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Author Topic: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words  (Read 10676 times)

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Offline LesFloyd

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I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« on: June 06, 2005, 11:45:05 AM »
I've just sold my very first piece of writing - an article which will be printed in the local paper in their 'Business' section.  :grin:

It's a 350 word piece, on the experiences of a Carlisle business, Scotby Cycles, in recovering from the 'Great Flood' of January, this year.

I'm really chuffed, and feel this could really be the start of something. I'm already working on a new story about how local pensioners are being charged £7 by the council to have a tiny square of grass cut for them, when it must take all of 30 seconds to do.  :angry:

Does this mean I can (tenuously) call myself a 'Freelance Journalist', to impress the ladies? It would make a change from 'Unemployable Ex-Dishwasher'.  :cheesy:
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline Ed

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2005, 01:36:07 PM »
Well done :afro:  And yeah, call yourself a freelance journalist - even better, buy a camera and call yourself a photo-journalist.  That sounds even more impressive :smiley:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2005, 01:37:33 PM »
Good for you, Les!  :cheers:

Call yourself what you like!  On my VERY FIRST outing as local correspondent for our regional paper, I had some woman swearing that she knew me and we'd had some long and congenial conversation at a previous event I'd covered (so I knew darn well she was making it up).  And I'm a straight woman.  So good luck!  :D

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2005, 02:02:40 PM »
I like that idea, Blunt... maybe I could go a step futher, not wear any trousers and become a 'Semi-Naked Photo Journalist'?  :afro:

Thanks to the both of you!

Joyce - I'd like to become a local correspondent for my paper. Would you be able to give me some pointers? I have the basic details already, but I'd appreciate some insight from an actual LC to give me a better idea of what I should be doing...

Thanks again!  :smiley:

Les
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2005, 02:25:58 PM »
The way it worked for our one when I was doing it was that they have LCs appointed for each area covered (most centred on a particular country town, I think).  Names and contact numbers were printed in the paper each week, so anybody wanting anything put in has the option of talking to a local person rather than contacting the head office, which can be quite a long way off for some.  You then wrote up whatever had come your way, whether by people who'd contacted you, or things you'd dug out for yourself, and sent it in for the deadline, and were paid lineage on whatever was actually published in the paper.

So what I would do...

Have a list of ALL local organizations, with contact names/numbers.  Your public library will help to establish this, as will watching the posters that go up locally.  Contact all of them early, to let them know who/where you are.  Ask them to let you know whenever there's anything you may be able to attend to report on, or else to let you know what happened after the event (as you can't physically and wouldn't want to go to everything).  Ask them to let you know when something is being prepared (this is good pre-publicity for them, and lets you do several stories on the one event).  Local papers love stories involving lists of local people doing things - they sell extra papers for people's moment of glory - so go for ALL the prizewinners at the flower show, the WHOLE cast of the school play, ALL the mourners at a funeral etc. etc. - besides which it's good for you if you're on lineage.

Ring round a section of your list regularly.

Get friendly with the local police and hospital, and ring them every week for stories.

Watch for new building, a shop changing use, someone preparing to cut down a tree - you can make stories out of almost anything.  I got a long piece out of the new owners of a shop here - turned out they'd been living in India, and were happy to tell me all about it.  Human interest is good.  A shop front being rejigged showed old writing on the brickwork, and I did a 'who remembers what this was before?' and got replies over weeks and weeks.

Talk to people anywhere - pub, cafe, market, supermarket queue.  Gossip is great.  But be very careful to check for truth before you send anything in - even if it is true, you don't want to put a local nose out of joint, or they and their friends won't co-operate with you any further, and you're friendly, not a newshound paparazzi!

I think those are the basics.  Do ask if anything else springs to mind that I haven't mentioned.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2005, 02:28:56 PM by JoyceCarter »

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2005, 04:48:35 PM »
Wow, Joyce, thanks for that!

Typical, though, isn't it? If I'd become a 'semi-naked freelance journalist' a few months earlier, I could have made a fortune out of reporting the Pope's funeral mourners in the paper.  :angry:

I really appreciate this. I don't print stuff out often, but this is even more useful than Geoff Nelder's guide to French kissing.  :smiley:
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2005, 05:36:36 PM »
Quote
this is even more useful than Geoff Nelder's guide to French kissing
Depends if you want to French kiss GN... (Cheap shot, Geoff.  Sorry! ;))

You're welcome, and I hope it works out for you.  Of course, you may get work on a different basis from me, but the newsgathering thing can't really vary much.

You could always review Geoff Nelder's guide to French kissing!  (That's another line, seriously - reviewing what any local artist or writer has just put out.)

Make yourself up an official-looking ID card with your photo and 'PRESS' in big red letters.  This is quite easy these days with a computer.   It seems that the sight of a card is very reassuring, and will get you into all sorts of places that even you don't really think you have any right to be!

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2005, 06:02:52 PM »
Thanks, Joyce! You've given me some excellent advice, here, and I really appreciate it!  :afro:

I'm sure everything will be along the same lines as you've experienced, so there's a lot for me to think about (and do) here. Confidence is building!  :smiley:

I like the idea of the 'PRESS' card. I'll need to find someone to laminate it for me. Do I put a * after 'Press' then a footnote in small writing saying 'In My Brain'? Can you be arrested for immitating a member of the press? Hehe...

Thanks for all this! You're ace!  ;)
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline Neuromancer

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2005, 06:35:37 PM »
I do not know where you live.. but any office superstore like Staples and office max will have not only lminateing services for very cheap but also self laminating sheets and laminating machines for sale

Congratulations on your recent publication :)
« Last Edit: June 06, 2005, 06:36:02 PM by Neuromancer »

Yes I am a writer, but my critics call me a typist.--Salem's Lot

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2005, 03:38:27 AM »
If you're selling your stuff to newspapers and magazines, you ARE a member of the press, odd though it feels to yourself at first.  And as such, fine upstanding members of the public feel compelled to tell you intimate details about themselves.  It's quite amazing and amusing. ;)

I've just remembered a phone call I did as one of my regular weekly round.  There was a lady, the wife of a non-conformist minister in the town, who was a helper in any number of clubs and organizations, so I often talked to her - usually worth several stories on the price of one phone-call.  One evening when I rang, the phone was picked up by one of her children, so I said who I was and could I speak to Mrs B.  The child held the phone out and yelled, 'Mu-u-u-u-um!  It's that woman from the paper on the phone,' and I heard from the distance, 'All right, I'll be there in a moment.'  This was relayed to me, and the receiver laid down to wait till Mrs B arrived.  There I sat and the noises of the house were broadcast to me - it was a very clear microphone. 

A few moments later, another of the teenage children must have passed by and seen the receiver off the hook, and picked up wondering what was going on. 

'Hello?' 

'Hello,' I said. 'Joyce Carter.   I'm holding for Mrs B.  She has been told I'm calling.'

Phone at arm's length trick again.  Angry.  'MUM!  There's somebody on PHONE for you!'

Voice from the distance, equally angry: 'I KNOW.  I'm sitting on the TOILET.  Do you expect me to come down there and talk with my knickers round my ankles?'

Which was the reason that a few more moments later, I found it very difficult to keep giggles out of my voice and have a businesslike conversation!

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2005, 08:38:34 PM »
Thanks for the pointer, Neuromancer (Why am I thinking about Simon LeBon?)... I'm in the UK, and there's a Staples close by so I may pop in and ask - though it is England and we don't really approve of convenient services like that. Cheers!  ;)

That's hilarious, Joyce...  :grin:

I guess you never passed on that anecdote to her? If you ever do, remember to take a digicam and record the moment the expression of embarrassment grows on her face.  :afro:

Thanks, you both!  :smiley:

Les
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline SharonBell

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2005, 09:21:00 PM »
I've just sold my very first piece of writing - an article which will be printed in the local paper in their 'Business' section.  :grin:

Hot fucking damn! How did I miss this thread for 2 days? GOOD AT YA!!!  :dance: :dance:
"Be good and you'll be lonesome." Mark Twain

www.sharonbuchbinder.com

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2005, 08:50:45 AM »
Hehehe... Thanks, Sweary-Mary!  :afro:

The article was publishing in today's paper... it's real! Whoop!  :grin:
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2005, 01:34:05 PM »
Ha - that's a GOOD moment, I know!  :D

Offline canadian

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2005, 08:34:53 AM »
Way to go, Les.  :2thumbs:

Are they going to post the article on their website? I'd love to have a read.
If people stand in a circle long enough, they will eventually begin to dance. -- George Carlin

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2005, 05:30:04 PM »
No, it hasn't gone on... pity. I will scan the cheque, when I get paid...  :smiley:
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline Robert M. Blevins

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2005, 02:20:54 AM »
Les said:
"Does this mean I can (tenuously) call myself a 'Freelance Journalist', to impress the ladies? It would make a change from 'Unemployable Ex-Dishwasher'. "

Answer: Yes.
Way to go, sir. :cheers:
'Don't give up reaching for the stars...
just build yourself a bigger ladder.'

Offline Robert M. Blevins

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2005, 09:46:45 AM »
A general note to folks like me who finally switched over to Windows XP from the old reliable Windows 98 (the old, comfortable friend, although getting a bit dated...)

XP only comes loaded with Notepad for word processing. This program does not have certain parameters you need to electronically submit pieces of writing, such as setting spaces between lines at 1.25 or 1.5, for example.

You have to buy Word separately, or Office 2003. (Better)

Lucky Robert has a friend at Microsoft who fixed him up with MS Publisher 2003 with Digital Imaging, plus Office Pro for a total of $75!


This is my last post before the Independence Day holiday. It's time for me to take to the hills for some hiking, fishing, and editing. This year I am going solo, since wife/editor/co-writer Gayla is flying to California to see her mother. I will be at the top of Darland Mountain outside of Yakima.
This is the second highest point in Washington State you can actually drive to, and provides inspiring views of the Cascade Mountains from Mt. Hood in Oregon all the way to Mt. Baker in the northern part of Washington. You can see the whole chain, including the Goat Rocks Wilderness, Mt. Rainier, and what is left of St. Helens.

I will post up a report on the trip in the form of a story after the weekend.
Happy Fourth of July to all of you, and make sure you have SOME fun, somewhere, no matter where you live.

Special note to the Brits...yeah...we celebrate this holiday, but a lot of us wonder if we're really better off now....ha!
 8)
'Don't give up reaching for the stars...
just build yourself a bigger ladder.'

Offline JoyceCarter

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2005, 12:57:07 PM »
Have a good holiday, Robert, whatever the original reason for it!

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2005, 01:10:45 PM »
I know most of you know but Les's blog http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/unknown/viewarticle.aspx?id=198663 is such fine comic writing  :D  It really must lift the spirits of anyone reading it, even those living in his village, and Wales.

Speaking of Wales, on Sunday I set off on a two-day bike ride to visit my sister aprprox 150 miles away (the safest minor road route for a cyclist). So I will be away for a while.

Geoff

Anyone else for advance copies of me book, Escaping Reality - but only if you promise to skip over the naughty bits? http://www.bramblingbooks.co.uk/

Offline LesFloyd

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2005, 07:33:06 PM »
Cheers Rob & Geoff!  :smiley:

Yeah, I can imagine the sensible half of the US population wondering if it was worth the fight, when they have Monkey Man in the White House at the moment.

Anyway, we Brits let them win. The bit missing from the history books is the fact that the Brits had a cricket tournament on that week. Priorities!  :cheesy:
"Even if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, it would not be desirable, as one's hat would keep flying off!" - H.G. Bells

Offline SharonBell

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Re: I Are Become Writer - Submitter of Words
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2005, 09:18:56 PM »
HEY! I'm a Daughter of the American Revolution and I still don't know what the fuss was about! I do like the fireworks, though! Kisses and hugs to my British cousins!
"Be good and you'll be lonesome." Mark Twain

www.sharonbuchbinder.com

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