Writer's Glossary - W
A location on the World Wide Web for personal, educational, entertainment, or business purposes. In the world of publishing, Web sites are found for most magazines and publishers, and many writers and artists have their own. Publishers usually post guidelines on their sites, sell subscriptions as well as current and back issues of magazines, sell copies of books, and allow electronic submissions via their Web sites.
This organization wasfounded in 1953 to promote the literature of the American West, known as Westerns. The founders were largely authors who wrote traditional western fiction, but the organization swiftly expanded to include historians and other nonfiction authors, young adult and romance writers, and writers interested in regional history. Today it has over 500 members who write everything from mainstream fiction to local history. Check out its Web site at WesternWriters.org.
For some commentary on those who complain that memberships to such groups is unfair, check out writers associations.
See also Spur Awards.
Genre fiction set in America's Old West, characterized by pioneers and explorers, cowboys and Indians, stagecoach and bank robberies, gold ruses and shootouts, lawmen and outlaws, saloons and prairies, and all sorts of other things representative of the Old West.
The number of words in a manuscript. Most computer word processors will count this exactly. If yours doesn't, or you use a typewriter, there are a number of tricks to estimating this—count the words on a half page, double it, and multiply by the number of pages (taking into account any incomplete pages such as the first and last pages) is probably the easiest and most accurate method. Editors don't always insist on exactness (though some do), so long as it's a a reasonable approximation—and so long as you don't estimate 7,500 when it's 10,000 and their limit is 7,500; that tends to get them a little miffed, and rightly so.
Lower maximum word counts are usually more firm. If an editor says he only wants 2,000 words, a 3,000-word story is likely not going to fly. If he wants up to 15,000, and you have a 15,300-word story, he's more apt to look at it. However, anytime you go over a word count limit, query the editor first about your story. Before you do, try to trim down the word count of your story. Unless you started with a 25,000-word epic that you trimmed to 15,300, it's almost certain that, with good polishing, you can knock 300 words out of your 15,300-word tale.
A program or machine designed to store typed text and allow for easy editing and printing. Some of the most popular software packages today include:
The above packages all can load and save one other's formats (provided they are all recent versions), but most importantly, they all handle Rich Text Format (RTF). RTF is a standard format supporting all major features and virtually any word processor in the last ten years and load and save in RTF. What this means is no matter what WP you use, if an editor says "We only accept documents in such and such a format," you can send an RTF and he'll be able to view it (so long as he uses a computer and not a proprietary word processing machine; I haven't seen any who do, they usually use Windows machines or Macs. Manuscript format demands no fancy features of a word processor, other than perhaps a header, so RTF is ideal.
Writers' workshops are usually help either in a classroom setting or, more popular recently, online. Writers share their works with one another and listen to critiques and suggestions, learning from his peers how to better his work.
Online workshops usually involve emailing works to other writers, or posting them online at a location accessible only to the workshop participants. This is important since if the works are posted publicly, most editors consider this "published."
Groups catering to particular genres, or to writers in general, usually offering memberships. Content typically includes a Web site, a newsletter, discussion forums, market listings, reviews, articles, workshops, and more.
Writers groups requiring membership have often been criticized by writers who have not achieved this status as catering only to those who are successful without regard to talent. This argument is tantamount to complaining about not being able to order a beer in a bar when you're not yet the legal drinking age. These are private groups catering to established writers. Since the majority of struggling writers out there have a long way to go, it is imperative that members have proven themselves decent enough writers—"reached the legal drinking age," so to speak. If these groups let just anyone in, realistically, the membership roster would be overrun by 95% amateurs. No organization could function with that! It has nothing to do with being snooty or elitist. Also, most of these organizations aren't all for members only—just certain things. One can usually find articles and other helpful features that anyone can check out.