Thursday, October 2, 2014

So You Want to Write a Contemporary – Seven Questions with Amanda Cabot


Happy birthday, Seekerville!  I’m delighted to be part of your seventh birthday celebration, and in honor of that, I thought I’d pose seven questions I think everyone who wants to write a contemporary novel should ask.  Let’s get started.



1.  Are you planning to use a real or a fictional location?  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.  Real locations engage readers immediately, but if you choose one, be certain you’ve got all the details right.  The last thing you need is a reader telling you there’s no bakery at the corner of Fifth and Main.  Fictional locations, of course, give you more flexibility.  You decide what building is on which corner.  The downside is that you have to do more work to create a fictional location.  If you a choose a fictional location, I strongly recommend creating a map of it.

2.  Will your story be set in a specific year or in what is sometimes called the ‘timeless present’?  This is a key question and one that will play an important role in your answers to the next couple questions.  The advantage to using a specific timeframe is similar to that or choosing a real location – reader identification.  The disadvantage is that, depending on how many details you include that are date-specific, your book may feel outdated within a couple years. 

3.  How much technology will you include?  If you’ve chosen a specific date for your story, there is no reason not to include references to all the current technology.  Readers who pick up the book twenty years from now may be amused by what seems antiquated to them but was state-of-the-art in 2014, but they’ll know that they’re reading a period piece.  On the other hand, if your goal is to create an evergreen story, you’d be better served by minimizing references to things that will likely be dated.  The same advice applies to pop culture references.

4.  How much slang are you planning to use?  Although our goal as authors should always be to create realistic dialogue, I’d recommend minimizing the use of currently trendy words.  Not only will they date a book quickly, but five or ten – not to mention twenty or thirty – years from now, they may create confusion for readers.  Unlike references to outdated technology, antiquated phrases could actually make dialogue difficult to understand.  Consider the word ‘rad,’ which the online slang dictionary says dates from the eighties.  How often do you hear it now?  How would you react if you read, “Those are rad shoes.”?  Would you think it was a typo and should have been ‘red’?

5.  Are you sure you’re not violating any intellectual property rights?  While I’m sure no one who’s reading this would willingly plagiarize another work, there are other opportunities to unwittingly be in violation of the law, one of which is trademarks.  Before you name your heroine’s dress shop, you should be certain that the name you’ve chosen isn’t trademarked.  Although a trademark is often a logo, it can also be a name set in a specific type font.  While it’s unlikely you’d be sued for unknowing use of a trademark, we live in a litigious society.  My advice is to do a trademark search for each establishment you name.  If there’s a match or a close match, change your name.  I feel so strongly about this that I’ve included a link to the trademark electronic search system (TESS).  http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4805:dy7z5k.1.1 Use it.

6.  Do you think there’s less research required for a contemporary than an historical?  When aspiring authors tell me they’re writing contemporaries because it’s easier with no research needed, I do my best not to laugh.  The reality is, all writing requires research.  It’s true that research for contemporaries is different from historicals, but it’s still essential that your details are correct.  If anything, readers are more critical of contemporary authors who get their facts wrong because it’s so easy to get them right.  Do you have a scene involving a fire investigation?  Interview a fire chief to make sure you’ve used the correct terminology and have properly described the procedures the investigators use.  Is your story set in a real location you’ve never visited?  Besides studying the related web sites, you might call the Chamber of Commerce to learn little known facts that will give your story added authenticity.  Research, research, research.  Yes, it takes time, but your readers will thank you.

7.  Why do you want to write a contemporary?  If your sole reason is that you’ve been told contemporaries are selling better than historicals, I’d suggest reconsidering.  I know some authors are very successful in writing to the trends, but they’re in the minority.  The single most important reason for writing any story should be that you love the story, that it haunts your thoughts and wakes you in the middle of the night.  If that story just happens to be set in modern times, congratulations – you’re meant to write a contemporary.  But if you dream of times gone by, if the characters that demand to have their stories told wear high-button shoes or subdue unruly hair with Macassar oil, think again.  Contemporary stories may not be right for you.

Since I promised Audra seven questions, I’m not going to number this last one, but there’s one more I want to ask.  If you were considering switching from writing historicals to contemporaries, has this post changed your mind? 

Hi Everyone, Audra here. I'm always excited to have Amanda Cabot as my guest in Seekerville. Amanda has been an historical author for many books. At Bluebonnet Lake is her first contemporary romance for the inspirational market. Leave a comment and check the Weekend Edition on Saturday to discover the winner of a signed copy of At Bluebonnet Lake.


Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.

Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago. There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort’s unassuming handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye—billions more, in fact.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day. You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow’s End.






Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. 




65 comments:

Lilsis said...

I absolutely love your books!!

I always thought I have a book in me but no so sure after reading your seven questions.:)

Mark Abel said...

Hi Amanda,

Lots to think about in your post today, thanks. Can you tell me if permission is required when quoting lyrics from a song in ones book? I have done that twice in my story and certainly don't want Mick Jagger coming for me.

Thanks, Mark

Walt Mussell said...

Amanda, I prefer historicals, but I know I have a contemporary in me, too. My one contemporary WIP is 1/3 written. I do have it outlined. I just need to get back to it.

Kara Isaac said...

Hi Amanda,

I am contemporary through and through, I love reading historicals but have no desire to ever write one! Looking forward to reading your new release.

Kara

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Amanda, good morning, and welcome to Seekerville's birthday celebration!!!!

Yayayayay!

I'm writing both historical and contemporary now and loving it, and the reason I dipped my toes into historicals was by accident. I was offered a contract when another writer had to back out and I said sure! And then it turned out to be the historical story, not the contemporary and I thought "Well... if God is dangling this fun project in front of my head, he'll surely give me a story to go with!"

And he did and it was fun!

I find it refreshes my mind to step outside my box and my comfort zone. Great 7 questions today!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Coffee is here, my friends!!!!

Cindy W. said...

I love contemporaries but I also love historicals. My current WIP is a contemporary and it does require research. I too have a question about song lyrics, in my story, one of my characters has a tendency to sometimes talk using song titles. Could this be an infringement? I use it like,"I want to be Part of Your World" or "Its a Whole New World"its a Tale as Old as Time". I don't capitalize them in my WIP. By themselves I don't think there would be a problem but because my character talks a lot of Disney, now I'm afraid it might infringe. What do you think?

Happy Birthday Seekerville!!!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jackie said...

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for sharing today. I'm not published but write contemporary. And I do a lot of research. I can't even imagine how much more research I'd do if I wanted to write a historical.

Thanks again!

Rose said...

Hi Amanda,

I usually write contemporary, but I do have two historical novels and am working on a historical novella.

My honest opinion is I have to do more research for the contemporaries than I do the historical books. Mostly because life was simpler without as many occupations, etc. to chose from.

Wilani Wahl said...

Amanda, Thank you for these great questions. I am writing my first novel and it is contemporary. I was not aware of being careful of Trademarks.

Audra Harders said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Amanda. I loved your 7 questions...made me pause and consider when I read number 3 about including current technology.

Innovation in communications develope so quickly anymore, I wonder if even mentioning a "phone call" today will be obsolete in 10-20 years. Spooky, huh?

I'm looking forward to reading At Bluebonnet Lake. Your release date can't come quickly enough!

Audra Harders said...

I see Ruthy brought the coffee already. Isn't she amazing?

Well, I'm adding an assortment of pumpkin pastries, in honor of fall and October and our Seekerville birthday month!!

Stay tuned for this afternoon's fare...I've been working with zucchini lately and have come across a to-die-for bread recipe!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome back, Amanda!

Wow am I loving that cover!


I keep wondering if I have a historical romance in me.

Of course I could write a memoir. That would be historical.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Good morning to our males in the audience.

Walt and Mark.


Mark, here is the answer to your question-from the Book Baby Blog:

How to legally quote song lyrics in your book

Cindy Regnier said...

Thanks Amanda and Audra. I write and read historicals, but enjoy contemporary as well. I do have a question, though. One of my favorite eras is 1980s - perhaps because I grew up during that time - but I like the no cell phones, technology etc. setting. I know this time period does not sell books and most editors won't look at it, but is it still considered a contemporary? Most contests use the Vietnam era as a boundary line for what is historical and what is contemporary. In the writing world is there a name for 1970-1980-1990 besides contemporary?

Jane said...

Amanda,

Excellent questions. You always know how to make us think and go beyond the obvious.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Cindy, the name for the 1970-1990 era is called....MY LIFE.

hahahahaha.

Jane said...

Happy Birthday,Seekerville!

Mary Hicks said...

Hi Amanda, those are all good questions to think about.

I've always enjoyed reading historical romance, but thought the research would become mind boggling.

Some historical writing will have a pattern of speech that throws me back to present day and I lose that feeling of being "there' with the story. Don't like that.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Amanda! Thanks for the excellent questions for authors considering writing contemporary fiction. I write historicals and research is understood, but I also realize I'd have to do a lot of research to write a believable contemporary.

After writing a contemporary, which genre do you prefer, historical or contemp?

Janet

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Amanda, Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for the post. Good questions that beginning writers really need to consider.

I write contemporary, but I think there is just as much research as there is for historical. You have to be accurate or your readers will protest. smile

Have fun today.

Jane said...

For those who have received their October RWR, check out Revell's ad on page 39 for AT BLUEBONNET LAKE.

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Amanda! I was just looking at our Oregon Trail Romance Collection page on Amazon.

These are all great questions to ask when considering writing a contemporary. A couple of weeks ago I pulled out an unpublished manuscript I'd first written maybe ten or twelve years ago. I was STUNNED by how much technology has changed in that short time, so there was a lot of updating to do for that aspect alone!

Thanks for the advice about trademarks. Whenever I need to name a business or even a whole fictional city in my stories, I usually Google my idea and see what similar names pop up. Then I try to avoid them.

Amanda Cabot said...

I'm so glad you all started the party without me. I would have been here sooner, but one of the smoke alarms decided to beep, and it took a while to figure out which one needed a new battery. Now that that annoying chirping is done, I can concentrate on all the great comments and questions so far.

Lilsis -- Of course I'm delighted that you enjoy my books, but please don't be discouraged by the seven questions. They're meant to make writing easier. Admittedly, it's always hard work, but every little hint helps -- at least that's my theory.

Walt and Mark -- I'm glad that Tina answered the song lyrics question. I've been cautioned to merely paraphrase, to say something like "Garth Brooks was singing about his friends in low places" rather than actually quoting the song.

Kara -- Isn't it interesting how we enjoy reading something but know we wouldn't write that genre. Maybe that's part of the appeal?

Rebecca said...

This was interesting. I have to admit, I always thought writing contemporaries meant less research. Thank you for some good food for thought!

Jennifer Smith said...

Amanda, I just read "With Autumn's Return" a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it! Looking forward to reading more of your books. Thanks for including the link to TESS...I'll be saving that for future reference.

Amanda Cabot said...

Since Ruth brought coffee, I'm providing herb tea and chocolate chip scones. Whoever said you can't eat chocolate for breakfast didn't live in my household.

And speaking of Ruth, isn't it fun to write in two different genres? I'm really enjoying writing historical novellas as a change of pace from the long contemporaries.

Cindy -- I don't believe that song titles can be copyrighted any more than book titles can, but you might want to do some research on that to be sure.

Jackie -- Most people think that historicals require more research than contemporaries, but my experience has been that research takes about the same amount of time whether it's for an historical or a contemporary. The nature of the research varies,of course.

Audra -- Thanks so much for inviting me to be here today. I'm glad you enjoyed the questions and that they raised even more in your mind. That was the plan!

Cindy -- I love Tina's answer to your question about the time period! I've heard that many mystery writers like to set their books no later than 1980, since the mystery can be more compelling if there's no way to Google for information. I've also seen some mainstream books set during that period. Unfortunately, romance editors don't have the same perspective.

Amanda Cabot said...

Mary -- I agree with you completely about the anachronisms in historicals that make you stop, shake your head and wonder what the author was thinking. Those are among my pet peeves for historicals. Individual words are easy to fix -- just use a dictionary with the date of first usage -- but phrases are more difficult. For example, if I read "Don't go there" in a historical, and the character isn't talking about going to a specific place, I cringe. That phrase is modern!

Janet -- I wish I could answer your question, but all I can say is "it depends." There are many things I love about writing historicals -- getting lost in a different world being high on the list -- but contemporaries have the advantage of giving women more freedom. That's one of the reasons I'm continuing to write both.

Sandra -- I was teaching a class on Tuesday, and someone asked (seriously!!!) why it was important to be accurate when we were writing fiction. I tried not to roll my eyes as I explained that readers want to believe that the world we create is real.

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Good Morning Amanda and Audra,
What an informative post! Something every writer and want-to-be writer should read more than once.

As to you last question. No, I'm sticking with contemporary. But Audra, did that change your mind? :)

Hugs to you both,
Leslie Ann

Debby Giusti said...

Amanda,
Thanks for including the TESS link! I've save it for future reference. Like Myra, I usually Google names of towns or businesses, etc, but TESS will, no doubt, be more comprehensive.

As mentioned, technology changes so quickly that our stories are soon dated. My debut came out in 2007. In my first draft, I didn't mention cell phones. My critique partner encouraged me to ensure my heroine had one but had inadvertently left it behind when she fled town. Hard to imagine anyone who doesn't have a cell these days, other than children or an elderly person...although most seniors I know are very tech savvy.

Thanks for your seven questions! Thanks for joining in our Seekerville birthday celebration!

I've brought pound cake, strawberries and whipped cream to share. Enjoy!

Piper Huguley said...

Hello Amanda! Thank you for your great questions. I'm writing historicals now, but like Walt, I'm working my way to the contemporaries and I'm glad I'll be able to consult this post when I do!

Tina, jump into the historical--the water is fine....:)

Amanda Cabot said...

Jane -- I'm glad that you've received your copy of the RWR. The Pony Express still has mine.

Myra -- I've found that Googling is a good way to start to avoid trademark infringement, but it never hurts to check the database. And wasn't it fun writing the Oregon Trail stories? I've always been fascinated by the pioneers in their covered wagons.

Rebecca -- You're not alone in thinking that there's less research in contemporaries. If only that were true!

And, Jennifer,I'm glad you enjoyed With Autumn's Return. The research for that, particularly the medical part, was interesting to say the least.

LA -- I'm not surprised you're sticking with contemporary. Your voice is perfect for it.

Vince said...

Hi Amanda:

I like your questions. Whether the novel is historical or contemporary, I want both the setting and time period to be essential to the story and not incidental. That is, I want the story to only have been possible in that time and place. But then I’m a history teacher who never got to teach history. : (

I have one rule:

All romances need to be written as contemporaries.

The contemporary needs to be written as a contemporary, of course, but the historical also needs to be written as a contemporary of the time period being written about. When the author writes a historical ‘as a historical’ the book too often displays symptoms of what I call ‘historicalitis’. That’s a story with historical facts plugged in from research to make it seem historical. This is history from the ‘outside in’ and it can be so obvious that it ruins the narrative for me.

What I like is history from the ‘inside out’. That’s what you would get with a novel that takes place in 1888 and was written in 1888. There is no attempt at history here.

This is hard to do. The writer has to become a resident of the time period. This involves reading novels, letters, diaries, and newspapers from that time period – and reading the newspapers in sequence over time to see how the people of that time ‘saw’ the world ‘coming at them’. The writer needs to experience the historical flow of the times.

A great example of this can be found in Helen Gray’s “Ozark” trilogy which takes place circa the depression period. There are so many observations in those stories that you would not find by researching the internet that it makes me think Helen wrote them back then and it’s just taken a long time to get them published! : ) Actually, history from the ‘inside out’ can also happen if you are fortunate enough to talk to people who lived through those times. You get them to describe what daily life was like.

Here’s my question: Did you like writing, “At Bluebonnet Lake”, enough so that you think you’ll write more contemporary romances?

One of the best LI contemporary romances I’ve ever read is by Winnie Griggs, “The Heart’s Song”, which had a large cast of interesting characters and which could have spun off many more books and yet the author did not want to write any more contemporaries. :(

I’m one of those fans who likes a location and cast of characters and who looks forward to the next book in the series as if it were a much anticipated long letter from home. Right now I’m really enjoying Tina’s “Paradise” location – as is the rest of the romance reading world!

Please put me in the running for a copy of “Bluebonnet”.

Vince

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville. You've had an amazing 7 years!!

Chocolate chip scones, coffee, pound cake, strawberries and whipped cream.

And now to edit...AH, what a day.

Hugs
Leslie Ann

Amanda Cabot said...

Wilani -- A lot of people don't think about trademarks, but it's an important thing to consider.

Debby -- Funny you should mention cell phones. One of the things I did in At Bluebonnet Lake was make the resort in a cell phone dead zone. What a challenge for my workaholic heroine.

Piper -- Good luck with both your historicals and the future contemporary. You may find, as many authors do, that one genre fits your style better than the other, but you may also enjoy both. The only way to know is to try.

Vince -- What a terrific rule. When I first read it without going any further than the rule itself, I wondered what you meant, but as I read your explanation, I kept nodding my head. You're absolutely right. The historicals I've found the most intriguing are the ones where I felt totally immersed in the time period,and the ones that I couldn't finish were the ones where the historical facts, including things like how to cook on a wood stove, seemed like they were grafted onto the story rather than being woven in.

To answer your question, I'm definitely writing more contemporaries. Bluebonnet is the first of a trilogy, and it was so much fun that I've just sent Revell a proposal for a quartet that will be a spin-off of these stories.

kaybee said...

Thank you Amanda.
I never thought contemporaries were "easy" from the research standpoint. Historicals are easier, especially for a shy person. You don't have to job shadow someone -- they're all dead. :) I think both forms are equally challenging. With historicals there's a lot of work on the Internet and, gasp, in Real Books. In contemporary there's a lot of calling experts.
I write the stories that grab my heart, and so far, they've been the old times. The "newest" story I have has been end of World War II and the beginning of the Twenties. I'd love to do contemporary women's fiction, but the story will have to find me first.
Thanks for a good post.
Kathy Bailey
Still historical in New Hampshire

kaybee said...

Yeah, about technology...
Is it okay for people in stories to have computers, cell phones and of course TV? Those devices are fairly standard in the 21st century. It's how we communicate, until they are able to install the little chips in our brains, ha ha. How "evergreen" do we want to go? Can we write about technology if we don't get all "gee whiz" about it but are more matter-of-fact?
This is an academic question, as I am the most non-techno person around. Except, apparently, for Melissa (see yesterday's posts about the I-phone, I-Pad or whatever).
Kathy Bailey
Figuring it out as I go in NH

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Vince, smarty pants! Yes, I totally agree and now I must go back and re-check my current one to see if it passes muster!!!!

kaybee said...


SANDRA, you are right. Just as much research either way.
TINA, Ha Ha, I feel that way about anything about the Vietnam era. That's HISTORY? My crit partner is doing a Vietnam-era story and I'm on her about putting in historical details. She's my age, sheesh, she doesn't even have to research it. The songs are in her head, the clothing is in her yearbook. Sigh. It also freaks me out when I go in an antique store and see the detritus of my childhood, although the antiques and collectibles industry has the grace to call it "vintage" and not "antique." At this point.
KB
Aging gracefully (and gratefully) in NH

kaybee said...

I would love to have a big 80s cell phone. Then I wouldn't lose it. You would think.
KB

Amanda Cabot said...

Kathy -- I hadn't thought about how difficult job shadowing or calling people would be for a shy person, but you're right -- that could be intimidating. One of the good things about historical research is that I can do it whenever I want rather than having to wait for the expert to be awake.

And, yes, it's fine to have characters using cell phones, watching TV, maybe even wearing 3D glasses to watch TV. My concern is about being too specific. An iPhone 6 will be out of date before the book is published. BTW, I read a 'period' book that had so many deliberate references to what was then pop culture that it annoyed me. I felt as if I was being bludgeoned with references to products, songs and movies that were current during the book's timeframe. A few would have set the scene, but I didn't need to be reminded on every page that I was reading a book set in the sixties. Nineteen sixties, that is.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Wow, what a cute cover! Thanks so much for visiting us today, Amanda. Great post. :)

Melanie Pike said...

Ooh! Wonderful post. :)

The first novel I ever wrote (and rewrote at least once) was a combination of contemporary and historical. It was about reincarnation (which I haven't read about since becoming a Christian 11 years ago), so of course covered both. The bulk of it occurred during 18th century Scotland, so I did a ton of research (long before the Internet...encyclopedias and every single book on Scotland I could find were my best friends for a long time). I shredded both versions of that book several years ago...

And now I write only contemporary because I don't believe I could do history justice that other authors do these days. I have lots of research piled up for what I am writing as it is!

Thank you for the link to TESS. That will definitely come in handy, although I did research on both my heroine's shop name and the town I've created in western NY (which is where I live--basing it very loosely on our area).

Thanks for the opportunity to win your book! Blessings...

Karen Fischer said...

Thank you Amanda for sharing!

Your insight is second to none. I can’t wait to read "At Bluebonnet Lake"!

Karen Fischer

marilyn leach said...

I genuinely enjoyed your presentation today, it made so much sense. Your advise on trademark issues is a timely one. My editor allows no trade names at all. Cars, shoes, song titles, nothing. Thanks for the good word.

marilyn leach said...

Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday Seekerville.

Tanya Agler said...

Amanda, Thanks for the blog post. I write contemporaries. They do require a lot of research. I set my first in an urban city so it was a real city while my past two are set in a fictional town.

I grew up reading historical romance and contemporary. While I wonder if I have a historical in me, I'm sticking to contemporary for now.

I love to read both. Thanks for the thought provoking questions about writing.

Lyndee H said...

Hi Amanda,
Great post. It seems that no matter which I write, I can never predict all the research it's going to take. I think I have everything covered, then my characters say or do something that requires more. When I hit those patches I just bluff my way through in order to keep writing, understanding that the bluff is merely a placeholder for real research!

Amanda Cabot said...

Anna -- I'm glad you like the cover. I was thrilled with it, and the staff at Revell told me is was one of the most fun ones they'd done. It seems that many covers which feature both the hero and heroine involve separate photo shoots, where as this one obviously had both models together. I guess that added a special dimension to the photo shoot. Wish I'd been there.

Melanie -- I'm glad you found the post helpful. Where in Western New York do you live? I have ties there.

Karen and Marilyn -- Thanks for joining us today, and of course I'm glad you found the post helpful.

Tanya -- How do you like writing about fictional towns vs. real places? I find fictional locations easier and less stress-inducing. At least no one can tell me there's no gas station at the entrance to the town of Dupree (my fictional location for Bluebonnet.

Lyndee -- Your suggestion to bluff and then fill in the details later is wonderful! Too often writers tell me they get caught up in research and forget what they were planning to write. Your technique avoids that problem. Terrific advice.

Sandy Smith said...

Thanks for this post Amanda. I am starting a contemporary novel and you have listed many great things to think about as I write. I will definitely make use of your trademark search. Your book looks great. I would love to be entered into the drawing for it.

Mary Curry said...

Hi Amanda, welcome to the contemporary world. :)

I had a technology issue in an older book that I was rewriting. I gave the first chapter to a friend to read and she said - "That wouldn't happen anymore. They'd call her cell phone."
Ooops - I'd had her out of communication with her office because she was on a trip. When I first thought of the idea, cell phones didn't exist. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Mary Curry said...

I should say, I started out writing historical and couldn't imagine writing anything else, but these days I mostly write contemporary and suspense.

Bobbe Brooks-Fischle said...

Amanda,
Ultra thanks for the invite to Seekerville and seven helpful questions.
Can't wait to read Bluebonnet Lake.
Hugs and blessings!

Naomi Rawlings said...

I occasionally have contemporary ideas come to mind, but I must admit that the historical ones flow much more readily. Still, I think it would be fun to write a contemporary because the dialogue would come a lot more naturally. I could say "okay" instead of always checking to see if words are anachronistic.

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for the great ideas, Amanda! I really appreciate the trademark site link. I've never thought to check that out (have only Googled things). I appreciate the advice!

Jamie Adams said...

I love your books, Amanda! I'm not sure if I'll ever write a contemporary but appreciate the insight!

Donna said...

Hi Amanda, great information! You have given us a lot to think about! I just wrote a song title into my wip earlier today.

At Bluebonnet Lake sounds like a great get away book! I can't wait to read it!

Elaine Manders said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville. Seven is a great number.

Thanks you for this post, Amanda. It's very helpful, and I'm printing it out. I'm researching for my first contemporary which I hope to do for NaNoWritMo next month. I've always written historical but this story just came to me. My setting is going to be fiction. My hero's job is accountant. I used to be one. My heroine's job is in management and I was in that too. She the director of a Single's SS group. I used to do that too. I'm falling back on that old advice, write what you know.

Jenny Blake said...

some interesting questions here. I understand about the slang dating books. Its like now people are into tattoos and some books are having a hero with tats in 10 years hopefully it will no longer be the force it is now and will date a book. Also hair styles. The other one about trademarks is a good question I bet many do not think about. I am not a writer but this is a great post for readers also. Thanks. am going to share it.

Courtney Phillips said...

I like reading historicals, but I wouldn't want to write one. My voice belongs in contemporary. :)

bonton said...

Hi, Amanda!!

Thanks for your interesting post!! I'm not a writer, but always enjoy learning more about the writing process!!

bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

AMANDA!!! SO NICE TO SEE YOU HERE, GIRL!!!

Perfect timing for me because I am writing my 1st contemp & loving it. I actually started before I got published and had this burning desire to finish it BEFORE I found out contemps were hot, so good timing. there too, I guess!!

This post was incredibly helpful, so THANK YOU!!!

Hugs, Julie

Mary Preston said...

A very interesting post thank you.

Melanie Pike said...

Amanda, you asked where in western NY I live. I'm about an hour or so east of Ruthy, so am about halfway between Rochester and Syracuse, in Wayne County up near Lake Ontario. Beautiful country up here, especially in the Fall (my favorite season)! And yummy apples, LOL.

Carol Garvin said...

What great questions! Thanks, Amanda. I've filed the TESS info for future reference.

I write contemporary novels and agree there's lots of research required. It's too easy for readers to catch inaccuracies in a familiar time period and/or location.

As I read through the comments I was glad to see Mark's question answered, because, while titles aren't under copyright protection, I know lyrics are.