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Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Advice Column

Hello Fellow Writers!

I had a grand old time at the Hudson Valley chapter of the RWA monthly meeting last weekend. I read a five page excerpt from "Snowed in With a Millionaire" and got some great feedback - most importantly, that those five pages should be the first five pages of my novel. The opening scene I had can come later, after we see the hero and heroine's first meet. Good stuff!

It's too bad that I'll have to miss next month's meeting since that's my 'on' weekend at the nursing home. One of the published authors from Hudson Valley RWA, Janet Lane Walters, offered to read the first chapter for me, which I think is very nice if her.

I also got my contract for the weekly advice column I will be writing for a new local paper, The Mahopac News. The column will be called "Ask Shana". I've already written the first column and sent it to the editor, and he approved it. I got the job by writing a spec column and pitching the idea to the paper!

On that note, I want to offer some advice from an article about writing for a newspaper. If you ever decide to write the news to supplement your fiction career, this information will come in handy. Check out the whole article at NorthernStar.info.

First five pararaphs
All the work of producing a news story is futile if the story does not engage the reader immediately. Writing coaches have identified four key elements that should be present in the first five paragraphs of any news story (not necessarily in any particular order). They are:
The newest information: the basic facts of who, what, when, where, why and how ... the most relevant information.
What a situation means and who is affected. Tells readers what the news changes about their lives and, maybe, what they should do.
The general perspective that frames the background of the news. It addresses the relationship of things around the news. Context helps readers understand whether something is normal or surprising.
The human dimension. Takes a story from abstract to reality. Offers personal elements that help readers understand the story. This is not necessarily a quote, but it could be.
I also submitted my romantic erotica story to Ellora's Cave for one of their theme submissions.
Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

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