Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Jersey Native Jacqueline Seewald Writes Mystery Novels Set in Home State

My blog for New Jersey is posted at: http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com/
Annette covers each of fifty states with another author on a weekly basis. So you get writers' views of their home states. Since the books in my Kim Reynolds mystery series, like the current novel THE BAD WIFE, are set in NJ, as well as my co-authored stand alone mystery THE THIRD EYE: A PINE BARRENS MYSTERY, it seems only right that I've written a blog relative to NJ.

Some of what I have to say about my home state may surprise or even shock you, but I guarantee honesty--although I have consciously decided not to discuss our governor and the Bridgegate fiasco. I’ll leave that for the political analysts. But I promise not to bore you.
So come visit! I'll check in for comments and respond. I do love my state. I was born and raised in NJ and have lived here my entire life. I believe setting a series of novels in my home state has lent authenticity to my books. Setting is an important component in any novel.

Note: The photo you see was taken by my daughter-in-law, Anna, who has a love and talent for photography.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Valuable Resources for Writers by Jacqueline Seewald

The internet offers loads of writer's publications and newsletters, many of which are free. Surf the internet for writer's web sites and organizations. I’ll share here some of my findings and hope they are useful to you as a fellow writer.
     Here are some sources of information that I’ve found to be especially helpful:
     WRITER'S MARKET comes out each year. It is available both in print and online. It lists markets for articles, books, short stories, novels, plays, scripts, greeting cards and fillers. It gives the requirements of each market and its accessibility. It also includes articles and advice about the publishing industry. There are also specialized source books for children's literature, mystery writers, etc. WRITER'S MARKET also maintains a website providing articles and marketing information updated each day. A free newsletter is offered. WritersMarket.com
     WRITER'S DIGEST comes out regularly and is published by the same people that do WRITER'S MARKET. This publication is a valuable source of information on writing. Not only does it include market information but it also contains interesting articles written by well-known writers and literary agents. The website is updated each day and worth bookmarking. http://www.writersdigest.com/ An online newsletter is also offered which can be subscribed to for free.
     Another print periodical which should be read by the serious writer is THE WRITER. Besides articles on the art of writing, there is information on where to sell manuscripts and contest offers. Help for the novice writer is stressed. There’s also an online offering. http://www.writermag.com/
     The same people that publish THE WRITER publish THE WRITER'S HANDBOOK. This comes out in print once a year and lists markets and literary agents. There are articles by well-known agents, editors and writers. It is well worth reading. Every public library should have it in the reference section.
There are lots of good books on how to write. SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King is one good example. Writer's Digest Books puts out a whole line of how-to books as does The Writer, Inc.
THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White is a classic of advice for writers. The more modern ON WRITING WELL by William Zinsser is a terrific resource for writers.
There are a host of other writers' publications available online. Using Google, type in such search terms as “Writers Wanted,” “Freelance Writing Markets” or “Guidelines for Writers.”  Some especially valuable current resources and websites for writers are as follows: Ralan.com (market lists for sci-fi, fantasy and horror in particular)regularly updated.
http://darkmarkets.com/ (another up-to-date listing for spectulative fiction)
http://writingcareer.com/ (posts new opportunities for freelance writers) This is written daily and managed by Brian Scott of:
http://www.freelancewriting.com/ (another valuable site which offers free newsletters that are up-to-date. Do subscribe for Morning Coffee!)
http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com/ is an absolutely great resource. Sandra blogs almost every day and offers the most current market listings as well as discussions on writing. Although her interest is geared toward mystery fiction, you will find many others listings of value here. Definitely a must read!
Here are some other listings in no particular order:
 http://www.chopeclark.com (Hope’s newsletter is full of interesting articles and market information including agents and publishers)
Writing-world.com (offers excellent free newsletter) http://www.worldwidefreelance.com/ (markets database plus free newsletter)
(offers monthly newsletter)
(especially good if you write romance)
(market site for plays)
(submission database)
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mslee/mag.html (speculative fiction markets are dated)
http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx (charges for membership)
http://evelynchristensen.com/mags.html (magazine listings for children’s writing)
http://www.cbcbooks.org/membership/member-list/ (children’s book publishers)
Craigslist is another source of writing jobs and gigs for freelancers. But be careful with this one!
I’m certain I haven’t listed every valuable market resource for writers, but I should leave some for you to find on your own. Do some research and you’ll find many resources. Just keep reading, writing and thinking!
If there’s anything you would like to add here, feel free. Comments are very welcome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fifteen Tips for Writing Mystery Novels that Sell by Jacqueline Seewald

1.  First, read widely. It will help you become a better writer. That’s my number one tip.
2.  Read lots of mystery novels. Okay, does this sound a little simplistic? It’s still good advice. There are many subdivisions in this particular genre. There are also many cross-genre categories as well. So you better like reading mysteries or don’t even think to write one.
3. In a mystery novel, your main protagonist is the detective. He or she should be introduced early. Avoid providing too much back story. Keep the plot moving along. Characters should be developed through what they say, do and think. Hints to background make characters more interesting and mysterious. So don’t give away too much too soon.
     4. Make certain your suspects are introduced early as well and appear a number of times throughout your novel. They need development too.
     5. It’s suggested that the crime be a murder and be introduced in the first three chapters to hook the reader. Study writers like John Grisham. He has a talent for hooking readers immediately with strong beginnings.
     6. The crime needs to be presented in a believable manner. This doesn’t necessarily mean excessive gore. However, you should become familiar with police procedures for the sake of authenticity even if you are not writing a police procedural. When weapons are used, research them so you don’t make errors. Agents and editors who specialize in crime fiction will immediately brand you as an amateur and reject your work if your writing is inaccurate.
     7. Don’t reveal your perp before the denouement, or reveal close to it if you’re writing a whodunit.
     8. If you are writing a romantic mystery novel, make certain that the love story plot is of secondary importance. Don’t allow the romance to overpower the mystery. Likewise, if you’re writing romantic suspense, be aware that the romance is of more consequence than the mystery. In this case, end with the love story resolved.
     9. Create well-rounded characters. Who are they? What is their motivation? What do they look like? What’s distinctive about their speech patterns and mannerisms? Keep a notebook delineating each character in the novel. Select names with care. They should be appropriate for the characters.
  1. Setting is important in the mystery or suspense novel. Choose a place you know something about. Maybe you’ve lived there. Maybe you only visited.  But you need some sort of association because the place must have an aura of reality to be believable. My Kim Reynolds mysteries are set in Central New Jersey because that’s where I lived for most of my life.
  2. Your plot needs to have pacing. Watch out for midsection drag! That’s a common problem with many novels. Your book must never become dull or predictable. How to avoid this problem? Dialogue should be clever and entertaining, never wooden. Mysteries should be page-turners even if they’re not suspense thrillers. Add another murder. Place your detective in danger or your heroine in jeopardy. Even if you’re writing a cozy, there’s no excuse for being boring. A little humor enlivens the story. I also suggest doing at least a rough outline. You can always make changes as needed, but you should have a working outline. I’ve done this with every one of my mystery novels. It makes for crisper writing.
  3.  Every novel needs a theme, a unifying idea that has significance. It should be inferred rather than stated directly. However, hints of it can be given in the dialog between main characters.
  4. Write the unique novel only you can write. Observe the conventions of the genre without copying or plagiarizing the work of others.
  5. Discipline yourself to spend a certain amount of time writing each day. Do not allow excuses. Finish your novel. Then put it away for a few months. Don’t just write your novel, edit it. The hard part has come, put on your editor eyeglasses and truly see your work. No doubt you will find many errors. Correct them.
  6. When you finally begin submitting your novel to agents and editors, expect rejection. If they are generous enough to make suggestions for change, pay attention. Publishing is a tough business. Don’t get discouraged.
That’s all I have to say for now. There are tons of blogs like this one on the internet.
Some offer excellent writing suggestions. Others will list agents and publishers that are open to new work. With hard work and determination, you should be able to sell your novel. I intend to blog on writer resources in the future. So come back.
I’m open to both comments and questions. If you have something to say, please feel free.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Statement of Intent by Jacqueline Seewald

Shakespeare referred to Cleopatra as a woman of “infinite variety.” I believe that is the greatest possible compliment anyone can receive. As a writer and a reader I would like to think of myself in that way.

Therefore, it will be my intent while I write this blog to discuss many types of writing from the standpoint of both reader and writer. I’ve written well-reviewed novels, shorts stories, plays, poetry, nonfiction articles, and reviews, most of it published. I write for adults, teenagers and children. I intend to discuss all of these genres at various times. I am also an avid reader of books, magazines and newspapers. I’m interested in what is happening in our world and culture.

I intend for my website/blog to be an open forum to thoughts and comments of other individuals as well. Hopefully, it will prove interesting enough for readers to return regularly.

Welcome to my blog!