How to Research Absolutely AnythingWritten by Stephanie Cage
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4 - Tourist information Sometimes libraries aren’t much help because information you’re looking for changes frequently. This is particularly true in travel writing, where you can end up looking foolish if a hotel or restaurant has closed down since your visit, or a museum or gallery has changed its opening hours. That’s when area’s tourist information is invaluable.
5 - People If you haven’t found what you’re looking for using any of these methods, or if you want more details than average reference book provides, you’ll need to look for someone in know who can help you out. For general information, museum curators, gallery owners and librarians are often very helpful, but sometimes you’ll need something more specific. In that case, best tactic can be to find an association related to topic. If you want to find out about details of Civil War for your battle scene, is there a re-enactment society near you? There’s bound to be someone who can answer your questions, and you might even get a chance to see atmosphere of a Civil War battle for yourself and pick up some details you’d never have thought to ask about.
Finally, if that fails, fall back on theory that everyone on planet is connected by just six links and ask everyone you know (work colleagues, fellow writers group members, friends and relatives) whether they know anyone who might be able to help you. Tell them it’s for a book (or magazine article, or whatever) and most people are glad to help – that’s beauty of being a writer.
Stephanie Cage is a writer and researcher based in Berkshire, UK. She writes regularly for The Agony Column and newbooksmag and has also been published in e-Quip (the e-zine of the British Society of Comedy Writers) and Link (the magazine of the National Association of Writers’ Groups), where this article first appeared. Visit her at www.stephaniecage.co.uk
Awesome EndingsWritten by Lea Schizas
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Does this affect your plot down line? In certain circumstances, yes. For example:
Bruce is a studious clean-cut senior high school student. He’s portrayed as ‘geek’ for most of story, not a main character at all. Then writer decides to spruce things up and throws a dare at Bruce. Bruce accepts. He takes his friend’s ID and goes to a ‘Rave’. Big mistake, but a twist for reader. The ‘Rave’ is raided, Bruce ends up in jail because his friend is wanted by police and he’s holding fake id. He escapes and now tries to clear his name that somehow has crept into police files. A sedate YA high school book has now turned into a suspense novel all because of a character reversal.
When writing up your character(s) sketch, try to include opposite reactions, as well. By doing this, you can easily plot foreshadowing more convincingly ahead of game.
Remember that fiction is often, if not all time, crafted out of real people, real situations or real events. So think of a ‘real’ person and envision his reaction to several possible finales to a ‘dilemma’. Then start crafting ending with one of these ‘reactions’ while dropping subtle hints to a totally different ending than what your reader is expecting. Try to use this character reversal for a completely out of this world ‘awesome ending.’
Make sure your story propels forward, making your reader want to turn page. Bungee jump them out of a plane into a secret path that will drive them to finish line.
Editor in Chief and co-founder of two Writer's Digest 101 Best Writing Sites of 2005-Apollo's Lyre,http://www.apolloslyre.com and The MuseItUp Club,http://museitupclub.tripod.com and author of THE ROCK OF REALM, a YA fantasy book, http://rockofrealmnovel.tripod.com