Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fiction vs Nonfiction -- Part 1

         I have heard writers say or write, "I can write fiction but not nonfiction," or "I can write nonfiction but not fiction." We all can write both if we can write, but we may do better at one than the other. Often components of one type writing are the same as for the other. But, let's compare the two and not be afraid to try either or both.

Fiction vs Nonfiction Part 1

         I will present my thoughts in an outline format to help readers follow, remember, and keep.


Where to get ideas for fiction or nonfiction (keep a notebook with ideas):

1.  Newspaper articles, media stories, overheard comments
2.  Assignments, interesting topics, world events, historical locations and people
3.  People watching, research, ideas from others
4.  Family stories, personal experiences, experiences of others, personal interests
Our imaginations are our biggest assets to use when searching for ideas.

Research/Gather Info.

Fiction (I use index cards, one for each character or detail):
1.  Have general idea of story line.
2.  Need names and characteristics (physical, emotional, mental), hobbies, likes, dislikes. Use more information than will be included in writing/work. Include relationships to other characters.
3.  Need details for locations, events, etc.
4.  IF using any facts, be sure they are correct – research. Yes, research is necessary for fiction.

Nonfiction (I also use index cards, one for each individual point):
1. Have thesis. This is the topic and points you’ll cover.
2. Research each and every point.
3. Have at least 3-4 support points for each main point, even if all aren’t used.
4. Conclusion should tie everything together or refer/tie to the beginning


Fiction: Writers organize their material in one of several ways. Some use more than one.
1. Outlining (I agree with Tony Hillerman that outlining doesn’t work for everyone)
2. Mental “movie” of story before writing
3. Story boards
4. Plot/time lines
I use a combination of “movie” and plot/time lines. I also organize my index cards to help with time line.

1. Organize note cards in order of thesis.
2. Create outline, how detailed = writer’s preference (I use detailed outline)

a bad beginning means a book/story/article not read

Fiction: “grab” reader’s attention immediately.
1. Begin in the right place, with an inciting incident – something happens that indicates a story-worthy problem. The rest of the story contains the struggle to resolve problem(s).
2. Have the hook within the first sentences or paragraphs. Don’t bore the reader first.
3. Intrigue the reader and cause him to want to continue reading.

Nonfiction: Need an introduction that captures the attention of the reader and leads to the thesis.
1. A story/example
2. Statistics presented in an interesting/amazing way or give surprising fact(s)
3. Provide details leading to the thesis

         I will continue this discussion of fiction vs nonfiction my next newsletter. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Pahutchae's Pouch Released - historical fiction with mystery, romance, and treachery

      Pahutchae's Pouch is a compelling fictional history of people and events from 1783 to 2017. The story relates the interaction and intertwining of descendants from Pahutchae, an Ioway Indian, and Johann Sordenauer from Hamburg, Germany.

      Oil, murder, love, a concealed treaty with American Indians, and international and national political intrigue make Pahutchae's Pouch the quintessential page-turner.

     The author, vehoae, wrote Pahutchae's Pouch in the literary vein of James A Michener. People who enjoy reading historical fiction with multiple twists will enjoy vehoae's book.

     Copies of the book, whether hardcover or paperback, can be found at the 4RV Bookstore or through brick and mortar stores or other online sources.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Two 4RV Books Finalists for CLC Award


Literary Classics Announces Youth Media Book Award Finalists

Rapid City, SD - Tradition continues with the arrival of one of the most anticipated moments in the world of children’s and young adult literature. The 2018 Literary Classics Book Award Finalists and Top Honors Book Awards Finalists have been announced. Selected from submissions by entrants around the globe, these distinguished honorees are recognized for their contributions to the craft of writing, illustrating, and publishing exceptional literature for a youth audience. In this highly competitive industry these books represent the foremost in literature in their respective categories.

The competition this year was tremendous, and we congratulate all of the finalists for their outstanding and inspiring work. Final awards, categories and levels will be announced on November 15, 2018. All Silver, Gold and Top Honors award recipients will be invited to attend a writers’ conference, awards ceremony, formal gala, and authors’ book signing to be held in conjunction with the Great American Book Festival, May 10, 11 & 12, 2019 in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. 

The Literary Classics selection committee is proud to recognize two books from 4RV Publishing: 

     Kindertransport: A Child's Journey by Kena Sosa and illustrated by Jeanne Conway 
    Where Did Panther Go?  by Vivian Zabel and illustrated by Carrie Salazar.

Final award levels & categories will be announced November 15, 2018

     4RV Publishing congratulates both authors and illustrators.  As someone said recently, "4RV may take more time than some people like to get books outs, but their books win awards." We want every book to be well-written, well-edited, and well-designed.

      Kena Sosa has now had two books released through 4RV. Her first book, a bilingual English/Spanish children's book Rey Antonio & Rey Feo, and Kindertransport can be found on the 4RV Book Store, as well through other online stores and brick and mortar stores.

     Jeanne Conway has illustrated several books for 4RV including Kena's, all which bring the author's story to life.

     Vivian Zabel wrote several novels and young adult books, many of which won honors. Where Did Panther Go? is the second which made the CLC finalist list. 

     Carrie Salazar has also illustrated several books for 4RV. As well as Where Did Panther Go? , she provided illustrations for Spearfinger, a bilingual book in English and Cherokee. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How Can Writers Use Positive Thinking?

Many years ago, I challenged my online writing group to draft an end of the year review that outlined only the positives of their writing journey. They could share anything they wanted, but it had to be framed in a positive light. Not only did our members enjoy looking back in a positive way, they realized just how much they actually accomplished.

But what is positive thinking? How does it work?

What is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is more than just uttering a few happy words and then allowing your fears and self-doubt to take hold again. Positive thinking is a mental attitude that, with practice, allows you to have positive thoughts and uses daily affirmations to help you to see a positive outcome to almost every situation.

Judi Moreo, life coach and author of You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion & Power, encourages her readers to make conscious choices to think about themselves in a more positive light. Moreo says we must stop criticizing ourselves and demanding perfection in what we do, and that we need to change the mental pictures we have of ourselves. Through the use of daily affirmations and by visualizing our success, we can achieve the desired results.

Daily Affirmations and Creative Visualization

Daily affirmations are positive thoughts you can affirm throughout the day to uplift you and make you feel better about yourself. Judi Moreo uses them throughout You Are More Than Enough because, as she says, “Changing your life is a process.” Positive thinking isn’t something you can use randomly. If you want it to work, you have to practice it every day.

Moreo dedicates an entire chapter in her book to creative visualization. She says that you can use your imagination to create pictures of those things that you want “to be, do, and have.” On the flip side, you can also imagine that you aren’t able to accomplish what you want because you aren’t smart enough or good enough. Which person do you want to be?

How Positive Thinking Molds Your Future

If what we see is unmet goals, then there is no desire to move forward. Why would we expect anything to change? When we focus on all the good that came out of our efforts, not only do we feel a sense of accomplishment, we can consider changes to help us achieve more goals in the future.

How Can Writers Use Positive Thinking? 

At the beginning of this year you--hopefully--wrote down a list of S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then you broke down that list into smaller, more manageable chunks before creating weekly or daily to-do lists.

Look at your goals and all you’ve accomplished this year. What do you see?

My goals for 2018 included:

GOAL 1: Submit Clever Tom to agents
GOAL 2: Participate in STORYSTORM
GOAL 3: Blog twice a week on all four blogs

So what have I accomplished?

GOAL 1 (not exactly)
GOAL 2 (yes)
GOAL 3  (mostly)

Clever Tom is a children's story I had a ton of fun writing. Something (I couldn't put my finger on what) held me back from submitting it to agents. I tweaked it and then tweaked it some more. I reread it numerous times. Finally, it hit me--it's too long. Just the other day, I sat down with the story again and made the last edits to cut out over 300 words.

Did I meet my goal? Not yet, but on a positive note the story is better because of it.

STORYSTORM is an annual event to generate story ideas. This year I met my goal of 30 story ideas for the month of January and celebrated with a great big ice cream sundae. Rewards help you accomplish more too!

When setting the third goal, I knew it was aggressive considering my limited writing time. But who doesn't love a challenge? I began time blocking my calendar more regularly and have increased my blogging time this year. That's a win as far as I am concerned.

Looking Forward

Use these last two months of 2018 to move ahead with a positive attitude and see what else you can accomplish before Father Time pushes us into the new year. This will give you a head start on practicing positive thinking by the time January rolls around. Then use daily affirmations to keep you focused on the positive and visualize your success.

You have the power to make 2019 your most productive year yet!

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at