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  • 18 Feb 2021 8:07 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)
    by Sandra Yeaman, SDWEG Webmaster Emeritus

    This is the fourth in a series of posts to address common issues I have found in manuscripts with my suggestions for how to improve them before turning them over to agents, editors, and the many other individuals involved in the process of turning a manuscript into a book.


    Because some numbers, when spelled out, require hyphens, I often see hyphens in numbers where they don’t belong, usually because of the confusion between the general rule for spelling out numbers and the rules for using hyphens in compound modifiers. Below is a general rule for spelling numbers with hyphens and some specific rules for writing out numbers as times, fractions, and prices.

    General rule: A hyphen must separate the two words representing numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine. At least for now. Given the nature of commonly hyphenated words eventually becoming spelled as single words over time, this may change. Numbers representing multiples of ten do not require hyphens since they are single words.

    Hours of the day rule #1: No hyphen is needed between the hour and the minute when writing out times of the day unless the spelled-out time is used as a compound modifier. The minute may need a hyphen if it is spelled with two words.

    I have a meeting on the fourth Monday of every month at five thirty. (no hyphen between the hour and the minute)

    My five-thirty meeting doesn’t usually begin until five forty-five. (hyphen between the hour and minute needed because it is a compound modifier and hyphen in forty-five because that is how it is spelled)

    Hours of the day rule #2: No hyphen is needed between the hour and the word o’clock, because o’clock is usually only used with the hour and none of the hours between one and twelve require hyphens. When using a twenty-four hour clock, numerals are used.

    The meeting was scheduled for three o’clock.

    Hours of the day rule #3: No hyphen is needed when citing a time using a half or a quarter hour unless used in a compound modifier.

    The meeting started fifteen minutes late, at a quarter after three, because one of the key presenters hadn’t arrived.

    Fraction Rule #1: A hyphen is needed when writing out fractions whether they are used as nouns or modifiers.

    Reduce the amount of time to bake by one-half. (a fraction used as a noun, the object of the preposition)

    The recipe called for one-half cup of milk. (a fraction used as a modifier)

    Fraction Rule #2: No hyphen is needed when writing out a whole number and a fraction together unless the combination is used as a compound modifier.

    I walked three and three-quarters miles yesterday. (the number and fraction used as a simple modifier)

    My three-and-three-quarter-mile walk took me just over an hour. (the number and fraction used as a compound modifier with the noun mile)

    Price Rule: No hyphen is needed when writing out prices unless the numbers require a hyphen to be spelled correctly or if the numbers are part of a compound modifier.

    I paid a dollar and seventy-five cents for a pastry at the bakery. (Seventy-five requires the hyphen because that’s how it is spelled.)

    That dollar-and-seventy-five-cent pastry was the best I have tasted in years. (The full cost needs to be hyphenated because it is a compound modifier of pastry.)

    Whenever I edit the work of someone else, I look closely at every hyphen to see if it is necessary. For times, fractions, and prices, the above rules apply. In other cases of hyphens between words, I check the dictionary or determine if the hyphenated words form a compound, multiple-word modifier.

    Sandra YeamanSandra Yeaman retired from the US Department of State in 2007 after 23 years as a Foreign Service Officer. As a management officer, she served at US embassies in Qatar, Barbados, Moldova, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Madagascar, Zambia, and Eritrea. In addition, she served in consular positions in Germany and Barbados and previously taught English as a Foreign Language in Iran and Romania.

    She is familiar with Arabic, Farsi, German, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. Her experiences overseas brought her in touch with underserved minorities and religious groups out of favor with the current government. These experiences provide her with a sensitivity in her writing and editing not easily attained by others.

    These changes in environment and cultures challenged her notion of what success is. What made it possible for her to thrive in the midst of the change is the solid foundation she received in her childhood years in northern Minnesota.

    Since retirement, Sandra has been writing her story and her journey from a young woman seeking adventure to a mature woman who found her mission. She hopes to complete her novel in 2021 and looks forward to gaining the expertise in the full range of pre-publication book preparation and marketing.

    Sandra's Website

  • 17 Feb 2021 6:01 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Four partner organizations, San Diego Public Library, La Jolla Historical Society, Write Out Loud, and San Diego Writers, Ink present the San Diego Decameron Project.

    Members of our San Diego community were invited to submit previously unpublished fiction or nonfiction narratives of 1,000 words or less loosely themed around the current pandemic. The 100 winners of the San Diego Decameron Project will have their stories posted on the 4 partner websites beginning February 16th  2021. The top 10 most compelling stories will be read by Write Out Loud actors and presented in a Virtual Presentation on February 26th along with a panel discussion with the top authors hosted by KPBS art and culture reporter Beth Accomando. Sign up to receive free access to the ceremony at

  • 14 Feb 2021 6:47 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe

    What is creativity? To find out, we can pursue two avenues. On the one hand, we can follow a systematic, methodical mode of rational thought. On the other hand, the search can be approached irrationally or non-logically, a non-linear mode of thought.

    On the rational side, we begin with words. To form a description of creativity, we need a vocabulary. Or do we? Here, the right brain (the non-rational side) kicks in and challenges the left's (or rational side's) attempt at analysis. Is part of the essence of creativity beyond definition? If this is the case, can we think (and thus experience creativity) without words?

    Are language and the naming of things equivalent to thinking? According to Webster, to think means "to have the mind occupied on some subject; to judge; to intend; to imagine, to consider" and "to believe." Can we imagine without imaging something? Can we believe without believing something? Prior to naming things, is man thinking?

    Thinking involves knowing, and what follows is the possibility that knowing does not need an image. Perhaps to know requires that we recognize how much we do not know. To paraphrase St. Thomas: "The more that I know, the more I know how little I know." Etymology or the study of the derivation of words can assist and enhance our search for the origin of thought. The word "recognize," for example, comes from "re" (again) andcognosere (Latin, meaning 'to know'). Thus, if we recognize something, it is because we knew it before. But when did we begin to know? And, therefore, when did we begin to think, since thinking and knowing are mutually supporting? Again, we look at words. How do we "know," understand, and "recognize" (know again) the following words: love, hate, envy? These are words, but they aren't objects; they cannot be visualized. They come from within. These are called emotions. Our primitive ancestors probably anthropomorphized word pictures to express feelings; adjectives came later.

    Metaphor pairs two images thrown into relief but intact, each unto itself. There is a definite psychological mechanism used in the processing of a metaphor. "Metaphor is probably the most fertile power possessed by man," wrote Jose Ortega Gassetin in 1948. For Ortega, life was an intense dialogue between oneself and one's environment. "Things are not me and I am not things: we are mutually transcendent, but both are immanent in thatabsolute coexistence, which is life." (Unas lecciones de metafisica, (1966) "Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia—I am I and my circumstances." Metaphor transcends the obvious and the visual; it translates man's relation to his environment on another level—a "transcendent," unique, or creative level.

    Another linguistic aspect of creativity might be observed in Descartes' definition of the essence of man: "Je pense, donc je suis" (I think; therefore, I am) which occurs in his Discourse on Method (1637). Philosophical thought expresses both the potential and the limitations of human knowledge. It demands that we attempt to think beyond reality.

    But how did man jump from naming names to 'understanding' them, from depicting observed images on the walls of a cave to developing philosophical insight? The answer, I believe, occurred when we became conscious of the difference between us and other; when we understood that we were 'seeing' this or that and we were somehow involved with what was "out there." Could it be that our awareness of ourselves in the world as other than the objects came before words? If so, the words, even the painted images, followed thought. And if this is so, thought comes before words. Man can think without words. I am; therefore, I think. So, the depiction of what we observed and the development of a language to express our relationship with the observed were preceded by something beyond words.

    The root of the word imagination, is image. To imagine something in the mind's eye, we must have seen it in the "outside" world. The object is on the outside; the thought of the object is on the inside. However, the two sides are not separate. Sensations follow the same logic. We can feel/hear/see/smell; there is no hearing without sound, no sense-perception without an object to provoke it. Again, it is a question of the person knowing that he knows, being aware that he is aware. First there is the thought and then there is the thing. The inevitable question follows: If there were no thought of it, would the object not be there? Is an object/sensation a thing unto itself without a person's perception of it? Does thought exist before words?

    Science can contribute facts; however, the philosopher (from Latin, philos, meaning "loving," and Sophos, meaning "wise") in his wide intellectual pursuit knows no boundaries.

    The word 'create' means to bring forth something new as an artistic or intellectual invention. The moment preceding the act of spontaneous creativity has been described many ways. Dancer Isadora Duncan called it a "state of complete suspense." This non-verbal excitement, dreamlike, vague, and ambiguous is also experienced in the other arts: painting, writing, music, and sculpting. Author and poet Stephen Spender expressed it succinctly and pointedly as "a dim cloud of an idea, which I feel must be condensed into a shower of words." In painting, I have often experienced what Cezanne described as "an iridescent chaos" when the painting and I compete for dominance. Paint stroke by paint stroke, the colors sit up on the canvas, and the adventure begins as I attempt to come to an agreement (or image) while the painting seems to have a mind of its own. This sounds like nonsense, but for me it sets in motion my subconscious. Mesmerized, I watch as something new manifests itself on the canvas before my bewildered eyes. The same happens in creative writing, when the words take over and I am amazed.

    But it is the art of music that represents a plane of consciousness beyond form and epitomizes creativity at its most abstract and pure state. In its acoustical and physical manifestation, music is imbued with mathematics. Pythagoras (c. 582 B.C. - 497 B.C.) was considered an early "scientist" and was thought to be the originator of the theory of harmonics. Fascinated with numbers and their manifestations as chords, Pythagoras is supposed to have "cured" his ailing disciples by playing music. In ancient times, music was inseparable from science mainly because of its source, mathematics. Recent studies have shown that the music of Mozart strengthens the neural connections that underline mathematical thought. So, the ancients were on to something after all. The etymology of "mathematics" is from the Greek mathema, meaning what is learned. Perhaps this should convince us of music as a source of creativity outside of the visible but well within the norm of analysis?

    Digging into the consciousness, letting loose associations and the confines of sequential constraints and expressing an ah-ha moment or creative vision is not confined to the artist. Were it not for the free ranging of his imagination, Einstein could never have formulated his laws of relativity. It was in a dream, he said, that he "discovered" the basis of his insight into relativity. "Inspiration," he wrote, "is more important than knowledge." The free-roaming mind allows the scientist to "discover" things he surely would miss if he were locked into pure rationality.

    To summarize, "creativity" may be viewed in this new age of fiber optics and cyberspace as an oddity, half-feared and half-distrusted but surreptitiously peeking its head out, demanding attention. The sixth sense needs to be heeded. Perhaps that is the most important function, the goal of the artist, to "transport the mind in experience past the guardians—desire and fear—to the...rapture of seeing in a single hair 'a thousand golden lions' (Joseph Campbell). As Alfred North Whitehead concluded,

    "Nature is a structure of evolving processes. The reality is the process." And equally, understanding creativity is itself a "process." Answers are not required!


    Literary Lady, Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe, is an Author, Artist and Speaker. Patricia has written ten books:  MIAMI'S YESTER' YEARS, Its Forgotten Founder Locke Tiffin Highleyman;   NATURE'S WISDOM (a collection of short stories about animals, the high seas, and nature);   A CRUEL CALM, Paris Between the Wars (historical fiction);   MYTH MAGIC AND METAPHOR, A Journey into the Heart of Creativity;   ALL ALONE, Washington to Rome; LA JOLLA, A Celebration of Its Past;   HISTORIC TALES OF LA JOLLA;   PATRIOT PRIEST, A Personal Perspective of History from WWI, WWII to the Vatican; HELEN HOLT, Memoir of a Servant Leader; and HORSE TALES, Teddy and Just'n Come to an Understanding.

        The La Jolla book was the Winner of the San Diego Books Awards in 2002. A Cruel Calm, the Finalist Award, 2013 won First Prize for historical fiction Royal Dragonfly Book Award. Named ‘Author of the Year 2016-2017’ by IAOTP (International Association of Top Professionals) and ‘Lifetime of Achievement and Success’ in 2017.

    Patricia is the past President of the National League of American Pen Women-La Jolla Branch and later President of the Washington, DC Branch. In 2007, Patricia was speaker for the National Capital District 36 Toastmasters 2007 Spring Conference. Her presentation was titled 'The Power of Words'. The Special Achievement Award was presented to Patricia Daly-Lipe for participation in the 2009 "Golden Nib" Contest and an award of second place in poetry for "A Poetic Meditation".

    Patricia has written for the Evening Star Newspaper in Washington, DC, the Beach and Bay Press including La Jolla Village News in California, and The Georgetowner and Uptowner Newspapers in Washington, DC as well as several magazines across the country.

    Her presentations have covered all aspects of writing for literary groups as well as colleges and universities.

    In her "spare" time, Patricia has been rescuing thoroughbred horses. In the late '70s and '80s, she raised, raced and showed them.

  • 14 Feb 2021 6:41 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    The San Diego Public Library has announced the opening of the 2020 Local Author Showcase, which includes the 2020 SDWEG Anthology and many outstanding works from member authors. 

    Visit the online showcase to view all the excellent books written by San Diego Authors now on display.

    To view the showcase, click on the link below. (add button with link -

    Library Staff is currently adding the books for circulation, books will be available to check out once this process has been completed. Please check back often.


  • 14 Feb 2021 6:37 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville, NC, is sponsoring our Annual Poetry Contest, open to any writer regardless of residence. The awards are:

     1ST Place:  Your choice of a 2 night stay at our Mountain Muse B&B in Asheville; or 3 free workshops online; or 10 poems line-edited and revised by our editorial staff

    2nd Place: Two free workshops; or 8 poems line-edited

    3rd Place:  One free workshop, or 5 pages line-edited

    10 Honorable Mentions


    Deadline: Postmarked by March 30, 2021


    All work must be unpublished. Each poem should not exceed two pages. Multiple entries are accepted. Your name, address, phone email and title of work should appear on the first page. The entry fee is $25 for every 3 poems. All entries receive comments from the judges.

    Enclose self-sealing SASE for comments and winners' list, and mail to: Poetry Contest, 387 Beaucatcher Road, Asheville, NC  28805.

    Emailed submissions may be sent to with "Poetry Contest" in the subject. Entry fee is payable online at

  • 14 Feb 2021 6:35 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Sunspot Literary Journal is seeking articles and essays on working in any creative form. See the full guidelines for examples of the kinds of works we’re interested in.

    Payment: $0.01 per word ($50 US maximum per piece) when published.
    Open: January 1, 2021
    Close: October 31, 2021
    To submit, visit


    Thank you, as always, for all that you do for the creative community!


  • 13 Feb 2021 12:41 PM | Leon Lazarus (Administrator)

    Hindsight is a collection of stories about 2020, written by people just like you. The publication seeks nonfiction stories from around the world that capture what it was like to wake up every day to a new normal — whether that means navigating emergencies as a first responder or tying the knot over Zoom. They are particularly interested in material that gets up close and personal with the struggles of 2020, rather than headlines or commentary on current events.

    Hindsight is an independent, one-time publication. Content will be made available in two forms: Some stories will be shared on our website; the very best submissions will be compiled into a print anthology, which will be published in 2021.

    Submission fee: None

    Length: Up to 2,000 words

    Deadline: Rolling

    Compensation: Writers whose work is selected for the print anthology will receive a complimentary hard copy of the book, as well as a digital file.

    To learn more, please visit:

  • 11 Jan 2021 10:46 PM | Anonymous

    There’s a saying among writers that there is nothing new, all writing is just a spinoff from an earlier story, or idea, or writing, and there is some truth to that. Writers often incorporate not only a feel of previously created work, but specific reference to them. The characters in a book may perform a Shakespearean play, some hit song may be playing on the radio, a well-known poem may be hanging on a protaganist’s wall. There are unending varieties of these references.

    How much can you reference someone else’s work, however, before it become plagiarism or copyright infringement? There are legal guidelines that can help you navigate this quandary.

    What is a copyright?

    Copyright is the exclusive right to print, publish, perform, and otherwise use literary, artistic, or musical material. Certain rights automatically exist as soon as the material is created. For example, if you are an artist, as soon as you are finished with the painting, you own a copyright to that painting.

    The material must be fixed in a tangible form before it has any copyright protection. For example, humming a tune doesn’t provide any copyright protection. However, if you write the tune down on paper, then you have a copyright on it.

    Copyright protections do not apply to ideas, and do not protect names or short phrases.

    Default copyright protections exist whether or not you mark them on the work. Placing the notation “Copyright” and the date and owner is a good idea, it puts people on notice that you are claiming copyright protection of something, but that marking in and of itself does not create the rights.

    Copyright protection lasts for the life of the author or creator for their entire life, plus 70 years.

    In order to get more expanded legal protections, including statutory damages for infringement of copyright, you can register your work with the U.S. Copyright office.

    Avoiding copyright infringement?

    When a person holds a copyright to some literary, artistic, or musical material, they hold the exclusive rights to use it. Infringement is the action of someone else using copyrighted material without your permission.

    When you are the one using someone else’s copyrighted work, even if it’s just a small portion of a larger work, start with the assumption that you are infringing unless (1) you have permission; or (2) you are engaged in “fair use” of the material.

    Permission is easy, at least in concept. Say you are an author and you want to quote the lyrics to a song in your novel. You can contact the person who wrote the song, or the company that holds the rights to it (look at the copyright notice on your recording or sheet music) and ask for permission, explaining how you intend to use it. They may agree outright, they may agree for a fee, or they may not agree. One way or another, you will have an explicit understanding as to whether you can legally use it or not.

    I know it seems like permission might be a costly process, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind that referencing their work in your own might give them expanded reach for their own work, especially if you are willing to acknowledge the source and maybe even include a URL or hyperlink to the original source. Good for you, good for them. Obviously, they want to see the context in which their work is being referenced and, if it isn’t flattering, they may not agree.

    “Fair use” is another way you can use someone else’s copyrighted material without being guilty of infringement. “Fair use” is defined by law as use of someone else’s copyrighted work “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” (17 U.S.C. § 107). If you are writing an article discussing a pop artist’s recent song release and talk about the opening line of the song (and you quote it) evokes a feeling of nostalgia for the 1950s, etc., you are commenting on it, not infringing. If, however, you are writing a novel and your protagonist sings a song to his love interest that is, verbatim, the lyrics of a popular love song, you are most likely engaged in copyright infringement. Simply crediting the source is not enough for “fair use;” you must be engaged in one of the defined purposes.

    When a court, or the copyright owners and their lawyers before them, consider whether a certain use infringes on a copyright, the following four factors are considered for a “fair use” analysis:

    1. The purpose and character of the use, importantly whether it is a commercial use or something else.
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work.
    3. The amount of the copyrighted work that you used in your project, whether it is the bulk of the copyrighted material or just a fragment.
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.

    Remember that as a writer you probably don’t want to get to this level of analysis. You are a writer, rework your piece to not infringe. If you really think you need to include copyrighted material and can’t easily get permission or feel confident you fall within the definition of “fair use,” talk to a lawyer. Don’t wait until your book is published before fixing this issue.

    Final thoughts

    As a writer, you should be relying on your own creativity, not simply piecing together other people’s creativity. Have pride in your ability to create something new. However, if reference to other people’s creations would be helpful to your work, keep the references short and fragmental. The title of a song, a line or two of lyrics, these are fairly safely not copyright infringement. When it doubt, rewrite or get permission.


    Melody A. Kramer freelance writer and licensed attorney. This article is not intended as legal advice for any specific client matter and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any readers. 

  • 2 Jan 2021 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    With a new year and new enthusiasm, the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild is pleased to announce a new facelift. We have reimagined and recreated our website to reflect our enthusiasm for the writing and editing community in San Diego.

    Check it out and let us know how we can help you!

  • 1 Jan 2021 7:21 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Write Out Loud (WOL) and the San Diego Central Library present Listen to This: Short Stories Read Aloud. Every Tuesday, readings of favorite classic and modern stories written by the world's best writers, and recommended by Library staff, are performed by professional WOL actors. This program is part of WOL's popular Listen to This program where new stories are released daily for the community to enjoy. Join their growing local and international listenership and receive your free daily story.

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