I was working diligently on the 47 page business plan when the mail arrived. One of the pieces was The Writer, a magazine I love to read. I promised myself no breaks until I had two full pages done on the business plan so, I set it aside.

At noon I had finished 2 1/2 pages so, I relaxed and fixed myself some lunch. A fried egg and bacon sandwich on toasted whole wheat. One of my favorites. Along with a small bowl of sliced peach and hot chocolate to warm the hands.

I sat down and studied the index of articles. I thoughtfully chose an article called, “When Setting Becomes Character” by Sharon McDonnell. It was an article about John Berendt who wrote “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” and “Flying Angels.” Both books have reached the best seller list, “Midnight” for four years!

As I began to read the food I was eating no longer mattered. The article was compelling and offered many tidbits I would use later.

There were two things that I decided to share with you that came from the interview portion of the article.

When posed the question: What advice do you have on how to develop one’s powers of perception?

John answered: Choose an object…and write a 900 to 1,000 word piece about it that treats it from the viewpoint of history, design, literature, and has some humor in it. Develop it into something that’s compelling and out of the ordinary – not like what you’d find in the dictionary or Wikipedia.

The second question: Writers, we’re always told, should write about what they know. Do you agree?

John’s reply was: Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to write only about things you’ve known all of your life. You can research what you know, study it, live it, come to know it. Then you can write about it.

By the way, John writes what is called Literary Non-Fiction. That means the story, setting, and characters are all true. The work is written in the style of a novel with excitement and pizazz! It took him 8 years of research and writing for his first novel and 5 1/2 for the second. So don’t get discouraged!

In the magazine there are also the articles: 6 Tips for writing young adult novels; Harness the power of line breaks; Dedicate yourself to a writing apprenticeship; The Special Power of Present Tense; In Praise of he Short Story and many more!

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