Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Work Continues on My NaNoWriMo Novel Mechalarum

Phew! I've passed by goal of writing 50,000 words in 14 days, and thus officially won NaNoWriMo! However, I've been given a new goal: to finish my entire novel in 28 days! It's a little tricky: I'm not sure exactly how long the novel is going to be when I'm done with it, so it's harder to set a desired word count per day.

Because of this, I've had a few days of pretty low word count - just a couple hundred words per day! Still, I'm intent on meeting this goal, even if it means squeezing in a lot of high word-count days towards the end of November! So, here's to days of many words!

Hope that all of my fellow NaNoWriMos are doing well in their quests. Leave a note to let us all know what you think of the challenge!

For continued updated on my NaNoWriMo novel, check out Mechalarum: A NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Novel.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010: Mechalarum Synopsis and More

The season is upon us! NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is here, and it's time to polish off your laptop, tablet, typewriter, or pad of paper, and get to writing 50,000 words in the month of November!

My novel for this NaNoWriMo is called Mechalarum. It's basically about a young woman struggling to save people who aren't entirely willing to accept her help, and trying to find her own identity at the same time. For more information and a full synopsis, check out Mechalarum: A NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Novel.

Want to follow my progress, or be my NaNoWriMo writing buddy? You'll find all you need and more on my NaNoWriMo profile page.

Not ready to take on the challenge this month? Click on the link to learn about other novel writing months.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Ladder Down by Joanne Galbraith - Halloween Writing Contest Winner!

Justin hadn't heard the stories about old Mrs. Klein. Darkness swelled as he trooped along the path toward her black house, sweating in his Yoda costume. He swallowed hard, gazing at the gnarled bushes and slanted stair that led to her door.

"Good evening, young one." The gravely voice startled a peep from him. "You must be new to Crossroads. Most others are afraid."

"A- afraid of what, ma'am?" Justin backed away.

"Why, me of course." She cackled a laugh.

He flinched when she offered a shining apple.

"You are in luck, for I am feeling generous on this beautiful Samhain. Eat the flesh and plant the seeds in a place rich with moonlight. You will find what you have lost."

With wide eyes, Justin snatched the apple, cradling it gently in his hand as he bolted down the path. At home, he found his father passed out, stinking of whiskey. Nothing new. Justin didn't believe in fairy tales, but he'd lost so much he wanted to believe. He closed his eyes and bit into the apple, praying to whatever spirit may be listening.

After finishing the last bite, he moved into the back yard and dug a hole where the moonlight shone. He planted the core, lay down on the damp grass and waited, tears wetting his cheeks.

A sweet voice woke him hours later. A ladder poked out of a narrow hole in the ground beside him. As he scrambled down the rungs, he shouted, "Mom?"

Congratulations to Joanne Galbraith for winning the writing contest!

More from Joanne Galbraith: Joanne Galbraith, Aspiring Writer

Image by Patrick Hoesly on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Is Closing In! Costumes, movies, music and more!

Halloween is almost upon us, and I've been busy over on Squidoo! Feast yourself on a wealth of Halloweeny-ness.

Like Halloween costumes? Then the following sites are for you! Learn how to make homemade Viking costumes, or how to make a homemade Sarah Connor Terminator 2 costume, if that's more your style.

Looking for entertainment? Find a whole list of great Halloween movies to watch, and Halloween music to listen to. After that, you can stop by and vote for the top ten best Halloween songs. If you prefer your entertainment in literary form, there's also a list of Halloween books for you to peruse. And don't forget to choose a story to win the Halloween story contest!

You can find a good little scare while selecting your top ten favorite Halloween monsters. Just don't get too scared!

Pumpkin picture composed using images by viZZZual and Ha-Wee on Flickr.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween Story Writing Contest Voting and The Lizard's Tale

The deadline for my Halloween Story Writing Contest has just passed! I've received a ton of great entries, so please head over to Halloween Story Writing Contest and vote for your favorite! Voting ends next Friday.

Heres a story of mine, to whet you appetite!


A stranger knocked on the door to the villager's house. Helsun opened the door and peered out into the misty darkness at the shadowed form. His wife, Magrit, stood behind him.

"Can I help you?" Helsun asked.

"I'm lost," the stranger said. "May I come in?"

Helsun and Magrit agreed to accommodate the stranger, but kept a wary eye on him. He was an odd man, with a a hooded cloak that hid his face and body from view. Magrit brought out a bowl of soup and a crust of bread.

At that moment, a lizard ran out from a darkened corner of the house. Helsun cursed and tried to stomp it, but only got the lizard's tail, which broke off as the lizard scampered away.

The stranger looked at the tail. "Has that lizard done you any harm?"

"Dirty things," Helsun said, and Magrit made a sound of agreement.

The stranger finished his food and left. Helsun followed him to the door, then said to Magrit, "I don't like this. I'm going to tell the others."

Helsun strode into the darkness. The mist had turned into a thick fog, and Helsun was soon lost. He stumbled about until he felt rough bark beneath his hand.

"Dirty thing," a cold voice said behind him.

Through the fog, Helsun saw that the stranger, now uncloaked, had a reptilian face and a long tail. Helsun cowered against the tree, fear overwhelming him.

"Do your limbs grow back as well? Let's find out..."


Liked it? Read more at Halloween Story Writing Contest! And don't forget to vote!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dreaming of the Muse

Woke up this morning from a dream that was more than just a dream. It was the inspiration for my next novel! I'm excited, because NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is just around the corner, and I was worried that I wouldn't get inspired in time.

I don't want to jinx it by talking too much about it here, but I can say that it will be science fiction (finally!) and that it will have a heroine.

Now my only frustration is having to wait until November! I hope I don't lose the spark in the next few weeks, because I'm really feeling it right now. However, I have tons of stuff to keep me busy until then, so it's probably best this way.

Does this ever happen to you? Do your fiction ideas come from dreams? Do they just pop randomly into your head? Or do you work diligently to create and catalog your muse whisperings?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weird Worm Update and Writing How To Articles

A few months ago, I wrote an article about writing humor for Weird Worm (with links to some of my other humor articles). I've gotten back into writing articles for the site, and here are a few of my newer ones:

5 Fashion Trends That Double As Self Defense

7 Examples of Urban Entertainment That Could End In Disaster

7 Avatar Image Types Explained

7 "Comforting" Mom Sayings That Really Aren't

7 Types of Beach Personalities

To see a complete list of my articles, and to learn more about the site (and writing for it!), check out Freelance Writing for Weird Worm.

I've also just finished a how-to guide titled Learn How To Write How To Articles - useful if you're interested in writing for how-to sites such as eHow. It's really not that hard to get started, although like any type of writing it's an art that can only be perfected over time. My guide lists sites where you can inform and educate people about your own expertise - and make money online while doing it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Story Writing Contest

A wolf howls in the distance. You lock your door and place a chair under the handle, just to be safe. It is, after all, only a month until All Hallow's Eve, and who knows what sort of ghosts and ghouls are waking from the dead?

Intrigued? You should be! I'm hosting a Halloween story writing contest. Here are the details:

Subject: Anything Halloween related - ghosts, vampires, Frankenstein, the disaster at your last Halloween party. Keep it rated PG. Scary is okay, profanity is not. And try to limit the gore.

Length: This is a type of micro fiction - in this case, 250 words or less.

Date Due: October 15 at midnight.

I will post the stories on the site Halloween Story Writing Contest, along with a place to vote. I reserve the right to edit for spelling and grammar. I also reserve the right not to post a story, due to it being unsuitable (doesn't follow guidelines, too offensive, etc.) Each posted story will include a link to his or her Halloween-themed/writer-themed lens, site, or blog of choice. In addition, I will mention all entrants in a post on my blog promoting voting on the contest.

Images: To make this site more visually appealing, I might add images that I feel suit the story. You may make general suggestions, although I can't guarantee anything.

Prize! The winner of the voting will receive two customized blog posts by me here; one post in which the story is posted with links, and one "spotlight" post on the person who wins, including links of your choosing. There might also be a bonus prize, depending on the success of the contest.

Although the contest is hosted on Squidoo, you don't have to be a member of Squidoo to participate, so spread the word to all your writer friends!

Email Submission Format:

To: emma(at)emmalarkins(dot)com
Subject line: Halloween Story Writing Contest

Squidoo Lensmaster profile (if you have one)
Name or Pen Name as you'd like it to appear (I'd prefer not to attribute stories to awesomedude53)
Title of Story
Body of Story in the email (no more than 250 words)
Link you would like to promote
Your email (if not included elsewhere)

For more information, and to read an example, check out Halloween Story Writing Contest.

Happy Hauntings! And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

iPad: Writer's Tool or Writer's Downfall?

So, I had a chance to try out an Apple iPad the other day.

Let me preface this by saying (and this is just my own personal opinion; please don't hate me) I'm not a huge fan of Apple. I do own, and love, an iPod Nano that is several years old. However, ever since I used Macs in high school and had to use a PAPER CLIP to get the darn things to eject a disk, I've never quite recovered.

So it was with a bit of a jaded eye that I turned my attention to this new toy. And after my experimentations, I still consider it to be a toy. For one thing, I just can't quite get into the touchscreen mentality. I've touch-typed ever since I learned how in the most useful class I ever took, and I can get a fairly decent WPM going when I put my mind to it. That's how I managed to write two novels each in about a month. But touchscreens make touch-typing just about impossible - you need feedback, and those little bumps that let you know your fingers are on the home row.

Another thing is the fact that the iPad doesn't come with a stylus. You can buy a third-party iPad Stylus, and if you have an iPad, I highly recommend that you do so. The thing is, I stopped finger-painting a long time ago, and there's a reason for that: I learned how to use tools, like a pen and a pencil. Going back to writing or drawing with your finger is not an easy (or pretty) thing.

In conclusion, I could see an iPad being useful if you wanted to take down notes on the go or brainstorm away from your desk. And if you had a lump of cash sitting around with nothing else you wanted to spend it on. But I still see it as more of a procrastination device than a serious tool for writers. Just my 2 cents.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Halloween Comes But Once A Year

I know it's not strictly writing-related, but I wanted to share with any fellow Halloween-lovers what I've been working on at the wonderful write-what-you-want site Squidoo. That's right, you can write anything you want on Squidoo, and if you're good, you can even get paid!

Yes, I am Emma Larkins, and I admit that I love Halloween. I love everything from the pumpkin-carving to the costume-making to the decorating. I used to love the trick-or-treating, but unfortunately I've long outgrown that stage. Now I just have to satisfy myself with awesome Halloween parties!

So here are a few sites to satisfy your cravings for all things Halloween-y:

Scary Spooky Halloween Music: What better way to get in the mood than with Michael Jackson's Thriller, Monster Mash, and Casper the Friendly Ghost?

Spooky Scary Halloween Movies: From the silly (Ernest Scared Stupid) to the terrifying (Halloween, of course) there are movies here to suit everyone's taste.

I Love Pumpkins - Carving, Patterns, Eating and More!: For those who just can't get enough of pumpkins, this site is for you!

Halloween on Squidoo: A plethora of Halloween sites, from costumes to decorating to recipes, to suit anyone's taste.

And if you're still not in the spirit, how about a Halloween classic?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wannabe Writers Unite! (Online and In Person)

One of the hardest parts of being a writer (other than actually sitting down to write... and editing once you've actually finished something... and getting someone to read what you've written...) is that it gets a bit lonely from time to time. Nothing but you and your computer screen, and often a blank computer screen at that. Not exactly socially stimulating.

Meeting other writers, both wannabes and seasoned authors, can be a huge boost to every aspect of your writing - your motivation, your dedication, your willingness to get through rough spots, your technical skills and your knowledge of the industry. Not to mention, getting connected is one of the best ways to get published.

If there's any chance whatsoever that you can get together with an actual, physical group of writers, go for it! There's no better way to boost your writing career. Check out Local Writers' Associations of America to find a group near you.

I live in Virginia, and like to write science fiction and fantasy. If you're like me, you might find Mid-Atlantic Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Conventions of interest.

Online groups are great as well. Here's a review of online writers' groups. And if you're up to the challenge of writing a novel in a month, the community aspect of national novel writing months like NaNoWriMo can't be beat.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So You've "Finished" Your Novel.... The Writing Part, At Least

What's next?

There are as many philosophies about what to do when you've finished your first draft as there are writers (probably even more, as I'm sure some people could claim more than one). Here's what I've done so far, and how it's worked out for me.

When I finished the first draft of my first novel, I celebrated - I think I had a nice dinner or something. I'd never written a novel before, and it was a great feeling. It had taken me more than six months, writing fifteen minutes at a time. After the dust settled from all of the celebrating, and I let it sit for a while, I went back and read through parts - and realized that I really didn't like it very much. Life intervened.

When I finished the first draft of my second novel, I was thrilled. I'd written it during Nanowrimo (meaning that I wrote 50,000 words in one month) which I considered quite an achievement. Right away I printed off a hard copy, which I hadn't done with the first novel. That made it feel more real, and I even committed to reading the whole thing through from start to finish. It wasn't a bad story. In the meantime, I started writing the sequel to the novel. And at some point realized that the real story started halfway through my first novel, and needed to be changed radically, and so I gave that one a break as well.

The third complete novel took me a little over a month. The idea for it appeared out of nowhere, and I didn't spend a lot of time plotting how it would look. Instead, I just jumped right in and wrote the whole thing. I was glad when I finally put "END" on the bottom of the manuscript, and again I printed it out to have the physical thing in my hand, to make it a reality that I'd actually produced something that was, if not publishable, at least an admirably thick stack of paper. This time, however, I went a step further, and started giving out copies to friends and families. I'm feeling pretty good about this one, and now that I've got people reading the story, it means I have to take it as far as it will go!

So far, the best comment has been this: "You could totally get this published. There are books out there that are way worse than this. Wait, no, that sounds bad! I mean your's is better than some I've read, that have been published!"

In summary: finish your first draft. Print it off so you have something to show for it. Get people to read it. And then read it yourself!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Draft Third Novel Finished!

Yay! I just finished the first draft of my third novel! It was starting to look a bit dicey there for a few days, but I finally buckled down and did it.

Here are some stats:

Genre: YA Adventure/Fantasy
Final Word Count: 51655
Final Page Count (double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman): 155
Days From Conception to Completion: 37

I was hoping to get it in under the 30 day mark, NaNoWriMo style like I did with my last one, but I didn't quite make it. Glad I stuck with it, though.

For those of you out there who have finished a first draft of a novel, you know that this is only just the beginning. Next comes the read-through, rewriting, sending it out to anyone and everyone who is willing to read through a rough draft, more rewriting, and hopefully some workshopping. Although that shouldn't scare off any fledgling writers! You can do it if you just go one step at a time.

This is novel number 3.5 for me - I did start on a sequel to one of my earlier novels, but stopped when I realized that I needed to get rid of 50% of the first novel. I got all the way to the read through for the second one before deciding that I just wasn't happy with it and moving on. I remember being upset when people said "hardly anyone publishes the first novel they ever write" back before I wrote my first one, but I think now I understand. Each novel is better than the last, and this one might actually be good enough for me to start looking for agents. We'll see how I feel after reading through it and getting some feedback.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On A Serious Note: Door-to-Door Sales Scams

I enjoy writing humor, but when I get pissed off, I can get pretty serious. Earlier this year a young woman came to my door, implying that she was "meeting people in the area." It turned out that she was actually selling magazines, and I was thisclose to falling for her sales spiel before finding out that she was actually part of a door-to-door sales scam. Now I'm spreading the word, so that you can keep your hard-earned money from falling into their hands.

Before anyone gets upset, I know that not everyone who sells door-to-door is participating in a scam. I still think that a lot of the high-pressure sales techniques often used in this setting are not cool. If I want to buy something, I'll go to the store or online. If you want to give me some information that I can mull over, I guess that's okay. But if you want to tell me you're a poor college kid trying to win scholarship money, you better hope that I don't Google the company name to find all sorts of sketchy information.

If you want to read about my experience, check out Warning: Don't Open the Door to Magazine Sellers for Unlimited Sales, Inc

You can also visit How to Identify a Door-to-Door Sales Scam for information on how to protect yourself.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Writing Humor for Weird Worm

I've recently been doing some stories for Weird Worm, another online site specializing in humor, interesting facts, and general weirdness.

Below are my recent articles. The sensitive among you should note that although Weird Worm is quite a bit more restrained than, say,, some of the articles might still offend some people.

5 Weird Foods or Drinks to Consume on a Hot Day

5 Examples of Rural Entertainment That Could End in Disaster

Six Annoying Chores That Used To Be Much Worse

7 Movie Mentors Who Failed Miserably

If you're a writer, and interested in writing this kind of stuff, I've heard that Weird Worm might be able to use you. Of course I'll have to see some examples of your work before I can recommend you :)

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a rundown of some of my (wonderful, obviously) recent humor articles:

Cracked: 5 Movie Romances That Won't Last (According to Science)

Regretful Morning: 5 Reasons Your Gaming System is Better than your Girlfriend

Gunaxin: Seven Types of Animal Lawn Ornaments Explained

Read about my Writing Humor for Gunaxin and my Writing Humor for (and Regretful Morning) for more information.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Visiting Norway

Taking some time off of writing to visit family in Norway (although I have to admit - I am taking the opportunity to write notes for future stories and articles!). Hopefully I'll get a chance to post some pictures soon - the setting is absolutely breathtaking, and thought pictures don't do it justice they're better than nothing!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing Humor Update: EarthDate April 27, 2010

Yay! My topic got featured on!

(The usual note: is an irreverent humor site, and not suitable for all audiences.)

Kirpatrick Swayzerussell: The Perfect Man

Basically, it's a breakdown of how Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze are the same person, with a little extra info thrown in about Kurt Russell. (For those of you who know how Topics work on Cracked, the topic is about Kurt Russeel specifically.)

Interested in learning about writing topics for Check out the Cracked Topic Editor Hangout Page on the Cracked Forum, or send me a note if you have specific questions about how it works.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a rundown of some of my (wonderful, obviously) recent humor articles:

Cracked: 5 Movie Romances That Won't Last (According to Science)

Regretful Morning: 5 Reasons Your Gaming System is Better than your Girlfriend

Gunaxin: Seven Types of Animal Lawn Ornaments Explained

Read about my Writing Humor for Gunaxin and my Writing Humor for (and Regretful Morning) for more information.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RavenCon 2010: SF, Fantasy, Writing and Gaming Con in Richmond, Virginia

From April 9th to April 11th, I attended my first RavenCon: RavenCon 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. The con was at the Holiday Inn at the Koger Center (which, by the way, was a great venue for the event).

The main reason I decided to go to the con was to attend in the various science fiction and fantasy writing workshops and panels. I got to participate Allen Wold's excellent writer's workshop again, which I first experienced a couple of years ago at  Capclave in Rockville, Maryland. Allen is a great encouragement to beginning writers, and even took some time out of his busy schedule to give me some very astute advice that I hope will greatly improve my fiction. Other panelists at the workshops and panels included Leona WisokerLaura J. UnderwoodPeter PrellwitzMichael KabongoKalayna PriceGray RinehartLaurel Anne HillRachel Caine, and more to numerous to list here.

The con also featured a gaming room complete with miniature games, role-playing games, and other games that I didn't really understand, but that looked really interesting. I don't know a lot about gaming, but the players were more than happy to tell me how things worked. I'd be interested to learn more about gaming in the future, although I admit I'm a little intimidated!

There were other things as well - people in costumes ranging from favorite character homages to the simply bizarre, women from the local roller derby (River City Rollergirls), musical performances known as "filking," and a LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) game. All in all, it was a great experience, and I highly recommend the con to anyone who is interested in the production or consumption of all things fantasy and science fiction.

Want to learn more about science fiction and fantasy writers' cons and conferences in the Mid-Atlantic region? Check out Mid-Atlantic Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Conventions.


Monday, April 5, 2010

The Freelance Writer's Resume

Update: I'm working on publishing my first science fiction novel! Check out the Kickstarter page to learn more :)

A few weeks ago, I applied to write for one of the big online content sites. This site required that I submit a resume and a writing sample. So, I dusted off my old resume, tweaked it a bit to add my (at the time, somewhat sparse) freelance writing experience, and sent it out.

Unfortunately, the site turned me down, and I have to wonder whether it might have something to do with my resume. I did some research, and came across this interesting resource, written by Moira Allen at

I hadn't really stopped to think that a writer's resume might be different from any other type of resume, but according to this site, it was. I thought back on what I knew about resumes, and specifically what I knew about formatting your resume when you're changing your career (which is, after all, what I'm doing). The thing is, companies hiring freelance writers want to know specifically that those writers can, well, write more than they want to know what jobs they've held over the past five, ten, or fifteen years.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Writing Humor for Gunaxin

Okay, so I got a little spacey, and forgot to check out Gunaxin for a couple of days... during which time my article was published!

Seven Types of Animal Lawn Ornaments Explained

I had the idea for this article while making the long trek from Virginia to Maryland, during which time I got to thinking about different types of things you see while driving. My mind eventually wandered over to pondering lawn ornaments, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Gunaxin was one of the sites I found from reading the forums over at After writing my Cracked article, I applied to Gunaxin and was accepted. The Gunaxin setup is different from the setups of some of the other humor sites that I've written for. For one, you not only write the article, you also enter it into the Wordpress form on the site yourself, and find images to go along with your work. You might find this a bit tricky if you haven't done any blogging or working with .html in the past, but the people at Gunaxin are very helpful if you have any questions. It is nice having someone else do part of the work when you write an article, but frankly I liked the control of being able to set up the layout the way I wanted it.

Oh, and Gunaxin is a paying market, which is nice :)

Interested in trying Gunaxin for yourself? Check out the Gunaxin Contributors Page.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Making Money Freelance Writing For Associated Content

I'm making money freelance writing for Associated Content, and man, it feels good.

Are you interested? Click on my referral link to get started. Or, read on to learn more.

I've written in the past about some of the markets I've explored. Associated Content is one of my favorites so far.

The Look

I have to say right off the bat that the layout of the site and the ease of publishing content is a big plus for me. I'm a huge fan of well-designed websites, and I've never had any problems with Associated Content. Plus it looks great, too!

The Basics

Here's the basic rundown of how Associated Content works. You sign up (no application required), and then start submitting articles. You can choose from a variety of options when submitting content that determine who keeps the rights to your article and how you get paid (upfront and performance vs. straight performance). Your writing is not edited, although if you choose to receive an upfront payment, it will be reviewed to see if it meets the requirements. There's more to it than that, but you get the idea.

The Bonuses

Here's one of my favorite parts about writing for Associated Content.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Freelance Writer's Business Plan

Update: I'm working on publishing my first science fiction novel! Check out the Kickstarter page to learn more :)

If you're in the process of starting (or developing) your freelance writing career, have you given any consideration to your freelance writer's business plan?

Starting a freelance writing career is a just like starting any other business. People tend to rush headlong into freelance writing (or at least, I did) because, unlike a lot of other types of businesses, there is a relatively low barrier to entry. Basically, anyone with a computer, an internet connection, and a modicum of writing skill can start a freelance writing career.

The main reason that I started thinking about making a concrete plan for my writing is that I got a little, well, sidetracked. I had figured out the basic amount of money that I needed to make each day in order to break even (after paying business costs, living costs, taxes, etc.) and written that number proudly on my white board. Only... I wasn't making that much each day, and I had no plan to get to that daily amount from where I was. I had a vague idea of "Oh, if I can write twenty articles a week on this site, and ten on this other site, maybe..." But my plan simply wasn't concrete enough, and I got frustrated.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Writing Humor for (and Regretful Morning)

I didn't want to talk about this in detail until my piece was finally posted, but it's here now, so here we go!

Here's the article, if you haven't seen it yet: 5 Movie Romances That Won't Last (According to Science)

(Just so you know, it can get kinda crazy on Cracked, and it's not suitable for all audiences).

My original impression of Cracked (as described in detail in my article Writing for Fun and Profit) was that it was really, really hard to get a pitch accepted. My opinion hasn't changed. I worked harder on my Cracked article than I have on any article before or since. And even just getting to the stage of having a Cracked article to "work on" is like running a gauntlet through a bunch of slap-happy mimes in and of itself. I'd guess that Cracked gets hundreds of pitches every single day. Just try to find an original idea in all that craziness!

I continue to pitch ideas on the site, and you should to! Check out I want you to make comedy for Cracked for more information. Once you join the Cracked Comedy Workshop, you'll be able to pitch articles, and also get a lot of great insight from other writers and editors at Cracked.

And don't think "Oh, I could never write for Cracked." I thought the same thing for a year before I joined on a whim, and look where I am now. I will say, for those who are interested, that coming up with an intriguing and original article pitch that you can back up with information from the real world is almost as important as knowing how to write comedy.

Also, if you liked my Cracked article, I'm sure you'd be interested in 5 Reasons Your Gaming System is Better than your Girlfriend over on Regretful Morning.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Ultimate Guide To Ultimate Frisbee

Spring is in the air. I can feel it in my veins, struggling to explode out of my fingers and toes. My blood is finally pumping again, after long days and hours and weeks of freezing cold. I feel alive again.

And what better way to celebrate spring (and life!) than with Ultimate Frisbee?

So now you're going to tell me that you don't know what Ultimate Frisbee is (sigh). That means that you have to start at the beginning, with Ultimate Frisbee: What the Heck Is It? A.K.A. the Beginner's Guide.

After that, you might want to check out my Ultimate Frisbee how-to guide. Because, now that you know what it is, you're dying to play. Right? Of course you are.

Once you've gotten a feel for the game, you should swing by and enter your two cents in the debate of  Ultimate Frisbee Vs. All Other Sports.

On a sadder note, if you're a dyed-in-the-wool Ultimate player, then you probably already know about the passing of Walter Frederick Morrison, the inventor of the Frisbee. Here are some of the reactions from the Ultimate community to the news.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Various Delectable Tidbits on Cooking and Eating

I love to cook, and I love to eat. I really couldn't say which one I like more. On the one hand, you've got that warm, sizzling sound as the garlic and vegetables hit the hot frying pan. On the other hand, you've got the silky taste of the pureed butternut squash sliding over your tongue. What's not to love?

Eggs are one of my favorite things to cook. They're quick, easy, and can take on so many different forms. For the egg connoisseur, here's an article about making simple frittatas, and here's one about making simple omelettes.

Do you know what goes well with eggs? Why, bacon, of course! Nothing beats the salty, smoking smell of bacon as it cooks in its own fat. That's why you might want to check out Bacon and Other Easy to Cook Camping Foods.

How about a little international flair? Learning to cook foods from different nations is nothing short of adventure. For more information, visit Cooking and Eating World Cuisines.

And, just for fun, here's the reason why I don't make cake from scratch.


Image courtesy of Flickr.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

How to Start a Freelance Writing Career

I've been enjoying a bit of success as a freelance writer over the past couple of months, and I thought I'd write about my experiences. Good information about the markets I've tried and some of the things I've found useful is enclosed.

How to Start a Freelance Writing Career

In addition, I've written more specifically about my experiences with freelance writing for Associated Content and freelance writing for Made Man.

Some of the sites that I'm looking at require actual pitches for articles ( has a well-outlined format for creating pitches, but the format varies depending on your market). So I'm brushing up on my pitching skills. Here is an article that I found useful: The Ultimate Article Pitch.

And here is some more information about pitching articles (sure, it's for print publications, but the principles are the same): How to Pitch Freelance Artircles to Print Publications.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Published Articles on MadeMan

So a couple of weeks back I mentioned writing for Break Studios.

Specifically, I've been writing for the newly-launched MadeMan website. This site is a manual of sorts, with advice on all sorts of subjects from "driving a tank" to "making a viral video." Because it's just started to publish content, there is a huge opportunity for new writers to get in on the action.

Here are a couple of my articles that have just been published on MadeMan:

10 Best Places to Travel on a Budget: California

10 Easy Things To Cook While Camping

There are plenty more to come, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Exciting New Publication News

I'm now officially working for Associated Content, a site that publishes articles and pays upfront (if you select the option), as well as performance-based bonuses. I really like the submitting and formatting process for Associated Content, and I'm satisfied with the amount of time it takes to approve articles. If you're looking to get into writing for profit, Associated Content is a great place to start.

I'm happy to say that my first two articles have just been accepted and published. Check them out to learn about stuff and be entertained at the same time!

My first article, Get Ready for Maple Sugarin' Festivals, is about local festivals celebrating the tapping of maple trees to make maple syrup throughout the US.

My second article, The Muppets: Twenty-First Century Reboot, is about the new Muppets videos on YouTube, and the upcoming Muppets movie.

(By the way, if you love the Muppets, don't forget to check out my new Squidoo lens: The Muppets Take YouTube by Storm.)

Happy reading!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Squidoo Lens-A-Day Challenge

Now that I'm getting more serious about the writing thing, I realize that the most important thing for me to do is to write. A lot. And preferably, to write things that other people will see, because that forces me to be on top of my game.

That's why I love Squidoo. Squidoo is a site that provides users with a template to easily generate content on the web. It also gives users tools to add all sorts of fun modules to their sites, or "lenses" as they're called in the Squidverse.

And the best part is, if you get really good at it, you can make money! There are two ways to earn money on Squidoo. All the ad revenue generated by the website goes into a big pot, and half of that goes directly to the writers, or "lensmasters." In addition, some of the modules (such as the Amazon module) give you cash if people follow the links and buy the products.

I've been getting more into Squidoo lately, for three reason:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Writing for Fun and Profit

So I've managed to make huge steps in the "writing for fun and profit" venture over the last couple of weeks.

I signed up for the Cracked Comedy Workshop run by the irreverent humor site I immediately submitted a pitch to the workshop, and I immediately got shot down. The thing is, I had no idea all the work and intelligence that goes into a Cracked article! (Feel free to laugh, but next time you're reading one, take a closer look. You'll see what I mean.) I thought the whole thing was just making fun of movies and talking liberally about various parts of the human anatomy, but boy, was I wrong. It takes a lot of research to make an article that meets the Cracked standards, and a lot of time and effort. Which I will keep in mind as I continue to pitch in the future.

I wonder if this means that I have to start being funnier in my posts? God, I hope not. Being funny is hard work.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Naming Characters with Baby Names

Just found something interesting today that made me smile. It was an example of someone modifying a website designed for one purpose to suit another, and I thought that it was great.

I don't know about the rest of the writing population, but often when I'm stumped for character names I turn to the wonderful Baby Names website. (Heaven forbid my boyfriend catches me on the site without an explanation!) Anyway, it's a great tool that can be used many ways. For example, you can simply browse through the lists of names for inspiration. Or you can use the advanced search function, which allows you to search for names by gender, meaning, origin, and more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nanowrimo Novel Progress... and Sequel!

I didn't want to say anything before, in case I jinxed my progress. Now that I've been going strong for more than a month, I think it's about time that I talk about what I've been up to.

After I finished my Nanowrimo novel, I decided to let it 'settle' for at least a month. Okay, so let's be honest: the thought of editing terrifies me. I proved to myself writing The Hidden Land of Gre that I could write a novel-length first draft. But I've always gotten snagged when it comes to taking that tangled collection of duds and gems and spinning it into something beautiful.