Live in the Story or Die on the Page

Live in the Story or Die on the Page

By Jeanne S. Guerra

Presented at Women Writing the West Conference, Oct. 15, 2016

To LIVE in the Story, You need the WRITE Research—WHY the Write research?

The write research:

  • Writing Conferences
  • Writer’s Workshops
  • Learning Your CRAFT
  • Getting BETTER each time
  • Take copious notes, look up presenter’s notes on their websites, reread notes immediately after the conference and then once every six months or just before next writing session

To Obtain Write research: the 4Gs

  • GET UP
  • GDRT

What I didn’t know was more than I knew I didn’t know.

Sometimes the person you choose is not right for the WRITE Research

Reasons for failed interview?

  • Was not PREPARED
  • Did not build RAPPORT

 Jeanne’s rules of successful interviewing

  1. Be Prepared
    • A.   Know your goal – “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.” — Yogi Berra
    • B.   Write down questions ahead of time
    • C.   Needed supplies
      • 1. Pen, paper, extra pen or pencil
      • 2. Digital recorder (REV.COM)
      • 3. Curiosity
  1. Build Rapport
    • A. Who is this person?
      • 1. Research them
      • 2. Take clues from their environment
      • 3. Care
  1. Mirror them
  2. What’s in a name?
  3. Eye contact/Handshake
  4. Positioning

III. Listen More Than You Talk

    • A.   Open-ended Questions
    • B.   Eavesdrop
    • C.   Don’t fill the QUIET
  1. Ask to be Shown
    • A.   Shown, not told – always better
    • B.   Internet can give pictures and info
    • C.   Internet cannot give taste, texture, smell and full sound
    • D.   Old teaching adage – Hands-on learning tops lecture
    • E.   Perpetuate the Myth!
    • F.   Moxie
    • G. Use the 5 Senses
      • 1.   Sights
      • 2. Sounds – onomatopoeias are amazing!
      • 3.   Smells
      • 4.   Touches
      • 5.   Tastes
  1. Gather MORE Than You Need
    • A.   Helps organize thoughts
    • B.   Never know when it might be useful
  1. GDRT — Go Down Rabbit Trails
  2. Take Opportunities for Adventures


“No matter where you go, there you are.” — Yogi Berra

And wherever you are, it can be an adventure for the WRITE Research.


Make use of:



historical societies

professional societies

community leaders

neighbors and neighborhood groups

school professionals

government bigwigs

newspaper articles

newspaper archives

old folks homes


everyday sightings


Take photos of everything!!