Monday, December 30, 2013

Klepto cats! Lol

Kleptomaniac cats' Christmas stash

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

History of Christmas Carols

Each of us has memories coming from Christmas songs that we treasure since our childhood. As children, we never question these things, we just listen to them and grow to love them. Legend tells that the first Christmas hymn would have been sang when Jesus is born. Can you imagine that it is well over 2,000 years ago? However, it is only during the 1200's that Saint Francis of Assisi made Christmas songs published in a language understandable and spoken by everyone rather than Latin.

As time has passed, there have been a lot of Christian leaders and parishioners who have make it common place to put on a show about Christmas and singing the carols have been a large part of the elaborate show. Christmas carols have been
added to the American culture from every English speaking country, from England to Australia.

Back in 1447 when Johannes Gutenberg conceived the mechanical printing press, this allowed for things to be copied in a fairly short amount of time which meant that the words and lyrics to the Christmas carols could be copied again and again and distributed, which is what made Christmas carols become so popular.

Naturally, around this same time Christmas and Christianity were a very big part of everyone's life. Unfortunately, the year 1649, Cromwell abolished all Catholic customs in England, including Christmas. When in 1661 Charles II restored these traditions, singing carols became one of the most popular traditions.

The largest part of well known Christmas carols have been written from the mid-1700s to the early 1800s and are still popular today. For instance, Frederich Handel performed the well known "Messiah" for the first time at a charity event in 1742.

As for "Silent Night", it has been written in 1818 by the Austrian Joseph Mohr and its original title was "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht". The organ of his church had broken and he needed to write a song that could be accompanied by a guitar rather than this instrument and then, he wrote this marvelous Christmas carol.

Today, it is easy to create a carol: when the holiday season arrives, artists as well as Hollywood produce their Christmas hymn. But we still have a preference for the flavours and the sounds of the old Christmas songs. Every one of us tends to stick to traditions and while we might like new carols none of them could ever take the place of oldies like We Wish You a Merry Christmas or Jingle Bells. While the number of Christmas carols we listen to is very large, almost none of them is a new one.

So, this year, gather your family and friends around the tree and sing these beautiful carols; it is one of the greatest ways to celebrate the Christmas holiday.


I'm an European History, holly days and Tarot cards passionate. I write articles and create websites related to those topics. You will find more information and creative Christmas ideas that will help you make the most out of this Christian celebration at It's Christmas Time.
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas - Writing Santa Claus a Letter

Have you written Santa Claus a letter yet?

What are you waiting for time is of the essence? He is eagerly waiting to here from you wanting to know what you want for Christmas. Just because he knows what you want does not mean your going to get it.

Have you been naughty or nice? Which list are you going to be on? Yes, you know if you've been good or bad so make the necessary decision to put the items on your list that you really want.

Since this is for all ages everyone is encouraged to participate. Don't be shy or hesitate because you're afraid of what someone might say. Everything will be kept confidential between you and Santa Claus. Go ahead right now and write your letter and put it in the mail.

Start your list with the most important items first and then continue them in sequential order of importance. That way you'll get exactly what you expected to. Disappointed little children and grown ups is not what Santa Claus wants to see. So he will make every effort to get what you want.

As a final thought remember to be good because Santa Claus is coming to town to see you bringing the requested gifts that you asked for. All ages will be included in his visits and sometimes even if you didn't participate but believe in him he'll stop by bearing gifts. This is a season of greetings so I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Frankie Cooper, has requested you to go gift shopping to help find dazzling deals at wholesale prices visit:
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Five Ways to Start Strong in Your Writing

A good story or article is only as strong as its beginning.

Let's face it, what are the chances that someone will continue reading your work if the beginning is long, dry, and boring? Not good.
The beginning of your story is the most important part. It is the factor that helps your reader determine whether he will keep reading or whether he will close the book and put it back on the shelf.

Below you will find five ways to strengthen your story beginning.

1. You must have a slant.
One mistake many writers make is that they try to write everything about their subject. Not only is that impossible, but it also gives the story or article no original slant. There are probably hundreds of articles on the same subject as yours. Why should the reader pick yours? Narrow your subject down to one main aspect. Don't write an article about Christmas. Write an article on the story behind the Christmas wreath. The tighter your focus, the better your story will be.

2. You must have a lead.
A lead is a sentence, paragraph, or number of paragraphs that hook your reader, ensuring that he will continue reading. The length of your lead depends on the length of your article or story. In shorter pieces, you don't have the time or space to waste words. Hook your reader, and then carry on with the story. One of the best ways to hook your reader is to start in the middle of your story. This evokes curiosity in the reader. However you choose to work your lead, make it strong and emotional. Convince your reader to care.

3. You must deliver.
In your lead, you promised your readers answers to certain questions or guided them along a particular train of thought. Follow through with what you started. Don't cheat the reader by attracting them to your piece with exaggerations or false claims. Finish what you start and be sure to answer any questions that you raised in your lead.

4. You must keep a consistent tone.
Every article or story will carry its own tone or emotion. Some are funny and lighthearted. Some are heavy and dark. Some are evil and mysterious. It is up to you, as the writer, to determine the mood of your piece and stick with it. Sure, there will be shifts in the character's moods, but the overall tone of the story must remain the same.

5. You must begin at the beginning.
Too many writers feel the necessity to fill in every detail about their characters, their setting, and their backstory in the first few chapters of their work. Be careful to avoid that mistake. Start your story in the middle of the action. You can fill in details along the way.

By following these tips, you'll greatly improve your story or article. While each of these points mainly refers to the beginning of your work, several of them can be followed throughout the writing process, making your entire manuscript a literary masterpiece.

Dana Rongione is a full-time Christian freelance writer and writing coach living in Greenville, SC. She offers a wide variety of writing services, including e-classes and personal coaching. For free writing resources, prompts, tips, and quotes, visit [].
For daily encouragement, check out her blog, A Word Fitly Spoken.
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pdf to ePub!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Amazon on 60 minutes

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Christmas Carol: Why Did Dickens Call It A Carol?

In early December of 1843, Charles Dickens completed the manuscript for a little ghost story about Christmas. He called it A Christmas Carol and the publisher printed the first copies a week before Christmas. By Christmas Eve all 6000
printed copies were sold. The story was overwhelmingly received, being read and repeated in homes throughout London.
Charles Dickens had conceived the idea of writing a Christmas story less than three months earlier. The idea was partially a response to his urgent need to produce some additional income. His publisher had informed Dickens that sales of his novels were not as great as expected and that he would have to reduce the advance income due Dickens until sales increased.
Dickens described his writing plan as "a little scheme," but as the writing of the story progressed, Dickens was overwhelmed by the story's joyful message. He said that during the writing he "wept, and laughed, and wept again." The little ghost story became a special project that Dickens became passionate about and finished quickly.
Charles Dickens insisted that the book contain numerous woodcuts and etchings and be well-bound. Then he also insisted that it should sell for the small price of five shillings to make it affordable to a wide audience. The book was no longer part of a personal economic plan but was a gift from Dickens to the imaginations of families everywhere and a blessing to everyone.
Dickens called his story A Christmas Carol because he expected the story to be repeated and shared and to bring people together just as the singing of Christmas carols spread joy and brought families together each season throughout London. His carol was a song of praise of the Christmas season and of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Cleverly, Dickens called the five chapters of the book "staves." A musical stave is a stanza with a consistent theme and mood. Each stave in the story delivers a different message and each has a definite mood. As in a carol each stave can stand alone but each contributes to the carol's overall theme.
A good carol also contains a memorable refrain, repeated at appropriate times throughout. In Dickens' A Christmas Carol the refrain is no doubt the blessing from Tiny Tim, "God bless us every one!" It's a refrain that has been repeated countless times since the publishing of A Christmas Carol.
The story sings the praises of the sentiments of the Christmas season in a memorable way and will be repeated as long as carols and the Christmas season endure.

Garry Gamber is a public school teacher and entrepreneur. He writes articles about politics, real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is the owner of and
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 Tips For Creating an Interesting "Merry Christmas" Letter This Holiday: Get Started Now!

The annual task of writing a letter to accompany your Christmas card can seem to be a chore, rather than a joy.
Do you struggle each year to find a creative and easy to read way to share our family news from the previous year with distant friends and family?
Instead of putting off your letter writing this holiday, here's our 5 tips to making your Christmas letter easier to write and more fun for your readers:-
  1. Introduction - write an upbeat, but short, introduction, no more than two lines. An example might be "It's been an exciting year, if unpredictable year, for the Carter family this year. I can't say we've loved every moment of it, but it's certainly been an adventure!"
  2. Include Photos and/or Clipart - if you have a photo taken during the year, include this, preferably printed in color. If not, add some simple holiday clip art to liven up the text. You probably don't need to buy the special Christmas letter paper available in some store. It's possible to create your own with software such as Microsoft Word, using the page border tool (Format/Borders and Shading/Page Border/Art) to create imaginative and festive borders.
  3. Include Family News - Add one or two sentences from each member of the family - one of a fun thing that they've done this year and the other of their best achievement. This is a great way of involving your children and can be a simple and helpful introduction for them to the art of letter writing. For younger members of the family, don't forget to add their news too.
  4. Use Your Own Samples from friends and family creatively - do you keep the newsletters that others send you from the previous year? If so, dig them out and have a quick read through and see what you enjoy, what catches your eye and use some of those ideas for your own writing. Find something that is in the style that you enjoy writing in and it can help you find your own "voice" with your letter reflecting your own personality and style.
  5. Keep it brief - anything over 500 words isn't a letter, it's an essay! With dozens of letters and cards coming through the mail at this busy time, folk simply don't have time to read lengthy letters. Make yours brief and succinct - even use bullet points or very short paragraphs, maximum 5 lines each. Everyone's going to appreciate your thoughtfulness in keeping it short!

One of the easiest ways of simplifying things further is to send a traditional Christmas poem or reading, with one or two lines of news for each family member - perfect if you're short of time and running short on holiday patience too.
Hope you enjoy writing and mailing your letters at Christmas this year!
For further tips & ideas, check out our sample Christmas letter.
This article was submitted by Jen Carter, creator of the Printable Letters from Santa Claus website.
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Story Ideas From the 4 Seasons

I wrote the following in my writing journal in late winter:

"A bird sang outside my window this morning. It was startling, but quite welcome, considering that we have just come out of two weeks of double-digit sub-zero temperatures and more snow than normal. It's an unmistakable sign that spring is not too far off."

Hopefully you've noticed that, as spring approaches, there's a different aroma in the air. And in a sixth sense sort of way, there's anticipation in the air, as well. The landscape is changing from snowy white to soggy brown and in places yellow-green as the snow mountains that decorate parking lots and roads begin to melt. Such details are the stuff of good fiction. They can inspire theme, setting, characters or a possible story situation.

So regardless of what season you are in, it's important for you as a writer to make note of the details and nuances of that time of year. Observe your responses to weather or weather-related incidents/activities, as well as the reactions and behavior of people around you.

Why is this necessary? Well, if you don't do this and you're, say, in Tahiti trying to write about winter in Vermont (and I would be so jealous if you were!) I guarantee you'll have difficulty making your readers shiver with cold and feel snowflakes kissing their cheeks unless you have previously recorded impressions from winter -- that or you have an eidetic memory. If I had not written about that late winter experience and the context of the incident, I might not remember the impact that bird's song had on me. And I would have missed a great slice of life to use in a short story or a novel.

The key is to catalog the input that your five senses (and even your sixth sense) take in, WHILE YOU'RE IN THE MOMENT.

So when in Tahiti, while taking a break from writing about building a snowman, making snow angels and skiing in Vermont, be sure to record the sights and sounds unique to where you are:
  • the feel of tropical breezes caressing your skin
  • the smell of the sea
  • the pounding surf
  • the shushing of palm branches
  • the thud of coconuts falling
  • the water lapping at the stilts of your hut hotel
  • insects in your hut
  • the tastes of unusual cuisine
  • island traditions
  • exotic-looking men and women
  • unique entertainment
  • local legends

And so that you can write about winter wherever you are, regardless of the season, make note of activities like this and many more:
  • quintessential snow days where children are sledding and delighted to be out of school
  • a glorious day for skiing
  • digging out after a blizzard
  • navigating country roads (or freeways) in treacherous, drifting snow
  • the race to batten down the hatches when high winds are about to pummel your home
  • the sound of the wind: does it whistle or moan?
  • when you came inside, what did you smell? Hot chocolate to warm you? Chicken soup to soothe you? Do those smells take you back to another time and place?

Make similar lists for spring and summer, as well.

Be Prepared
I recommend having a notepad always handy for those moments when you're away from your writing area, like when you come inside from shoveling snow and you feel your cheeks begin to thaw and your eyeglasses fog up.
Don't neglect everyday situations unique to the season. (e.g. - chopping wood, loading up the wood stove, shoveling the sidewalk, thawing snow/ice for barn or field animals to drink, etc.) If something happens only at a particular time of year, or as a direct result of a weather-related occurrence, WRITE IT DOWN!

What Journal Will You Use?
Now let's talk about an actual "journal" to use for documenting your observations, reactions and feelings. What you decide on should fit with your personality and personal preferences.
Some choices:
  1. fancy leather journal
  2. simple cloth-bound or paper-back journal
  3. spiral notebook
  4. computer spreadsheet program
  5. word processing document file

The advantage to a digital journal is that it's searchable and sortable. With a physical journal, however, you'll need to set up your system of how to organize the information.
You might begin a naturalist's journal, commenting on temperature, humidity, other weather phenomena, and your observations of flora and fauna.

For example, you might comment on the antics of a pair of squirrels chasing one another from tree to tree, across the telephone cable, up the side of a house, scrambling across the roof, etc. Perhaps you discovered crocuses poking their heads through the snow in your garden.

A multi-subject notebook with tabs would lend itself well to this naturalist's journal. Create a label for each season or for certain months. Some of these notebooks have pockets in the divider pages where you could store photos from each season, pressed leaves, bird feathers, etc.

Of course you need not be limited to observations about weather. Here are some suggestions:
  • Capture the sights, sounds, smells, feel and tastes of any given day, so that you can recall what it was like.
  • Take photos as a way to jog your memory.
  • Record sounds if possible, such as the delighted squeals of children sledding, the crunch-crunch of people digging out their cars after snow and ice storms, the music of the calliope or merry-go-round at a carnival, the desperately pathetic cries of the mothers of calves who have been weaned and removed to another location.
  • Pay attention to your reaction to aromas -- good or bad: e.g.- skunk, cotton candy, chlorine at the pool, wood smoke, a backyard barbecue, etc.

What can you do with this seasonal information?

Here are 14 story starter ideas, given in the form of questions relating to the four seasons. Take your characters through a weather transition, possibly even using the seasons as a metaphor or to support your underlying theme. (Savvy non-fiction writers can draw inspiration here, too.)

- If Spring is delayed, is there a sudden crime wave because people have "cabin fever," or is there something else going on, some other influence? Why is Spring delayed? Is it a natural phenomenon? This could be science fiction, mystery, thriller or horror.
- Premature Spring gives everyone a bad case of Spring Fever, including the teachers. What madcap situations can you envision?
- Spring sports, including injuries, might be a topic to explore with your characters, at least as a sub-plot -- particularly if you write for teens.

- Heat wave sends tempers flaring in the city and crime takes a sudden frightening trend upward.
- Drought plagues an area for the third year in a row, leading to famine. What desperate measures do people take to secure water and food?
- Examine summer vacation from a unique perspective -- the family pets, the air conditioner unit, the house when it's unoccupied with the family traveling, etc.
- July 4th celebrations in the U.S.are a big deal in most communities. What might turn an ordinary event into a disaster? A miracle? A phenomenon?

- Follow the stages of fall as it progresses from crisp, bright days full of color, to soggy, cold nights, to leafless, bleak, almost-winter landscapes, using the evolution of the season to characterize your protagonist's life.
- Fall is a time of more beginnings than the first of the year. School, college, a first job and fall sports are just a few. Create your own list and place your characters in that scenario.

- Unusually warm weather followed by extreme cold wreaks havoc on orchards and the commerce of a community. Who might be affected? What's the long-term impact. Short term? Consider what characters have the most at stake in the situation. One should be a protagonist and another the antagonist.
- Limited snowfall for the past few years has nearly devastated the local ski industry. Now the snow is back. What changes take place at individual resorts? Did an owner recently sell out for a song to a competitor, only to regret his decision? Does he try to get back his business?
- An adopted child from a warm climate experiences snow for the first time. This might make a kid book story spark, or perhaps a scene in adult fiction.
- Holiday gatherings (are there ever too many family gathering stories with all their attendant interactions, conflicts and resolutions?
- What if you want to write about someone on the run in depths of Winter? What physical trials will s/he endure?
Whatever kind of journal you use, not only will it become a primary source of writing inspiration, but it should, with some time perspective, yield insight into your life. And that can only help your writing.

In addition to this technique for finding story ideas, I invite you to visit The Story Ideas Virtuoso blog, where you will find many different ways and places to find those often elusive story ideas at Lessons Hurricane Ike Taught Me
And I invite you to download, with my compliments, two excerpts from "Story Ideas - The Calendar of Our Lives" on using the seasons, weather, holidays and life events related to the calendar as story inspiration at: The Calendar of Our Lives Excerpts
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Friday, November 1, 2013

How to Create a Best Selling Title for Your EBook

Shop Starbucks

Outline the Benefits of Your eBook

Readers want to know "What's in it for me?" If your reader doesn't see any benefit to read on, then they won't continue. Therefore your headline should put forth your strongest benefit. Such as "Make Money Online" or "Get Healthy in 3 months."

Be Believable

Treat people with respect in that they are not stupid! If it sounds "too good to be true" then it will likely be ignored.

Tell the Reader What the eBook is About

Provide an overview in a few words regarding "What your eBook" is about.

Curiosity Factor

Provide words of interest such as secret to, profit, how to, etc.

First Three Words

The first three words should contain your main keywords (e.g. eBook Marketing Online.) This is not only beneficial for the search engines to target in on, but also to provide the reader with the topic of your content.

Create a Match Between the Message and Your Targeted Readers.

These days, people are "time poor." As a result, it has been shown that it only takes a few seconds for a reader to scan most headlines and decide whether to stop and read or to move on.


Be Specific, as People Are Attracted to "Specificity."

For example; people who are searching "how to make money on the internet" will be attracted to a headline such as "How I Earn $1,000 While I Sleep."

Keep it Short and to the Point!

A short and well written headline will attract attention. Where as a long-winded headline will likely lose the reader, not to mention being cut off due to word limits by some media outlets and search engines.

Don't Confuse or Distract the Reader.

Keep your title and message simple. If your title is too confusing or "creative" then they won't be able to relate to it.

Avoid "Dead words" that search engines hate.

Tips for creating a title for a Fiction eBook:
Generate interest, excitement, passion, capture their attention and touch on the emotion that you desire with the reader.
  • Evoke emotion such as excitement or curiosity that will lead to action.
  • For a love story, write a title that pulls on the heart strings, so to speak.
  • For a thriller, create excitement and intrigue with the headline.
  • General eBook Title Tips:
  • Choosing the "Right Title Length" for Your eBook Title is Essential for Success!
  • Short Titles
  • Need a powerful subtitle to explain what the eBook is about. Generally when I say short I mean between 1-3 words max.
  • Long Titles
  • This is where everything about your eBook content is used in the title.
  • Shock Titles
This is where those tabloid magazines, newspapers, online news sites and trashy TV shows excel. I know I have been tempted by curiosity and clicked on these links or picked up that magazine to see what they are talking about.
Example: "How My Husband Got Pregnant" - now that raises curiosity and has shock value!
The Use of Common Sayings in a Title With a Twist
This is where you use a well know quote or saying and then add your own little twist on it by changing a word to depict what your eBook is about.
Example: "Show Me the Money" from the Tom Cruise movie becomes "Show Me the Honey" (from a book that writes about bee hives and bee keeping)

As you can see, there are many ways to create a great title for your eBook. If you fail to create an attention grabbing title for your eBook then you will also be likely to also fail in getting people to buy your eBook.

If you could think of the most rewarding and amazing success story for your eBook what would it be? Would it be selling 20,000 copies? Would it be seeing your eBook on a bestseller list? How about a new career as a professional writer? Maybe it will be just hearing the personal stories from one your readers about how your eBook has enriched or changed their life? Whatever it may be, our eBook Author Academy will provide you with all the tools, tips and resources to help you achieve your dream! Visit which has been helping writers become successfully published authors since 2004.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Deepen Your Story, Touch More People

When we read a novel or watch a movie, there are certain scenes we can't wait to get to and savor when they happen. These are the BIG MOMENTS. There have been films where we wait almost two hours before we see the couple get together.

Big moments occur whether you are writing a memoir or a business book. In a memoir you are highlighting an aspect of your personal story with themes of empowerment, finding love, growing up, getting through an ordeal, or searching for something.

In a business book, you need to tell your story to assure your readers that you're the one who can help them achieve their goals.

In all of these scenarios, there is something deeper--basic wishes we all have. Making money can mean being appreciated and respected or proving to oneself that you are worthy or smart. Or it can mean having security and peace of mind, or allowing yourself the time, resources and space for passionate pursuits.

In all these, there is a deeper wish. Being appreciated means getting acknowledgement or love from others - but the love starts with yourself. Having security and peace of mind is really created IN the mind, not with money. However allowing yourself the time and resources for a passionate pursuit (or having the passionate pursuit MAKE money) really STARTS with the passion and the love first.

So going up the chain of enlightenment to a higher outcome (and a better book) reasonably would start with the theme first. To create a memoir or even a business story with impact, start with the deeper wish. Discovering that something doesn't come "in a box," as the Whos down in Whoville find out when the Grinch steals their Christmas gifts, and as George discovers when his savings and loan is rescued by the townspeople in "It's a Wonderful Life," are BIG
MOMENTS. At Christmas, these heartfelt sentiments flow freely, yet they are at the heart of every good, wise spiritual story, because the Whos know what Christmas is really about, and the townspeople can feel how wide George's heart is, even if he can't.

My work is about getting writers to connect with their own emotions so they can touch their readers. Your homework is to start with your themes. Then find those "high notes," the ones everybody keeps turning the pages to read or sits in the dark for two hours to finally see, and write these first. This is a sure way to keep you focused on what is important in your story, and all the other events will fall in line to illustrate these pivotal universal heart-based higher themes.

And if you're not ready to start your book? Try it with your story in one or two pages, then, as a holiday gift to yourself rewrite every pain or disappointment from the perspective of the gift you received from it. There, that's the synopsis of your engaging spiritual story (which will instantly reorganize the molecules in your world into a more positive outcome).
Happy Holidays indeed.

Rosemary Sneeringer is The Book Nurturer. An experienced editor, she specializes in helping writers access their inner author to complete their novels, memoirs and books and to grow their businesses. Go to for more information. Sign up for my FREE newsletter & receive the FREE downloadable meditation "Envisioning Your Book."
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Novelist Eric Bogosian: Advice

Uploaded on Jul 29, 2009
Eric has some advice to share with budding novelists.

I hope you emjpy!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Maeve Binchy— Tips for aspiring writers

Uploaded on Mar 8, 2010
Maeve Binchy, author of "Heart and Soul", gives good advice and wisdom on getting your book published.
I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How Did Women Make Money In 1887?

Mrs. M.L. Rayne's 1887 book, What Can A Woman Do? provides a fascinating look at how Victorian women could make money in the 1880s. It's rich with information and vignettes that show what was possible for working women some 120 years ago. The opportunities for enterprising women were greater than most of us imagine.
The book is subtitled "Her Position in the Business and Literary World". A sizable section is dedicated to women poets but it is the business opportunities for women that are most intriguing. Rayne looks at careers for women as well as a variety of ways women could make money on their own.

A chapter is devoted to women in the legal profession. The author notes that there were some ninety women practicing law in the United States in the 1880s, most of whom had graduated from the University of Michigan, the first U.S. university to admit women to its law school. In an early version of networking the author suggests that readers contact one of the female attorneys she mentions and ask them for advice on pursuing a legal career.
There is also a chapter about women in medicine. The author writes that Europe was far ahead of the United States in opening its medical schools to women. In the US, a medical school for women was opened in Boston in 1848. In the 1880s close to half of Boston University's medical school students were female and Rayne lists four other US medical schools that admitted women.

Other occupations that are discussed in the book include stenography and typing; wood engraving; nursing; telegraphy; and government work. There is much discussion of wages and earning potential in the book. In the chapter on telegraphy, a profession for which there were actually specific educational programs, Rayne writes about the income disparities between men and women operators. Women were paid on average $500 per year while men earned an average annual salary of $840.

Rayne's feminist bent extends beyond wage disparities. She writes of how a woman's work is never done. A man goes home to rest and read while a woman returns home to work and weariness. Clearly Rayne was a woman ahead of her time. Chapters are devoted to women as inventors and women of enterprise. She writes of women who received patents for their inventions and women who started their own businesses. USA, LLCA number of the ways to make money discussed in the book are still popular today. Raising chickens, even in the city and suburbs, is becoming more popular. The book includes a chapter on raising poultry that will be of interest to backyard poultry enthusiasts. There's also a chapter on making money with bee keeping, another increasingly popular hobby nowadays. Other perennial favorite money making opportunities discussed in the book include dressmaking, housekeeping, cooking (today we call ourselves caterers), and taking in boarders (nowadays we call it getting a roommate).

For those who thought that women first entered the workforce in the 1970s or no earlier than the days of Rosie the Riveter, Rayne provides an eye opening account of women's first forays into the working world. Whether it's a century old perspective on making money with your own enterprise or an eye-opening look at the early days of feminism, What Can A Woman Do sheds much light on the early days of women in the work force.

In some respects, little has changed over the last century. We are still looking for advice and tips on how to make money.
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Online Journaling Sites: Places to Write Your Life Story

The explosion in popularity of Internet social networking sites such as Facebook have also led to an increased interest in online journaling sites. Although Facebook and Twitter allow you to share pictures or ultra-brief observations of life events, neither is especially suited for providing any chronological detail or color to a true-life story. Online journaling sites, by contrast, let you log in as many details as you would like, and to turn the stories of your life into a grand event. Pictures may say a thousand words, but journals are a much better application in being mindful when the cameras are not flashing. Here are some ideas for where and how to get started.
  1. Decide what your objective is in writing a journal. Why do you want to record events that have happened to you? Is this for you to remember long after your Costa Rica hiking trip is over, so you can have some perspective on your journey? Or do you want to share more details about what you did than you might be able to through pictures and videos only for those close to you? Or perhaps you are using writing as a form of therapy. Whatever the reason, you will find journaling rewarding and therapeutic in many ways!

  2. Write what happened. Ideally, you want to write this when the memory of what you did is fresh as you will forget details later and your enthusiasm for writing may drop down with time. You can save this at an online journaling site or in a word document on your computer. You can even write on old-fashioned paper with a pen every night if it is hard to get to a computer or an internet connection where you are and upload it later.

  3. Find an online journaling site so you can share your story. Tumblr, LiveJournal and Living Alpha are just a few of the sites online. Your writing may be about an adventurous trip that you have taken or one you are currently engaged in somewhere, in the world. The places you visit or the people you meet along the way will normally be interesting because you are out of your comfort zone. This is true regardless of what your comfort zone is. All you have to do is check the internet for (online journaling sites) to find them.

  4. Decide what advice you would give to others who want to do whatever it is that you did. Would you recommend the travel company or the hotel that you stayed at to others, or tell them to stay away? Was the food healthy and safe to eat or did it make you ill?

  5. Go through the steps in your journal. Even if you are an expert kayaker, do not assume that everyone who might read this knows how to kayak. Pretend that a person from a foreign country is reading this. Would they know how to do what you did based on your description? People like details so talk about, how you got started.

Online Journaling Sites make it easy to share precious memories from momentous events in your life. Even if you wish to keep your journal private, you can feel happy in knowing that what you wrote is preserved for future reference and is very therapeutic for many writers. As years go by, you may look at what you did with a new perspective, or be happy that you shared your knowledge with others. Whatever your motivation is, it will probably feel as satisfying to write about it as it was to make the journey to begin with.

Taylor Hill, author. Living Alpha is one of those unique online journaling sites that offers free membership and more. It is easy to create your account and get started making your journal entries, sharing photos, video and bits of information with the world, family or friends. Visit and get started today.
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My Question to You: Why Write an eBook?

If you're trying to decide between writing an ebook or a print book (p-book), you don't have to write either or. You can do both! However, for those of us with time challenges, it's easier and quicker to get your first ebook done than your first print book and less costly.

Here's why: Most reluctant writers can find the time to write a short ebook and get it uploaded to Amazon more quickly than they can get a print book done. You see, an ebook can be fairly short-anywhere from 25 to 50 pages, easily uploaded to Amazon or other ebookstores, and you can start having your ebook earn some income pretty quickly!

If you can commit to finishing an ebook in 6 weeks, 6 days, or 6 hours, you'd be amazed what you can do with when you're committed and you've eliminated your distractions-both inner and outer. A strong commitment and discipline are all that's required. Then sit and write. Remember you can keep ebooks shorter than p-books, but you can expand on your ebook later on, after you've gotten some feedback and reviews. Then you can turn it into a print book. A 30-page ebook could become a 90-page p-book! Just make all your changes while it's still an ebook!

With Amazon you don't need an ISBN number for ebooks, so you can take it down, make the changes, and put it right back up! Not so with a p-book. Most publishers charge you every time you make changes and need to re-print.

Even though ebooks generally cost less than p-books, they're profitable because your costs are less since you don't have to deal with printing and distribution. You'll primarily have to pay for editing, a cover, and formatting/conversion. Since ebooks cost less than print books-anywhere from.99 to $9.99, authors are still making a nice profit and they can sell more of them! People think nothing of spending $2.99 on an ebook, while they may not spend $19.99 as quickly on a p-book!

Also ebooks tend to be targeted to niche markets, and a lot of new authors plan to write a series of short ebooks to several niche markets. Like dog training for poodles, dog training for collies, etc. Or you could do buying your home for newlyweds, empty nesters, or retirees. It's the chicken soup phenomenon.

Have I convinced you to write your ebook?

Copyright © 2013 Andrea Susan Glass. Andrea Susan Glass, owner of The Ebook Academy and WritersWay, specializes in personal and professional development ghostwriting and copyediting, as well as book coaching and education. She helps small business owners and entrepreneurs produce and promote books, e-books, and other information products to brand their expertise, impact others with wisdom, and build passive income. To sign up for a valuable monthly ezine and to get the free report "Ebook Tips From The Ebook Academy" visit
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Ian McEwan's Advice for Aspiring Writers

Uploaded on Apr 18, 2011
Ian McEwan, author of 'Solar' gives advice for aspiring writers.

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

30 Exciting Reasons to Write a Book Now

Have you been dreaming of becoming an author? If so, now is a great time to do it. Just in case you haven't noticed there's an Information Revolution of sorts still going on. No, the Information Age didn't die at the dawn of the Digital Age. It was simply reborn and raging simultaneously which is pretty cool for aspiring authors. I was thinking about you and wanted to encourage you. There's still time to jump in; put your important message in a book.

Here's thirty exciting reasons to do it now:

1. Now really is better than later.
2. Make your Mother proud; the opinion of family matters.
3. Become famous; author is still a prestigious title.
4. Gain leverage in your business; you gain a giant leap ahead.
5. Create an additional income stream; you create diversity in your assets.
6. Travel the world speaking about it; take advantage of new opportunities.
7. Get a competitive edge in your business; push past your peers without a book.
8. Do it because your friends said you couldn't; take creative revenge with success.
9. Become a celebrity in your home town; make your childhood friends green with envy.
10. Celebrate National Book Month; get started in October.
11. Send it to your worst teacher in grade school; especially if she said you would never amount to anything.
12. Make Dad glow with pride; he'll love telling his friends about you, the author in the family.
13. Increase your self-esteem; your confidence goes up a notch or two with a book.
14. Increase your credibility as a professional; people will trust you faster.
15. Increase your ability to compete in your field or industry; jump ahead of your opposing colleagues without a book.
16. Increase your influence in your field; people will begin to know you everywhere you go.
17. Increase your income by selling books at your speeches and workshops; your attendants will want more of your wisdom.
18. Increase value; people value you and your message more.
19. Create an interesting life full of new adventures; new opportunities will come to you.
20. Fulfill your mission in life to help others; a book will leverage your ability to do more.
21. Standout in the market; with a book you multiply your ability to get more business.
22. Get way more credibility than anything else; a book's influence out weighs even videos or cds.
23. Create a fresh profit center; it will position you to charge more across the board in your business.
24. Create a legacy; your book will live on throughout generations.
25. Live where you choose; many authors live one place during the winter and another place during the summer.
26. Expand your reach; Judy Cullins says, "Talks reach hundreds; books reach 1000's."
27. Increase your business longevity; You will stay in business for the long haul, during good times and tough times.
28. Multiply your profitability; you can effectively multiply sales and profits.
29. Create a nice stream of passive income; create it right and your book works for you 24/7.
30. Promote your business in it; your book becomes your new business card.
If you don't get started writing your book now, you may never receive all the increased influence and opportunities waiting to come your way. So go ahead; write a book and watch your profits explode like a rocket headed to the moon. Here's to seeing your name in print, sooner than later!

Powerful Ways to Get Started Writing a Book:

Take action. Do something toward your book writing goal before your head hits the pillow tonight or at least within 48 hours.

Are you ready to get started writing your very own book? Go get my free 7 lesson mini-course Jumpstart Writing Your Book! You can get instant access to this ecourse and other How to Write a Book tips at the web site From Earma Brown, 16 year author and book writing coach.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Is Writers Block in the Way of Creating Your Novel? Top Tips to Push Past Writers Block

If you have been staring at a blank screen, with the next American best seller right there on the tip of your fingers and yet you cannot figure out how to bring it out, you might have writers block. Do not panic, all writers experience writers block at some point in their careers and most writers experience it frequently. Try any or all of these top ten tips for pushing past writers block and figure out the best way to get your novel done.

1. Stay Focused-Eliminate Distractions,

Are you spending more time on Twitter, Face book, MySpace, or checking your e-mail than writing your novel? What about watching television or flipping through radio stations? While some writers find that it is easier to write with the music playing in the background if you are spending more time flipping stations trying to find the right mood music try turning off the radio, turning off the distractions and focus on the writing. If you spend a great deal of time using social media you might need to turn off your computer and write long hand for awhile just to get focused and eliminate these distractions from your life.

2. Set reasonable Goals

Think about your writing goals, if you want to get your first novel finished in a year then you are going to want set some reasonable goals for getting your novel finished. You can start by setting a word count goal. NANOWRIMO is a famous writing contest that takes place in November and offers writers a chance to write 50,000 words in 30 days. In order to do this the website offers up tips on how many words a day you will need to meet your goals. You can also set page goals, to figure out how finish your novel in a year. Just remember that these goals need to be reasonable. With the right idea, NANOWRIMO proves that anyone can write 50,000 words in thirty days, so keep your goals reasonable and you will be able to achieve them.

3. Take a break

If you are sitting there staring at the blank screen get up, walk around. Take a long walk, or bike ride. Take a shower, eat a snack. You aren't procrastinating as much as you are clearing your head. Once your mind is clear go back to the screen and see what you can come up with. If you've already started your novel you might find with a clear head that the ideas flow more easily and you can pick up that thread. So take a break, and get away from your project for awhile, just don't forget to come back to it.

4. Start a New project

It's okay to start something new. If you are having writers block with your current project start a new one. Maybe write out an outline for a new novel, write a short story or article. Anything to get your mind off of your current project, then when the new ideas come in for the novel that you are feeling the writer's block with, write them down and finish up your project before you go back. You might find that is all it takes to restart the battery and get back on track for finishing your novel.

5. Do some research

Another reason that you might be facing writers block is that you simply do not know enough about the topic you are writing about. While it is common for someone to procrastinate by doing too much research if you have started the novel and suddenly feel stumped ask yourself if you know enough about the topic you've chosen, or if that could be the problem. Do some more research, re-read through your notes, or dig a little bit deeper and see what else you can find out. If you feel confident about your topic it will be easier to write about it and you will be less likely to experience writers block.

6. Brainstorm

Try brainstorming new ideas or new avenues to explore your current idea. If you are writing a thriller brainstorm different roads to take, all novels, whether they are thrillers, romantic comedies, chick lit, have to have conflict in order to work, so brainstorm different conflicts, or what the story would be like without a character. Maybe your main character gains a new friend, or lover, no matter what you can brainstorm different scenario's and while they might never make it to print this action can help you break through the writer's block and get back on track.

7. Interview your character

Maybe you have an outline, maybe you don't. Either way sit down one on one with your character and ask them some questions. Write down a list of things that you think your readers will want to know about the character and then ask away. Pretend they are right there in the room with you, and hold on a conversation. Pretend you are a famous news anchor grilling your character on live television, and ask them all kinds of personal questions. You might be surprised what you learn from this character and how it will affect the overall story. Write it all down to, the questions the answers, and specifically who the character is so that if you decide to interview another character in the same story, or even another character somewhere down the line you can do so without having to worry about what to ask.

8. Read something new

Reading can help you break through writers block, whether you read a magazine article, blog, website, or novel. No matter what you read it can help you get back on track with your own writing. It might bring up questions that you can explore with your writing, offer suggestions, or just get you to relax enough that the ideas start flowing again. No matter what, all of the experts agree that reading is one of the best ways to overcome writers block, so find something to read, even if you are re-reading your own work looking for new inspiration.

9. Discuss your ideas with friends and colleagues

If you have friends and colleagues that like to write discussing your ideas with them can help you brainstorm. If your friends don't like to write chances are they will still like to read and so talking with them about your ideas can also generate new ideas and get you unblocked. The only people you do not want to talk to are the negative ones, if someone tells you that you cannot write, or cannot make a story idea work then don't talk to them about it. Avoiding negativity is very important when it comes to pushing through writers block. So talk to people who are positive, and who will offer up solid good advice and avoid people who aren't.

10. Try some simple exercises

Whether you are doing mind exercises or physical exercises, doing simple exercises can relax you and get you back on track. So get up stretch your body, go through some simple physical exercise that will get you limbered up and feeling more alert, and then do the same thing with your mind. Play around with brain teasers, and mind exercises. Read through some spelling exercises, exercise your brain and your body, and you will find the writer's block literally melting away.
While not all of these tips work on everyone, at least one of them should work for you. If not spend some time thinking about ways that do work, then write them down and post the tips somewhere near your computer so that whenever you experience writers block you will know how to get through it. Remember the most important thing of all is that every single writer, whether they are famous or not, has been right where you are now, and

it is so important to not give up.
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10 Tips to Get Your Ideas on Paper!

When you are writing your book, article, newsletter or even a business letter, it helps to know that even professional writers struggle with the blank page.

Here are some tips to help you when you feel tired, stuck or out of ideas:

1. Write down all the thoughts and concepts that come to mind on this particular topic, chapter or newsletter quickly in longhand. You may have a vague conception of how you want people to feel or the action you want them to take at the end. Write those down too. This is important because sometimes we tend to focus in on one aspect when we start writing and our other concepts and feelings may float out the window. Some people like to meditate for a few minutes before writing because it opens the space for our "other than rational mind" to have a say, other people find mind mapping helpful because it spurs ideas and makes connections.

2. Remember the goal is to bat out an imperfect first draft. This takes the pressure off you. In that draft, you'll get to see where your mind is taking you. It may discover a different conclusion, a wonderful illustrative story, or a more nuanced, profound summing up than you had anticipated in the idea stage. This is the magic of letting your imagination go and being in the free-form first draft stage where nothing is set in stone, nothing is final.

3. When you finish your first draft, read it over, make any changes or corrections to the document and print it out.

4. Take a break, even for five to 10 minutes. Get away from the computer. Go for a short walk, clear your mind, have a cup of tea or coffee, or do some other small, mindless tasks.

5. Now read over your printed copy. Double spacing may help. This is important because there is a definite difference between reading on the screen and reading on paper. A good editor knows this and even as we love the Track Changes feature in Word, pacing, cadence and the way words flow together are best judged on the printed page.

6. If you have a red pen, this will help you feel more professional and also spot your changes later. Make corrections and add in longhand to what you've already written if you want to expand a certain area. Conversely, tighten it up. Is there a more succinct or clearer way to express something? An image or phrase that gives an instant visual? Do you tend to use the same word often? Look for synonyms that can replace those words.

7. When appropriate, put some of YOU in there. This does not mean, "I think... " we know you think that because you are writing it. But feelings are connectors. For example, if you are enumerating contest rules, you may explain you didn't want to use a certain rule but it makes things fair, or that you don't like rules but everyone needs to be on the same page and be able to communicate. This makes you and your darn rule-making more palatable and human.

8. Now put your corrections in the document and print it out again.

9. Look it over one more time for any mistakes and tweaks. Some writers read their work aloud. This also helps with rhythm and flow.

10. Congratulate yourself for a job well done and write down your ideas for the next chapter... or press the SEND button!

Rosemary Sneeringer is The Book Nurturer. An experienced editor, ghostwriter and copywriter, she specializes in helping writers access their inner author. Rosemary works with many entrepreneurs to complete their self-help, health and business books. She also specializes in memoirs and assisting people with their personal story for their website, marketing materials and speeches. Go to
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VOL. V MARCH, 1897. NO. 1.
BY ROBERT BARR, AUTHOR OF "A WOMAN INTERVENES," ETC.    There was a man who, wishing to engage a coachman, took the applicants for that position to a road bordering a cliff, so that each might show how near he could drive to the edge with safety. One competitor brought the wheels of his vehicle within a foot of the precipice; another had nine inches margin; a third, six inches; while another daring individual left barely an inch between himself and destruction. The final aspirant, however, crossed to the other side of the road, and drove as far from the precipice as possible, and him the man engaged as coachman.    I don't know that this fable has any direct application to what I am about to say concerning short stories, but it came into my mind on reading the comment of an editor on a short story I have written, and which I believe appears in The Temple Magazine for March. The editor wrote: "It occurs to me that your story ends rather too abruptly. Will you pardon my suggesting this, and will you see whether another hundred words added to the proofs would not improve it somewhat?"    Now, I leave it to any sensible author, in a fair way of trade, if the suggestion that his story can be improved does not come upon him with a shock of surprise. Nevertheless, I gave what time I possessed to the problem, and after mature deliberation admit the story may be strengthened, but not by lengthening it. My contract was to get those two young people over the border safely, and that done, my task ended; yet must I go maundering on telling what became of the innkeeper, which had nothing to do with the story; therefore, cut a hundred words off, Mr. Editor, if you like; but any addition to the narrative, it seems to me, would make it worse than it now is.    I think a rightly constructed short story should always allow the reader's imagination to come to the aid of the author. I am myself thoroughly convinced that those two young people married each other, and doubtless lived happily, in less tumultuous lands than France, ever afterward; but I submit that my commission extended not so far as that. I saw them secure across the boundary, and after that, God bless you both! My undertaking was to save their necks from the sharp blade of the guillotine by whatever means was practicable, and if, afterward, they threw their arms round the spot where the axe might have fallen, that was not my affair, so I turned my back and looked the other way — an action which, I doubt not, all true lovers will commend.    I think it will be generally admitted that up to a few short years ago the English storyteller was outdistanced by his brother of France or America. If I were put to it to find an English writing compeer of Guy de Maupassant, I should have to go to California and select Ambrose Bierce. America has been particularly notable in her short stories, from the time of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe to the to-day of Howells, Stockton, Aldrich, and Henry James. It would be difficult to find the equal in ingenious short stories of Marjorie Daw, by T.B. Aldrich, or The Lady or the Tiger, by Frank Stockton; while as far as serious short stories are concerned, A Man without a Country, by the Rev. E. Hale, and some of the short stories by Mary E. Wilkins, reach a very high level.    I take it that the reason of this discrepancy is because the Englishman has been hampered by tradition, while the Frenchman and American have not. Up to a very recent date a story of less or more than six thousand words was hardly marketable in England. I have in my possession a letter written by the editor of a first-class London periodical to whom I sent a story of two thousand four hundred words. The editor wrote that he was pleased with the story, and that if I would make it six thousand words in length he would take it.    It would have been an easy matter to have padded the effort several hundred per cent., with the result of spoiling the story, but much as I desired to appear in that celebrated journal — for I was young then — I had the temerity to point out to the editor that this was a two-thousand-four-hundred word idea, and not a six-thousand-word idea; whereupon he promptly returned the manuscript for my cheek.   I am pleased to see that the younger periodicals are driving from the field the stodgy old magazines that have done so much to handicap the English writer of short stories, and so we may look upon the six-thousand-word tradition as sadly crippled, if it is not yet dead. But the tradition is still rampant in England, and nowhere else, in other fields of writing industry. The Englishman dearly loves to have things cut into lengths for him. In the sixpenny reviews you will find articles all of a size, while in the great dailies, I suppose the heavens would fall if the leading article were more than an exact column in length; therefore a ten-line idea has to be rolled exceedingly thin to make it run to a column of space. Then among the horrors of London is the "turn-over" in some of the evening papers. I often picture to myself the unfortunate wretches who labour upon these deplorable articles. They must toil away, piling word on word, till they slop over the leaf, and then their task is ended.   The body of French and American short-story writers is largely recruited from the brilliant young men of the press; but if you put upon young men the iron fetters which English newspaperwork imposes, they soon become fit for nothing else than the production of stories six thousand words in length, to the letter.   Five years ago the editor of a magazine sent me a note asking me to write for him a five-thousand-word story. I promised to do so as soon as a five-thousand-word idea came to me. He wrote frequently for that story during the first three years, but lately he seems to have given it up. He is not more discouraged than I am: he might as well have expected a man to eat an eight-course dinner with a four-course appetite. To my sorrow, I haven't met with a five-thousand-word idea since 1891.   It seems to me that a short-story writer should act, metaphorically, like this — he should put his idea for a story into one cup of a pair of balances, then into the other he should deal out his words; five hundred; a thousand; two thousand; three thousand; as the case may be — and when the number of words thus paid in, causes the beam to rise on which his idea hangs, then is his story finished. If he puts a word more or less, he is doing false work.   I have, finally, a serious complaint to make against the English reader of short stories. He insists upon being fed with a spoon. He wants all the goods in the shop window ticketed with the price in plain figures. I think the reader should use a little intellect in reading a story, just as the author is supposed to use a great deal in the writing of it. While editor of a popular magazine, I have frequently been reluctantly compelled to refuse my own stories, because certain points in them were hinted at rather than fully expressed, and I knew the British public would stand no nonsense of that sort. The public wants the trick done in full view, and will have no juggling with the hands behind the back.   I often think there was much worldly wisdom in a remark the late Captain Mayne Reid once made to me. "Never surprise the British public, my boy," he said; "they don't like it. If you arrange a pail of water above a door so that when an obnoxious boy enters the room the water will come down upon him, take your readers fully into your confidence long before the deed is done. Let them help you to tie up the pail, then they will chuckle all through the chapter as the unfortunate lad approaches his fate, and when he is finally deluged they will roar with delight and cry, 'Now he has got his dose!'"   I believe if I had accepted this advice, I might have been a passably popular short-story writer by this time.   In a recent book, the name of which I shall not mention, for I cannot conscientiously recommend it to the gentle reader, dealing, as it does, with envy, malice, and all uncharitableness, I endeavoured to give a series of stories told without a superfluous word, and in the writing of this book I had a model. Our world has been a going concern too long for any effort to claim originality. My model is Euclid, whose justly celebrated book of short stories, entitled The Elements of Geometry, will live when most of us who are scribbling to-day are forgotten. Euclid lays down his plot, sets instantly to work at its development, letting no incident creep in that does not bear relation to the climax, using no unnecessary word, always keeping his one end in view, and the moment he reaches the culmination he stops. My own book, based on this model, was reviewed at some length by the critic of one of the sixpenny reviews. Now, one may perhaps be justified in expecting that a man who is paid for giving his estimate of stories will peruse them with more care than one who buys the book and reads them for nothing; yet this critic, although highly commending the book, and desiring not only to be just but generous to the author, selects two stories, the first and the last in the volume, and in each case completely misses the point on which each story hinges. The first is an unpleasant story about a man and his wife, who hate each other so thoroughly that each resolves to murder the other — the man by brutally flinging his wife over a precipice in Switzerland; the woman by flinging herself over the same precipice — under circumstances that will convict her husband of her murder. The story hinges on the fact that neither suspects the other of murderous thoughts, and this, so far as the woman is concerned, is shown by her last words, "I know there is no thought of murder in your heart, but there is in mine;" yet the critic says, "In 'An Alpine Divorce' we have a wife who divines that her husband means to throw her over a precipice."   In the second story are a Russian wife, a French husband, and a French girl, who is the wife's rival. They are seated together at lunch in a room belonging to the wife. The Russian has saturated the carpet and walls of the room with naphtha, which, as every one knows, is a volatile substance, and when so used would at once fill the room with an inflammable gas ready to destroy all within if a match were struck. The cause of the final catastrophe is hinted at in the conversation between husband and wife:   "What penetrating smell is this that fills the room?" asked Caspilier.   "It is nothing," replied Valdoreme, speaking for the first time since they had sat down. "It is only naphtha. I have had the room cleaned with it."   The critic, speaking of this story, says: "'Purification turns upon the revenge of a Russian wife upon her rival, which she secures by the means of an explosive cigarette."   These instances, and other indications similar to them, lead me to the opinion that if a man wishes to be successful as a short-story writer he must lay it on with a trowel. If he is going to consume his characters with naphtha, he must state the number of gallons used and the method of its application. All of which goes to show that that eminent writer of romance, Euclid, is an unsafe model for the modern short-story writer to follow.   
BY HAROLD FREDERIC, AUTHOR OF "THE DAMNATION OF THERON WARE," ETC.   I don't know that I have anything luminous to offer in comment upon the sprightly remarks of my dear friend Robert Barr. Here, as everywhere else, what he says is all his own. When I listen to him, my delight in the direct and smashing way in which he goes at things — the sense of charm that I get from his methods of debate, from his forms of expression, from the man himself — are so great that I have never formed the habit of regarding critically the substance of his propositions. More over, he is a captain among wags. How can even the editors be sure that he is not joking at the present moment?   Apparently, his general point is that a short story should be short; in particular, he insists that the author should be the judge of its size, and that in deciding upon this, he should consider nothing save the horse-power capacity, so to speak, of the idea, otherwise the engines which he puts inside the story.   This seems all to be sound enough, so far as it goes. But when you come to details, I do not see just how he fits his illustrations and his deductions together. He is of opinion, again I say apparently, that six thousand words is too much for a short story: in his own practice, he has for five years kept himself well within the limit of five thousand. But of the "short stories" which he selects as models of their kind, Mr. Aldrich's Marjory Daw and Mr. Hales's A Man without a Country (that is to say, two out of his three of his examples) are surely more than six thousand words in length. He mentions Mr. Howells and Mr. Henry James as masters of the short story — but he would have been at a standstill if he had tried to cite any tale by either of them that did not exceed six thousand words. Mr. Howells's incomparably beautiful A Parting and a Meeting occupied two long instalments of a magazine; the average of Mr. James's stories is over rather than under ten thousand words. One of the tales he mentions — Mr. Stockton's The Lady or the Tiger — was, as I recall it, very short; but that is such a unique achievement in so many other respects that one could with warrant quote it as an exception which proved the rule against him.   But no one wants to prove anything against him. There is really no issue marked out, unless it may be one of definition. The term "short story" is used now to cover indiscriminately the small novel of fifteen thousand words and the yarn of twenty-five hundred. Somewhere in this wide range, after hunting about a good deal, the individual writer finds the sort of thing that he is most effective and at home in. As use develops and crystallises his knowledge of his powers, he gets to have convictions as to what he can do best, and gradually ceases to experiment outside his chosen line of work. I do not say that these convictions are necessarily well founded. They, may be easily the product of nothing better than obstinacy or self-conceit, but when they are formed they shape the author's choice of method, style, subject, dimensions, and the rest. If the man who has satisfied himself that three thousand words is his form, comes out and chaffs the less nimble creatures who cling to six or eight thousand for themselves, I will laugh as cheerfully as anybody so long as he is witty and gay-hearted, and Robert Barr could be nothing else. But I must not pretend to think that he has proved anything.   In conclusion, since we are talking of ourselves, I may say that for a number of years I have declined to accept any commission for a short story under five thousand words. This means simply that I cannot turn myself round inside narrower limits, with results at all satisfactory to my conception of what I ought to be doing. It may be answered very logically that this shows I cannot write short stories, but I should have an equal right to retort that short stories begin at five thousand words, and that under that limit of length they are yarns. It is, to repeat, a matter of definition. Turgénieff's Virgin Soil contains 115,000 words, and produces the effect of a short story. I have in my time read tales barely a hundredth part as long which tired me much more.  
BY ARTHUR MORRISON, AUTHOR OF "TALES OF MEAN STREETS," ETC.   I have read the proof of Mr. Robert Barr's article. What he says is very excellent, and his use of Euclid's Geometry as an illustration is inspired. Little can be said in the abstract to help the beginner who would learn the technique of the short story. But of things that may be cultivated, the command of form is the first; indeed, I think it is all. Let the pupil take a story by a writer distinguished by the perfection of his workmanship — none could be better than Guy de Maupassant — and let him consider that story apart from the book, as something happening before his eyes. Let him review mentally everything that happens — the things that are not written in the story as well as those that are — and let him review them, not necessarily in the order in which the story presents them, but in that in which then would come before an observer in real life. In short, from the fiction let him construct ordinary, natural, detailed, unselected, unarranged fact; making notes, if necessary, as he goes. Then let him compare his raw fact with the words of the master. He will see where the unessential is rejected; he will observe how everything receives its just proportion in the design; he will perceive that every incident, every sentence, and every word, has its value, its meaning, and its part in the whole. He will see the machinery, and in time he may learn to apply it for himself. But only by experience, inspired by natural gift, will he learn this, and will thus achieve the instinctive eye for the essential, and that severe command of material that will admit nothing else. Then, it may be, his critics will complain of his "sketchiness," and cry aloud for a "finished picture," meaning the industrious transcript of the incapable. But he will know that he has done well, and he will judge them at their worth.   But let what Mr. Barr says be remembered. Every story has its length — to a word. It is the aim of the artist to determine that length, and the first lesson is to reject.   
BY JANE BARLOW, AUTHOR OF "IRISH IDYLLS," ETC.   The fact that Mr. Barr's interesting article might almost as appropriately be entitled "How not to Write a Short Story," seems natural enough, considering the craft of which it treats; for a process of selection — of elimination — does certainly lie at the root of the matter. That artist's ordinance, Entbehren sollst du, sollst entbehren, is nowhere more inevitable and more rigid than in the construction of the short story. Often, indeed, the things to be renounced are quite obvious; there is so much the mere attempt at which confounds us. A gradual growth in depravity, for instance, like Tito's in Romola, or the complex interaction of social life on a whole countryside, as in Middlemarch — subjects so palpably beyond our scope — can hardly fail to be avoided as rocks that would wreck our small enterprise in port. But there are others more insidiously unfit, and if we run upon them we may find ourselves epitomising a "three-decker," or, contrariwise, amplifying an anecdote. It behooves us, moreover, to choose promptly as well as discreetly. In a long narrative it may sometimes be permissible to start before the goal is clearly descried. "Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered," but not the frail skiff of the short story, nor have we any sea-room to spare for aimless drifting. Therefore we are constrained to hold, with Aristotle, that "a well-constructed plot must not begin nor end at haphazard." Some serviceable hints may doubtless be drawn from the wisdom of the ancients, and we might profitably compile a list of acknowledgments like that of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus or Miss Austen's Catherine Morland:— From Hesiod; How much more is the half than the whole; from Horace: That in trying to he brief we may become obscure; from Aristotle again: That what indicates nothing by its presence or absence is not an essential part — and so forth. An adaptation of the Law of Parsimony makes a useful maxim: "Characters must not be multiplied unnecessarily;" and the Arabian thief, who sought to extract too large a handful from the jar, is a not inapposite apologue. To cite more modern authority, Mrs. Ewing, a writer the excellence of whose style is less generally appreciated than it should be, made it a rule never to use two words when one would do. But that "when" is the question which continues to give us pause. Other pertinent reflections are that unless the requisite brevity lies in the matter rather than the manner, we shall probably have not so much a story as a précis. Again that the mystery, if mystery there, be, should lie more in the manner than the matter, else the story becomes a conundrum. On this point, Goethe's notes on his ballad of the exiled and restored Count, and the poem itself, are instructive reading. But, after all, the truth, I fancy, is that there are many ways of constructing stories short, and that every single one of them is wrong, except for its owner.

From: Gaslight is a volunteer project under the auspices of the English Department at Mount Royal College.