Debra here: I'm a big believer in learning from others -- here's an example of writing advice that another writer, Heather Weidner, believes has helped her career. I'll be back next month!
Valuable Writing Advice from Other Writers - Heather Weidner
Thank you so much for letting me visit. I’m Heather Weidner, and I write the Delanie Fitzgerald mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. I’m so excited about the third book in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. In this one, my sassy private investigator is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. She also uses her skills to track down missing reptiles and uncover hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.
I have been writing for a while and a published author since 2014, and I have found that writing is often a lonely endeavor. I treasure my writer friends who are so generous with their time and advice. I am extremely grateful for all the authors who have shared their ideas, advice, and successes with me through the years. It is so helpful as you begin or move along your writing journey. Here are some key items that I’ve learned.
When I’m working on a new novel, I plot out a simple outline. I learned from Donna Andrews to color-code the different kinds of action in your outline, so you can see it over the course of the book. For example, I mark all romantic elements with pink, humorous items are orange, clues are green, etc.
I learned from Mary Burton to keep a running list of over-used words. Add to it as you write, and then at the end of each revision cycle, search your document and remove the culprits. She also calls your first draft the “sloppy copy.” This isn’t “the end” of your project. It’s the beginning of the revision cycle.
I learned from the late Kathy Mix to keep a list of character names for each book. Her rule was to name each character with a different letter of the alphabet. If she already had a Krissy, then she couldn’t have another character whose first name started with a “K.” I build a chart of characters for my books in a series. I create a column for each book and update where the characters appear. I also create a list of key locations. I enter all the important facts, so I can keep track of the details.
Mary Miley gave me some great advice about honing dialogue. She recommends cutting out the unnecessary pleasantries and chitchat that don’t move your story forward.
Elaine Viets said to know your genre and who is publishing in it. Do your research and know the conventions.
Lynda Bishop, my long-term editor, recommends that authors keep a timeline for each book to make sure all events are in order and make sense. This helps with pacing.
In one of her talks, Tina Glasneck told the group to create a calendar for each book launch. Mine starts three months before the launch and runs three months after. Plan all events, interviews, blogs, and media campaigns.
Jane Friedman tells writers that their platform grows from their body of work. An author’s website and blog should be at the center of this. Also, the website and blog should be on the same site.
Frances Aylor and Alan Orloff gave me the best advice for writing. Butt glue (Frances) or BICFOK (Alan). They’re essentially the same. If you want to be a writer, put your Backside in the Chair and Fingers on the Keyboard.
And my advice to writers is to cultivate your relationships with other writers. Join writer or critique groups. Build your network, share in their celebrations, and share writing and publication information that helps everyone learn and grow.
Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.
Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.
Synopsis of Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.
Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.
Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/glitter-glam-and-contraband/id1487475119?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/glitter-glam-and-contraband-heather-weidner/1134862421?ean=2940163591978