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Janet Dailey Welcomes Writers to Hollister, MO

The Ozarks Writers Workshop, August 18-20, 2011 (sponsored by Ozarks Adventures –http://www.ozarkadventures.org) began at Ye Olde English Inn in Hollister, Missouri.  Not only is this a beautifully restored building, but it has been rescued from neglect by famed romance author Janet Dailey.  She shared some of her wisdom with us in “The Writing Life”…

Janet Dailey Welcomes Writers to Ye Olde English Inn

August 18, 2011        Janet Dailey – “The Writing Life” 

(from my notes – any mistakes or misquotes are entirely my fault)

Mainstream vs. Category Fiction



  • A reflection of reality
  • Real character emotions
  • Heightened sense of truth
  • Pulls reader in and suspends belief without them knowing it

Category Fiction

  • A quick escape/break from everyday
  • Reader expects to suspend belief
  • Reader comes to have a good time
  • Like ‘candy for the soul’

Occupations mold the character’s personality – a woman who starts her own personal protection agency must be strong physically, have a lot of initiative, etc.  She wouldn’t be a timid kind of person.  But you also have to stay away from stereotypes.  There is always an angle or slightly different point of view to twist a traditional job.

Description can lend to the character’s personality.  People in everyday life do have regular names (Jane, Liz, Bob) and their eyes are blue, brown, or green (not jade, amethyst, or flame).  The fire should stay in the fireplace (no smoldering glances, burning gazes, blazing anger, etc.)  Words that are not subtle drag your story down and break the suspense of reality.

Peripheral characters should advance and enhance the plot and other characters, but not take over the story.

Setting creates mood and defines a character (think of a person from the Rocky Mountains, Mojave desert, etc.)  When you write about the mountains, you should, in effect, be writing about the man.

Janet Dailey Shares Writing Tips with Fellow Authors

Words to Remember…

“Category fiction is like ‘candy for the soul’.” – Janet Dailey

“It’s the things in life you don’t do that you regret.” – spoken to Janet Dailey by her husband, when first contemplating her start in writing

Many thanks to the Divine Ms. Dailey for her hospitality and generous sharing of expertise… Visit Janet’s blog – http://www.janetdailey.com/blog/ – and experience her best-selling novels.

5 thoughts on “Janet Dailey Welcomes Writers to Hollister, MO

  1. Janet served as impetus for me to start writing back in 1980. My husband had an article about her taped to the frig. He constantly nagged, “You could do that!” And, so I did (although never as successfully as Janet Dailey).

  2. Thanks, Karen, for sharing the photos and your words. You have a lovely blog and I’ll try and keep watching it. Please feel free to visit mine also. The conference was a really good one, particularly considering that it was a first-time effort for Ozark Adventures. Using well-known often-published authors as presenters guaranteed real gems of wisdom. No one can beat Dusty when it comes to giving encouragement and instruction and Janet is a delight as both a hostess and for inspiration!

    • I appreciate your comments! I’ll definitely stop by your blog. My only regret for the weekend was that we didn’t have more time together to visit! I look forward to seeing what’s in the future for us!

  3. Pingback: Looking Back on August « Karen B. Nelson

  4. Pingback: Writer Friends « Karen B. Nelson

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