Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating Women's History Month

March marks the onset of the celebration of Women's History Month. Starting out as a weeklong celebration, the event expanded to highlight women and their contribution to our country's history.

The purpose of the month-long celebration is to pay tribute to noteworthy and ordinary women and their accomplishments through the generations.

This year marks the 30th year for the National Women's History Project, with a focus on "Writing Women Back Into History."

According to the National Women's History Project, "When we began our work in the early eighties, the topic of women’s history was limited to college curricula, and even there it languished. At that time, less than 3% of the content of teacher training textbooks mentioned the contributions of women and when included, women were usually written in as mere footnotes. Women of color and women in fields such as math, science, and art were completely omitted. This limited inclusion of women’s accomplishments deprived students of viable female role models." (

Today, over 28,300,000 results pop-up when Googling, "Women's History Month." With the help of groups, writers, museums, unions, the military, women's programs, and more, women are being written back into history at rapid rates.

We believe at Women Writing the West, we are a part of the ongoing effort to continue writing women into the history books. The following blogs and websites are proof we stand behind Women's History Month. Take a minute to check out something we are truly passionate about.

Cynthia Becker is posting all month at:
Kathleen Earnst can be found at:
Lori Orser invites you to:
Doris McCraw will have weekly postings at: and an interview at:

Be sure to leave your comments. We love to hear from our readers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To Compare or Not to Compare?

There are a lot of do's and don'ts when it comes to writing query letters. Sometimes you'll see the suggestion that you should compare your book to another one that is out there, or your writing to a popular writer. I know they suggest this for marketing purposes, but I've never done it. For one thing, what if the agent or editor to which you are querying doesn't like the book or the writer you are comparing your work to? What they really want to know is the audience you are writing for, so you might say, "I believe my book will appeal to readers who enjoy Mary Higgins Clark," etc.

In The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists, Bill Pronzini is quoted as saying: "Always do your own work. Never try to imitate favorite or bestselling authors. Never follow current trends; what is a hot topic today may well be ice cold by the time a novel is written and submitted for publication. Imitators are seldom successful. An individual's unique style and vision are what editors are looking for."

So don't try to write the next Harry Potter series. You couldn't possibly improve on it anyway. Don't tell the agent that your friends call you "the new Louis L'Amour," unless you want to brighten their day with a lot of laughter. Just write the story that is in your heart and write it in your own unique voice. Will they like your story? There is no way of knowing. But I do know one thing: you can't put your soul into another writer's vision.