Great Post on Word Count for Novels & Children’s Books!

September 29, 2009 § Leave a comment


Word Count for Novels and Children’s Books: The Definitive Post
Posted by Chuck

So, what makes YOU an expert?

September 27, 2009 § 2 Comments

While preparing to send a short story to a literary magazine, I stumbled upon a statement at the very end of the submission guidelines. Warning, it said, one space after a period, not two. This is cause for Instant Rejection. Wow, I thought, good thing I always use one — and good thing I read the submission rules very carefully.

I posted the stern admonition on my writers’ group Facebook page for the sole purpose of warning my fellow writers to do just that: Carefully read the submission guidelines when submitting your work to a publisher.

But my original intention was lost in the furor over mention of the one-space/two-space rule. In a very short time span, I had over thirty comments on my post, each with a different opinion on the matter.

What occurred next (which tends to happen with us writers) is we all began to post articles to our blogs espousing either one rule or the other as being correct. While I know these people, and am aware of their credentials, it raises the question: How do we know the information we find on the Internet is reliable?

With the proliferation of blogs, now, more than ever, we need to be vigilant in verifying the reliability of our sources.

While surfing the web for research on this subject, I came across an article titled Evaluating Internet Research Sources, by Robert Harris.

I found it to be very comprehensive and erudite. Robert Harris uses what he calls “The CARS Checklist” to check Internet resources. The following chart was taken directly from his article:

  Summary of The CARS Checklist for Research Source Evaluation


trustworthy source, author’s credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, organizational support. Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.


up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.


fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest, absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.


listed sources, contact information, available corroboration, claims supported, documentation supplied. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (find at least two other sources that support it).

If you want to read the entire article, visit his website, Virtual Salt, for this and other very useful articles.

So, what makes you an expert? We should all be asking this question when we search online for information.

Works sited:
Harris, Robert. “Evaluating Internet Research Sources.”
VirtualSalt. 15 June 2007.  Sun. 27 Sept. 2009.

About Robert Harris

An A to Z of Clichés for Writers to Avoid like the Plague

September 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

All things considered, avoid clichés like the plague.

Read the entire article under the Tips tab at, a site sponsored by HarperCollins. The Tips sections has loads of good advice for us wannabe authors. Find this under the Advice From Editors heading.

Great advice, straight from the horse’s mouth! 😉

I Love And I Hate or The Angst Of Writing

September 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

 Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior. – Catullus 85

I hate and I love.
Wherefore would I do this, perhaps you ask?
I do not know.
But I feel that it happens and I am tortured.

Let Your Spirit Soar

September 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

What lifts you up?

A sunset? A walk on the beach? The beauty present in the fractal geometry of a bare tree?

Today, for me, it is music. To be specific, Gabriel’s Oboe performed by Yo Yo Ma. I’ve been playing it over and over again for two days, clicking the back icon on my iPod so much I’m afraid it might break.

We all need things to nourish our spirit, to take us outside of our miserable little earthly selves and make us feel connected to something greater.

I am a Catholic who, I must admit, hasn’t attended Mass regularly for some time. Through slow iterations, the pageantry of the Mass has been lost — at least for me. Why do we need more things that keep us firmly anchored to earth? A poet wrote: The world is too much with us. And I agree. What we need are more things that lift us, not keep us rooted. Higher ground always provides a better perspective.

I hope you find one thing that lifts you toward something greater today — be it music, a poem, a child’s face, or a silent solitary walk in nature. Let your spirit be lifted, let it soar.

Where Am I?

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