Helpful Websites for Other Genres – Screenwriting

If you’re like me, you may compose in more than one genre and look for excellent tips from writers in a variety of fields. I’m a screenwriter and fiction writer as well as a poet and enjoy the challenges of the different mediums, both the overlap and the way each genre pushes me to employ different skill sets. I’m currently setting up a new fantasy screenplay and found this site incredibly helpful in terms of breaking the longline down into a step by step process:

I’ll keep adding into this post as I find other worthy resources for screenwriting, so feel free to bookmark it.

Thanks for journeying with me!

Free Nature Writing Workshop with Cynthia

My nature writing workshops are coming online. If you’d like to try Writing from the Senses for FREE, just let my hostess, the Federation of British Columbia Writers Islands Rep Jackie Carmichael, know by emailing her at so she can send you the Zoom link for our July 20th, 7 PM Pacific time workshop. We’ll do a guided writing evening much like the first chapter of How to Write Poetry. Open to writers and aspiring writers through the world. In the mean time, happy poeting 🙂

123 Literary Magazines Accepting Reprints (Updated for 2019)

While it’s wonderful to create new work and I try to devote 1-4 hours a day to writing and polishing new material, it’s nice to take full advantage of our best previously published pieces and give them more outings when we can. This is a handy list of journals that accept reprints for those days when you just need life to be easy 🙂

Writing Matters

I took the 2016 list entitled “185 Literary Magazines Accepting Reprints” from and manually checked each entry. Those which no longer functioned or explicitly stated they only want unpublished work have been removed. New entries are added when discovered. This list update is an ongoing process: last updated November 21, 2019.

50-Word Stories (“Each month, submissions will be open between days 1 and 15 of that month. Any stories received on days 16 to 31 of a month will be deleted, but can be resubmitted the following month.”)

Abstract Magazine (“Abstract will consider work previously published in small-circulation journals, websites, or blogs with credit to first publishers.”)

After the Pause (“We accept simultaneous submissions (please notify us if your work is accepted elsewhere) and reprints (please indicate if this is the case); nonetheless, we prefer unpublished submissions.”)

Ancient Paths Online (“a predominantly Christian publication”)

Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal

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In Conversation with Literary Writes Judge Jude Neale

Although the Federation of British Columbia Writers (FBCW) Literary Writes Contest is only open to residents of British Columbia, judge Jude Neale’s poetic insights are worth sharing worldwide. It was such a treat to get to interview her!

Cynthia: There are so many thoughts on what is or is not poetry. What is poetry in your view?

Jude: Poetry to me is the distillation of feelings, thoughts and ideas into the fewest words possible. A good poem does not lie. It is an imagist painting written equally from the heart and the brain.

Cynthia: You’ve published seven books of poetry, with your eighth forthcoming, and have already started work on your ninth. You’re an incredibly accomplished poet and performer, travelling around the province and world for readings. How did you become a poet? When did you first know the value of poetry in your life?

Jude: Thank you Cynthia for your kind words.

How did I become a poet, well it’s always been part of me, of my life. One of my earliest memories involves my grandfather, Herbert William Bilton. Grandpa and grandma lived in a village of 150. He was the Justice of the Peace, Postmaster and raconteur. I remember sitting with my twin on his lap and he would recite Robert Service to us. He memorized all of Service and did all the voices. I loved the meter and the dynamic language. I don’t know when poetry wasn’t important to me, as I was marinated in it.

Cynthia: You’ve mentioned that in some of your books like Splendid in its Silence, you’ve given each poem twenty or more hours of editing. Could you elaborate on the role of editing in securing your best work?

Jude: I was mentored by the great Canadian writer, Elisabeth Harvor. She took no prisoners when it came to editing. She would ferret out the cliches, the sentimental and the maudlin. Get rid of duplicate words, unoriginal language and uncreative metaphor. I still have her on my shoulder when I write today!

Cynthia: What can Literary Writes contestants do to take their work from a first draft to a solid, polished poem?

Jude: Write your first draft. Leave it for a day or two. Go back, listen for your voice. Concentrate on line breaks, the breath of a poem. Read it out loud looking for cadence and sound. Edit again. Don’t be afraid to chop! Repeat the process a couple more times.

Cynthia: What is the mark of a great poem?

Jude: A great poem will take your breath away. It will allow you to connect with another reality.

Cynthia: I love that you come from a collaborative arts background and in particular opera. What is the relationship between music and poetry in your experience?

Jude: I love this question, Cynthia. I first was an opera singer three careers ago. This attention to rhythm and silence has transferred over to writing. For me, breath is everything. My entire use of line breaks depends on this, which I believe makes my poems different. It gives the poem room to expand.

Cynthia: In your  essay “Sum of all parts” for The League of Canadian Poets Feminist Caucus in their publication Women and Multimedia, you say that “Authenticity in collaboration is absolutely critical.” That really struck a chord with me, since you live authentically in all the ways that you work, both independently and with other poets and artists in performances large and small. How can poets bring authenticity to their voice and work?

Jude: I really do believe we should be writing from our own reality. Nothing is so insignificant it can’t be turned into a poem. Love, pain, loss, joy and death are not small and we all recognize this as the human condition. It is something we as poets need to affirm, that no life is so small it can’t be written about. That is what I shall be looking for in this competition.

Cynthia: Who are your favourite poets and influences?

Jude: My favourite poets are Gary Geddes, Leonard Cohen, Lorna Crozier, Rachel Rose, Sylvia Plath and Mark Doty, to name a few.

I was a child of the sixties and because of this I was able to hear some pretty amazing lyrics. I know I was influenced a great deal by Cohen, Dylan and Mitchell.

Cynthia: What poems either classic or contemporary have most resonated with you and what was it about them that captured you?

Jude: “A Display of Mackerel,” by Mark Doty, is my all time favourite poem. In such few words Doty describes death, singularity and common goals using the example of frozen fish. A perfect poem!

Cynthia: You’ve been a tremendous mentor in the writing community, lifting others up and helping them establish trust and confidence in their unique voices, whether one on one informally, through Pandora’s collective Poetic Pairings, school classroom visits or community workshops. We’re incredibly grateful to have you as this year’s contest judge. What advice do you have for our members composing for Literary Writes?

Jude: Share your poem after you’ve edited it to death, and ask your listener or reader which words or phrases they loved the most. It is really important to have a sounding board, another eye and ear.

I’m so looking forward to receiving this year’s poems. I will treat each one gently!

Cynthia: Thank you so much for your time!

Jude: You’re welcome, it’s been a pleasure.

BC Writers can submit to Literary Writes at this link. The rules are posted here too:

Jude Neale is a Canadian poet, vocalist, retired master teacher, spoken word performer, editor and mentor. She has been shortlisted, highly commended and a finalist for many international and national competitions. Jude has written eight books. Her poetry collection, A Quiet Coming of Light, (Leaf Press) was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Jude’s book Splendid in its Silence (SPM Publications) won publication in London in 2018. As well, in the same year, Jude and Bonnie Nish started an online collaboration which led them to write Cantata in Two Voices (Ekstasis Editions) in fifty challenging days. Her book, A Blooming, was published (Ekstasis Editions) in May 2019 and We Sing Ourselves Back in June, 2019. One of her poems was chosen by Britain’s Poet Laureate to ride the buses on the Channel Islands where she was a featured reader at the Guernsey International Literary festival. Jude’s volume, Impromptu, will be published by Ekstasis Editions and she also will be writer-in-residence at HistoricJoy Kogawa House in 2020.


The Pandora’s Collective Annual Poetry Contest is officially open!

The Pandora’s Collective Annual Poetry Contest is one of the most affordable contests going and your entry fee supports a fabulous outreach organization!

Deadline: January 15, 2020
Winners announced March 1, 2020

​Entry Fees:
$5/poem (or 5 poems for $20)

1st: $100 & publication, 2nd: $50 & publication, 3rd: $25 & publication.
​Publication is for one year, on the Pandora’s Collective website.
This year’s judges are Cynthia Sharp and Trevor Carolan:

Cynthia Sharp is the City of Richmond’s 2019 Writer in Residence. She is a full member of The League of Canadian Poets and The Writers’ Union of Canada and on the executive of the Federation of British Columbia Writers. She’s featured at Word Vancouver, The Simon Fraser University Reading Series, Spoken Ink, Words on Fire in Port Alberni, Poesic Fest in Denver, the Writers Read Series in Toronto and other literary events through North America. Her work has been published and broadcast internationally and is used in classrooms in Canada, the U.S. and Scotland. Poems from her book Rainforest in Russet can be found in journals such as CV2, Lantern Magazine and untethered, among others.

​Trevor Carolan’s work includes many books of non-fiction, poetry, translation, and anthologies, as well as journalism and interviews. He served as literary coordinator for the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, and has been Coordinator of writing and publishing programs at the Banff Centre. He has also worked as media advocate on behalf of Aboriginal land claims and Pacific Coast watershed issues. A former elected Councillor in North Vancouver, he holds a PhD. for studies in Literature, Ecology and ideas of the Sacred in International Relations. His documentary film Cascadia: The Life and Breath of the World features appearances by many distinguished eco-writers. He teaches English and Creative Writing at University of the Fraser Valley, and is Co-editor of Pacific Rim Review of Books. His eco-lit collection Cascadia: The Life and Breath of the World received a Best American Essays Citation in 2013.

You can find out more on the Pandora Outreach Society’s website: Enter Here

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Tiny Tweaks

I don’t worry at all about these types of tiny tweaks when writing, but on later rereads, I consider removing “as though” or “seems” when I can and going for a harder hitting line without it. It’s always a judgement call. In act one of a fantasy or speculative fiction story, “as though” might be necessary to bring the reader and character into a new reality, but whenever I can, I take it out. It was the last tweak in my poem “The Emerald,” which is the name of a rare type of hummingbird, as well as an obvious jewel. This is the unpolished draft with “as though” and below it the final copy. I also made a tiny tweak to reduce a dash to a comma. I like to punctuate grammatically correctly in most of my long poems, depending on the mood and voice of the narrator and how formal I want the piece to be, but I try to avoid periods and semicolons when I can and use dashes and commas for flow. If I can use a comma or dash instead of a period, that’s the way I lean for flow. There’s also the debate of whether or not the end of a line needs a comma. I tend to add them when I’m punctuating the whole piece formally, but it’s always an aesthetic and stylistic choice. Different poems can demand different punctuation of us.

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My Why as a Writer

As writers we’re often asked to find, connect with and know the why behind our projects and practice. It’s a way of keeping them in control and staying true to ourselves and values through all the stages of creation, editing, publishing and marketing. Hermann Hesse captures so well what the dreaming inner nirvana part of the writing process means to me, my why for this lifestyle of meditating with characters and scenes I channel (or create so passionately it feels like channeling when I’m all the way in with them), of writing down dreams, of creating safe spaces in my mind and bringing some of them to the page for others, the real why for the deep inner stories of gentleness that mean the most to me, the meditative state I long to live in. The photo is from the Gaia Wellness Retreat’s Facebook page. What is your why for writing?

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