Going from good to best seller

“As soon as I thought of the question and didn’t know the answer, I consulted one of the foremost experts in legal ethics in the country, who just happened to be an old friend of mine, Lawrence Fox, Esq.

“Larry heads the Ethics Bureau at Yale Law School, and as soon as I posed my question to him, he said that would make an excellent question for the class, and to make a long story short, I ended up on a conference call with twenty legal geniuses at Yale Law, who undertook this legal issue as part of their course.”

These are the words of Lisa Scottoline as she acknowledges some of the people who helped her as she worked on her novel “Exposed”, which I reviewed last week.

Besides legal practitioners, physicians and nurses, among other professionals, the writer was also given an extensive tour of a blood and marrow transplant unit, getting the same orientation that a parent with a child about to undergo the relevant treatment gets.

Research and exposure play a significant role in the creation of any piece of fiction. While creativity is a key element in writing, there is still need to consult experts and, wherever possible, visit some of the sites you wish to recreate in your book.

Having read and reviewed many books by Zimbabweans, I have realised that many generalise as they fail to properly describe or outline what they will be talking about in their stories.

The setting of a novel creates mood and atmosphere, thereby painting images for the reader.

Admittedly, the biggest challenge when it comes to research and exposure for Zimbabweans is the cost.

But life has been made much easier by the Internet. People can access information at the click of a button. But there is a big difference between using a search engine and actually experiencing something.

If one is to write about Victoria Falls, it would be easier to recreate the scenery and ambience if one has spent time at the place than to simply read about it.

A story can be good but still lack that wow factor simply because the writer is not aware of the little things that make the difference between an entertaining read and a best seller. So get off your desktop and hit the ground.

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