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Editing Your Novel Together

January 3, 2022 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

The Post Outline

by E.J. Williams

(Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger)

Writing together as E. J. Williams, husband and wife, Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn author the INTERNATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader to 1960s southern California, then on to international locales.

          Even after you’ve written the best book in the world, the pesky task of editing rears its ugly head! To those of you who love editing…our hats are off to you. We have come up with several suggestions that may help ease the editing process, whether you are editing your book for your editor, publisher, agent, or yourself.

          The post outline is the first thing we do once we feel the book is complete. By going back through the manuscript (ignoring the pre outline if you do one) helps to see where some of the holes or gaps in the sub and main plot line are. After a week break, we sit down and take portions to re-outline, i.e. one of us works the even chapters the other the odd chapters. Issues with the manuscript seem to jump out at you with this. We then meet and figure out how to work out each problem. With both of us working on it, it goes real fast.

          Though this mind-numbing task is necessary, it can bring about a great deal of pride when the process is complete. As a couple who write together, we have found these tips work well whether you are working alone or with someone.

And yes…we are still married!

Website:  Janet  Elizabeth Lynn    

Website:  Will Zeilinger           

Some of Janet’s and Will’s Novels

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

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History of Mail Order Christmas Catalogs by Will Zeilinger

December 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

Montgomery Ward was the first department store in the United States to offer a mail-order catalog in 1872.

The Sears-Roebuck general catalog of 1896 included wax candles for Christmas trees. They added Christmas cards in 1898. The first Christmas tree ornaments appeared in the Sears catalog in 1900. They began offering Christmas stockings and artificial Christmas trees in 1910. Electric Christmas tree lights made their debut in the catalog in 1912.

As the Sears-Roebuck mail-order catalog was already a regular part of America’s Christmas tradition, their Christmas catalog of 1933 started a tradition that made the “Wish Book,” as many customers affectionately called it, an American icon, The Wish Book name became synonymous with the annual Christmas Book catalog.

The first Sears-Roebuck Christmas Book catalog cover illustrated some of the featured items in the catalog, including the “Miss Pigtails” doll, an electric (battery-powered) toy automobile, a Mickey Mouse watch, fruitcakes, Lionel electric trains, a five-pound box of chocolates, and live singing canaries.

Sears started a tradition of putting colorful, warm Christmas scenes on the cover of their Christmas catalog and regularly showed children, Santa Claus, and Christmas trees.

Many people nostalgically think of the Wish Book as filled with nothing but toys. But, over the years, more pages were devoted to gifts for adults than toys for children.

Finally, in 1968, Sears made it official by renaming the Christmas Book catalog “The Wish Book.”

Over the years, many other stores followed suit with their own Christmas mail-order catalogs, including Montgomery Ward, Spiegel, Gimbels, J.C.Penney, W.T.Grant, Bon Marche, White’s, Western Auto, and of course, Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus is famous now for high-end department stores and for publishing an annual catalog of the outrageous in Christmas gift-giving.

As far back as 1926, Neiman Marcus offered Holiday gift suggestions, but they were in the form of postcards to get customers into their retail stores. They produced an actual Holiday catalog in the 1950s, and in 1959 Stanley Marcus invented the idea of including an outrageous holiday gift. The first took the form of a live Black Angus bull accompanied by a sterling silver barbecue cart. The standard catalog was changed to include the new, almost $2000 gift offering.

Neiman Marcus has since gained increased fame with some of its impossible and ostentatious gift products in the Christmas catalog. Although not specifically for children, maybe the children inside us, Neiman Marcus began offering “his and hers” gifts, like expensive cars, airplanes, and even vacations and yachts. In 1964, there were his and her hot air balloons, priced just under $7000 for both. The 1970 catalog featured reasonably a priced and readily available $10 oak tree. At the other end of the scale (at almost $600,000), there was a one-of-a-kind Noah’s ark, complete with matched pairs of animals. In 1975, one could get letters autographed by George and Martha Washington for around $8500. More recently (2005), they offered a private concert with Elton John for $1.5 million.

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Casting Your Story by Will Zeilinger

November 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

You’ve heard of “casting directors” in the world of film, TV, and advertising.

I was an art director for ads and commercials, and selecting the proper models or actors for a job was key to the success of each project. Likewise, as an author, you are the casting director for your story, and casting the right characters is crucial to keeping the reader interested.

If you have the casting correct, any two characters can be put in a scene together and keep the reader interested. This requires that each character is already interesting on their own and that they have an opinion about every other character. They don’t have to say anything about the others, but they can have an internal view that will affect their behavior toward the other members of the cast.

Each character should have a purpose in the story. If not, then they aren’t needed. They can interact with each other independently or confront one another through the main protagonist.

The types of character can vary, but in Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey,” he identifies eight archetypes. You can vary these to fit your needs.

1The Hero Your protagonist
2The Mentor The one your protagonist goes to for advice
3The Ally The BFF or loyal friend
4The Herald The one who tells the protagonist they must change
5The Trickster Can function as comedy relief or goof (i.e., Gilligan)
6The Shapeshifter Not who you or the protagonist thinks they are
7The Guardian Tries to discourage the protagonist (to play it safe)
8The ShadowThe opposite of the protagonist – evil?

Think about the age, ethnicity, gender, education, and socio-economic background of each one. Are they a proper fit? Are they believable?

In the end, each of the character types I’ve mentioned have a unique of your plot and the rest of the cast. Consider the extent to which they interact, and consider using some aspects of the types above. Each character has the ability to move the story along.  You don’t necessarily need all of these types, but you are the author, so use who you need. You can even write a story with only one character.

While the easiest way to build characterization and personality in your protagonist (main character) is to surround them with people they must interact with, if you isolate your protagonist, then developing depth and interest becomes a challenge. 

Take the film, Castaway featuring Tom Hanks. He’s stuck on an island, alone, for four years. Writing a story featuring one character is an excellent exercise in character development. When writing a story like this, here are two things to remember, but this holds true for any type of story you tackle.

1. Your reader needs to care about your character

You must give the character a reason for the reader to care about what they do or what happens to them. As in a fully populated story, your main character doesn’t have to be “good” for the reader to care about them. Villains are just as interesting as heroes.

2. Have a conflict

Conflict kickstarts the story plot. Without conflict or a problem to solve, there’s no plot and no story. How your protagonist reacts to the conflict helps the reader to guess what they’ll do or not do next.

Here’s a tip I use to cast my stories:

I like to clip photos of different people and use them as my casting catalog when developing a story. I can always look at their faces and consider how they’ll look or what other characters think of them. If your casting doesn’t seem to be working, you can always re-cast a character.

Have fun. You’re the Director.


Some Book by Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

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Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Planning by E. J. Williams

October 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the thrillers of INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 Southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

Planning the series, then planning the individual novel in the series takes a great deal of time. It is so easy to get stuck on one idea and not move ahead. The two of us had MANY ideas we threw around.

So, we implemented deadlines—not just for writing (which needs to happen) but at the planning stage … making decisions.

For example, “By the next meeting follow, we will decide on:” 

1) Romantic scene, when, where, and with who.

2) Car chase: where will it take place and who is chasing whom, etc. Once we agree on these details, one of us writes the scene, and the other adds to it.

Beware of analysis/paralysis. We knew of a co-writing team who couldn’t agree on the names of the characters, not just one but all. Their writing ground to a halt for months!

Remember that your mutual goal is to write a good story.

The takeaway: When writing together, plan your approach.

Remember… the crucial thing is to write a good story. So, stay tuned … there is more to come.

STONE PUB is the first in the series, and yes … we are still married!

Websites:

Janet  Elizabeth Lynn

Will Zeilinger


Some of Janet’s and Will’s Novels

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

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Vintage 1960 TV Theme Music

September 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , , , ,

The 1960s began a new era of television programs. Broadcasting transitioned from black/white to color. Lighthearted sitcoms/comedies were the most-watched shows. But as the decade progressed people became socially conscious. Memorable theme songs/ lyrics defined the shows.

Here are just a few of those memorable theme songs in alphabetical order:

Hogan’s Hero’s
1965 to 1971
CBS
by Jerry Fielding 

I Dream of Jeanie
1965-1970
CBS
by Hugo Montenegro

Mission Impossible
1966-1971
CBS
by Lalo Schifrin

My Three Sons
1960 to 1970
ABC
by Frank De Vo

The Addams Family
1964 to 1966
ABC
by Vic Mizzy

The Andy Griffith Show
1960 to 1968
CBS
by Earle Hagen

The Avengers
1966 to 1969
CBS
by Laurie Johnson

The Beverly Hillbillies 
1962-1971
CBS
by Paul Henning

The Courtship of Eddies Father
1969 to 1972 
ABC
by Harry Nilsson

The Twilight Zone
1959 to1964
CBS
by Bernard Herrmann


Some of Janet and Will’s Books


DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

0 0 Read more

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