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Timothy Hallinan & Mary Burton On Writing

March 14, 2013

By Dean Murphy

Timothy Hallinan

Stephen King’s iconic On Writing inspires many on the craft of writing. “Writers form themselves into the pyramid we see in all areas of human talent and human creativity. At the bottom are the bad ones. Above them is a group which is slightly smaller but still large and welcoming; these are the competent writers.”

Mr. King ventures a third, much smaller group, “the Shakespeares, the Faulkners, the Yeatses, Shaws, and Eudora Weltys.” For King, there are no shades of gray—or Grey.

Two “competent” writers—if not great for their contributions to FWA—are Mary Burton and Timothy Hallinan.

Burton, the author of 24 thrillers in the Romantic Suspense genre over the past decade, composed a video entitled Writing One Draft at a Time. She committed that video to an article for The Florida Writer, Volume 6, Number 2, pages 12–13. Burton’s name regularly appears on bestseller lists, including New York Times and USA Today.

Bestselling thriller author Timothy Hallinan wrote Setting the Stage for Magic for the same TFW issue, perhaps to honor the 2012 FWA conference theme, Magic of the Pen.

Publishers Weekly lauded Hallinan’s The Fear Artist as the “heartrending, unforgettable fifth Poke Rafferty thriller (after 2010’s The Queen of Patpong).”

The Big Thrill’s July 2012 issue published my feature about The Fear Artist, and Hallinan, at this link.

Researching the author’s career, I discovered his website has an information trove, including Finish Your Novel. On that page, Hallinan writes, “This section is for you if:

“You’ve started a novel but are having trouble finishing it, or

            “You want to start a novel but aren’t sure you’ll be able to finish it.”

He continues, “I’ve been writing novels (and teaching about writing novels) for twenty years, and one thing I’ve learned is how to finish. I’d estimate that 98% of all the novels people begin are never completed. Every person who abandons a book feels that he or she has a good reason, but my experience suggests that most of those books could have been finished—the writer just came up against something he or she couldn’t handle.”

Exemplifying FWA’s maxim of Writers Helping Writers, his website is like an assortment of conference workshops, including the links below. All have several sublinks, each contains a wealth of information found in a workshop for writers.

Part 1: Introduction and overview

Part 2: Getting started

Part 3: Following the line

Part 4: Getting out of trouble

Part 5: Finishing up and thoughts on publishing

Part 6: Additional resources

After digesting the feast Hallinan and Burton (hyperlinks to contact forms) offer for starving artists in the writing field, send them a brief email to express appreciation.

And…Write on!

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