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Chapter 16 Education and Reference

Chapter sixteen topics
  • Education
  • Guide to Writers Conferences
  • E-newsletters
  • Finding Dates and Statistics
  • A Unique Discovery Site
Continuing education is a necessity for writers in every field of writing. The websites below barely touch on available opportunities. As your writing progresses, I'm sure you'll develop your own searching strategies to find the specialties that meet your needs.

Every writer needs to study here. Strunk and White's Elements of Style,

Editorial Freelancers Association, has many links where writers find valuable insights, as well as members only links. Learn all you can, and decide whether membership will benefit you. Annual membership is $105 - $125, depending on where you live. A Job List subscription is available, $40 US per year, and a Non-member newsletter, $20 per year. EFA offers courses on medical copy editing, grammar and usage, editing footnotes, picture research, interviewing and breaking into corporate communications.

CopyDesk, Inc., is an outsourcing and placement agency for professional writers that places writers in both full-time and freelance positions, hosts a wealth of information. Surf thoroughly to find free, helpful articles! You can bypass the entry page by going here,

Check WritingWorld,

Federal Resources for Education (FREE), Surf the site thoroughly and you'll find amazing things.Alphabetical lists abound and Search is available, also. However, I probably took the most roundabout way to discover the Smithsonian Institution's exceptional oral history guide to interviewing. Surfing from link to link one final click brought me the guide to interviewing at Smithsonian Center For Folklife and Cultural Heritage here,

A terrific Character Building Workshop, provided by Writers' Village University, was developed and produced by R.J. Hembree with special thanks to Judy Hunt for her work in the questionnaires and her editing skills. Credit is also due to Lateef Raspberry for his programming assistance. Hembree said,
"We also have F2K Social, which includes our free creative writing course we've run since 1995 at It's staffed an Mentored by volunteers from Writers' Village University member."
A former student, Kriti Bajaj said,
"When I signed up for it, I really didn't know what to expect... I hoped for inspiration and feedback. The course worked from 3 angles - reading, writing and critiquing, not to mention the wonderful and informal interaction between students and mentors. It truly was a case of 'writers helping writers' and learning from each other, which is WVU's aim and mantra. The final lesson was to be a complete short story, ideally using everything we had learned. That's when I realized how much I'd gained from the course, and the short story I worked on for Lesson 6 was selected for publication in an online collection shortly after."

Dixie Barnes, currently enrolled in the free creative writing course F2K as a refresher says,
"It's a great way to refresh your skills in writing fiction, especially if you have taken a hiatus from writing like I did.
"There are professionally published authors mentoring and also participating as students in the course, which means we get awesome feedback for our posts.
"The course is free. Occasionally there will be an inexpensive paperback book to purchase, but these are available through the school from I've purchased some of mine for $2.50 + tax, so the outlay is minimal."
My fellow IWW writer, Rick Bylina shared this information and his insights about a topic in Writer's Digest:

"The September 2010 edition of Writer's Digest has an interesting take on top ten things related to writing.
"Included are the pros and cons over ten of the most recognizable writing rules by some highly respected people in the world of writing.
"What are the top THREE rules in your writing world?
"My tag line identifies my feelings about writing RULES, and I think the top ten article covering writing rules only champions my opinion. However, to play along, my top three writing GUIDELINES are:
"1. Tighten, tighten, tighten
"If real estate can be boiled down to three words: location, location, location, then writing can too: tighten, tighten, tighten. With tightening, look for plot or character tension on each page (see Maass' "Writing the Breakout Novel"). Avoid unnecessary details and wordiness. Remember the rule of three--most people only remember up to three things in a list. Watch for redundancy. Ensure your dialogue moves the story forward.
"2. Use the five senses, plus two.
"Richness of the scene is managed by what your POV character sees, hears, smells, tastes, and touches. Plus, don't forget to pepper lightly your senses with intuition (experience based) and premonition (the anticipation of an event without conscious reason). Jessica Page Morrell's book "Between the Lines" highlights the five senses succinctly.
"3. Reveal something in each sentence.
"Move the story forward in each sentence. Reveal through character development (D), background information (B), foreshadowing (F), tension (T), conflict (C), surprise (S), or resolution (R). Take a page of your story. Mark it up using these identifiers. If your page isn't marked up like a kid with chicken pox, it's probably not moving the story forward. Whether genre or literary fiction, you don't want the story to lie there on the page like a three-week-old flounder stinking things up.
"Well, there you have it.
"Write on! Write on!! Brothers and sisters, amen. Write on!!!"
-rick bylina
The only rule: writers write! Everything else is a guideline.

Guide to writers conferences
In addition to those listed on ShawGuides writing page, I searched writers conferences which produced a list of 289 conferences complete with their information and contacts. Links guide you to special interests, states, and countries. However, to locate the dates and location of the 2010 Idaho Writer's League conference, I had to access their website -- backspacing the provided link to their primary site,

Writers should attend conferences
  1. For continued education opportunities.
  2. To meet editors, agents and publishers
  3. To expand writers networking
Do your research well in advance of attending a conference. To decide which conference you'll get the most from, before deciding to attend request the conference schedule, because at many conferences the scheduling forces attendees to make hard choices between speakers.
  • Check out speaker's backgrounds.
  • Make notes of what you want to learn from each.
  • Be sure conflicts won't prevent you from hearing speakers of your choice.
  • Sign up as early as possible if you want a meeting with an editor or agent.
eNewsletters are a valuable to resource as quick, concise ways to receive or research information. Always note when the material was published, and don't overlook the archives.
Finding dates and statistics
Robert is a great starting point for understanding how to locate statistics,

A Journalist's Database of Databases, by Drew Sullivan is an invaluable resource,

The most awesome web site I've found for learning about world history and historical peoples is Hyper History Online, which I came across while reading the fascinating history behind World History Chart, developed by Andreas Nothiger:  Scroll down towards the bottom. Quick link: >

Bookmark this awesome web page collection,

Tip: Click Options, then in right panel, Special Lifelines, then click each block to see biographical notes. Information is presented on a column on the right.

Scope Systems site, is also a good starting point to the following sites:
  • allows you to select the month and year and it provides birth dates, deaths and significant events.
  •, covers all the years for a specific day when you type the year into the box provided.
  • Scope System site also includes links to other resources.
For history research projects visit History,com:

At dMarie Time Caps, type a specific date and find the top songs and the price of benchmark items, i.e., house, car, gas, bread, postage stamp for that period in time., provided by the Weider History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines, is excellent, and will also show you the picture of the day

Medical statistics can be found at the Agency For Health Research and Quality, and at Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Faststats,


If you've searched for something specifice without success, before you give up and ask my help, please try an online list. Type a keyword followed by listserv into a search engine. For example, chicken raising listserv. You can either monitor the list messages, or post your question to list members.

If all else fails, remember that I'll be glad to help if I can. I've amassed a virtual potpourri 'library' of websites.

  1. List your education goals.
Advice FromThe Pros:

8-3 Purposeful Pitching - How To Get The Most Out Of Writers Conferences:

Next, Chapter 17 - Organizations and Newspapers:

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