Friday, March 28, 2014

"Ten Best Tips I Stole From Other Authors"

A dozen years ago author, Merline Lovelace, gave a presentation to my RWA chapter entitled "Ten Best Tips I Stole From Other Authors". She thanked each contributing author for the tips given in her presentation and written on  handouts she gave to our members. Merline was a gem. I referrred to those tips many times, finding them  to be helpful to me as a beginning writer. Especially did I value the section of her presentation which was about the craft of writing. I replicate here the five tips mentioned on craft for anyone who may be starting out, or perhaps for those authors who may be self-editing their work with an eye on improvement.

#1. Organize Your Research (thanks Margaret Malloy)
       Build a chronology of significant events during time period of your book
        Insert key dates of characters (eg birth, 1st meeting, marraige etc.)
       List key reference material and build your own reference book

#2. Pictures of Hero/Heroine (thanks Maggie Price)
      clip pictures of characters from catalogs or magazines
       Post over your computer for visualizing &  consistency as you work
       send in with your art cover plans/suggestions

#3. Start Where the Action Is (thanks Annie Steinmetz)
      Open your book in the middle of the action
       Write chapters 1,2, & 3. Then throw out chapter 1

#4. Balance the Romance and Action line (thanks Leslie Wainger)
      Writing two stories - the drama and relationship
       Think big, fat braid
       Consider using a plotting chart

#5. Blow something up in chapter 8 (thanks Jayne Ann Krentz)
      Avoid sagging middles. Keep the action moving.
       This is where plotting helps (ie plot bullets for action per chapter}

This blog post is brief by necessity. Declining health this past month leaves me no choice to do otherwise. Perhaps it will spark the memory of their "beginnings" for  some of my AE coleagues or  even give a little aid to others. I hope so.


Susan Oleksiw said...

This is a good list. I admit that I don't do all of them, but I do follow some of them and have a few of my own. I develop a timeline and keep track of how long it takes to get from point a to point b, and how many "interviews" my protagonist can do in eight hours. (Otherwise she's liable to move around like superman.)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Mary,

This is a very helpful list. We all need suggestions and reminders that help us be better writers. Thanks.

Karen McCullough said...

Good suggestions. I'm especially fond of number 5!

Mary Fremont Schoenecker said...

Susan, I'm sure we could all add to the list of tips, but I especially like the "time tracking system'you use. Thanks for sharing and commenting.

Mary Fremont Schoenecker said...

You are so right,Jacquie. We can all benefit from tips for our craft.
I will leave the "thank you"permanently on my website to authors who helped me on my journey.

Mary Fremont Schoenecker said...

I agree with you, Karen!Number 5 is a keeper.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I like number 5. That's akin to throwing in another dead body in the middle of a mystery.

June Shaw said...

Great reminders. Thanks.