Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Four Reasons Why Writers Should Read Newspapers By Marie Wells Coutu

Early Morning Newspaper
With so much information at our fingertips via our phones and tablets—or through voice control, like “Alexa, what’s the news?”—there’s a tendency to skip buying or reading the newspaper. After all, we have Facebook, TV, and news apps to keep up with what’s happening in the world.

But in the last few days, I’ve found several reasons to keep reading newspapers (or magazines). All were items of interest that I would not have discovered or gone looking for on the Internet. So here are four reasons writers need to keep reading newspapers, at least once in a while:

  1. Story ideas.
    My local paper runs a column every week that looks back at some interesting tidbit of state history, such as an Iowa woman who became the first female ticket agent for the railroads. That article went in my “Ideas” file, since I’m now writing historical novels. For speculative writers, the Science and Health section of a recent Minneapolis Star-Tribune contained several items that might inspire stories: the disappearance of key flying insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs; a man-made rover exploring an asteroid surface; a link between air pollution and cognitive decline. I doubt I’m the only writer who sees plot potential in those items, even though I don’t expect to use them in my writing. (I’m sure you suspense writers already mine the newspapers for story ideas.)
  2. Character development.
    The same section featured a story on personality types. Instead of using Myers-Briggs Type personality assessment—which apparently social psychologists dislike--for your characters, a huge new study has defined four distinct personality types: Reserved, Self-centered, Role Model, and Average. Since I’m always seeking ways to develop characters that are not all like me, I found this article useful. These four types are based primarily on five established personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. I look forward to learning more about these traits and the four types to help me in creating interesting characters.
  3. Marketing.
    In a typical newspaper, you might find listings of local clubs you could approach to offer yourself as a guest speaker. Or you may learn of a news event that relates to your book, providing newsy posts for social media. And of course, you can check out the book reviews or best-seller lists to stay aware of the competition.
  4. Humor.
    Don’t skip the comics. You may think you’re too busy or that reading the “funnies” (as we always called them) will distract from your writing. It won’t, as long as you finish in a timely manner and get back to work. Every now and then, you may even find a comic strip that resonates with you as a writer (besides Snoopy writing about the “dark and stormy night.” The laugh break will do you good and may inspire your creativity.
What have you read in a newspaper recently that inspired you, helped you with your craft, or made you laugh? I’d love to hear about it.

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 4 reasons #writers need to keep reading #newspapers by Marie Wells Coutu @MWCoutu  on #SeriouslyWrite. wp.me/a5RrYq-KH bit.ly/2E6vh1y
About the Author

Marie Wells Coutu
Marie Wells Coutu’s newest novel, The Secret Heart, from Write Integrity Press, was named a finalist in both the 2018 National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Awards and the 2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards. An unpublished historical novel set near Golden Pond has been a finalist in five contests.

The Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu
You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu) or on Amazon.com.
Marie is a regular contributor to Seriously WriteFor more posts by Marie, click here.