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"The tongue ever turns to the aching tooth."

- Proverb

T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S
  1. [Editor Notes; A Short Meditation on Voice]
  2. [Resource Notes - How to get your own writing voice]
  3. [Markets and Leads - Association Publications]
  4. [C/Oasis- new stories and poems]
  5. [Community]
  6. [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.

E D I T O R  N O T E S

"Write as though you are talking with a friend, on a clean beach with a good bottle of champagne between you." An old professor of journalism told me that years ago. The next time I was at the ocean I remember what he had told me. And I noticed something I will never forget. As I talked with the woman I was with I could not help but notice the spaces in the words I spoke were filled with the sound of ocean waves breaking, the trill of seabirds, children laughing while running after a Frisbee, a dog bark, the eternal reddish horizon in my line of sight, a smoldering sun going down, cool wind, the smell of a fresh fire on the beach, the look in the woman's eyes.

The writing voice is something curled up like a panther ready to leap up and out of its disguised environment. For the literary person the voice is leaping out in response to an act of imagination. For the journalist the voice leaps out in response to a collection of facts. The art of journalism is to fuse the voice and the facts without losing sight of the facts.

One of the best explanations of the writing voice is by Louis Menand writing an introduction to The Best American Essays of 2004. "Composition is a labor-intensive business. And what makes it especially so is that the rate of production is beyond the writerís control. The words donít just appear on a conveyor belt, and you package them up. You have to wait, and what you are waiting for is something inside you to come up with the words. That something, for writers, is the voice."

He makes the point that writing and speech are different and that writing is a hard-working fabrication that involves more than just a person talking. I disagree with him when he says that "just talking" is a banal exercise for the writer. Spontaneous speech begs for the professional skills of the writer and the two, working even in contradictory ways, produce fascinating results.

It is a revelation to read something you write into a tape recorder, put the cassette into a tape player, and listen over great speakers while driving through the financial center of a large city at noontime.

Or, better yet, go outside and declaim to the trees some supernatural relation to the universe, some spontaneous riff on nature and history and then transcribe that tape. It is a revelation.

If I record a spontaneous flow of words directed at trees or stars, then transcribe them I certainly have something different than if I self-consciously sat down and wrote out my impressions of a tree or star. But then, the spontaneous flow is not enough. I know better. I know the traditions of writing that exist and it is not enough to leave it like that. So, the transcribed words become a foundation for some other attempt to communicate and is finished off in a satisfying way.

When I wrote about solar power I would go outside, rant about the subject, whether it was wind power or ocean thermal energy conversion. I would then put the tape away, transcribe it a day or two later and use it as a basic text to formulate the article.

Some lessons:

  1. Write through the oral narrative until the piece has legs.
  2. Sharpen it, smooth it, straighten it out and submit it.

An amazing metanoia occurs for a writer when she notices her writing voice changes over time as new, pungent spices of knowledge and experience are added to herself.

She becomes aware that the placement and use of words is like Blake's grain of sand; it has the ability to reveal a world carried in the words she chooses to use and arrange.

Obviously, this doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of writing. It is the acid test of whether a writer writes or gives up the adventure because the quest for his or her own voice is too much.

The one excellent thing that happens when a writer finds his true voice is that, from that time on, he can use the voices of many others. Voice I would say is a corollary to the development of self. It begins to appear when the writer understands his influences and, pained in the discovery, begins the arduous task of finding his real self. When he finds and secures that, viola! All other selves become useful, enriching, or a source of conflict.

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In the era we live in all "natural voice" is conditioned by what we read or the advertising and political nonsense we listen to. It is not, as in the ancient world, a rhetorical or bardic device. And, ultimately, what this does is make the modern, "natural voice" rich and complex.

Noise presents a challenge to the modern voice. If not power saws, helicopters; if not aircraft, then jackhammers. If not horns, then boom boxes. All of this noise drowns out voice and says, in effect, "we are all ground down to nothing; get used to it." And that is not a good place for the voice of the writer to be. So, it's important to focus on this one, almost occult aspect of writing. Listen to conversation, nature, speeches, plays, ballads among other things that are coherent. A great river in the quiet of a sunny afternoon can be the most articulate voice you'll ever hear.

Through it all a writer strives for a personable voice; one that says to the reader, "I respect you, we are equals; let me take you down the road a bit and show you a few things."

As a reader, the voice of a writer will pull me in as long as I'm convinced he or she is as experienced and/or knowledgeable as myself. When the voice fails there is resistance and dismissal of the source as trying to pull a fast one either on behalf of an advertiser or a politician.

More experience, more knowledge leads to deeper, richer voice. If you write enough you realize a conversation you had with a guy in Mazatlan years ago has somehow made its way into your voice. So will your reading of Gilgamesh or the comic books of youth.

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I had an aunt who was poor and lived in shabby conditions in a shabby American city. But when she spoke her voice created fantastic pictures of things in my mind. Poor and shabby as she was she had been a great reader and kept it up under tough times and with a sense of humor. She redeemed her life with this odd and unique talent of communicating through her voice.

It's another one of these weird lessons writers learn in the process of growth and development.

This month's quote comes from a brilliant book on writing by Arthur Plotnik. I recommend writers look at "The Elements of Authorship." I always get something when I look through it. For instance, Plotnik likens words to "writers tears." "...writing itself might be defined as edited crying." He is writing about, obviously, literary writers rather than journalists or non-fiction writers.

But a journalist can look at words as something other than "tears." Perhaps they are "hopeful pieces of my mind," or, "diamonds ready for market."

What alerts writers to the importance of voice is when they get an e-mail from a reader that completely misinterprets what the writer meant to say.

Since the beginning of Sunoasis X I've tried to be ironic on more than one occasion and shocked by how serious people took the comment or how mystifying it was to them. It has taught me that there is no perfect voice and that words can possess powerful energies the writer needs to respect.

Ideally everyone who writes should develop a personal voice. Those in business and government have a real problem with it. Journalists start off with the problem because they are told to stick to the style of the publication.

But rather than let the corporation, agency or publication dictate the voice a writer can start any piece of writing with his or her authentic voice and then switch on the editing persona to fit the piece to the publication, agency, or corporation. That is far more effective than letting the organization or publication impose a voice on a writer. A writer without his or her own voice is an empty vessel.

Be the writer that grows, develops and struggles for your voice; you'll be the writer who provides new inspired models for young writers who dismiss the past with contempt but who are disillusioned by the present.

                   C  O  D  A

It's not shocking that in a highly energized, fragmented culture you'd have a thousand different voice-types or those who say, "this is my voice because I am...."

It is part of the democratic fiesta of voices. It is interesting to speculate whether there is an "American voice," that represents some deep operating principle of the culture.

Voice is a structure, discovered through painful confrontations with the self.

The writer's voice, all told, may be his or her real self.

A voice can be quiet but loaded with richness.

Rare voices appear only as time reveals them. They are difficult to pick up in the competing roar of thousands of voices and noises.

In late 2006 we are living in the synthesis that occurred with the breakdown of the objective voice and the ravages of gonzo journalism. Somewhere between them is art.

Professional writing is a civilizing thing because noise transformed into voice requires patience, value, constructive principles, humor and definition.

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The links below are more "how-to" and will be useful to writers:

Ten steps to finding your writing voice.
More tips to developing voice.
80-something guy writes about his struggles to find his voice. Take heart from it.
Mort Castle has his fingers all over the writers voice.
Tips on putting voice into something you write. It was written for students.

If you are a beginning writer or thinking you want to get involved in the writing life please use the articles here.

There are many useful tips, links, and features that can set you on your way.

There is also a rich array of links for every type of writing resource here.

Sunoasis.com was developed with the writer and editor in mind. Enjoy your stay!

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

An appropriate critique on the emphasis newspapers are putting on "citizen journalists." In the end it's just a desperate attempt to keep "citizen loyalty," to the paper. After all, to the amateur, seeing words in print is quite enough to tout the publication that does the deed.
I think Cory Doctorow has the right idea.
Content-strategy.com has excellent resources for web editors and writers.

B u s i n e s s o f P u b l i s h i n g :

An excellent analysis of the Dean Singleton takeover of SF Bay Area newspapers. The article delves into the implications of cost-cutting and consolidation in the newspaper business.
A newspaper editor reflects on the important of newspapers in one community.
Why does the buyout of journalists bode an ill-wind? "One cost, potentially a huge one, is the loss of the years of knowledge and intelligence Bill Sloat and other experienced reporters have brought to their work."
Mr. Magazine reports that there were over 800 launches of consumer magazines this year. He highlights fifteen of the best.
"The newspaper business knew it was doomed 30 years ago." And if you want a decent analysis of the economics of publishing this has some good insights.

W r i t e r O r g a n i z a t i o n s :

International Writing Center Associations
Writers Information Network- Christian writers group.
University Research Magazine Association
Texts and Academic Authors Association
National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications
The Jazz Journalists Association

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M A R K E T S  A N D  L E A D S

ASSOCIATION Publications:

American Educator
Pays: $750-$3,000 for assigned articles; $300-$1,00o for unassigned articles.
Pays: $300 -$600
Legacy Magazine
Pays: $75- $350 for articles
The Lion
Pays: $100-$750 for articles
The Meeting Professional
Pays: .50 cents to .75 cents/ word
Penn Lines
Pays: $300-$600 per article
Pays: $750 - $1,000 for articles
Update- New York Academy of Sciences
Pays $200- $1,200 for articles
VFW Magazine
Pays: Up to $500 for articles.
index of writer guidelines.


Technical editor/ report coordinator
Redlands, CA

Redlands archaeological firm looking for technical editor / report coordinator.

Archaeological experience not required.

For Full Ad

Publications Manager
Cambridge, MA

The Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, an international peace institute, seeks talented and versatile individual to head up our publishing program. The publications manager would produce an annual report, event reports, and a substantive semi-annual newsletter on the Center's activities currently distributed to 7,000+ peace scholars, activists, and academics.

Salary: commensurate with experience.

For Full Ad

Campbell, CA

Will one of your New Years resolutions be to find a great job at a great company? Consider it done! We are Catapult Marketing, an award-winning and fast-growing marketing firm based in Campbell, CA. With long-term clients reading like a Who's Who list of top Silicon Valley companies our business has continued to strengthen, opening up a position for a Copywriter. For Full Ad:

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Valley Forge, PA

Vanguard, one of the world's leading investment management companies, needs a creative, disciplined writer to develop and produce a range of investment and marketing communications, in a variety of different media including print and electronic channels. You should be able to tailor your writing to various audiences, such as sophisticated investment professionals, financial advisors, and individual investors.

For Full Ad

Contract Writing/High-Tech Market Research Assignments. (NOTE: MULTIPLE, sequential assignments available)

BCC, Inc. (www.BCCResearch.com) is seeking seasoned market researchers/WRITERS who are capable of preparing complete, self-contained technical/economic market research reports discussing niches in most PHYSICAL or LIFE SCIENCE sectors of the economy including: biotechnology, chemicals, healthcare, technical ceramics and advanced materials, electronics, transportation, energy, flame retardancy, food/beverage, Internet, telecommunications, membranes/separations, plastics, packaging, waste, water, and air treatment, and many other industries.

BCC pays a MINIMUM of $5,000 on authorís HAND-IN of document PLUS royalties! Typical duration of each assignment is 12 weeks (multiple assignments available).

For Full Ad

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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
The Acumen for Survival and Advancement by G. David Schwartz
A series of motifs in literature allows us to say, as a general principle as well as an experiential possibility, no one wants to be the younger brother. In folktales, the narrative perspective is generally either told from the point of view of the older brother, or else the younger brother is telling the tale of the younger brothers' death.

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Guide to Writers Conferences and Workshops for December.

For More Information.


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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E T C/ E T C/ E T C

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