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Now is the time to unleash your inner author

Always had a story in your head, or wanted to write a novel? Now is the time! Award-winning author, Joan Gelfand, shares steps to get started.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Do you have a great book inside you but don’t know where to begin?

During these dog days of isolation, now’s the perfect time to hit the pad and paper and finally start writing your big best-seller!

Joan Gelfand is an award-winning author of “You Can Be A Winning Author: The 4 C’s System to Author Success”  

Joan’s new summer beach read, EXTREME, will be released July 14.

Here, Joan shares 7 secrets to releasing your 'inner author:’

1. What’s your story?  Your own personal story might be just the recipe for a great plot line. Or, a recipe might be the perfect starting point! Think “Julie and Julia” the fabulous movie about a young woman who takes on the creation of Julia Child’s recipes as the challenge of her life.

2. Read the news. The next juicy protagonist might actually be right in front of you—in the papers, on the Internet or featured in a magazine. Great characters can be based on the real lives of politicians, celebrities, heroes and everyday people. A great summer beach read, murder mystery, chick-lit, sci-fi or crime story can grow with just the seed of an idea. Genre fiction is hot!

3. History can repeat itself...in other ways, shapes…or formats. Are there historical figures or periods in history that fascinate you? Are you obsessed with an obscure figure whose story has not been told? Or do you have some intelligence that has not been made public? Gelfand reminds us that while “All the Light We Cannot See” was probably the thousandth book written on World War 2, Anthony Doerr found a way into the story with a young protagonist that was so compelling it won the Pulitzer Prize.


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4. Use the Internet. Search engines like Google or Bing or platforms like YouTube are at your fingertips. Now, it couldn’t be easier to fact find. And don’t forget that when it’s OK to go out and congregate, librarians are a great resource too!

5. Romance, love or a bad divorce? Love makes for great stories; even ill-fated relationships can be superb jumping-off points. Think “The Fault in Our Stars,” “The Way We Were,” and “Anna Karenina.”

6. Mix it up. Writers tend to be introverted; however, you’d be surprised that a random Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn interaction can be the next inspiration for your next great story. “Paris Blues Redux,” Gelfand's award-winning short story, was based on a chance interaction she had in a Paris department store with a world-class pianist.

7. Travel. Remember that? Have you had any wild, scary, or even failed, adventures? Think “Life of Pi.” Exotic locations always lend themselves to great fiction. Gelfand wrote a story based on one image that struck her while traveling in Lombok, Indonesia. Let your imagination go.

Joan also suggests paying attention to your dreams! “The movie Avatar came from a dream,” she says.

So pay attention to the world around you and have fun unleashing your inner author!

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