Journaling for Research

writing the cozy mysteryby Nancy Cohen

Your experiences and travels provide fodder for future works and should be recorded. When I wrote travel journals years ago, little did I realize that I’d be mining those notes decades later for my Drift Lords series. I’d been to Hong Kong in 1978, yet today many of the sights, sounds, and sensory impressions remain the same. Thus I sought my notes for Warrior Rogue, in which a scene takes place in that great city. Ditto for the other locations around the globe in my paranormal series—Los Angeles, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and Arizona. You never know when a bit of research will come in handy. Continue reading

Is Keeping a Journal Old-Fashioned?

Barbara Florio-Grahamby Barbara Florio-Graham

I think that what my generation called “journaling” has now become blogging. The problem is, blogs are public, and unless you blog on your own website, you don’t own the material and have no control over what happens to it.

That defeats the very purpose of journaling, which is to capture your private thoughts, perhaps expanding some of them—if you find the germ of a larger idea—into an article, a poem, a short story, or even a book. Continue reading

Three Basic Tips for Eager Travel Writers

Mary Anne Benedettoby Mary Anne Benedetto

Travel. New destinations. Exotic locations. Different cultures. Making memories. Why do we love to travel? Is it the excitement we feel in anticipation of choosing vacation clothing and packing our luggage? Is it the rush we acquire from researching our chosen destinations and reviewing information about available tours, sights, restaurants, activities, and photo ops? Continue reading

Be Funny, Not Mean

by Sandra Murphy

There’s a fine line between humor and hurt. Alexandra Powe Alred says she’s crossed it a couple of times. Now her rule is to let the people she writes about—friends and family—read what she’s written before her work goes out. If feelings are hurt or someone is uncomfortable, Alexandra Powe Allredshe yanks the offending passage. Her tips for writing with humor include:

  • Never make fun of something that can’t be helped, like a physical trait.
  • Journal every night, but don’t complain about the day—it will only keep you awake as you go over it again.
  • Don’t use what can’t be fixed.
  • Have fun.

Her annual Christmas letter started out the same as those everyone receives—“This year our kids all won Pulitzer Prizes with the occasional Nobel Prize thrown in, were super models, and donated all the proceeds to charity.” Continue reading

Capturing Pet Tales

Never Say Perfect Book Coverby Mary Anne Benedetto

“My dog doesn’t have a story,” my friend announced. Carol looked at me as though she had taken a huge bite from the center of a lemon wedge.

I had just explained to her that I was working on some amazing pet-story projects for clients. With Carol’s declaration that her pet had no story, I asked two simple questions:

  • How did you happen to choose Casper?
  • Has he ever experienced any medical issues?

Continue reading

How to Find Work That Satisfies Your Passion

by Patricia Fry

Lydia wrote, “My dream is to quit my job and become a full-time writer. Can you tell me how to get started?”

Jon asked, “What does it take to become a freelance writer? I’m disabled and want to do this work from my home.”

Rachel writes, “I’m a college graduate with a degree in journalism, but I can’t find work. Can you give me some job search advice?” Continue reading