November 30, 2016

The Reader as Chump

By Elena Santangelo

Watching political ads this year has put me in a mood to discuss deception and manipulation.

If Agatha Christie had written campaign ads for Wendell Wilkie, FDR would never have won in 1940. She was an absolute master at deceiving her readers. She'd tell you almost right out who the murderer was in the first chapter, then have a grand time strewing misleading clues and outright lies in your path. At the denouement, her readers frantically flip back to the beginning, and, voila, there's the main clue, now seeming to blink in neon light. A sore forehead is a symptom of a Christie fan, because you can't help smacking yourself when she tricks you.

Another excellent study in the placement of clues is the movie "The Sixth Sense." I can't say more without giving it away. If you saw it, you know what I mean. If not, treat yourself. Put padding on your forehead first.

The difference between mystery writers who can achieve the "Why didn't I see that?" reaction and those who can't is sheer chutzpah. Many writers I know are afraid to plant an obvious clue. Maybe they're thinking in terms of giving the reader a nice puzzle to solve. I have nothing against puzzles. One of the main reasons I buy a Sunday paper is for the crosswords and sudokus. (The other? The comics.) And I have a closet full of jigsaw puzzles that I piece together during the winter months.

Still, as much as mystery readers love solving puzzles, they also love matching wits with the detective. Hardcore mystery readers tend to be intelligent and savvy. If we writers don't send our readers off after red herrings--if we don't come right out and lie to divert attention--our sleuths may end up looking pretty stupid.

But unlike politicians, if we're going to deliberately mislead the reader, we have to play fair. We have to show the solution or the path to the solution early on. And frankly, once I plant that obvious clue, I have all the more fun being deceptive through the rest of the story.

Learn to lead a merry chase and your readers will love you. Be daring.

Don't forget to vote. And don't believe anything you hear.
Elena Santangelois the author of the Twins Mystery Series and the Possessed Mystery Series, including the novel BY BLOOD POSSESSED, which was nominated for an Agatha Award. Her armchair companion to Agatha Christie's short stories, DAME AGATHA'S SHORTS, won the Agatha for Best Nonfiction. She's also published numerous short stories, and co-edited six anthologies of short fiction. Writing under E.A. Santangelo, she's the author of YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER: The World War II Journal of Joseph B. Chicco, a biography and history of  life on a light cruiser in the South Pacific in 1945. She's a proud founding member of Delaware Valley Sisters in Crime. You can follow Elena at these links: Website:  Amazon 
Twitter:  Goodreads:

November 29, 2016


by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

Perhaps you've heard of (or played) a game called "Fortunately/Unfortunately".  It's been around since the 80s, although I only learned of it recently. Apparently I travel in the wrong playgroups.

This verbal game requires nothing more than people to play it. You simply take turns making up a story, alternating sentences with the first words "fortunately" and "unfortunately".  For example:

"Fortunately, I won a trip to Paris."
"Unfortunately, my car had a flat tire on the way to the airport."
"Fortunately, a friend picked me up and I made it just in time."
"Unfortunately, I forgot my ticket."
...and so on.

It's a creative way to fill time, like on a long car ride.  It's also good exercise for both sides of the brain, since logic and imagination must work together in order to keep the game going.

But this concept has even greater possibilities for a writer.  Isn't "fortunately/unfortunately" the pattern followed by the classic stories?  For example:

The Wizard of Oz
(skipping ahead to the good parts:)

Fortunately, a good witch gives Dorothy magic shoes to protect her.
Unfortunately, a wicked witch wants the magic shoes.
Fortunately, the Wizard of Oz can help Dorothy return home to Kansas.
Unfortunately, it's a long walk to the Emerald City.
Fortunately, there's a yellow brick road to guide her.
Unfortunately, she gets lost at a crossroad.
Fortunately, she meets a scarecrow who points the way.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have a brain.
...and so on.

Following this pattern of "I have good news and bad news", the audience enjoys a roller coaster of ups and downs to keep things interesting.  And, as I elaborated on in a previous post, it's helpful if the writer knows how it's all going to end so that each scene furthers the plot in the proper direction.

It's not uncommon for a writer to insert several "unfortunatelys" between each "fortunately". Problem may pile upon problem before a reprieve temporarily breaks the tension.  This is especially common in a dark tale or an action drama.

image of Firefox's crash message
I get this a lot (bad news/good news from Firefox).
And the "unfortunately" doesn't always have to be the direct antithesis to what comes before. It can be something completely unpredictable that turns everything on a dime. Who would have anticipated that a cyclone would interfere with Dorothy's running away from home?  Any roadblock to the overall goal can do the trick.

Just as when playing the game itself, allow your imagination to come up with fortunately/unfortunately scenarios spontaneously and without overthinking.  Let the muse do the work, and in no time at all you could have a working outline for your next novel.

November 28, 2016

Dream of Writing

By Lucy Nel

You dream about being a writer, but you’ve got so much going on at the moment that you’re overwhelmed. You’re not sure if it’s even possible to write one chapter, much less an 80k novel when life is so full of demands.

It’s possible. Not necessarily easy, but absolutely possible.

For me, it all comes down to priorities. I had to shift my attention. I had to stop focusing on all the hours I don’t have to write that other writers might enjoy. I had to take what I have and make it work for me.

I work full-time, putting in around nine hours daily. After work I rush to pick up my adorable son. More rushing happens. Preparing and putting a reasonably healthy meal on the table. Spending some quality time with my hubby and toddler. Since becoming a mother, my priorities changed again. Sleep became a savored but interrupted occurrence. By the time my son falls asleep I’m usually wiped out and left with morsels of time and energy. If I go to bed after midnight, I’m unable to be human in the morning without ridiculous amounts of caffeine. Getting up an hour earlier was like milking a rock. Impossible. But, I really wanted to pursue this writing thing, and the characters in my head refused to shut up. I had to come up with a solution. I now arrive at work half an hour earlier, and that’s my writing time. Thirty minutes every morning, Monday to Friday leaves me with over two hours of writing.

I’m not going to lie. Writing takes an incredible amount of discipline. Most writers don’t have an accountability system in place (and even if they do, it’s normally extremely flexible). Usually there’s no one breathing down your neck to finish your first draft. If you don’t protect your writing time, no one else will. If you don’t shift and change your priorities to fit in some writing, no one will be bothered.

I can guarantee you that few things in the world fill you with quite the same satisfaction as when you write those two magical words, “The End”.
Lucy Nel is a coffee addicted work-in-progress daughter of the Lord Almighty. She's a mommy to a rambunctious toddler and wife to her best friend and real-life hero. Along with three spoiled Pugs, they make their home in Gauteng, the smallest of nine provinces in South Africa. She works as a bookkeeper and uses every available second to create interesting characters in historical settings.She's a member of American Christian Fiction and her dream came true when she recently signed a contract with Pelican Book Group for her Christmas themed novella, The Widow's Captive. Follow me on TwitterVisit me at PinterestFind me on Facebook

November 25, 2016


By Debra Holt

Wouldn’t it be great if there was one tried and true method, one foolproof blueprint for all new writers to follow in order to have instant success with your writing career?  Lovely pipe dream! One certainty in writing is that each writer must find their own path and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. 

After being at this business of writing and publishing for six years now, I can say that I came in blind to the process.  I am still a novice in many ways, and take every advantage to learn each day.  What I do learn, I always try to pass on to other fledgling authors.  That being said, I can share these tips that never steer me wrong and might help reinforce what you probably already know but need reminding of now and then.

One basic tenet never changes…Write what YOU love to read. I think writers tend to really go off track when they get away from this truth. If you can’t love your story, then why expect it of anyone else?  Write something EVERY day…whether you feel like it or not.  It should become a daily habit and that only strengthens your writing abilities. TRUST your gut instinct. You will have many opinions come your way…some positive, some negative, some helpful, and some detrimental. You know your story the best. You know what you are comfortable changing or adding…and you know what box not to force your characters into for someone else.

Learn to say no….and to speak up for your story.  That being said… do keep an open mind to other possibilities in your writing. I was determined to publish traditionally… obtain an agent; publish with “professionals.”  I have done that. I can say that my mind has opened and I am looking into indie-publishing a couple of my books also.  In this day and time, both are acceptable.  Authors are taking more and more control over their own destinies in the publishing world. That is a good thing!

Remember the basic beginning foundation to all writing is simple… is this your hobby or your career? If it is a career goal for you, then you must always treat it as such and give it the importance and care it deserves. Writing is serious business.  It is also to be enjoyable. Finding that balance is essential.  Others will only take your writing as seriously as you do.  You need to gather a good support team around you…family, friends, and colleagues.  It is important to have those you trust who can be relied upon to give you good, honest critiques.  No one will do you any favor by always telling you how wonderful you are each and every time.  Our writing can only grow when we are open to fine-tuning and sharpening our skills.

Writing is a wild adventure. You never know where it will take you next. Chart your course and good luck!
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra Holt grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers.  Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!)  Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!)  When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  She read her first romance...Janet Dailey's Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances,  is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles...and all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.  Debra invites you to visit her website at  She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at  Twitter is and Facebook at  Her latest sweet romance Claiming The Maverick’s Heart is out this week on Amazon, published by LPC/Bling Romance

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving is a Treasure Trove of Dialogue

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy your meal with family and friends. 

It's actually one of my favorite holidays, as it kicks off the holiday season. The week leading up to Thanksgiving is filled with planning menus, volunteering at local food banks, heading home for the holiday, or whatever you may do to give thanks. There is plenty of time for shopping, duck hunting and football later in the weekend. 

This week, I found myself in a waiting room for a couple of hours. I was attempting to work on this blog post but alas, I was distracted by a woman talking animatedly about her Thanksgiving plans. She had her cell phone volume turned up so I could hear the entire conversation. It occurred to me this was great research for a dialogue revolving around Thanksgiving holiday. 

This woman's conversation revolved around who all was coming to her home. I heard about relatives who were coming and those who weren't and why. I heard about Aunt Sal's recipe for sweet potato pie. Then, there was the discussion about when she was going grocery shopping and who had the best prices. They ended their conversation when one of their relatives rang in and needed picking up at "201" (the local jail).

I kid you, not. You can't dream this stuff up but what interesting dialogue for your WIP. 

Happy Thanksgiving to y'all. 

November 23, 2016



“I couldn’t put the book down...”

That’s what all writers want to hear in reviews, isn’t it?

So how do we keep readers reading?

‘O Happy Day’ it was when I came across a formula by Dwight Swain that turned my critiquers’ comments from “...this is where I’d stop reading,” to “ a reader I loved the conflict which works because often I was tired and needed to go to bed but I had to see the next sub to know what happened.” And if my crit partners felt that way, readers certainly would.

Fiction 101 is a course by Randy Ingermanson that I purchased some years ago. There he teaches about Scenes and Sequels, the two distinct types of scenes Dwight Swain identifies in his book Techniques of the Selling Writer. A Scene and a Sequel are both made up of three parts:
·       SCENE  (action packed)
o   Goal  (what does your Scene’s POV character want to achieve within the Scene)
o   Conflict  (without this the reader becomes bored!)
o   Disaster  (do not let your POV character reach their goal – this is your hook)

·       SEQUEL  (gives the reader time to catch their breath)
o   Reaction  (the Sequel POV character’s reaction to the Scene’s disaster - emotive)
o   Dilemma  (no good options)
o   Decision  (best choice under the circumstances – becomes the goal for the next Scene)

Being a Pantser at heart, this method has made me think about each chapter before I write it because I now plot out the Scenes and Sequels first. It makes it easier to write, too. I do this by keeping an Excel spreadsheet for each story, with a page for each chapter. I’m sure there’s probably a way to do this easily in Scrivener, but I’ve not yet mastered the Scrivener monster. I still hope to someday, but for now I choose to remain old school with Word and Excel. So here’s where I plot what to write in a chapter (see image below), where I go from Pantser to Plotser (my interpretation of a Pantser / Plotter hybrid).

“...kept me reading long into the nights,” formed part of a review of one of my latest releases. No doubt, I’ve Dwight Swain and his Scene / Sequel formula to thank for that. Again.

Do you want to have readers reading long into the night, too? Follow this formula. It will revolutionize your writing. It did mine. The first story I applied this method to was contracted for publication. And the second. And so on ...
MARION UECKERMANN's passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest’s no longer so empty. SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
·       Website                   
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·       Facebook Author Page
·       Amazon Author Page

November 22, 2016

Why Build a World For Your Story?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine 

Believe it or not, most times, the setting we choose for our story is like a character. We have to create that world. It may look like the world you live in, but it will have its differences.

This world is going to need its own look, sounds, and smells.

Even if you choose a setting similar to where you grew up, you will still add stores, houses, perhaps malls, a river, or stream or mountain that didn’t exist in your town.

The characters you create will need certain locations. You may need to create the places they work, the restaurants where they eat, or maybe a diner they visit every morning for breakfast. You may want to put a particular church or a hardware store.

You see, all these things have to be created and placed in this world you create.

This world will have a feel about it that is different from other places. Real or imagined.

This is the place your characters are going to come to life. The more you know about this world, the more you bring it to life for your reader. Even though you may not use everything you create for this new world in your story, by just knowing these things it puts more richness in your story.

Take it a few steps further, maybe you could develop a little history for this new world. What are its laws, rules, does it have folk lore?

The most important rule of all when creating your world, is show, don’t tell the reader. Open the door and bring them into this world you have created.

Some authors draw maps of their towns and surrounding country side and put them in their books. Having read some of those authors, like Lin Stepp, it made it much more interesting and just delivered me into the world she created. As I read some of the books from these authors I am able to picture the town, its post office and where the general store is . . . across the street, with its red roof and black writing on the front of the store. I’m able to follow the street a character takes to walk down to the bait shop and know that when the character is walking up Main Street they will run right into the courthouse. It creates for the reader a picture in their minds drawing them into the story feeling like they are there.

What all can you add to your new world you create for your story? What about the type of weather in that location? The flowers and fauna you find. Everything is usable in the world you create. The secret is to make this created world seem real.

Needless to say, however, you don’t want it to overshadow your story. So think about what type of world you want to create and how you can help your reader enter in to that world and be part of what you have created.

November 21, 2016

A Fine Line

By Fay Lamb

I didn’t plan it this way. The thought never occurred to me, but somehow the stories in my Amazing Grace series happened to be written by season. With the release of the third book, Everybody’s Broken, what better setting for what I call a modern-day Christian Gothic than the Western North Carolina Mountains in the fictional town of Amazing Grace in autumn? Add a character named Abracadabra (Abra for short) and give her a birthday of October 31, and everything is set for the book to cause an ember to spark divisiveness for a reader.

With all that in play, how could I, as a Christian writer, walk the thin line around, you know, Halloween, and avoid debate with my readers?

Fiction writers who stand so strongly on one side of the line or another on issues such as baptism versus immersion, grape juice versus wine, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, and Halloween are going to diminish the true message behind the story. When I wear my editor’s hat, I step in and ask an author how important those issues are. In most cases, we delete the matters that can cause dispute and nothing in the novel changes. All that is lost is the author’s intrusion into the story, which should be shown by the characters.

Sometimes, though, the issues or the events are important to the story. What does a writer do when that is the case?

With Everybody’s Broken, the message being conveyed is the ability of lies and deceit to shatter lives even when those lies are told with good intentions. Most of the novel takes place during the month of October. Writing the book without a mention of All Hallows Eve would feel stilted whether the reader is a Christian or a non-Christian. In this story, the avoidance of the issue would be counter-productive and distracting to the reader.

In such cases, a writer should draw a fine line and tread as carefully upon it as if it were a rope stretched over Niagara Falls. Tip a little too far to the right or to the left and debate will be sparked and the message lost. Balance is all-important. When the issues are unavoidable or truly necessary, the characters should be used to keep that balance. When two or more characters stand on different sides of the issue, the reader will connect with the one who supports their side of the debate. The reader will fill justified and not agitated.

In Everybody’s Broken I balance carefully. Although the life of each character has shaped his or her viewpoint about the event, the characters are not allowed to stand upon a soapbox. Instead, the actions, the thoughts, and the mentions of the event are subtle. In the end, October 31, the day, becomes more important than Halloween and brings a twist to the hero and heroine’s tale and what I hope the reader will think is a “perfect” last line.
Fay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast. Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series. Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.Anyone interested in learning more about Fay’s freelance editing and her coaching should contact her at

November 18, 2016

5 Steps To A Successful Facebook Virtual Book Launch Party (The things no one tells you about version!)

By Annette O’Hare

Having successfully launched my first novel this year I consider myself an experienced Facebook virtual book launch party planner. Okay, so maybe I’m not an expert. Google Facebook book launch and you’ll find everything you need to know…almost! Today I’m sharing my shortlist of things you won’t learn from the experts. Here we go!

No. 1 – A twenty-something year old (An older teen might do the job)
I’m blessed to have my own, living in my garage apartment. She’s my daughter. Why do you need this? Because, a Facebook launch party is complicated and insanely fast! I posted a question to the group, allowed fifteen minutes for responses, and commented on approximately forty replies per question! Without my daughter I couldn’t have posted the next question, queued the guests, or informed the group who won prizes. It’s a two-person job unless perhaps you are a twenty-something!

No. 2 – A lot of great giveaways
Every attendee expects giveaways such as signed books, bookmarks, etc. What they may not expect is quality jewelry you got for next to nothing as a jewelry party hostess. In addition to signed copies of my book and gift cards, I also gave away premium jewelry. I helped out a friend’s new business and in return I earned items to give away at my book launch. Win and win! This would work with numerous catalog-type parties.

No. 3 – Engaging questions entice attendees to post
Here are some questions receiving the best responses.
1.     What is your favorite, least favorite…? Questions asking readers their favorite or least favorite will bring a lot of responses. Everyone has an opinion and most want to share it.
2.     What is your conclusion? Questions asking for a conclusion to a problem where the answer is unknown. You know, make something up, the funnier the better!
3.     What is the strangest, weirdest or grossest…? My question was food combination. Readers love sharing their weirdness.

No. 4 – A Facebook literate audience (I can dream)
This goes back to why you need No. 1. My twenty-something spent a lot of time lassoing rogue attendees and herding them back to the appropriate post. Yes, there were instructions, posted in bold. Instead of posting beneath the “current” question, some posted directly to the top of the page. Some posted on my Facebook author page. Some posted to their home page. I saw my daughter post at least a dozen times,  “Post here now to win prizes.” Facebook illiteracy…the struggle is real!

No. 5 – Really funny friends and family
Do you have funny friends or family? Invite them! One thing that made my Facebook launch party a success was participation by my crazy, funny friends. Yes, my party was three hours of organized chaos, but reading hilarious replies made it all worth it. I even saved them to read when I’m feeling down.

Thank you, Southern Writers Magazine for allowing me share my list. Even though they’re a bit unorthodox, I hope these five things will help you in planning your next Facebook virtual book launch party.

Annette O’Hare is an award-winning author living in Southeast Texas with her husband, Dan of thirty-one years. Her love for the history and heritage of her home state shines through in her first novel, Northern Light, a Civil War romance set on the Texas Gulf Coast. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Writers On The Storm, Annette’s desire is to reveal God’s love to her readers and hopefully give them a laugh or two. The O’Hare’s are proud parents of two Texas A&M graduates, one exceedingly imaginative high school sophomore and two rambunctious, loveable rescue dogs. Her Social Media Links are; Website: Facebook -

November 17, 2016

The Right Word

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

Charles Osgood’s recent retirement and departure from CBS News Sunday Morning warranted a show dedicated to his history in journalism and especially with the show. He was interviewed about his writing and it led to a point on choosing your words. Osgood said, “All the words are wrong except the right one.”

I know we all have searched for that right word. We are sent on that search for various reasons.  We search for a word that is more specific in explaining ourselves. We search for a word that carries more emotion, or humor or drama. Sometimes we search because what we have written just doesn’t sound right.

Sounding right can be confusing. The confusion can come from being driven by what we hear in everyday conversation. Many times a word will speak to a portion of our society but not to everyone. A good example is the abbreviated conversation used with texting. I have to ask my kids what things mean. Also words used that are colloquialisms. Examples here are the various names used for soda, soda pop, soft drinks and Coke. Which do you use?

Another confusing aspect of which word is the right word could be an international translation. One word in our country will not translate well in Britain. Our gas is their “petrol”, tennis shoes are their “plimsolls” and phone calls are their “ring me up” that is if the line isn’t “engaged”. It can get tricky.
With all that in mind an even harder translation is modern day slang which can change moment to moment. Social media can take the word of the moment to a position of ancient history in just a few million hits of the internet. So what is our answer?

First I think we should use slang and little known words sparingly. Don’t slow down your reader with something they question. It could cause them to break from your story and check with Google concerning the word you use. I have a friend that goes to Google during our regular conversations to confirm some of my stories or terms. I’m not offended but pleased to know I have been confirmed. But a reader leaving your short story or book is a disruption. Make sure the little known word is necessary to complete your story.

Secondly you may want to consider an explanation of the term. If it important to the story you may need to do so. Doing so may also tell you if it seems cumbersome to your writing, the story or your reader. Put it in and if it doesn’t work take it out.

Finally consider your readers and their knowledge of that particular world this word is used in. Whether that world is business, art, entertainment, science or sports, are they aware of that world? 

Are they savvy to its language?  If so go with it. If not don’t go there.  As Osgood said, “All the words are wrong except the right one.” 

I hope this helps you find it.                   


November 16, 2016

The King and I

By Elbert Alberson

I just read an interview with James Patterson, the author of all authors, that I call the King.  Every time I do this, something sticks in my mind. I refer to him as the king, but in fact, he portrays himself as a humble, writer that has discipline and is a father and a husband.  A braggart, he is not.  He has produced 73 #1 best Sellers and sold 325 million books.

Now in comparison, I have yet to have a #1 best seller.  I have self published 12 books.  That is a far cry from being a comparison.  But there are comparisons. James Patterson writes in the early morning. And I write all night, sometimes until morning. I play a game called spider for a while to clear my head of everything but my story. Then I refer to my notes and write my heart out. We both write multiple genre books and book series.

He writes everything from mysteries, detective, cook books, children books and many others, so I do the same. I write mystery, detective, history, adventure, military, western, and romance, autobiography and book series. Both of us have a book in the making when we finish the one we are on.  I have three in the making at the present time.

The differences between Patterson and me are huge. Patterson is smart, successful, and good at what he does and I am trying as hard as I can to be successful writing to multiple markets.  Patterson has co-writers, publicist, editors, secretaries, publishers, a marketing machine and a wealth of readers.  Me, myself and I are hard at work to be the best I can with what I have to work with, giving up is not an option. I read all I can every day about what the top writers are doing, what they are posting, and I post something similar on my author page.  I learn something new every day.

Another writer second only to Patterson had a hard time finding a publisher just like everybody else.  He didn’t give up.  He got smart.  He had boxes of his books self published, filled his trunk and went door to door to sell them. He did what it took to sell what he had, so he could do it again tomorrow.

In comparison, I posted my books on every group page at Facebook that might be interested in that particular book,  Air force base Yokota in Japan,  Clark Field in the Philippines, Hunter  Field in  Savannah, Ga.  Then the orders started coming in for my two military books. Women even like military books. I was advised to not publish military books, nobody would buy them. Boy were they wrong.  I published my autobiography even though I was advised not to.  That is my Best Seller. Knowing Elvis and Johnny Cash probably had something to do with it. LOL

The top-selling author in every genre puts his pants on and goes to work writing just like you do.
ELBERT ALBERSON was born in Memphis, Tennessee.  He left home at an early age joining the Air Force and traveled extensively.  During his travels, mostly in the Air Force and in the early stages of Vietnam, he experienced   adventures  of a life time flying  North  to  Newfoundland, South to  the Azores in Portugal and  the Far East to include Vietnam,  Japan, Philippines,  Cambodia, Laos,  Australia, Thailand,  Okinawa, Burma and Singapore.  He experienced   near death incidents multiple times and learned the many customs and traditions in these countries.  This has led to many stories to tell, most of his story lines are fictional stories and people. After serving his time in the military, his adventures continued   through his associations with the sport of Scuba Diving for many years. There are many stories of real Experiences of Adventure and Excitement. Most story lines are fictional stories.  But Elbert is the main character in most of his books with real people and places in his books. Because of his travels and experiences and the research required to write his stories to include real historical events and actual happenings, you will relive and experiences through his eyes. Elbert and his wife live in a small town in South Georgia.  Being retired now, gives him the opportunities to write his books, his experiences and historical Adventures he has had in mind for years.  His books include:   Cotton Top Remember Me,   Red Bull,   Cay Sal,   Diamonds and Gold,   Old Gold,   Fire Island, The Italian Incidents,   River of Intrigue   and   Memphis Intrigue 1940.

November 15, 2016

Ending Is Better Than Pending

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

Over lunch some years ago, I was taken aback when a friend declared that he usually reads the last page of a book before deciding whether to read the whole thing. It seemed like a highly irregular approach to me. Since then, however, a smattering of other acquaintances have echoed that they too engage in this practice.

"Why would you want to read the book after you know how it ends?" I ask.  The answer may vary, but it invariably involves a defense that it doesn't diminish their enjoyment.  They argue something about a good story standing up to repeat visits, like a favorite movie.  At that point the conversation turns into a discussion of our favorite movies, and we never get back to the original subject.

If some booklovers like to start at the finish line, more power to them. In fact, starting at the end isn't just a favored trait of the odd reader, it is also a winning strategy of many writers.

Mystery authors in particular must possess a sense of whodunit and howtheydunit long before the climactic chapters.  How else can clues and red herrings be strategically planted along the way?

Truth is, foreknowledge of the finale isn't just for mystery writers.  No matter the genre, there are multiple benefits to be had, even for pantsers devoted to writing freeform.

Having decided on the ending allows for preparing for the big finish in ways that will enhance it. Imagine an ending where the newlywed heroes are driving off into the sunset in a purple Corvette. Pleasant enough ending. But it can add an extra layer of emotional satisfaction if, earlier in the story, that very vehicle was out of reach to them in a showroom.

The opportunity to foreshadow is another plus to knowing where you're going.  If the young man's future father-in-law is the CEO of a boat manufacturing company, how much richer would it be if his own dad took him fishing every weekend?

Perhaps the biggest benefit to having the ending already mapped out is that it will keep you from wasting time writing nonessential scenes that don't push the plot in the right direction. Your first draft will have more focus and there'll be less to leave on the cutting room floor.

Whether we're working toward a bitter end or a happily-ever-after, a well-planned finish from the start can become a story's be-all and end-all.