The Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing Coach SM
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. Writing is WORK
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings, and actions. We are an interactive community of authors and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge, skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre, but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing information.
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript, and are provided to the general public. Because we are an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month features an anagram for capturing the thought that writing involves WORK.
3. Writing is WORK
I love anagrams. These mnemonic devices help us remember larger bits of information. Let’s face it—writing is W-O-R-K. I’ve included a description of each letter as relates to the subject of writing.
W is for Will Power: To stay with the big dogs you’ve got to plan ahead and think big. Those of you who’ve faced rejection know that thick skin is needed in the writing business. Those who write for small audiences will remain small in their craft. If you intend to publish your book you’ve got to know the landscape and that includes the good and bad agents. A bad agent can set you back years after a promise of publishing your next American novel. There are many websites and literary publications that can help you avoid picking a bad agent. Know that rejection does not mean that your writing is not worthy of publication. It simply means that the competition is extremely tough for first-time authors given a shrinking market for novels and the declining profit margins for major publishing houses. Jeff Herman’s “A Guide to Literary Agents and Publishers” is an excellent resource for targeting your query letters to the right agent. This is updated annually and can be found in most book stores.
O is for Organization: I’ve talked to writers who say they just sit at their computer and compose. Even they don’t know where the story is going and their excuse is that they want to “create” a story rather than “tell” a story. Any good storyteller (or preacher) has a beginning, middle, and ending. Even in action thrillers and mysteries the protagonist arrives on the scene in the first view pages. Something happens to thwart his/her quest for solving the riddle, puzzle, murder, etc. and the middle part of your story is set against a background that builds tension. Some insignificant event or series of events “hooks” the reader in wanting to know more and who will win in this all out battle of good versus bad or protagonist (or hero) versus the antagonist (or villain). The drama should build to a crescendo towards the last fourth of your story and leave the reader breathless, speechless, or incredulous, if your story is truly inspiring with its characters, pacing, scenery, action shifts, and subplots.
R is for Resourceful: Writing requires research. If you’re going to use the island of Bermuda as a backdrop for your story, you’d better know Bermuda. The people who live where you’re writing about are your toughest audience and you want those who haven’t lived there to experience a sense of place as if they’d lived there for a long time. I typically begin my research for a book about six months prior to writing the first word. I keep articles, books, Internet dialogue, and try to visit a place at least two weeks if I’m going to write about it. Most of my books are updates from my childhood experiences of living on location for two to three years. Georgia, Bermuda, Texas, and Mexico are places I’m familiar with the people, language, and culture. Authenticity is critical to putting your reader in the scene.
K is for Knowledge: Attend workshops, critique groups, writer’s forums, and writing seminars at every opportunity. There is no substitute for knowledge. Although writing is a creative process, it follows a linear formula and there are excellent “How To” writing books. Robert McKee’s, Story, Harper & Collins, 1997, is an excellent book on screenwriting. Another resource book is The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Boy Mayer, Writer’s Digest Books, 2003. The art of writing is a developed (learned) skill that requires knowledge, in addition to talent and ability.
1. Attend a writing class for at least six weeks. Network with other writers in the class.
2. Look up writing seminars offered at your local community college or university. Talk to the instructor about auditing the class.
3. Pick your favorite author and look at the acknowledgement page and find out who his/her agent is and look them up on the Internet or Jeff Herman's book on Literary Agents and Publishers.
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Keith Barton, Ph.D.
(c) Copyright 2010 A. Keith Barton, Ph.D.
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The Writer's Connection SM Mission:
The Writer's Connection SM is dedicated to helping first-time authors create their first manuscript for publication and to offer an exchange of ideas and opinions from our readers who might be interested in becoming authors.
The Writer's Connection™ is a publication of The Virtual Writing Coach and Keith Barton, Ph.D. and a registered trademark.
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About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach and is accepting new clients. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in executive development, founded and managed Texas Community Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home services to persons with mental retardation, and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest Houston since 1990. He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate interest in helping others become attuned to their creative powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family therapy and health psychology. He has published articles, made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality
Copyright by Virtual Writing Coach and Keith Barton, 2001-2010.