Janice’s Review Blog

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The Associated Press presents new revised and updated "Stylebook."

The Associated Press presents new revised and updated "Stylebook."

The Associated Press recently released its new revised and updated 2009 version of “The Assoicated Press Stylebook.”  This guidebook serves as an invaluable reference for journalists, editors and students.

The Stylebook not only contains an A to Z reference guide, but it also contains sections on business, sports and punctuation guidelines, media law, editing marks, a bibliography and information on the Associate Press.  The new edition contains a complete update of all the information from A to Z, which appear in the listing on the What’s New page of the book.

Readers find easier access to items and more cross references in this version of the Stylebook.  For example, the Stylebook now lists each state in alphabetic order and gives information under “state.”

The Stylebook Key page explains, “This updated and revised version of The Associated Press Stylebook has been organized like a dictionary.”  The page provides a key with illustrations to make use of the Stylebook easy and efficient.

For questions not specifically answered in the Stylebook, a Twitter account at @APStylebook gives Twitter users a chance to pose their questions to the Twitter community by using #APStyle.  An example of an answer using Twitter is: “#APStyle tip: ABM is acceptable on all references for anti-ballistic missile, also known as interceptor rockets. http://bit.ly/ZRWV9.”

Ask the Editor also gives users another option for asking specific questions.  Whether purchasing the paperback or spiral bound Stylebook or subscribing online, the 2009 version of “The Associated Press Stylebook” remains an invaluable tool for anyone in the industry.

I received my July/August issue of Writer’s Digest this week.  The magazine always provides informative articles on all aspects of writing.  This issue contains a special section on Publishing 101.  Experts provide writers in-depth articles on how to succeed in the industry. 

One of the contributors, Jerry D. Simmons, shares his 25 years of New York publishing experience in an article entitled Your Step-by-Step Guide to the Publishing Process.  Simmons takes readers through the publishing process, so they know how to help make their books a success.  He explains the 90/10 rule and what it means to authors.  He gives a list of the six largest publishing companies along with a brief on each one.

Simmons gives tips on things writers can do while they complete their book.  Then he goes through each step from acquisition through the production and sale of a book.  He summarizes the steps and gives tips on how and why the writer needs to stay involved in the process.

The success of a writer’s first book probably determines whether a second book is published.  Sell-through helps determine the profitability of the book and the success of the author, and Simmons defines sell-through and gives an example.

Even though I’m not presently writing a book, the information contained in this article helped me understand the publishing process.  Simmons also supplies more helpful writing and publishing information on his Web sites WritersReaders.com and NothingBinding.  

A free eNewsletter, Tips for Writers from the Publishing Insider, keeps readers up-to-date on everything going on in the publishing industry while also offering writing tips.  To give writers a more detailed perspective on publishing and how it affects their success, Simmons wrote the book, “What Writers Need to Know About Publishing,” 

I first met Jana Bommersbach at the 2007 Phoenix College MicroBurst Writer’s Conference.  She autographed her book, “The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd,” for me.  In the afternoon, she spoke to us about her adventures as she gathered research material for the book and met and interviewed Winnie Ruth Judd.  We all became so engrossed in her talk that the conference coordinators came to get us for the closing event of the day.

Jana Bommersbach arrived in her metallic green, Mustang convertible recently to speak at an event sponsored by the Arizona Press Women.  I listened to Bommersbach speak about “My Secret Writing Tips.” 

During her talk, the award-winning journalist, broadcaster, author and speaker shared tips for better writing.  She used an analogy of the trees and the forest and said writers should tell the whole story and make sure all of the pieces are there.  She encouraged writers to find a different perspective on a story or use a story already in the media, but show inside stories associated with it: show the trees for the forest.

After researching and gathering information, says Bommersbach, I have boxes of information.  I could write a book for each story. 

Bommersbach obtains some of the information from public records.  She goes through everything and listens to videos and tapes and reads reports and documents in their entirety to discover information.

Bommersbach plans her story by asking what is the lead, and how do I find it and how do I express it?  She makes a list of salacious things she knows, otherwise, she gets lost in the inventory of research information.  She makes a list of important things and then asks, “How do I tell that story?”  First she writes a lead and a kicker, so she knows exactly were she starts and exactly where she goes.  She lays out all of the evidence.  In determining the best way to tell the story, Bommersbach wants the reader to feel a sensory reaction to the story. 

Other tactics Bommersbach uses include writing simple, declarative sentences, even long sentences; limiting the use of metaphors; and using valid analogies that make sense.  As important as the lead and the kicker are to the story, Bommersbach emphasizes that the story should also end with an exclamation of a good summation or an emotional quote so the reader feels the story is done. 

These were a few of the “secret writing tips” Bommersbach shared with the audience.  After the talk, I purchased her newest book, “Bones in the Desert,” and requested her autograph.

 

"The Renegade Writer's Query Letters that Rock"

"The Renegade Writer's Query Letters that Rock"

The Renegade Wrtiers’, Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell, produced another outstanding book, “The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters that Rock”.  In their book, these two, well-published writers answer everything a writer needs to know to write and submit query letters that get them assignments.

In light-hearted detail, Formichelli and Burrell include two sections, Query Letter Q & A and Query Letters that Rock, that show writers how to produce winning query letters. 

Query Letter Q & A takes questions submitted to the authors, who also teach writing classes, by their writing students.  The wide range of topics covers all aspects of the query letter process from following up on query letters to submitting a killed article to a new magazine.

The section entitled Query Letters that Rock takes the reader to a show-and-tell session.  The authors asked editors of a wide-range of publications to choose a query letter that rocked.  The section contains 24 query letters, comments from the writers who submitted them and the editors’ reasons for choosing the query letters.  Publications included “AARP: The Magazine,” “Midwest Airlines,” “Oxygen,” “El Restaurante Mexicano” and “Writer’s Digest“.

For any writer from beginner to seasoned pro, this book reveals a wealth of information to make your next query letter rock.