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"If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is as with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn"

-- Robert Southley

T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S
  1. [Editor Notes; Pungent Thoughts on the Act of Writing]
  2. [Resource Notes]
  3. [Markets and Leads: Law Publications]
  4. [C/Oasis- new stories and poems]
  5. [New Forms of Publishing]
  6. [Community]
  7. [Etc/Etc/Etc]

Welcome back! Some changes have been made to Sunoasis. The premium and regular issues have been merged. Each issue will be dominated by one theme but will have plenty of resources to pick and choose from. Every issue will have up-to-date market information.

I'm not charging for subscriptions but will use the Amazon Honor System. I like to think I'm more like PBS than CBS.

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E D I T O R  N O T E S

__________________P R O F E S S I O N A L N O T E S

When I sit down in front of a new piece of writing I always ask myself, "am I a wild child or am I a professor who doesn't want to make a mistake in front of his colleagues?"

Usually the wild child wins out because I've learned a beautiful secret about writing. It's the perfect secret. The best writing you will do is never seen by anyone.

One of the hidden treasures of "how to write" is the brief, "The Golden Book on Writing" by David Lambuth and others. Lambuth was an eccentric professor at Dartmouth and after his death some of his papers were collected and published.

If you don't have time to plow through the writing advice books pick this one up and cherish it. He says that writing well is not about memorizing parts of speech but writing as closely aligned to the natural speaking voice as one can get. And then, after the deluge, comes revision and the rules of grammar; rules, by the way, that came into being to simply make the effort of reading clearer. For instance, there was a time when there were no punctuation marks in copy. The reader went along making it up as she went. It finally dawned on some to represent the natural flow and stopping of the natural mind/voice with oddities like periods, commas, question marks and so on.

Lambuth instructs writers to read their writing out loud. "If you find it hard to read your sentences aloud, you may be quite sure your reader will find them unpleasant to read even to himself."

Be direct. Tell the reader as quickly as possible what the piece of writing is about.

* * * * * * * *

"No matter how good a phrase or a simile he may have, if he puts it in where it is not absolutely necessary and irreplaceable he is spoiling his work for egotism," Hemingway once remarked.

Tearing down your first draft is the doorway to mastery. And it's curious that many stop there. To complete mastery you need to build up. There's an art to it that is hard to negotiate since our egos are involved in the act of writing.

A writer's ego is always in the work. To rub away just enough ego is also the writer's task.

Let the first draft of a piece sit for awhile and then look at it after a few days, even a week. One writer suggested letting a short piece of fiction lay around for a month or more.

Always figure that something is not right about it. Make it better each time you view it. I write columns on the net. I write them, revise them, and then load them up to my server. Each time I go and read those columns, I find I could write it better.

Some tips:

  • Develop check-lists for improving the piece of writing.
  • Get rid of cliches.
  • Sprinkle the narrative with anecdotes.
  • Take out unnecessary words.
  • Read for your readers.

The graphic use of "concept maps" will help the writer fully explore the diverse nature of any piece of writing.

These techniques for "raising your writing an extra notch," are useful. One of the better things the author says is always be aware when you have to clarify a point. The writer needs to objectify his own work to critique it. Most writing that conveys information is "scanned" by readers who are trying to pick out the salient aspects of the piece. It's may seem selfish that the reader is reading for himself and doesn't take into consideration the work that went into it, but that is the sad truth.

* * * * * * * *

Your writing may be read by millions, thousands, or one. Write for the one and give the one a face, a voice, and a visual background that is not your own.

Make it fun.

* * * * * * * *

Narrative journalism is being called on to save the beleaguered newspaper, if not journalism itself. It's a topic always welcome to the literary type. It means the use of literary devices such as dialogue, scenes, and a focus on characters. It was popular in the 60's and 70's because novelists and journalists were entwined with each other. No one could quite believe in fiction but they couldn't quite believe the facts either.

Of course, story is implicated in every sentence. "A dramatic necessity goes deep into the nature of the sentence," Robert Frost wrote. If you keep this in mind you'll revise toward a rich interplay in your writing.

* * * * * * * *

Every writer has an obnoxious family member who asks at get- togethers, "what good is writing?" Since the obnoxious one will not read classic literature or essays in Atlantic Monthly I suggest for them to read The Report of The National Commission on Writing.

Since the member of the family won't go through the 44-page report you can offer this summary.

"Writing can be a ticket to professional jobs..." Emphasize "professional jobs," not simply run-of-the-mill jobs! That should get the obnoxious member to buy books for his or her kids.

* * * * * * * *

The beauty of clear communication is that it is rare. Those who can do it will always be employed. If you combine that with a wild imagination and playful use of words, with a desire to use old words in new, meaningful ways, so much the better.

Even in an age of "scanning" the clearer the text the easier to it is for people to pick out what they want from a piece of writing.

"Readers" exist in abundance and for them reading is a pleasure and the writer must strive to produce a good and stimulating feeling in the reader. He or she owes it to those who keep the art of writing and reading alive.

* * * * * * * *

Have a great Holidays! I thank all the people who have been on the list over the years. Whatever happens I will always have happy memories of this period of time.

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For Freelancers Only:

Freelance rates have declined the last several decades so writers are turning to self-publishing. Is it paying off? Readers care about quality, accuracy, and readability.

Do you want to upload articles to a site where others can download them? Good place to start getting clips.

Marketing tips for freelance writers.

B u s i n e s s o f W r i t i n g :

Will authors gain from digitization?

An interview with three publicists from literary houses. It contains a lot of insight into the world of publishing and publicity.

Advice for setting up a writer's business plan.

Writing tools: How to improve your writing with these 50 ideas.
W r i t e r O r g a n i z a t i o n s :

Criminal Justice Journalists
Romance Writers of America
Federation of British Columbia Writers
Maryland Writers' Association
North Carolina Writers' Network
Pen and Brush, Inc. of New York City
The Rhode Island Writers and Journalists Society
South Bay Writers of San Francisco Bay Area
Willamette Writers of Oregon
Circle of Wine Writers

There are many more links to writing organizations here.

P u b l i s h i n g :

We talk about self-publishing and print-on-demand quite a bit. The more information you have the better off you'll be. I'm on mailing lists that demonstrate to my satisfaction that do-it-yourself publishing is a tricky sea to negotiate. Don't be fooled by the seeming ease of it. This link will take you to a favored printer, Lightning Source, and how to prepare a book for publication.

An amusing top ten list of reasons to read a newspaper.

A tale of two women who collaborated to produce a self-published book on surfing.

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M A R K E T S  A N D  L E A D S
LAW MAGAZINES: Make sure you locate the editor of a magazine, contact her and request a sample copy and writer guidelines. If you think you have a story for her, send an excellent query. Search back issues and try to understand the type of articles the editor looks for. We provide the guidelines or mail addresses and phone number of the publications when available.

ABA Journal

Pays: $400-$2,000 for assigned articles

California Lawyer

Pays: $50- $2,000 for articles

Corporate Legal Times

Pays: $500- $2,000 for articles

Law Office Computing


Legal Assistant Today


Student Lawyer

Pays: $500- $1,200 for articles

Don't hesitate to tell us what you are looking for.

Here is an index of writer guidelines.


Valley Forge, PA
Vanguard, one of the world's leading investment management companies, has an opening for a strong communications professional to edit and proofread copy created for Vanguard's website, Vanguard.com, and to adapt for online use materials created in other media.

For Full Ad go here.

Falls Church, VA
Tax Analysts, a multimedia legal tax publisher, has an opening for a reporter to cover tax and accounting-related issues. Beat includes coverage of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Congress, the IRS, Treasury, the courts, and publicly-held companies. We strive to stir up great tax policy debate -- and fuel it with the best news and commentary around. Because our publication has no advertising, no holds are barred in the aggressive pursuit of all angles of a given story -- an advantage that few other periodicals can offer.

For Full Ad go here.

Writer - Human Resource Communications
Location: Valley Forge, PA

Vanguard, one of the world's leading investment management companies, needs a creative, talented writer to research and write human resource communications. Your work should be engaging and accurate, educate your readers, meet business objectives, and be delivered on time. This position is available part-time (25 hours per week) or full-time.

You'll regularly brainstorm with clients, colleagues, and senior management to develop creative concepts for Web, e-mail, and print delivery.

For Full Ad go here.

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Job Links for new leads!

If you have any suggestions about markets you want guidelines for, just drop a line

A T    C/ O A S I S

Adyna and her Notebooks
By Kathryn Magendie
"Adyna did not like people, dogs, cats, the sun, moon, and she especially did not like surprises. Adyna just did not like. She kept her condominium clean, organized, and free of imagination. She distrusted self-reflection, so there were no mirrors in her six rooms, the counters were never shined, and fixtures were scrubbed to a matte finish..."

Strange Lands and Peoples, Chapter 7
by Martha Nemes Fried
"It was our custom to listen to the news on the radio before we had breakfast. On the morning of November 24, 1963, Mort and I were in a hurry and could not spare the time..."

Three Poems by Lamont Palmer
Reflections on Possible Waywardness
A Tilghman Island Tale

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Hey, we even have a new literary newsletter and you can get it free if you click here!

>>>>>>>N e w    f o r m s   o f   p u b l i s h i n g<<<<<<

A thought provoking article by David Weinberger about the future of the book or, really, the classifying of information and the ability of readers to connect with each other. If I'm a writer what motivation do I have to produce work for a system that will gleefully deconstruct it?

Almost 50% of bloggers are under 30 years of age. And only 40% of bloggers have college degrees. Hmm, that explains a lot.

This writer elaborates on something I predicted a few issues ago at The Digital Writer. "What happens if the old media dies before the new media learns to walk...?"

A sound analysis of how newspaper journalists can adapt the hyperlinking aspect of the internet to improve stories.

Another sound view of the journalism model being created out of "community." Anything should be tried, especially with this medium. And the stimulus of the new should be a good kick in the rear to the establishment. Why is the community more trustworthy than a trained editor? When does community become cult? After all, if I express an opinion that upsets members of the community I will move on to one that is more accommodating. I have more thoughts on this in The Digital Writer.

Then again there are the impassioned arguments for de-emphasizing print publishing and heading out to the new and more vital digital system. We are for it but believe talent should be there not simply emotion or empty fantasies.

The teen-agers are fusing themselves with all these new communications technology. By the time they mature as a generation they will change the communications landscape by imposing their habits on everything. What did Goethe write, "transform or die?"

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Modern Language Association Annual Convention
Washington, DC
27-30 December 2005
For More Information.

"Expanding Your Writerly Horizons: Contests,
Conferences, and Low-Residency Programs"
Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Cambridge, MA
21 January 2005
For More Information.

See the Tips page for more announcements and advice for writers.

Shaw Guide for Writing Conferences in December


Want to keep Sunoasis going? Donate through the Amazon Honor System and wonderful things will happen!

Thanks to Steven Evans for his generous contribution. Thanks Steven! He is an editor and has a splendid web site here: www.the-freelance-editor.com

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Put an ad in Sunoasis 2005 and reach its 4,400 subscribers. Just $25 a month! Contact mailto:eide491@earthlink.net

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Sunoasis--You're amazing! A mere five hours after I sent in the text for my classified ad I got a call for a writing project, and within two days, the project was mine. Thanks so much for your invaluable services! Debbie Lerman, freelance writer

E T C/ E T C/ E T C

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David Eide
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David Eide
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