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What’s on Your Writer’s Wish List?

What's On Your Writer's Wish List? Jill Kemerer Blog

Are you making your list and checking it twice? No, I’m not talking about your Christmas list–I’m talking about your writer’s wish list! And you can make one whether you’re naughty or nice. *wink*

As we reach the end of another year, I like to take inventory of the practical (and a few impractical!) items I use on a regular basis. I also weigh in on if it’s time to try something new, upgrade existing equipment, or switch services. Sure, I replenish necessary supplies as needed throughout the year, but the once-a-year wish list gives me a valid excuse to spend a few hours thinking about how to improve my productivity.

Here are some of the items on my writer’s wish list, and, yes, I have categories!

Office Supplies

  1. Pentel EnerGel pens with purple ink. What can I say? I’m a pen nerd. I’m down to two pens, and that’s not going to cut it, my friends.
  2. Black and red Pilot G2 pens. See above–I’m picky about pens, and I like to have a variety of colors. I tend to blow through these G2s like they’re toilet paper. I should buy a fifty pack and call it good.
  3. Copy paper for printing. I buy a case at a time when it’s on sale, and, oh look! I’m down to only one full package left.
  4. A new office chair. The left arm of my current chair has lost its padding and the finish on it is crumbling. I lean on it a lot. The right arm seems fine. Sadly, this means I have the worst posture on the planet. I’m working on correcting how I sit. But in the meantime, a new chair has been added to the list.
  5. The PERFECT day planner. I have yet to find it, but the hunt is on and, my friends, the quest is real.

Last year, I stocked up on tape, staples, index cards, paperclips, mailing supplies, and manila folders, so I’m set on those for a while.

Computer Equipment/Software

Believe it or not, I have nothing on this list at the moment. I know, it’s shocking.

I bought a new laptop last year. My black-and-white laser printer is only a few years old. Last year I paid for plugin I’d been wanting for my website, and I hated it, so, thankfully, I have no stars in my eyes for other plugins at this point. I switched newsletter services a few years ago and am very happy with my current provider. So…I’m good. For now. Check back with me next year–this list will likely have something on it.

Oops, spoke too soon. Our internet provider is on my list to deal with. Our rates keep going up, but we have dead spots in our house and a lot of slow internet times. Guess I’ll be making a call soon. *sigh*

Creativity Helpers

  1. Gift cards for coffee shops. When I see a deal on them, I snatch them up. I love getting away for a few hours to explore ideas, and it’s less painful on the wallet when I can use a gift card.
  2. Pretty notebooks. I can never have enough.
  3. A super comfortable chair with an ottoman for my office. This is a long-term goal. I would love a comfy chair in my office to red-line my drafts, research, and dream. Someday…

Personal Items

  1. Hand lotion. Winters are dry where I live, and I keep a tube of thick hand cream on my desk. My hands thank me for it.
  2. Cardigans. I love cardigans or any garment that will keep me warm while I’m working. I bought a cape this fall to keep in my office. It’s easy to throw over my shoulders and it keeps my hands free to type.
  3. Candles. Lighting a candle makes the room pretty and it smells good.
  4. Candy. I can’t help it. Afternoons make me crave caramels. One or two can’t hurt, can they? Don’t answer that!

Research

  1. Books on the writing craft. There are always books to be purchased!
  2. Online classes. I recently found Udemy. Thanks, Kristina Knight and Tina Radcliffe, for sharing it with me! You can find tons of classes on a variety of subjects. The one I’m taking isn’t graded, and I can work on it at my own pace. It suits my needs perfectly.
  3. Magazines. I enjoy buying a variety of magazines throughout the year. They always give me ideas, inspiration, or motivation.

I’m sure there are tons of other things I could add to my list, and I’ll be jotting them down as I get more ideas.

What’s on your writer’s wish list? I love hearing about your ideas and favorite items!

Have a terrific day!

4 Tips to Start and End a Scene #WW

Scenes build stories. How you begin and end them can mean the difference between a reader finishing your novel or tossing it aside.

When you’re writing, it’s fine to put down whatever comes to mind so your brain can push through and get the draft on paper. But when you’re revising, it’s wise to analyze each scene’s hook and ending to make sure they’re pulling their weight.

Here are my “rules” for how to start and end a scene.

1. Don’t bore the reader.

Madeline slathered butter on the bagel. Stan had really crossed a line.

Whoop-dee-doo. Does any reader care if Madeline has butter on her bagel or not? I don’t think so. And while the second sentence gets more to the heart of the matter, the first sentence is what counts.

Try this:

She wanted to chuck her bagel at Stan’s head. The nerve of him, treating her like a five-year-old in front of her boss.

2. Give transition details early in the scene.

Readers need to know how long it’s been since the previous scene, whose point of view we’re in, the location, and any other pertinent setting information. Don’t make them guess!

She wanted to chuck her bagel at Stan’s head. The nerve of him, treating her like a five-year-old in front of her boss. Madeline peeked out of the break room but saw no sign of him. Good. After this morning’s humiliating meeting, she hoped he crawled back to corporate headquarters where he belonged.

3. Tease the reader at the end of a scene.

Stan handed her the report. “Verify your numbers with this.”

Stimulating. I, for one, don’t get excited over a hero handing a heroine a report and telling her to verify her numbers. YAWN…

How about:

“Verify your numbers with this.” Stan’s tone was as icy as his blue eyes. She snatched the report out of his hand.

 She’d verify them all right. And if he questioned her expertise again, she was taking the other job offer, even if it meant a cut in pay. No job was worth this.

4. Check scene hooks and endings.

A quick and easy way to make sure these openings and closings are doing their job is to copy/paste the first and last sentence in each scene in a separate file. When you have them pasted one after the other, it’s easy to spot the duds. Try it! I always find a few that need punching up.

What are you tricks to start and end scenes? I’d love to hear them!

Have a great week!

*

Sugarplums and Second Chances by Jill Kemerer

Are some mistakes beyond redemption?

When former NFL star, Chase McGill, invites Courtney Trudesta, the widow of his former teammate, to spend Christmas with him and his son in Lake Endwell, he simply wants to repay her for the weekly letters she sent while he was in prison. He didn’t expect to fall for her.

Chase regrets his past and knows it will take more than sugarplums and wishful thinking to heal Courtney’s lonely heart. But with a dose of small-town charm and plenty of Christmas cheer, they might have a second chance at happiness…with each other.

Sugarplums and Second Chances is only $0.99 on Kindle. Purchase HERE!

 

What Are Your November Goals?

What Are Your November Goals? Jill Kemerer Blog

I’ve actually been enjoying the blustery, overcast weather. Winter will be here with the snap of my fingers, so I will take the windy, rainy weather since it comes with yellow, rust, and fiery orange leaves.

Okay, so it’s time for goals. How did you all do last month? Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo? I don’t do NaNo. November is packed full for me, and adding the pressure of 50,000 words would send me over the edge! But I love cheering on my friends who do it, so if you are, I salute you!

Let’s get to goals! First I’ll share my October ones and how I did. Then I’ll set my new ones. Ready?

 

Jill’s October 2018 Goals:

  • Start writing Christmas novella
  • Line-edit and polish February novella
  • Final edits, His Wyoming Baby Blessing, Wyoming Cowboys Book 4
  • Put Sugarplums and Second Chances up for preorder (previously released novella)
  • Submit two freelance projects
  • Health: Work out M-F at 8am to exercise DVDs, log calories, stay within range.

How did I do?

  • Start writing Christmas novella? Yes. But only by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. I got about 2500 words in. It counts! Check.
  • Line edit and polish February novella? Check.
  • Final edits for His Wyoming Baby Blessing?  Check.
  • Put Sugarplums and Second Chances up for preorder? Check.
  • Submit two freelance projects? I only submitted one. No check.
  • Health: Yes, I actually stuck to it! Woohoo!! CHECK!!

Jill’s November 2018 Goals:

  • Draft rest of Christmas novella and revise it for plot issues.
  • Finish up marketing and promo for various projects.
  • Submit one freelance project.
  • Health: Work out M-F at 8am, log calories, stay within calorie range.

How did you do with your October goals? Do you want to set new ones? Please share in the comments.

Be realistic about this month with Thanksgiving and the Christmas season soon approaching!

Best wishes to you!

Are You a Comma Master?

Are You A Comma Master? Jill Kemerer Blog

Commas. Where do they go? Why did I throw one there? Does this phrase need one? Are seventeen commas in one sentence too many??? (Yes.)

I consider myself at intermediate level when it comes to comma placement. No matter how much I edit, I always find spots where I’ve misplaced them.

Are you a comma master?

Since I’m in the line-edit phase of a project, I’m overthinking the whole comma thing. Yesterday I got out my cheat sheet, a grammar book, and a CMOS style guide. I still had to look up specific examples online!

Let’s tackle the basics (thank you, Jan R., for graciously sharing these with me years ago!).

Commas go…

  • before a coordinating conjunction joining independent clauses.
  • after introductory phrase, especially if dependent.
  • between items in a series.
  • between coordinate adjectives.
  • on either side of a nonrestrictive word group.
  • to set off parenthetical expressions.
  • in dates, addresses, titles, etc…
  • where there might be confusion without one.

For a more thorough breakdown of comma usage, are a few sites I’ve bookmarked.

The Punctuation Guide

Grammar Book

Grammarly

How are you with commas? Do you have any tips, sites, or books to recommend? I’d love to hear!

 

Get More Done with a Plan #WW

Get More Done With A Plan #ww Jill Kemerer Blog

When you wake up on Monday, do you have a general idea of what you want to accomplish?

This is typically how my thoughts run…

Keep writing the new book. Put together the guest blog. Create graphics for the new release. Oh, and write my blog post. And what about social media?

Instead of anticipating the week, I start to feel crushed because of the sheer amount of things to do. I tend to focus so intensely on the writing that I end up cramming promotion or not doing it on a regular basis. And forget all the other writer duties. They get shoved aside to that fruitless land called “when I have more time.”

I know, you’re laughing right now. We never have a day with more time!

This summer, I stopped the gerbil-on-a-wheel approach to my writing life. I was nervous about it, but it ended up working out better than I could have imagined.

There IS a better way, and I’m living it as we speak.

I realized I have all the time I need right now. I just have to be very, very deliberate. No more hoping I’ll get everything done. Now I plan to get everything done.

Think about your writing life. What MUST get done each week?

For me, it’s the actual writing (or plotting, revising, editing). Then it’s ongoing promotion like posting to social media and my blog, and admin duties (emails, income/expense report, updating website, etc…).

Additionally, what do you want to get done each week?

For me it’s freelance writing, continuous education, long-term marketing, and brainstorming ideas.

How can you fit ALL of these categories in on a regular basis?

Every Monday, I assign duties to each day. If I have appointments, I assign less to those days. I’m very clear about what I’ll be doing, too. For example, Friday I will be doing admin work from 9-9:30am, revising a novella from 9:30-noon, taking thirty minutes to an hour for lunch, going back to the novella from 1-4:00pm, and drafting a freelance story from 4-6:00pm. Not having to think about it frees my brain to just do it!

In the past, I would have worked on the novella all day, gotten exhausted by 4:30 or 5:00pm and quit. I’m still tired in the late afternoon, but I can always push myself to switch gears and either work on a shorter piece or study a writing craft book.

The result? I’m writing/revising as much as I used to, AND I’m fitting in the other things on my list. I can’t believe it, but I’m actually getting more done.

**I do take five-minute breaks twice a day to check Facebook, Twitter and my emails. I do NOT linger. It kills my productivity and eats into my time.**

What do you want to get done but never have time for? Do you think planning it into your week would help?

Have a terrific day!

 

 

An Hour with a Blank Notebook #WW

An Hour With A Blank Notebook #ww Jillkemerer.com

How often do you find a quiet spot and let your imagination play?

Part of the writer’s life is exploring ideas. For a long time, I neglected carving out an hour to sit with a notebook and just explore. But I overhauled my approach to my workweek and now have dedicated time every week to do this.

I usually don’t stay at home for this creative session. I like to go to a local park or, if the weather’s bad, I’ll head to a coffee shop. I bring my idea notebook and a black Pilot G-2 pen. Sometimes I have an agenda–a plot that isn’t cooperating, a short story starter, a future workshop brewing in my head–but other times I just sit and let my mind wander.

I’m finding that an hour with a blank notebook:

  • is relaxing.
  • untangles the stories jumbling up in my head.
  • provides clarity about my current work-in-progress.
  • reminds me of being a kid.
  • helps me prioritize.
  • makes me laugh when a weird idea jumps on the page.
  • goes by quickly.
  • but also goes by so slow–a good slow.
  • makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself.
  • is necessary. Absolutely necessary.

When I think of all the weeks I let slip by without intentionally tending to my ideas, I get sad. I mean, it’s one hour a week. I can find a measly hour.

It’s skipping one television drama.

Cutting back on social media.

Working smarter to fit my writing in for the day.

Since I made this mandatory–I even gave it a firm day and time–I can’t believe how much simpler other parts of my life have become. Suddenly I have a blog plan for the rest of the year, two short stories ready to be plotted, a deeper conflict for an upcoming book, and a lot of random thoughts that might go nowhere! Who cares? Imaginations are there for a reason. Ideas breed more ideas. What’s not to love about that?

Do you set aside time to just sit and think and let your imagination skip around? If yes, what works for you? If no, why not try it?

A HUGE thank you to everyone who purchased my current release (still in stores!), Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets! It hit #18 on the Publisher’s Weekly mass market paperback bestseller list on October 1! What a dream come true–thank you!!

What Being an Author Really Means

What Does It Really Mean To Be An Author? Jillkemerer.com/blog

How many hours a week do you work?

This is a question I’m asked often. I don’t mind. I’m curious about people’s jobs, too! The person always seems surprised when I tell them I work roughly fifty hours a week. The only conclusion I can come to, based on the frequency of the question and the surprise at the response, is that people assume being an author is not very time-consuming.

Being an author IS time-consuming.

Many writers have full-time jobs in addition to their writing careers. For some authors, writing is one of their part-time jobs. Others are stay-at-home parents fitting writing in around their children’s schedules. I was the latter for years. Trust me, it isn’t easy! For other authors, writing is a full-time job.

I now write full time, and I do not take the blessing of my open schedule for granted.

No matter what your schedule, if you’re an author, you’re sacrificing time and money to pursue this career. You are, essentially, your own boss.

What does being an author really mean?

  • Authors are small-business owners. We keep track of our income and expenses. We buy our supplies. We determine where and when we work. We promote our products. We make decisions–and wonder if we’re making the right decisions–about our books. We plan, we budget, we write.
  • Authors are self-motivated. We don’t have a boss breathing down our necks to get the words written, and we don’t have a weekly paycheck to motivate us, either. Some of the books we write are not contracted, meaning we might never make a dime off them. Retirement plans, 401K, and paid vacations are incentives that keep many employees committed to their jobs, but we don’t have those either. We write because it’s what we do.  We know any retirement plan or vacation will be funded by us and us alone.
  • Authors are marketers. We promote our work and network to get the word out about our books. We have websites and social media accounts, and whether we want to or not, we spend time adding content to keep readers informed and interested.
  • Authors are creative. We find time to explore ideas, and if we don’t? The ideas hijack our showers, our walks, and our going-to-sleep routines. Well, ideas do that no matter what. We can’t really turn off the imagination, and we don’t want to!
  • Authors are vulnerable. We care what readers think of our books. We feel bad when we get rejections. We compare ourselves to other authors and tell ourselves not to, but we can’t help it sometimes. We hit dry creative spells. We worry we’ll never meet our full potential. We fear something will break us, and we’ll quit writing for good. The idea of not writing depresses us more than you could ever know.
  •  Authors are generous. We want to help fellow writers. We love helping new writers. We share our knowledge, volunteer our time and energy and money to help other writers.
  • Authors are hard on themselves. We feel guilty taking time off at Christmas or for a vacation. We always think we should be writing more–more pages, more words, more books. We see other authors and think we should be doing it like them. We wonder why we can’t get it together and write more, promote harder, build the career we want. We struggle to celebrate the process. We lose sight of how far we’ve come in our quest to get where we’re going.
  • Authors are in-tune to the human condition. In order to write characters readers will actually care about, we have to care about what makes life wonderful and tragic and beautiful and ugly. We see the world around us, and we process it through our characters. We learn while we write. We grow with each story.

I love being an author. I’m grateful and humble that I’m blessed with a life that allows me to write full-time (the credit goes to my husband, who has supported me for years). I hope you have as much joy in your work as I do in mine.

What did I miss? What else does it mean to be an author?

My Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets giveaway is still going on! Click HERE and scroll down for the easy entry options (US residents, 18+ only)!

Thank you for stopping by!

Discussing Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

Discussing Wonderbook, Jillkemerer.com/blog

I was at the library last week–shocking, I know–and came across a delightful book in the new nonfiction section. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer has an engaging, whimsical cover, and I had to pick it up. With stunning graphics, author essays, and entertaining chapter subheadings, Wonderbook was sure to be right up my alley.

I haven’t had a chance to dive into it in depth, but I’ll be taking it chapter-by-chapter until I finish. I have a feeling this will be one I buy for my writing-craft shelf. One of my goals this year is to consistently study and apply writing craft techniques. This spring I brushed up on several chapters of Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fictiona book I’ve read more than once. It’s really good. And I’m excited to find other craft books to return to again and again.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that more nonfiction books are being printed on thicker, glossier paper with ample photographs and illustrations. I’m drawn to these books. Visual aids always help me! Anything that breaks up the text keeps me engaged–bullet points, subheadings, graphics, charts, you name it. Wonderbook is full of them.

Here’s the cover of Wonderbook.

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer, jillkemerer.com/blog

This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.

Purchase a paperback copy of Wonderbook: Amazon

 

***

Since my laziness factor can get REALLY high, especially in the summer when beach reads are calling my name, I schedule study time. If a craft book has long chapters, I will tackle a portion of a chapter per session (I aim for three sessions a week). If the chapters are short, I study a chapter at a time. I write out notes on paper then type them into a digital notebook (I use OneNote) for easy access. Sometimes a book doesn’t grab me, and I give up on it, but most of the time, I get a lot out of the craft books I read.

One nice thing about Wonderbook is that it has a dedicated website with gobs of extras. You can find out more at www.wonderbooknow.com.

How do you study the writing craft? What are your favorite resources? Please share!

Have a terrific day!

Jill Kemerer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Goofy First Draft Stuff #WW

Goofy First Draft Stuff #ww Jillkemerer.com/blog

Writing a first draft for me is up and down. It involves wasted minutes (okay, hours) staring at the screen and having no idea what comes next. Then it’s manic typing when something so delicious happens I can’t get it on the page fast enough. Since first drafts are all over the place for me, I thought I’d share some goofy stuff I do to survive them.

Give secondary characters silly temporary names instead of taking the time to come up with a usable one. For instance, a few weeks ago I named a real estate agent Dexter Leatherface. Don’t ask why. I have no reason.

Binge on sugary candy. Right now there’s a box of little Gobstoppers on my desk. I also love hard candies and Bottlecaps. Chocolate is my first love, but I have to watch the calories!

Mangle Silly-Putty when I have no idea what to write next. Years ago my sweet friend and fellow author, Liz Johnson, sent me a care package with a plastic egg of Silly-Putty in it, and I’ve been having fun with it ever since.

Mentally berate myself. How could I have only written 257 words in one hour? Seriously, Jill? What’s your prob?

Blink several times when I’ve written far more than I thought. Can the word count be correct? Did I miscalculate? I’m always amazed when words pour onto the paper.

Sit there. And sit there. And sit some more until I get something on the page!

The big thing I MUST do when writing a first draft? Keep my buns in the chair! If I get up for any “good” reason like laundry, dishes, fixing the hole in my shirt that’s been there for months, organizing my pantry, going to the library to get research books (which aren’t for research in any way, shape or form–they are distractions!!), I might as well throw my goals out the window and light them on fire. The book will NEVER get done.

Now you know my weird habits. I’d love to hear if you do anything goofy while you’re writing a first draft!

How do you get yourself to stick with a project when it doesn’t always go as planned?

Have a terrific day!

Only one more month and REUNITED WITH THE BULL RIDER (Wyoming Cowboys 2) will be in stores! Eeeeekkk!!! 

Reunited with the Bull Rider. Wyoming Cowboys Book 2 by Jill Kemerer. June 2018

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Researching Contemporary Settings Without Traveling #WW

Researching Settings Without Traveling, Jillkemerer.com/blog

On Saturday I gave a presentation at the Researching the Romance academic conference (#BGSURomCon18) hosted by the Browne Pop Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, which happens to be the official repository for Romance Writers of America (RWA). It was an amazing conference. I learned so much from professors, university librarians, archivists, grad students and others who traveled from all over the country. And, guys, Beverly Jenkins was the guest of honor. She blessed everyone with her insight, wisdom, graciousness and humor.

Since researching settings can be difficult, I thought I’d share my topic with you. Here it is!

Researching Contemporary Settings Without Traveling

A novel’s setting is important because it shapes the story and influences the characters’ thoughts and actions. Ideally, a writer will be able to visit an area before writing about it, but there are two big reasons why authors don’t always travel to research a setting. Time and money. We don’t always have time to jet off to Paris or drive to Georgia, and traveling can be expensive. But with the right tools, we can be confident we’re getting the setting right for our readers.

I take a three-pronged approach to researching setting–Internet, Print, People.  This method goes from big picture to small details.

 I usually have a general area or town in mind when I’m deciding where to set a new novel. The first thing I do is spend time on the internet and start gathering basic material.

1.Internet

  1. Print out a map of the area.
  2. “See” it through Google Earth/Google Images. Verify the images have been tagged correctly. Some images are clearly not what they say they are.
  3. Gather and print a year’s worth of weather data. It’s important to know typical highs/lows and precipitation.
  4. Find out what economics drive the area. Is it a dying town? Thriving? What are the demographics? What are the typical jobs? How much does it cost to live there?
  5. Read a brief history. Who settled it? What interesting facts emerge?
  6. Browse through travel guides/visitors info. What are the local attractions? These might trigger plot ideas.
  7. Check out homes through Realtor.com. What are the preferred styles? How much do they cost? Can I use this information as an area of conflict for a character?
  8. Search for blogs set there. For instance, when researching my Wyoming Cowboys series, I searched for “Wyoming ranch life” and found several blogs, full of pictures and rich details.
  9. “See” the area by searching YouTube—people GoPro everything!

 

At this point I have a good idea of the setting basics. I’m ready to narrow my research down to get “the flavor” of a place. So I move to print materials.

 

2. Print (Purchase or borrow from library)

  1. Memoirs set in the area (or general vicinity) will give you a more complete picture and plenty of details to make your setting come to life.
  2. Magazines. Regional magazines (Midwest Living, Alaska, Sunset, etc…) will give you fun facts and pictures.
  3. Ask librarian for help. Librarians know where to look beyond the travel section for information on specific places. Ask them!
  4. DVDs–documentaries and travel specials can be fun to watch!

 

Now I’m getting ready to write, but I usually have a list of picky questions I can’t find answers to. Example: How young is too young for a child to start riding a horse in Wyoming? Answer: Many children ride as soon as they can walk! How did I find this out? I asked people who live there (Thanks, Bree!!). How did I find these people? Social media.

 

3. People (Ask questions)

  1. Social Media. Get on Facebook, Twitter or even Google+ (there are communities for just about anything on G+) and ask specific questions “Hey, is anyone from X? I’m writing a book, and I’m wondering about Y.
  2. Put the word out to friends that you’re trying to find information about your setting. Chances are someone you know has a cousin/best friend/uncle’s first wife’s boss who lived there. Find out if they would be willing to answer a few questions. You can set up an interview (email, video, or phone) to pick their brains about the area.

 

Researching in person is ideal, but when finances are strained and you have no time, you CAN accurately reflect a setting if you work hard and DO sweat the details.

What are your secrets for researching a setting without traveling? Please share!

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