Unapologetically You: Forget About Fitting In
by Jennifer Paros
Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.
~ Tina Fey
When our oldest son was in elementary school, the principal told me he was a “square peg” struggling in, apparently, a round hole of an environment. Her suggestion: find him a square hole. I knew my son wasn’t always the most cooperative or conforming, but I was also not convinced her perception was fully accurate or useful. Because our financial resources were limited and we were uncertain as to where he should go, for better and for worse, we stayed the course.
Though things did improve, it wasn’t easy. For a while he regularly used the phrase, “My Miserable Life” to describe his experience. But once in middle school, he confessed one day that his life was no longer miserable. And the Square Peg was on his way – his way.
If the expectation is that we are here to fill a pre-made slot conceived by others, then concern about not fitting in is logical. But we don’t have to believe that. We make and own the space we occupy by fully being ourselves. My son didn’t need to contour himself to fit a standard made up by someone else; he also didn’t need to fight against that which didn’t fit him or demand that it contour to him. We fit in when we are comfortable with ourselves and encourage others to feel the same. more...
A Writer's Rights
by Charlotte Hopkins
When submitting your writing to a publisher, it's good to know, in advance, what your rights are. Keep in mind that the rights of a contract can almost always be negotiated.
1) First Time Rights and One Time Rights verify that this is the first time the story is being published or put into print; this includes the Internet. Do not post your writing in a blog if you may someday want to have it published. Some editors consider blog posts “previously published.”
2) First North American Serial Rights (FNASR) and First North American Rights (FNR) mean it is the first time the work is being published in America. FNASR rights includes Canada.
3) English Language Rights gives the editor the right to publish your work in any English-speaking country.
4) Second Rights pertain to work that has been previously published. Some publishers do not offer these rights because they do not buy previously published work.
5) All Rights or Work for Hire Rights gives the magazine ownership of your work and consent to use your material again in any way they deem appropriate without having to pay you again. more...
...and I Say Tomahto
by Cherie Tucker
Lately I’ve heard way too many professional people say, “That’s a whole nother thing.” I’ve talked to you about this before, but it was way back in May of 2011, so let’s take a look back and see what else you might have forgotten.
There are many regional differences in the way we pronounce certain words or use certain expressions. For whatever historical reasons, Seattle people stand in line and drink pop, but New Yorkers wait on line and drink sodas. They are both right and important things for writers to know. There are also charming mispronunciations or malapropisms our children or friends might use with impunity, such as that of a dear friend of mine who always got “flustrated” or another from friend from Italy who would say, “Now, don’t mis me understand.” These kinds of errors can be endearing in people you know, but there are some words that you must avoid mispronouncing around folks who don’t know you, especially while addressing a rapt audience about your best-seller. more...
Falling in Love with the Query
by Anna Kaehler
Writing takes courage and vulnerability, as well as a healthy dose of tender faith every time we approach the page. It is a lot like falling in love. A few months ago, I would have compared the query process more to online dating. If writing was loving, querying was testing that love in the face of overwhelming odds.
I have begun hundreds of novels and stories, and I have even finished a few. While pulling espresso shots through college, I tossed around ideas for careers in accounting, technical communication, early childhood education (read failed nanny), business – even floral design. But deep in my heart, I burned to write.
I fell unashamedly in love with my first completed novel. I adored the first draft, the hours spent dreaming it up and putting it down, the revisions. Everything. Then it came time to query.
How did you start?
What did a success story look like?
What kinds of inventive things could you do with the rejection letters I believed myself prepared to receive? (Writers seemed to get ultra-creative on this score, folding their rejections into origami or cutting and pasting sections of them into repurposed decoupage art.)
A sea of agents waited out there, many of them looking. As with online dating, it was imperative that writer and agent made a basic match before any messaging or connection could be attempted. Did said agent enjoy hiking and independent films, or were they more the beer and football season type? Did they smoke? Did I? And if so, did I want to reveal this tidbit of information right out of the gate? more...