Tips and Tricks
Resources You Can Use in Your Writing to Make it Stand Out from the Slush Pile
A Mystery Writers Reference Bibliography

1.        Research: Do Not use it as a form of procrastination. Be aware and be sure
that more research is needed and that it's not just a delaying tactic. There is no
such thing as writers block. Just begin writing.

2.        Fascinating facts are good; authenticity – something to make your work
stand out—uniqueness only you can provide.

3.        In researching Poland – the land and the people – past and present-- so
that I might write my current WIP (Works in Progress) with enough to flavor the
writing, help readers understand why Leona (my protagonist) would act the way
she does…I picked up on a holiday tradition she may have so ingrained in her
psyche that she will carry it out even a continent away. It also gave me a new
starting point for my novel that wasn't going anywhere. The writing was plodding
along, and I was feeling like it lacked motive, or momentum. This research cured
that and it is now back on track –at least a thousand words a day.

4.        Original sources are preferred over encyclopedic or even website
information. When you do find something of interest from original sources, find
two sources to authenticate it.  Starting with an encyclopedia for general
information is good. Then dig deeper and even deeper until you have something
that sings to you.

5.        As you are writing make a note of something you may need to authenticate,
or research but, do your research later…keep writing you can go back and add it
later…make a note in the margin "check facts" or something to spark you memory.
6.        When you have a general feel for your topic, when you can impart reality or
have found answers to your preliminary questions in your need for information
for this particular project, STOP—you will always have more information than you
need or want. Use only what you need.

7.        You don't need to deliver a history or geography lesson, just flavor the
story with what you've learned. You will if you've read the material. It will sit there
in your subconscious and wait for its place in your story or article. Trust your
subconscious to deal out just what you need. James Michener is an amazing story
teller. He imparts life into places—more by what he leaves out then what he puts
in. He gives you flavor, but not over dose. You understand the country or region
and the people because he breathes life into them by knowing what to put in and
what to leave out. Study his work. He does massive amounts of research, you
won't need that much but his works will give you measure of how to use what you

8.        Resource: Searching, A Research Guide for Writers ISBN 978-1-889715-60-7
Research: How Much is Too Much?
by Billie A Williams