Sharon Belcastro: Specific Tropes of Different Genres

Last night, Tampa Writer’s Alliance hosted local literary agent

Sharon Belcastro: Specific Tropes of Different Genres

at the Barnes & Nobel, Carrollwood

Sharon spoke of the different genres of commercial fiction and what readers, hence publishers, require for each genre.

One might be surprised by the detailed formula for each genre as well as the extensive “don’t do’s” that will get your book rejected.

Sharon was delightful, answered many related questions, and really knew her subject matter.



Brothers Adam and Dave were reminiscing.

“Remember the atomic-bomb drills in the 1950’s?” asked Adam.

“We used to have to hide under our desks.”

“That really had an effect on me,” Dave said.

“To this day, I dive under the table whenever the pizza guy delivers on with mushrooms.”


FREE Online Writing Classes

FREE Online Writing Classes

#WritingClasses #OnlineClasses #WritingTips

Here are a plethora of FREE online writing classes, available for all types of writers and aspiring writers.

·         Basic Writing & Composition

·         Essay Writing

·         Journalistic Writing

·         Writing Fiction

·         Applied Writing Skills

Basic Writing & Composition

Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling Challenge (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
Internationally acclaimed author Emily Gould walks you through a 10-day creative writing challenge! Filled with inspiring examples, observation prompts, and clever revision tricks, it’s perfect for writers and enthusiasts eager to rekindle creativity in a personal and artful way.
Self Paced

Perfect Tenses and Modals
via University of California, Irvine
In this course, you will learn about important intermediate verb tenses, including present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect, and past perfect progressive
Next Session: 1st Jan, 2018

Adjectives and Adjective Clauses
via University of California, Irvine
Being able to adeptly use adjective clauses in speaking and writing is useful for upper level English learners. Adjectives and adjective clauses are very common in English, so students need to be able to understand them when they see them or hear them.
Next Session: 11th Dec, 2017

Tricky English Grammar
via University of California, Irvine
Learning English can be tricky, and in this class you’ll focus on some of those tricky issues. You’ll get clear explanations about the difficult grammar points and practice in using them correctly.
Next Session: 11th Dec, 2017

Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot
via Wesleyan University
In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires.
Next Session: 18th Dec, 2017

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise
via Duke University
You will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. Students will learn how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others’ ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose.
Next Session: 1st Jan, 2018

A beginners’ guide to writing in English for university study
via University of Reading
Learn how to use English for study at university or college and develop your writing skills, vocabulary and grammar.
Next Session: 1st May, 2017

Write101x: English Grammar and Style
via University of Queensland
Write101x will enable you to learn how words work so that you can write the concise, lucid, nuanced, and compelling prose that is so valued by readers.
Next Session: 9th Oct, 2017

Adventures in Writing
Stanford University via Stanford OpenEdx
Welcome to Adventures in Writing, a series of graphic-novel style learning modules designed to help you learn more about and practice a range of effective written communication skills. You’ll immerse yourself in the adventures of Maya and Chris, using each module’s interactive exercises to apply what you’ve learned
★★★★★ (1 rating) | Next Session : Self Paced

Scribble: Writing for New Writers
via OpenLearning
This course will take students through the process of writing from simple paragraphs to more complex writing structures and eventually research writing.
★★★★☆ (4 ratings) | Next Session : Self Paced

Thinking Like a Writer
via Michigan State University
This course revolves around the work of revising writing, learning, and engaging with language and community. You will explore who you are as a learner as you write about yourself and your language use, as well as consider who you are as a communicator as you critique texts, persuade audiences, and collaborate with others.
Next Session: 23rd Jun, 2014

Essay Writing

Creative Writing: Using Your Mistakes to Power Your Personal Essays (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
Ever had a story you couldn’t wait to share? Join author Emily Gould to learn how to write a personal essay that gets read.
Self Paced

Getting Started with Essay Writing
via University of California, Irvine
In this course, you’ll learn all about academic essay writing and, specifically, how to write three types of essays: compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argument.
Next Session: 11th Dec, 2017

How to Write an Essay 
via University of California, Berkeley
College Writing 2.1x is an introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing.
Next Session: Self paced

English Grammar and Essay Writing
via University of California, Berkeley
College Writing 2.2x is the second part of the academic writing course. In this part, you will focus on proofreading and self-editing; revision vs. editing; common errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling; understanding tone and diction; vocabulary development.
Next Session: Self paced

Journalistic Writing

Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
Explore how entrepreneur Eric Siu creates content not just for the sake of writing, but for hitting your own goals. In this 80-minute deep dive class, you’ll learn Eric’s step-by-step structure for creating compelling blog content — the same process that has helped him build a seven-figure business, Single Grain and the five-star-rated podcast, Growth Everywhere.
Self Paced

English for Journalism
via University of Pennsylvania
This course is designed for non-native English speakers who are interested in developing the skills needed for a career in modern journalism.
Next Session:18th Dec, 2017

Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens
University of Melbourne via Coursera
This is a course in basic journalism skills, designed for the many people who are now taking advantage of new media to publish news, views and information
Next Session : 13th Sep, 2016

Introduction to Journalism
via University of Strathclyde
Learn about the key principles and debates in journalism and enact the role of a journalist in the context of an escalating story.
Next Session:28th Mar, 2016

Community Journalism: Digital and Social Media
Cardiff University via FutureLearn
This is a course in basic journalism skills designed for citizens who are using new media to publish news, views and information. We cover writing skills, interviews, ethics, law and accessing public forums and documents. We also introduce basic investigative skills.
★★★★☆ (3 ratings) | Next Session : 8th Feb, 2016

J4SC101x: Journalism for Social Change
University of California, Berkeley via edX
J4SC101 has been designed for students who are interested in the intersection of public policy, journalism and social sciences and who are looking to use their expertise and careers to drive positive social change.
★★★☆☆ (1 rating) | Next Session : Self paced

Writing Fiction

Storytelling Fundamentals: Character, Conflict, Context, Craft (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
How do you write a story that feels alive? What makes a story different from an anecdote? Join renowned urban fantasy writer Daniel José Older for a 40-minute dive into the fundamentals of narrative storytelling!
Self Paced

Creative Writing: The Craft of Style
via Wesleyan University
Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language.
Next Session: 18th Dec, 2017

Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description
via Wesleyan University
In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world.
Next Session: 18th Dec, 2017

Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest
Commonwealth Education Trust via Coursera
This course is for curious students and aspiring authors with a passion for writing for young readers
★★★★★ (12 ratings) | Next Session :  25th Dec, 2017

How Writers Write Fiction
via University of Iowa
An interactive study of the practice of creative writing, How Writers Write presents a curated collection of short, intimate talks created by fifty authors of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation.
Next Session: 24th Sep, 2015

Start writing fiction
via The Open University
This hands-on course helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.
Next Session: 5th Mar, 2018

The Future Of Storytelling
via University of Applied Sciences Potsdam
Learn how to analyze, contextualize and create stories and narratives in current media: from understanding storytelling basics to discussing new online tools and formats, this course brings together a network of media researchers, creators, and students.
Next Session: 25th Oct, 2013

How Writers Write Poetry
via University of Iowa
The course presents a curated collection of short, intimate talks on craft by two dozen acclaimed poets writing in English. Craft topics include sketching techniques, appropriation, meter, constraints, sound, mindfulness, and pleasure. The talks are designed for beginning poets just starting to put words on a page as well as for advanced poets looking for new entry points, thoughts about process, or teaching tips.
Next Session: Mar, 2015

Applied Writing Skills

Content Curation: How To Create A Viral Site From Scratch (1 month free trial)
via Skillshare
About This Class Ever wonder how those sites like ViralNova or GodVine get so much TRAFFIC and literally blew up overnight? Oh, and did I also mention sites like that generally tend to generate over six figures per month and usually sell for tens of millions?
Self Paced

Advanced Writing
via University of California, Irvine
It will help you raise the level of your writing and make you more aware of the type of writing you can expect in college. You’ll learn what plagiarism is and how to avoid it using correct MLA citations.
Next Session: 11th Dec, 2017

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications
via University of Sheffield
This free three week course will help you produce a perfect CV, application and online profile when applying for a job or course.
Next Session: 8th Jan, 2018

Writing for the Web
Understanding the difference between writing for print versus writing for the web starts with learning about how readers behave differently online. This course brings to light how to accommodate the needs of online readers through web design, writing style, structure and search engine optimisation.
Next Session: 19th Nov, 2017

ColWri2.3x: Academic and Business Writing
via University of California, Berkeley
An introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing.
Next Session: 18th Apr, 2016

Stunt Writing for Personal Growth
The Stunt Writing For Personal Growth class includes prompts, lectures, readings and discussions for writers of any age, at any level. Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Stunt Writing For Personal Growth is a process that uses writing as a tool for you to learn about yourself, and gain skills in communicating your own unique story.
Next Session: 20th Jul, 2015

Writing in the Sciences
via Stanford
This course teaches scientists to become more effective writers, using practical examples and exercises. Topics include: principles of good writing, tricks for writing faster and with less anxiety, the format of a scientific manuscript, and issues in publication and peer review. Students from non-science disciplines can benefit from the training provided in the first four weeks (on general principles of effective writing)

Character Development ==via=== Myers-Briggs personality test

Character Development ==via=== Myers-Briggs personality test

The Myers Briggs personality test has long been used as a tool to help people learn more about themselves.

By answering a few questions, the test identifies you as having one of 16 personality types.

This can be useful in allowing respondents to further explore and understand their own personalities including their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, possible career preferences, and compatibility with other people.

Great. Touchy feely. But how does that help me as an author?

Angela Hunt, award winning author of dozens of books, shares her secret. When she decides to create a new character for one, she gives it the Myers-Briggs test.

There are many websites that offer the test for free.

It’s a simple matter of a answering four questions about your character. Each question assigns a personality-type letter.

For example, the first question (Introvert or Extrovert) assigns an “I” or “E” depending on your answer.

The second question assigns an “S” or “N”, 3rd “T” or “F” and the 4th “J” or “P”

So you wind up with four letters.

  • I or E
  • S or N
  • T or F
  • J or P

Your character may be an ISTJ or an ENFP, or any of the 16 combinations.


Now comes the fun part….

Just ‘bing’ or ‘google’ your four letters.

If you bing ‘ESFP’ for example, you receive the detailed character traits…

As an ESFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.

Copy them into MS-Word, then search and replace “ESFP” (or your four letters) with the character’s name “DETECTIVE BRIGGS” (or your characters name).

And you get a terrific starting point and reference for your new character.

And here’s what you get…

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS], primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS] live in the world of people possibilties. They love people and new experiences. They are lively and fun, and enjoy being the center of attention. They live in the here-and-now, and relish excitement and drama in their lives.

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS] have very strong inter-personal skills, and may find themselves in the role of the peacemaker frequently. Since they make decisions by using their personal values, they are usually very sympathetic and concerned for other people’s well-being. They’re usually quite generous and warm. They are very observant about other people, and seem to sense what is wrong with someone before others might, responding warmly with a solution to a practical need. They might not be the best advice-givers in the world, because they dislike theory and future-planning, but they are great for giving practical care.

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS] is definitely a spontaneous, optimistic individual. They love to have fun. If the [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] has not developed their Thinking side by giving consideration to rational thought processing, they tend to become over-indulgent, and place more importance on immediate sensation and gratification than on their duties and obligations. They may also avoid looking at long-term consequences of their actions.

For the [DETECTIVE BRIGGS], the entire world is a stage. They love to be the center of attention and perform for people. They’re constantly putting on a show for others to entertain them and make them happy. They enjoy stimulating other people’s senses, and are extremely good at it. They would love nothing more than for life to be a continual party, in which they play the role of the fun-loving host.

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS] love people, and everybody loves an [DETECTIVE BRIGGS]. One of their greatest gifts is their general acceptance of everyone. They are upbeat and enthusiastic, and genuinely like almost everybody. An [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] is unfailingly warm and generous with their friends, and they generally treat everyone as a friend. However, once crosesed, an [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] is likely to make a very strong and stubborn judgment against the person who crossed them. They are capable of deep dislike in such a situation.

The [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] under a great deal of stress gets overwhelmed with negatives thoughts and possibilities. As an optimistic individual who lives in the world of possibilities, negative possibilities do not sit well with them. In an effort to combat these thoughts, they’re likely to come up with simple, global statements to explain away the problem. These simplistic explanations may or may not truly get to the nature of the issue, but they serve the [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] well by allowing them to get over it.

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS] are likely to be very practical, although they hate structure and routine. They like to “go with the flow”, trusting in their ability to improvise in any situation presented to them. They learn best with “hands-on” experience, rather than by studying a book. They’re uncomfortable with theory. If an [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] hasn’t developed their intuitive side, they may tend to avoid situations which involve a lot of theoretical thinking, or which are complex and ambiguous. For this reason, an [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] may have difficulty in school. On the other hand, the [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] does extremely well in situations where they’re allowed to learn by interacting with others, or in which they “learn by doing”.

[DETECTIVE BRIGGS]s have a very well-developed appreciation for aesthetic beauty, and an excellent sense of space and function. If they have the means, they’re likely to have to have many beautiful possessions, and an artfully furnished home. In general, they take great pleasure in objects of aesthetic beauty. They’re likely to have a strong appreciation for the finer things in life, such as good food and good wine.

The [DETECTIVE BRIGGS] is a great team player. He or she is not likely to create any problems or fuss, and is likely to create the most fun environment possible for getting the task done. [DETECTIVE BRIGGS]s will do best in careers in which they are able to use their excellent people skills, along with their abilities to meld ideas into structured formats. Since they are fast-paced individuals who like new experiences, they should choose careers which offer or require a lot of diversity, as well as people skills.

ESFPs usually like to feel strongly bonded with other people, and have a connection with animals and small children that is not found in most other types. They’re likely to have a strong appreciation for the beauties of nature as well.

The ESFP has a tremendous love for life, and knows how to have fun. They like to bring others along on their fun-rides, and are typically a lot of fun to be with. They’re flexible, adaptable, genuinely interested in people, and usually kind-hearted. They have a special ability to get a lot of fun out of life, but they need to watch out for the pitfalls associated with living entirely in the moment.



10 Free Online Writing College Courses

Free Online Non-Credited Writing Courses

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Through MIT’s OCW program, students can download a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level course materials that cover topics in, among others, essay, expository and technical writing. Course activities and formats include assignments, exams, lecture notes and video presentations.

  • Writing and Reading the Essay focuses on the essay as a popular literary genre. The syllabus indicates two essay anthologies as course texts, which can be purchased online. Course activities include a reader’s journal and a series of personal writing assignments.
  • Writing and Reading Short Stories offers students the opportunity to study character development, plotting and point of view. Featured authors include, among others, Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, William Faulkner and John Updike.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

The New Jersey Institute of Technology is a scientific and technological university that offers OCW courses and materials.

  • Technical Writing is geared toward the advanced writer. In this course, which consists of about 40 video-taped lectures, students apply theory to analyze and solve complex communication problems. Course topics include audience awareness, document design, ethics, gender equity and rhetorical theory.

Open University

The Open University is the largest educational establishment in the United Kingdom, as well as the country’s only distance-learning school. The university’s free online classes may not provide access to the same resources used by formally enrolled students, but course formats might include Web- and print-based content as well as the ability to interact with other students through a comments feature.

  • Start Writing Fiction is a 12-hour, introductory course that can provide students with the inspiration and tools they need to put their words on paper. The course emphasis is on developing character and settings within a variety of fiction genres.
  • Writing What You Know is designed to help students improve their descriptive writing skills. This 8-hour, introductory class encourages students to view their everyday lives from a new perspective, demonstrating how an author’s personal life can serve as a source of inspiration.

Purdue University

Through Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), students and teachers around the world can enjoy 24-hour access to a variety of Web-based resources, including handouts, podcasts and PowerPoint presentations. These include topics in grammar and mechanics, professional and technical writing, English as a Second Language (ESL), research and writing style.

  • Professional and Technical Writing provides a list of varied Web-based resources that can show students and professionals how to research and write business letters, memos and other office-related documents. Topics include audience analysis, parallel structures and writing tone. Additional technical writing resources include information on how to write scientific abstracts and white papers.
  • The Writing Process includes a list of mostly text-based resources and exercises that cover everything from overcoming writer’s block to proofreading strategies. Additional topics include pre-writing, thesis statements, outlining and audience analysis, which can be applied to a wide variety of writing tasks.

University of College Falmouth

The University College Falmouth is a specialized art institution based in the United Kingdom. The non-credit classes offered through the school’s ‘openSpace’ project allow students to work at their own level and pace but don’t provide all the materials from the original course. Although registration isn’t required to access assignments, lectures and other materials, registered students may be able to participate in online chats and peer reviews.

  • Introduction to Novel Writing was designed to provide graduate-level students with the structural skills to organize and develop extended pieces of creative writing. In addition to writing assignments and suggested readings, open course materials include YouTube videos by Joyce Carol Oates, Salmon Rushdie and Amy Tan.
  • Writing for Children introduces students to the genres and styles integral to the market and helps them find the right age group for their story. Open course materials include assignments, background reading, examples of children’s books and an online lecture.

University of Iowa

The Writing University is a Web-based resource for the school’s literary and writing community, providing direct access to a number of free audio presentations. Recent podcasts have included presentations on the sentence, creative nonfiction and experiential writing.

  • Flash Fiction introduces students to the concept of the super-short story and its emergence as a mainstream literary trend. Listeners can learn how brief experiences or even a life story can be condensed to a paragraph or a couple of written lines.
  • How to Find the Short Story Within Your Novel helps listeners identify the dissimilarities between these two literary forms. Students learn how to extract a quality excerpt from a longer piece of prose and how first-time authors can prepare their work for publication.

University of Massachusetts at Boston

  • Critical Reading and Writing is designed to help students achieve college-level reading and writing skills through a critical exploration of U.S. foreign policy. Students have access to the course syllabus, an assignment list and website. Through the course site, students can open and download text documents and PowerPoint presentations on topics like critical analysis strategies, brainstorming and building concepts, as well documents and links to online resources on foreign policy issues.

University of Michigan

This university participates as a member of the OpenCourseWare Consortium by providing free access to educational materials and course content through its Open.Michigan website.

  • Principles of Research and Problem Solving is a powerpoint presentation breaking down scientific writing skills as within research proposals.

Utah State University (USU)

Utah State offers OCW materials in several academic departments. Students may be able to apply the knowledge gained from use of these open materials to pass exams to earn credit. USU may give credit to students who pass subject tests offered by individual departments, the International Baccalaureate Organization or CLEP exams, among other options.

  • Intermediate Writing: Research Writing in a Persuasive Mode provides access to 16 weekly lessons, with links to readings and related writing assignments. Students learn how to engage in various components of the writing process while developing critical reading and thinking skills. Topics include writing about controversial topics, argumentation styles, source documentation and how to use multimedia resources.
  • Introduction to Writing: Academic Prose is an online complement to a graduate-level course. The course materials are presented in a similar 16-week format, with links to several online readings and assignment descriptions. The syllabus begins with assignments related to debate and dialogue, cultural myths and visual literacy. Additional writing activities include a family narrative, a school board project and a media analysis.

Stanford University

Online courses can be found at Stanford through the school’s OpenEdX platform.

  • Adventures in Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing skills. Developed by a group of lecturers, the course teaches written communication skills through a series of learning modules drawn and formatted in the style of graphic novels.

Angela Hunt Speaks on Writing Characters

Last night, The Tampa Writers Alliance hosted Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt.

With nearly five million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 140 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to non-fiction books, to novels.

Ms Hunt spoke about the craft of Writing Characters. She gave insights on creating characters using the Myers Briggs personality test to create a well rounded personality. She then spoke about POV, and the importance of staying in one characters head throughout a scene. She also touched on genres, third-person vs. first-person, and the difference formulas for each genre.

We were able to coax her into relating her own personal story of becoming a writer.

Angela Hunt often speaks and teaches at major writer’s conferences and she participates as a founding instructor in the Glen Eyrie Writer’s Summit.

21 Free Writing Contests with Cash Prizes

A list of twenty-one upcoming FREE contests for writers of fiction, essays and poetry, and for playwrights.

The Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

This contest is for registered undergraduate full-time Juniors or Seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the US in the Fall 2017 Semester. Students are invited to write an essay about an ethical issue they have encountered, and analyze what it has taught them about ethics, and themselves. See guidelines for potential topics and issues.

Value: $5,000, $2,500, $1,500, two prizes of $500 each
Deadline: 11 December 2017
Open for: US Students
here and here.

J Anthony Lucas Work-in-progress Award

This award is for writers already under contract by a publisher for a nonfiction work, on a topic of American political or social concern.

Value: $25,000
Deadline: 11 December 2017
Open for: Contracted writers of a nonfiction work

Cove Park Literature Residencies

Cove Park will award a minimum of three funded Literature Residencies for writers established in their field of between one to three months each, for UK and international writers. For the Literature Residencies applications are invited from established writers in any of the following genres: adult fiction, memoir, poetry, biography. Writers should have published at least one book. See guidelines for details about the Scottish emerging writer and translator residencies.

Value: £400 per week, residency at Cove Park, Scotland
Deadline: 11 December 2017
Open for: All writers who have published a book
here and here.

Exile Writers Ink Free Poetry Competition

This competition is for UK refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants by Exiled Writers Ink, an organisation that brings together writers from repressive regimes and war-torn situations; it equally embraces migrants and exiles. Send up to three poems of up to 40 lines each.

Value: £400 plus The Literary Consultancy’s detailed report on the winner’s poetry collection; £200 plus a free course at Poetry School; £100; all winners get a free one-year membership to Exiled Writers Ink
Deadline: 15 December 2017
Open for: UK refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants

2018 Spring-Summer Emergency Residency for Artists from Puerto Rico

The Studios at MASS MoCA invites artists in Puerto Rico who have been affected by Hurricane Maria, including artists displaced from the island by the hurricane, to apply for residencies up to 6 weeks. They expect to select at least 2 artists from Puerto Rico. The normal residency fee will be waived for these artists, and additional support will be provided for travel and meals.

Value: Travel reimbursement up to $800; stipend of $100 per week

Open for: Artists in Puerto Rico at all career stages, income levels, and disciplines (including writers) whose practice has been made more difficult by the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, including artists who have been displaced from the island by the disaster.

Details here.

Deadline: December 18th, 2017

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

These awards are for published works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity. According to their website, “Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity.” There are two awards, one for a work of fiction or poetry and one for a work of nonfiction, biography or scholarly research.

Value: $10,000
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: Writers of published works

Griffin Poetry Prize

The prize is for the best collection of poetry, in English, published during the preceding year. One prize goes to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country, which may include Canada. Submissions must come from publishers. For works published between 1 July and 31 December, the deadline is in December.

Value: $65,000 each
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: Poets with published books

Ron Hubbard’s Writers & Illustrators of the Future

This contest is for new and amateur writers of new short stories or novelettes of science fiction or fantasy. Send stories of up to 17,000 words in length. This is a quarterly contest.

Value: $1,000, $750, $500 quarterly; one annual prize of $5,000
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: Those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium.

Inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards

There are three awards; two for published or contracted books, and one for playwrights. The book awards are for speculative fiction, and debut speculative fiction. Books published from 1 June 2015 are eligible. Playwrights have to write to a prompt: What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?

Value: Three awards of $5,000 each
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: All writers with published speculative fiction works, and playwrights
here and here.

The Society of Classical Poets Competition

Send 3-5 poems on any of these themes: The Issues of Our Age (at least one poem has to be on this theme – see guidelines for specific issues), Beautiful & Sublime, Great Culture, Humor & Riddles.

Value: $500; three prizes of $100 each – for High School poets, translators, and poets of Hudson Valley, New York
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: All poets

The Womaninc Sakhi Awards

This is a poetry award for feminist voices. Their website says, “The award shall be the meeting ground between oppression and expression – an isthmus defining the very real struggles of women across the globe for identity and dignity.” Submit one unpublished poem.

Value: $300, $150, $50
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: All poets

Ouen Press Short Story Competition

The theme is ‘Taste’. Stories must be 3,000-10,000 words.

Value: £300, and £100 each for two runners-up
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: All writers

Steinbeck Fellowship

The Steinbeck Fellows Program of San José State University (SJSU) offers emerging writers of any age and background the opportunity to pursue a significant writing project – of fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, and biography – while in residence at SJSU. The emphasis of the program is on helping writers who have had some success, but not published extensively, and whose promising work would be aided by the financial support and sponsorship of the Center and the University’s creative writing program. See guidelines for writing sample and other requirements.

Value: $10,000
Deadline: 2 January 2017
Open for: All writers
here and here.

U.S. Naval Institute General Prize Essay Contest

The organizers invite you to “dare to write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.” Authors must discuss the most compelling issues, ideas, and solutions. There is no restriction on topic. All essays are judged in the blind by the Naval Institute’s Editorial Board composed of serving Sea Service professionals.

Value: $6,000, $3,000, $2,000
Deadline: 31 December 2017
Open for: Unspecified

The Christopher Doheny Award 2017

The award is for unpublished manuscripts in fiction or creative nonfiction on the topic of serious physical illness. The winner of the award must demonstrate both high literary standards and a broad audience appeal while exploring the impact of illness on the patient, family and friends, and others. The award includes a cash prize and production and promotion of the book in an audio edition, with the option to pursue print publication with the assistance of Audible, Inc.

Value: $10,000
Deadline: 2 January 2018
Open for: Published writers (including in literary magazines)

St Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

This is for unpublished manuscripts. Murder or a serious crime or crimes has to be at the heart of the story. The manuscript must be at least 220 typewritten pages or 60,000 words.

Value: $10,000 as advance against royalties
Deadline: 12 January 2018
Open for: All writers who have never published a novel in any genre

The Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award

This is an annual contest for playwrights of LGBTQ-themed work that makes a substantial contribution to the theatrical repertoire and community. The award includes a residency and stipend. Hard copy submissions only.

Value: Three-month residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico and $1,500 stipend
Deadline: 14 January 2018
Open for: Playwrights of LGBTQ plays

The Keats-Shelly Prize and the Young Romantics Prize

This is a contest for poems and essays on Romantic themes. For the Keats-Shelly Prize, adult writers should respond creatively to the work of the Romantics; this year, the theme is ‘Liberty: a celebration of Shelly’s Prometheus Unbound’. Write your own poem on Liberty, or an essay, which can be on any aspect of the work or lives of the Romantics and their circles. For the Young Romantics Prize, writers aged 16-18 should make poetry/essay submissions on the same theme.

Value: Prizes of £3,000 for the adult, and £2,000 for the Young Romantics category
Deadline: 15 January 2018
Open for: All poets and writers
here and here.

The Hope Prize

This is for Australian writers, for a short story. The stories can be fiction or fact, and must convey the experience of people facing hardship in their lives. There is also a category for writers under 18.

Value: AUD10,000, AUD4,000, AUD2,000, AUD500, AUD250; two women’s writing career development scholarships of AUD5,000 each
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Open for: Australian writers

BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition

This is for playwrights living outside the UK. There are two prizes, for those with English as their first language and those with English as their second language. Plays must be about 53 minutes long (9,000-10,000 words), and have 6 central characters. There is also the Georgi Markov prize for the most promising script, which gives the winner a chance to come to London for two weeks and work alongside BBC Radio Drama and with BBC World Service journalists.

Value: Two prizes of £2,200 each and a trip to London; one prize for the most promising script
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Open for: All writers living outside the UK (see guidelines)


To Copyright, or Not to Copyright, That is the Question

As with most questions, there are two sides to this.


In her blog, Victoria Strauss argues “there’s no need to register your copyright prior to publication.”
But she gives no ‘down-side’, other than you might be solicited a lot.
Note that if you copyright using the US Patent office’s website, you can give one set of contact info for the copyright office, and one for public access (solicitors). Nothing says you have to give actual info to the public access. I gave the patent office my primary email but I used backup email address for public access so junk mail would be less annoying.
Read her full blog HERE.


While ALL posts and articles I found touted that your work is copyrighted the instant it is typed, almost all stated that you have a better chance in court (if it comes to that) if you registered your work with the patent office.
Here are some of the articles PRO, or at least neutral…

Writer’s Digest

The Balance




And of course, here’s the link to the U. S. Electronic Copyright Office.
It only costs $55, but it takes 6-8 months.
Don’t worry though, your copyright is effective the day you submit, not the day the finally stamp it.
That’s assuming someone didn’t copyright your work yesterday 

Social Media for Writers

Social Media for Dummies Writers

The simple fact is, if you want people to read your work, then they have to know it exists.

Whether you choose traditional publishing, self publishing, or something in between, a social media presence is critical to letting the world know that you have something to offer.

If you self-publish, you need to get the word out on your own.

Traditional publishing agents will Google you first to see if you have a social media following before accepting you as a client.

Once you have a following, your fans will want to know about your next manuscript.

But don’t despair, it’s not that hard.



Decide what social media outlets/platforms you want to attack.

The more sites, the better.

And once you set up your blog, the others can usually feed from it, so the extra work is minimal.


You need…

  • A website (your home page)
  • A blog (a place where you post your thoughts and useful info, like this)

And one or more of the following…


YouTube is VIDEO based.

You upload videos from your computer. Making videos is a LOT of work.


InstaGram, Pinterest, SnapChat and Flickr are PHOTO based.

You send a picture from your  SMART PHONE.

They’re not what we’re after unless you’re publishing a book of photos.


Others are Gab, VK, WeChat, Reddit,  WhatsApp, Weibo, and Wikia


TOMORROW => Creating a Website for Dummies Writers