About life in small-town Eureka Springs, Arkansas,a tourist destination in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Political comment, conversations, opinions and excerpts from writings by Joyce Zeller.
My writer’s group, The Northwest Arkansas
Writers, to whom I owe any success I’ve had being published, held a conference
a few weeks ago, which I attended. There were two things, especially that I
took away. One was from the lecture given by member Dusty Richards, the
foremost writer in the Western Genre today, with over a hundred twenty books to
He was discussing chapters. His first
advice: Never simply end a chapter. Always add a hook, or a sense of what is to
come, so your reader won’t put down the book, but turn the page and continue.
Good advice. Go back and check your work in progress to be sure you did that.
The second advice is really a writing
technique. He says it is his secret to being so successful, but he willingly
shared it:Start each chapter with a
strong sense of place, so the reader knows where he is, but don’t mention the
name of the Point of View Character until you must, for clarity. Use the
pronoun ‘he,’ or ‘she,’ as long as possible before you say the name.
For instance: He looked around and saw unfamiliar landscape, dry, dusty, empty of
life. He was lost.
She felt the sun as the clouds cleared,
revealing the tops of the mountains. Her soul was filled with happiness.
What does this do? It brings your reader into the scene. The reader becomes the
character and starts living the story. When you have your reader truly hooked,
mention the character.
This next comes from member Duke Pennell,
owner of Pen-L Publishing, editor and publisher of the e-magazine, of Frontier
Tales. Duke@Pen-L.com. His advice: What
publisher’s want, is not only someone who has obviously worked to perfect their
writing skills, but someone who is easy
to work with. Make the corrections. Don’t be a drama lemon. Take criticism
gracefully, at least until you’ve carefully considered it. Just might be the
publisher or editor knows more about what is good and what sells than you do.
Second: Remember that, although writing a
book involves creativity and talent, once you’ve sold the book, you’ve become a
businessman, not a writer. Publishing is a business. It means return on
investment. Take it seriously, learn marketing and social media, take your
publisher’s suggestions and do what you can gain readers.