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Friday, 30 March 2012

Writing is about experiences, not just publishing.


Janet McNulty

Many people want to write that novel, but they have no idea how to start or how to complete it.  Another problem many have with writing is the writing craft itself.  Writers always have to improve their writing to avoid falling in a rut. To accomplish my first completed novels I did a few things.

First I took a couple of writing courses.  One was a creative writing course that focused on poetry.  My goal in taking it was to get ideas for stories that I wanted to publish.  It also enabled me to learn about a different kind of writing.  Most of the time I write prose.  But taking a poetry course introduced me to the world of rhyme and meter.  Having to tell a story in a few stanzas that follow a pattern is very challenging.  It forced me to think of a new way to communicate.

The second writing course I took was one the involved learning how to write fiction.  In it I learned to move beyond telling a story and put the reader in the tale with detailed description.  Writing is about more than just putting what is in your head onto paper.  Your reader has to feel as though they are in the story itself.  That is what this class taught me. 

Before writing any novel I do a little bit of research.  Depending on what I want to write determines how much research I do.  For Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice, I ended up researching hauntings.  I knew I wanted something that was a bit different from a typical ghost story, but I wanted to be accurate as well.  Before I wrote the first sentence, I read about hauntings in general.  I even logged onto various blogs to read about people’s personal experiences.  I must have read through hundreds of blogs.  I even visited my local bookstore where I purchased about six books about ghosts, ghost stories, and haunted places.  After weeks of research, I finally felt comfortable enough to begin writing.     

You may be wondering why I bothered doing any research at all since I was writing fiction.  Research is necessary no matter which genre you choose.  Obviously, nonfiction requires research.  But I have found that sometimes when I write fiction, I need to look up a few facts so that my novel will seem believable. 

Last year I published a fantasy novel.  Fantasy is a genre that allows an author an incredible amount of freedom.  But, I still had to do some research for it because I chose to include certain aspects of European myth and lore to build the world of my book.  If you wanted to write a space odyssey, you would want to be informed on modern space technology so that your characters’ exploits seem believable.  The local library is an author’s best friend.

Another way of doing research involves nothing more than observing the people around you.  To accomplish this, you only have to go to your local mall, or just sit in the park.  I routinely observe the habits of people around me even when I am doing my daily errands.  This helps me to develop my characters.  Every person has a unique habit.  I find it a good idea to give my characters certain habits that distinguish them. 

Observe someone while standing in line at the grocery store next time and ask yourself, “How can I put that in a novel?”  This is a part of research that is essential to writing a book.  A good writer is also a good observer.

One of the hardest things about writing anything is juggling life.  Writing for me is a career and a hobby.  I went through college, worked two or three different jobs, all while writing my first novel.  Usually I only had about an hour a day to work on my book.  Sometimes I only managed to spend two hours in one week on it.  All I can say is, life happens.  We have families; we have jobs, all of which require our attention.

The best way to work around this is to just schedule time each week where you can work on your book.  I have a day planner that I keep on my desk next to my computer.  In it I pencil in an hour or two a day that I will sit down and write.  By actually setting up a schedule, it allows me to work on my writing while still having time for the other things in my life.  I am an editor and a consultant with Pampered Chef, both take up a great amount of my time.  But, I make sure to spend a couple of hours each day of actual writing time.  I just have to write it in my planner like I do everything else. 

Writing is a joy and a hobby I love to do.  It helps me unwind and allows me to do something I’ve always wanted to do.  It has allowed me to accomplish my dream of publishing a book.  Now I need to move onto to item number two on my bucket list. 

Genre - Paranormal Mystery/Thriller
Format - Ebook

Purchase Links: Amazon and Barnes and Noble  

Sugar and Spice and not so Nice
Mellow Summers just wanted to go to college and get her film degree. She moved into a furnished apartment with her friend Jackie only to find that it already had a tenant: the ghost of a girl who was murdered a year earlier. Now it is up to Mellow to not only discover who the murderer is, but to prove it as well.

With the help of the ghost Rachel, Mellow sets out to solve the year old mystery. She soon finds out that she may have taken on more than she can handle. Pursued by someone who wants the identity of the killer to remain a secret, Mellow will have to use all her resources to outwit him and help the spirit of Rachel move on.


  1. I enjoyed that!

    What a wonderful post. I found it so informative.

    I think I shall Twitter this!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks Jacqueline. It was good, wasn't it!