You’re writing a contemporary, so you don’t need to
While your characters live in basically the same world you
do, there’s still plenty to learn—unless you are actually writing about a
person who lives in your town, has your same job, and enjoys the same hobbies
as you do. In that case, just x-out of this right now and get back to your MS.
But, for those of us who are not writing about people just
like us living in our town, there’s plenty we need to know.
First of all, setting. I love maps and travel guides. Most
states will send you a packet with all sorts of information. Those are super
cool, lots of pictures. Of course Google maps, and an almanac—you want to know
what the weather is like. And does it get dark early in the winter? Things like
that add depth to your story and make the reader feel like they are one step
deeper inside. That’s what we want, right?
And find movies shot in the location you’re writing about.
That gives you a whole lot of setting ideas and helps you picture it,
especially if it’s somewhere you’ve never been. Coffee table books, post cards,
and of course Google images.
Next up: culture
This is tricky. You can’t just learn a culture. But you can
find out bits and pieces of what people there are like, and that will not only
make you look like an expert on the region, it will help with your character development.
I like history books for this. Both fiction and
non-fiction.History of a place tells
why the people there act the way they do now.
And what better way to learn about a culture than its
And now for:Language
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, every region
has its own distinct way of speaking. Even twenty miles away from your house,
you can find something unique about how people talk. So, learn about it. I’m
not saying you have to be fluent in a new language, but an accent, a unique
speech pattern, even a few words from your character’s native tongue makes them
more interesting. And who doesn’t like reading slang from somewhere new? It’s
fun and can help make your story richer.
Keep your eyes open, you’ll find facts and interesting
tidbits that can add to your story in the funniest places. I found this article
in an airplane magazine about Irish surfers. Did you know they surf in Ireland?
I didn’t. But a character in my Irish book would definitely
Any time I go to a museum or some sort of historical place,
I get the souvenir guides. They don’t cost much, and there are tons of things
to remember. Plus, again pictures.
And last of all: Don’t be afraid to ask.
learned is people love talking about themselves, their job, their family, their
hometown. Just get up the nerve to ask.
I wrote a book about a girl that grew up on a cattle ranch
and so I asked someone I knew about it, and he took me to his ranch when they
were branding—it was an entirely new world to me, one that I can write into my
story with details of smell, (bad) sounds, sights that I wouldn’t have ever
known without experiencing it for myself.
So, get out into the trenches, writers!Don’t be afraid to get dirty, and of course
take lots of notes, you never know when you’ll need them.
FYI: there are only 20 spots. All meals are included AND there will be mini-workshops on Building Your Presence as an Author and Marketing during the retreat so that if you choose to go to all the workshops, you will have all the tools you need to Brand yourself, and your books for your target audience. See pics of the awesome accommodations for the retreat here.Sign ups open on Saturday, November 8th at 8am MST. NO EARLIER.
1. Pick which bed type/price you would like (see below)
2. Send an email to iWriteNetwork@gmail.com with your first and second (if you have one) preference.
3. We will send you a confirmation email and a link to pay-through Paypal-(you may choose to split your payment into three and send one third immediately, the second on third on Jan. 15th and the last third on Feb. 15th. You must pay in full by Feb. 15th.) We must have your payment within one hour of receiving your confirmation email or your spot will be given to the next person in line.
NO REFUNDS-thank you. (you can, however transfer your bed to someone else if you discover you are unable to attend)
The bed options: (if you are planning to choose a queen or a king bed, you might want to find someone to be your roomie if you care who is in the bed with you.)
**Anything not highlighted is available ***Anything highlighted in red is reserved/paid for Bedroom 7: 1 King with bathroom 2 spots for $275 each