Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Writing Information

Some of you may know that I write for Sandra Sookoo's Front Porch Saturday every second Saturday of the month. Yesterday I posted "Gossip and Genealogy--Mutually Exclusive". Does genealogy relate to writing? Where do you think many of my characters and situations come from? You'll have to scroll down, since the regular Sunday post is already up, but you might find an idea or two.
Now to the business at hand for this week: sharing information on writing. This week's hints come from the June 2012 issue of The Writer. Founded in 1887, it's still relevant for writers today. If you subscribe, you also receive weekly web updates like a writing prompt and additional instructional articles.

Lisa Shearin discusses "When writing a novel, how much research is too much?" The answer, of course, depends on the genre of the piece and whether or not you're writing about real places and things. I tend to err on the side of caution because I want to get it right. Even if only one reader finds an error in what I've written, that's one reader too many. I find travel brochures as well as online websites great resources for describing a setting correctly, especially if I've never been there. (And if I have, relying on my memory isn't always the best idea, so I double-check facts!)

Monte Schulz advises interspersing setting with dialogue in an interesting list of "5 Rules to Write By" on page 9. That advice hit home with me because dialogue is what I do best, and I often have to remind myself to set it up in place and time. 

In "The Amazing Disappearing Essential Ingredient", John Jakes (Kent Chronicles, North and South) opines the importance of characters which endure beyond plot. Oddly enough, when I reflect on my own novels, I may have to look up a piece of the plot, but the characters remain part of me forever--perhaps because I "gave birth" to them. 

Finally, freelance writer Howard Scott writes "Sell Books the Old-Fashioned Way" and shares how he managed to sell 27,000 copies of what he describes as a "small niche (self-published) book" through independent book stores. Most writers dream of seeing their books shelved neatly in a bookstore--and we all want to sell more! 

Even if you don't want to subscribe to a writing magazine, check your local library to see what's in their periodical section--and suggest The Writer to them if it's not there. I lend my copies to friends with the understanding they come back home. I might even share a copy with you by mail--if you put up an arm and a leg and maybe even your first-born as collateral! 

Disclaimer: I receive no remuneration of any kind when I recommend a book or periodical on this blog.
New in 2012: The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall (Champagne Books,, eBook only, as Gwyneth Greer, $5.99) A tale of buried family secrets and revenge
Dancing with Velvet (The Wild Rose Press,, print and eBook, as Judy Nickles, $14.99 and$4.99) A story of love and loss and survival in World War II

Read the first chapters free at

1 comment:

K9friend said...

Fabulous tidbits, Judy. Thanks for sharing.

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