Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Good research, careful observation may uncover surprising story ideas

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Here’s an important lesson for beginning writers: Keep your eyes open, do your research, and you never know when something useful will pop up for your writing.

A few months ago I worked for awhile with a guy who used to do telemarketing for an online hotel reservation chain. You know the sort of business I mean, right? They arrange great hotel deals for people who use their online reservation service.

This particular company, as I discovered from talking with my coworker, was contractually obligated by the hotels they worked with to take care of all the guest’s requests if those guests had made their reservation through the company. (Awkwardly written wasn’t it?)

My coworker explained it this way: “If a guest needed extra towels, he would call the hotel desk. The desk would say, ‘Sorry, sir, you made the reservation through XXXXX.com. You’ll have to call them. Here’s their toll-free number.’ The guest would call us at the toll-free number, we would call the hotel desk, and tell someone at the desk that the guest in room such-and-such needs two extra towels.’ ”

How bizarre. But what a great idea to work into a plot. Next time you write something regarding a hotel stay, why not put in some bit about a guest getting frustrated about making toll-free calls just to relay the message and get extra towels?

Do your research well and you’ll uncover little oddities that make nice additions to your stories. Keep your eyes and ears wide open at work or around friends, and you never know when such a gem will drop into your writer’s bag of tricks.
[tags]advice for new writers, plot devices, story details, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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