Monday, September 11, 2006


Keeping to a writing schedule is become a daunting task for me the past couple of months. I'm not so sure I have the time now to research markets except for on weekends. The constant struggle and sacrifices a writer has to make can be too overwhelming sometimes. When you think about it publishing writing is similar to entering a career, it comes down to who you know. This is what drives me crazy! That's not how success is suppose to evolve. Why should people be handed opportunities that they don't deserve or haven't worked hard to obtain? I guess I'll never fathom this factor when it goes to landing a job.

The problem today in becoming a successful writer is that almost everyone wants to be one. Well, that's means it's a popular career option. On the other hand, the field is extremely competitive with only the strong surviving. Publishers have become too busy to look at everyone's manuscript and are annoyed by mass frequent mail. Hearing this could cause even a positive thinking person to quit sooner or later, but it is those who are bound and determined that prevail by eventually reaching a deal and becoming published. It's a long, trenchous road ahead and it's hard not to lose confidence.

If there is desire you still have a chance (sometimes you think it's so slim your effort in trying will be inconsequential). Seeing one rejection letter after another is too much to bare unless an aspiring writer uses it as a form of motivation to improve above expectation and are driven to succeed. Having a positive influence like a mentor who constantly provides encouragement and is uplifting can make a world of difference for young writers. I wish I'd had someone like this growing up. For self-help articles, market info. and links click on the following link:

If you feel like posting articles and expressing your opinions on world events here also is another good outlet:
I'll try to check back in within a few weeks with more insight and frustrations connected with the art of writing.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Writing Contests

Updating this site weekly is longer possible. There will posts here every so often with news, thoughts, and links. If the writing bug hits you then put that new short story, novel, or article to good use. Enter a couple writing contests. Though, first be sure to research the organization who's sponsoring the contest. There are many on-going contests open still for the remainder of the summer and extending into the fall.

To save time and efforts it's best to enter contests that don't charge any entry fees. Usually those that do are not worth the hassle of entering. The following links give details of writing contests currently available (some of these you have to register first before submitting):

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Travel Writing: Creating literary material from observation

Welcome to another installment on my writer's blog!

Finding good stories usually requires an inspiration or jump start to trigger one's imagination. You can meet and see intriguing, memorable people when going on a business trip or vacation. From them writers can recall physical traits, accents, mannerisms, personalities, and so much more. The best thing to do when fleshing out characters from these people is to jot down the most striking attributes that catch your attention. Seeing how they react in unfamiliar places or situations helps with creating a setting and plot for a story too.

Taking an everyday average human being, who has noble qualities and distinct features with a likeable/dislikeable appeal and thinking how they'd react in a given cirumstance or event that everyone can relate to leads to a basis for a story. Brainstorming will allow a writer to twink a character, to find out what works or is well suited for them. While traveling you can witness many strange sometimes enthralling events. You see how people cope with stress, heartache, being vulnerable, catastrophes, and other emotional states of mind.

Whether you meet up with a business acquaintance or have a conservation with a stranger through travel experiences a bit of knowledge about people can be learned. Simply walking into a person's office you can get insight by looking at pictures, computers, clothes, personal mementos, etc. The same applies to places. For example, when checking into hotels you can take notice to the environment (casual or business) and how people behave in such a setting. There are endless possibilities for developing a starting point for a storyline. The important part, for any story though is making sure it makes sense and will interest an audience.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Writing for free, learning how to find legitimate contests

It's been a while since the last post. I don't expect to keep this page updated every week or often as I like. It's good just to make it to the weekend without anything too dramatic occurring. As writers we all have to learn from mistakes, avoiding pitfalls other writers fall into here and then. One way to do this is by knowing when to write for free and when not to because scammers and thieves within publishing jump at the chance to take advantage of writers.

There are so many schemes where unknown publishers invite new writers to submit literary material to them to be published as anthology or compilation of articles in exchange for cash. Usually writers never hear back from people about receiving payment for their work. It's sometimes stolen and later profited after being sold elsewhere on the market. Avoiding such a cheap ploy can be done by checking a publisher or individual's background, scanning for contact information while in the process of searching former client's feedback or records of business. If no exists this means they're new and probably aren't legit.

It used to seem safe to just enter any writing contests because of the fame and prestige you'd receive if deemed a top winner. Now you can't count on contests to be ran clean. Scam artists realize how eager young, new and inexperienced writers are to publish their first story, building credits and gaining acclaim for their work. That's why they entice people to enter these random contests no one has heard of before, sometimes using fake sponsors to draw more attention or interest. Those tactics you really have to watch out for, otherwise you fall victim to literary corruption and waste a lot of your time.

Finding out the pertinent information such as name of publisher, years in business, past relationships with clients, if they have any partner companies, and if they've been reported to BBB. Setting yourself up for disaster can happen if you don't know what you're doing. It's always good too to ask other reputable publishers or accredited writers if they've heard of these new literary groups.

There are several contests open for the summer and early fall. If interested be sure to check out the following site:

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Film Review: Firewall

Catching blockbuster hits in the summer can be sporadic. Most are built up way too much and given so much promotion that they truly disappoint an audience when the movie is finally released. A few weeks back I got to watch a film I knew was going to entertaining with a twist of suspense. Firewall starring Harrison Ford is an action thriller that keeps an audience guessing, what will the main character do next and how will he get out this life-threatening predicament?

The film is about a bank security specialist who's family gets kidnapped by a group of bank robbers. They're actually held hostage in their home, with no contact from friends, neighbors, or relatives. The head robber, Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), a violent mysterious man forces Ford's character to break into rich clients' bank accounts through a security code while connected to a bank terminal and deposit money into his off shore accounts. Ford is hooked up to small microphone and video feeds on the outside on his sports jacket as he enters the bank the next day for work.

Bill Cox later enters the bank as a fake acquaintance of Jack (Ford's character) after finding out further information about access to money from other accounts. When Jack refuses to cooperate the bank robbers threaten to kill his family. They kidnap his family and hold them hostage at a disclosed location. Jack finally retaliates, attacking one of the robbers in his home with a coffee pot until he's unconscious and dead. From there he must track down his family to save them with the help of his secretary. It's filled with suspense, leaving an audience on the edge of their seats.

I enjoyed this movie because it was depicted from modern times. You got the idea of what goes through today's mastermind thieves who try calculated schemes to steal money. Harrison Ford again delivered in the leading role. Despite his age he still makes action scenes work and seem realistic, though doesn't perform all of his own stunts. I recommend this film to action/thriller/drama seekers. Out of 10 I give this film a 8 rating. Yeah, it was that good.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hello and welcome!

This week has flew by without much time to do or think about anything but work. I'm glad to make it to the weekend. Thank God next Tuesday is the 4th and I a day off work. My writing time is hampered during the week to the point where if I don't get up early in the morning and ulitize that time I don't get much if any writing done. As far as ideas, I've comtemplated a few possibilities for TV shows and screenplays. There is only one which I've written a short rough draft, fleshing out the most out of the main characters as I can create.

I've put trying to find a publisher for my short stories on hold. I'd like to go ahead and have them published, but it's just too time consuming for me right now. Being busy isn't always good. You miss out on other activities and projects that can be fulfilling. Searching for work as a writer is pretty much a full-time job. Even if you like to do it as a part-time gig or hobby it's a big committment.

You can check out market lists on writers sites, viewing what publishers are looking for fiction (humor, sci-fi, general, suspense, mystery, etc.) and non-fiction works. Finding the right market takes research and time. Writers have their work cut out for them.

The following are links to writers' market lists:

Enjoy and have a good weekend!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


What makes a great comical character

Since I began writing and reading fiction I've always enjoyed true funny characters. Whether it's a lead or supporting character it doesn't matter to me. I like to entertain and be entertained. The traits of a well-developed comedic character in a story catch readers' immediate attention. They want to find out more about this character and what he or she will do next. Putting a comical character in a unfamiliar place or awkward situation heightens the hilarity.

For example in the movie the Ringer, Johnny Knoxville is convinced to rigg the Special Olympics by his shady uncle. There Knoxville's character, Jeffy (who he lies about from the get go) is completely out of place. He doesn't know how to act or what to say around all the real mentally challenged participants or the counselors. Everything he goes through to try to win the Special Olympics is amusing and funny. In end he lets another participant win the contest, admitting he is a fraud.

Key characteristics of a great comical character are: mannerisms, emotion, physcial movements (slaptick, etc.) mimicry, voice tone, facial expressions, wittiness, retrack of exposition (about their past), and natural abilities. The more known about a character the more memorable or enduring that character can be to an audience. Reading comedy sketches, scripts, or shorts can help in fleshing out inventive comedic characters. The important part is to be original and not duplicate another's writer unique character.

Quick note: Below is a link to a screenplay contest for feature length films:

Copyright (c) 2005-06 Pete Harvey