View this email in your browser

New Year's Resolutions

As the new year begins, we begin with a clean slate--the year is still pretty much perfect, holding up to our ideals. While some people choose not to have resolutions, many people do choose to put goals in place. Here is a strategy to keep your goals moving forward:

January: Dream big, and believe in yourself. Make a list of possible goals. Don't worry about how realistic they seem; write them all down!

This should be a month focused on brainstorming.

January Webinar: The Villain’s Journey

We wanted to get to know Greg Smith (NAIWE’s Agile Writing Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here is what he shared with us.

Do you offer any marketing ploys unique to a story line with a villain?

Creating a unique villain, one that is compelling, will make your novel more interesting–perhaps even more-so than creating an interesting hero. You see, your hero can only be as strong as your villain. If you have a weak villain, he is easy to defeat–and so your hero doesn’t have much to fight against. But create a strong villain–one that is even stronger than your hero–then the villain’s defeat is even more powerful.


You can join in this conversation on January 23, at 8 pm eastern, when NAIWE will host a discussion on the importance of a strong villain. The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members.

To register for this webinar, please send an email along with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

Dr Strange and Character Motivation

If you’re writing a story, you need a premise.

In an earlier post, I discussed how to create and develop a premise for a good story. A premise is basically your story, beginning to end, condensed into one sentence. I used examples from Aquaman, Black Panther, and Star Wars. I also stressed the importance of knowing what your story is really about, which is a separate thing from the premise. The premise is for the readera very short synopsis of the tale being told. What it’s really about, the core of the story, is for you the writer. It’s a reminder of the message, the purpose of the story, that will shake your readers and change your life.

Now, we move on to character. Once you know what your story is about, you have to create a character to tell it. Really, you need a hero. Your hero is the most important character of the story, but he is not the only character that matters. All your charactersif they are great charactershelp define your hero in some shape or form. They matter. They, through their interactions with the hero, give us a better picture of who the hero is and why he does what he does. This will be discussed more in later posts, so for now we’ll just focus on the hero and how the story is told through him.

There are a lot of facets to a hero that work to help him drive the story. First, he must be relatable and the audience must be able to identify with him. What does that mean? Most writers have a very, very shallow definition of these terms, and think it means that readers must be able to see themselves in the hero. Maybe he looks like they do, or maybe he’s put-upon or has a job or background they might be familiar with. That’s not what those terms mean at all. Art is universal, and those qualities are not. A hero is relatable or can be ‘identified with’ through his wants and needs. What does your hero want, and what does he need? These two things are different, and both work to drive the story.

To read the rest of this article, please visit NAIWE member Teresa Gonzalez's blog.

February Webinar: Red Flags Anonymous: Identifying and Managing Difficult Freelance Clients

In February, we will be chatting with Jake Poinier, NAIWE's Freelance Expert, on the very important topic of screening prospective clients.

You don’t have to be a freelancer for long before you learn that not every client is what they first seem, and not every project goes according to plan. In this webinar, Jake Poinier outlines a real-world approach to screening prospects as well as bringing challenging clients back into line. Topics include

  • Red flags to watch for
  • Questions to distinguish tire-kickers from serious prospects
  • Why contracts, deposits, and budgets aren’t just about the money
  • How to decide when it’s time to part ways and professional ways to do it.


Jake Poinier made the leap into freelance writing and editing in 1999 after a decade of positions in the publishing industry, giving him key insights from both sides of the desk. As the founder and owner of Boomvang Creative Group, he has worked with a diverse array of Fortune 500 and small businesses, consumer and trade magazines, and independent authors. Jake is committed to helping freelancers improve their businesses and shares his knowledge and experiences frequently as a speaker at industry conferences, through webinars, and on his blog.

The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members. To register for this webinar, which will be held on February 18 at 7 pm eastern, please send an email with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

December's New & Renewing NAIWE Members

Nicola Aquino (Antigonish, Nova Scotia); Jan Arnow (Marysville, IN); Kari Carlisle (Peoria, AZ); Angela Clubb (St. Leonard, MD); Robert Cohen (Fresh Meadows, NY); Jennifer Crosswhite (Yucaipa, CA); Nanette Day (Dripping Springs, TX); Rachel Feingold (Silver Spring, MD); Robert Iulo (New York, NY); Yvonne Kanu (Toronto, Ontario); Michael Kay (West Orange, NJ); Joan Kirschner (Canton, MA); Michelle Lee (Yakima, WA); Marion Metz (Bluff, New Zealand); Julie Neese (Howell, MI); Colleen Olle (Belmont, CA); Jeffrey Payne (Henrico, VA); Anne Selden; Donna Shannon (Ark, VA); Kim Sheard (London, Great Britain); Shelly Strom (Vancouver, WA); Odile Sullivan-Tarazi (Redwood City, CA); Diane Treon (Englewood, NJ).

Be sure to post on your NAIWE website, and we will link to it when you renew!

February Webinar: Small Business Tax Tips for 2020—and Beyond

In February, we will be chatting with Kajli Prince, NAIWE's Tax Expert, on the very important topics of 2020 taxes, credits, and deductions for freelancers.

It’s tax time! Are you ready? Learn about relevant credits and deductions that apply to independent writers and freelance editors, with a focus on the new deduction: Qualified Business Income Deduction. It is a new provision from the most recent changes in the tax law (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) that allows small business owners to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business expenses.



Kajli Prince ("Prince") has over 20 years of experience in small business tax preparation; he is the office manager of H&R Block's Sudley Manor Office in Manassas, Virginia. As a self-published author, Prince holds a special appreciation for NAIWE and its members. One of his passions is sharing relevant information with people and showing them how best to use it for their benefit. Prince is a small business owner of 25 years, and his specialties include emerging currencies (e.g., virtual/crypto currencies), information technology, intellectual property, and business administration.

The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members. To register for this webinar, which will be held on February 27 at 7 pm eastern, please send an email with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

From CMOS Shop Talk

Q. Hello! I have a comma question. Which is the preferred punctuation: Amherst, Massachusetts’ Emily Dickinson . . . OR Amherst, Massachusetts’, Emily Dickinson . . . ? Recasting the sentence is not a useful option because there is a longish list of names and places: Long Branch, New Jersey’s Bruce Springsteen and Lachine, Quebec’s Saul Bellow and . . . Thanks.

A. Rewriting to avoid the possessive is (almost) always an option; that’s what “of” is for. Try “Emily Dickinson of Amherst, Massachusetts; Bruce Springsteen of Long Branch, New Jersey; etc.” Parentheses are another useful alternative: “Emily Dickinson (Amherst, Massachusetts)” (or vice versa). But if you must stick to the possessive, you have our permission to drop the second comma (the one after the state or province) as a reasonable exception to Chicago’s preference for commas in pairs, a preference that applies also to dates (see CMOS 6.17 and 6.38–39). Note that Chicago style for the possessive form of Amherst’s home state requires an apostrophe and an s: Massachusetts’s Emily Dickinson (another incentive to avoid the possessive).

Why Should You Join an Association?

You don’t have to be traditionally published before you join. You don’t even have to specialize in just one area—we realize that writers and editors can find many ways to earn a freelance living. Most of us don’t have the luxury of writing only fiction or editing only academic monographs. In fact, we encourage NAIWE members to create multiple streams of writing income because it’s your best guarantee of financial stability.

Member Benefit


Each month, we feature a member of the NAIWE Board of Experts on a topic that is designed to help you grow in your field. Our experts are successful full-time writers and editors, and they impart a lot of wisdom in an hour (or sometimes more).

Members attend at a discounted rate of $10 for each webinar. Nonmembers may register for individual webinars at $30 each. Just attending the classes without joining the association would add up to $348 for a year, so this is a benefit of great value.

Visit the NAIWE website to see all of the member benefits.


"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."

—James Lane Allen


Your ad could be here!

For details on how to advertise in The Edge, NAIWE's monthly newsletter, please visit our advertising web page.

Copyright © 2020 National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 412, Montpelier, VA 23192-0412

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.