley Jackson
     15--Maxwell Anderson (1888) and Muriel Rukeyser (1913); 16--
Jane Austen (1775), Noel Coward (1899), Theodore Weiss (1916),
Arthur C. Clarke (1917), and Philip K. Dick (1928); 17--John
Almon (1737), Rose Terry Cook (1827), Ford Madox Ford (1873) and
Erskine Caldwell (1903); 18--Saki (1870) and Steven Spielberg
(1947); 19--Manuel Bret¢n de los Herreros (1796), Emily Dickinson
(1830), Italo Svevo (1861) and Jean Genet (1910);
     20--Sandra Cisneros (1954); 21--Benjamin Disraeli (1804),
James Lane Allen (1849), Albert Payson Terhune (1872), and
Heinrich B�ll (1917); 22--Charles Stuart Calverley (1831), Edwin
Arlington Robinson (1869) and Kenneth Rexroth (1905); 23--Robert
Bly (1926); 24--George Crabbe (1754) and Matthew Arnold (1822);
     25--Lady Grizel Baillie (1665), Fern n Caballero (Cecilia
Francisca Josefa de Arrom) (1796), Rod Serling (1924); 26--Dion
Boucicault (1822?), Ren� Bazin (1853), Henry Miller (1891), Jean
Toomer (1894), and Steve Allen (1921); 27--Fran�ois Hemsterhuis
(1721) and Charles Olson (1910); 28--Manuel Puig (1932), Alasdair
Gray (1934), and Theodore Dreiser (1945); 29--William Gaddis
(1922) and Peter Meinke (1932);
     30--Rudyard Kipling (1865), Paul Bowles (1910), and A. W.
Purdy (1918); 31--G. A. Burger (1747), Jos� Mari  de Heredia y
Campuzano (1803), Frances Steloff (1887), and Patti Smith (1946).
[EDITOR's NOTE:  Last month's newsletter was headed "Born in
December."  Those listed were actually born in November.]
* * *
FROM A WRITER'S QUILL -- Nora Joyce (to husband James)
"Why don't you write books people can read?"
* * *
The Write Staff:
JoAnn Harter Murray, President
Carrol Wolverton, Vice President
Nate Tolar, Secretary
Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (
Jean Mayo, Membership chair.(
Joyce Davidson, Public Relations (
Doris Cass, Hospitality
Presidents Emeritus:
Frank Green, Dan Murphy (, Howard
Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag
(, Richard Levine (, Bob
Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.
     Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about
writing or publishing.  If possible, please submit mss. on IBM
diskette in either WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, or RFT format.
We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation
for postage and copying.  We pay $5 for pieces of 500-599 words;
$6, 600+; $7, 700+ words. For cartoons or art (in our print-
version), we pay $5 each.  Writers and graphic artists retain all
property rights in their work(s).
ISSN No. 1084-6875
* * *
     Meetings of NFW are held on the second Saturday of the month
at 2 p.m. on the Kent Campus of Florida Community College of
Jacksonville. We generally meet in F128B (auditorium conference
     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; plus many others.
     You may receive feedback from specific individuals by
mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address.
Be sure to allow time for the manuscript to reach Kent.
     You may also simply bring your ms. to any of these meetings:
     Some dates to remember:
     Sat, Jan. 11, 4-6 p.m., Mandarin Barnes & Noble:
Booksigning with Nate Tolar, novelist, The Keeping of Ellie
     Sat., Jan. 11, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Bill Reynolds,
novelist, Jetty Man
     Fri., Jan. 31-Sat., Feb. 1, Ag Center, 3125 Agriculture Dr.,
St. Augustine:  Earth Kinship Conference. Info:;
     Sat., Feb. 8, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Jay Wright of
Jacksonville University, Poems of Silence
     Sat., Mar. 8, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Caryn Suarez,
Florida Writers
     Sat., Apr. 12, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Christine
Lindblom, Florida Writers
     Sat., May 10, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  John Boles of
Jacksonville University, screenwriting
     Sat., June 14, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Robert Kline of
St. Augustine
     Sat., July 12, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Bill Kerr of
Jacksonville, novelist
     Sat., Aug. 9, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker 2 p.m., F128B: NFW
Speaker: Dan Murr
     Sat., Sept. 13, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Charles
Feldstein of FCCJ South, poet

* * *
     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
     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.)
     Won t you join today?
     The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS,
Box 109, FCCJ Kent, 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.


St. address_______________________________________

Apt. No. ________________________________________

City ________________State _____ Zip ______________

E-mail address: __________________________________
* * *
     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).
     UNHELPFUL FEEDBACK:  As you listen to a manuscript, you may
be tempted to say, "That's the stupidest piece I've ever heard."
Alas, you aren't being CONSTRUCTIVE.  If you simply do NOT like
any, say, science-fiction, then you may not have anything helpful
to say.  That is all right.  On the other hand, if you think that
a piece was going along okay and then fell apart, you can help
the author by saying, "I accepted the opening page, but, when the
singing buffalo was introduced somewhere on page 2, the piece
lost it for me."
* * *
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