It can be argued that speeches are not strictly a literary genre, however a speechwriter requires the same writing skills and experience in formulating a well structured and informative speech for a diverse range of people as a non-fiction author covering a specific topic.
The definition is: a speechwriter is someone hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. They are employed by a variety of people, such as senior-level elected officials and executives in the government as well as in the private sector. They can also be employed to write for weddings and other social occasions. Speechwriters specialize in a writing style that merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics all in one presentation.
The actual process of writing a speech has several steps. Initially, they need to meet with the executive and the executive’s senior staff to determine the broad framework of points or messages that the executive wants to cover in the speech. With this information they will then research the topic to flesh out this framework with anecdotes and examples. They must also consider the audience for the speech, which can range from a town-hall meeting of community leaders to an international leaders’ forum. Once this framework is created, the speechwriter blends the points, themes, positions, and messages from their research to create an “informative, original and authentic speech” for the executive. This draft is then presented to the client and the executive (or the executive’s staff) make notes, revisions or changes to it. If the speechwriter is familiar with the topic and the positions and style of the executive, only small changes may be required.
Credit for speeches is mainly contributed to the person making it rather than the speechwriter, much like a ghost writer. Their name may never appear in public or a credit given on paper. However, a good speechwriter will be known for their work in select circles, such as in a government setting.
Have you written speeches?
Was it for a person setting or for a client?
An article is a written work published either in a print or electronic form. It can propagate news, research results, academic analysis, or debate. These articles are published within a magazine, which is a collection of written articles. At its root, the word “magazine” refers to a collection or storage location.
Magazine writers are essentially journalists. They find, research and write stories that interest readers in line with the particular magazines genre they are submitting to, so it does vary greatly from the kinds of journalistic articles written for newspapers.
Articles follow a format with a headline, a byline, a a lead and the body or running text and finally the conclusion. There are various categories of articles:
- Academic paper – an article published in an academic journal. These articles give their writers status within their particular academic field, by the frequency they are cited by authors of other articles and how many articles the writer has published.
Essay – a piece of writing that gives the author’s own argument.
- Scientific paper – an article published in a scientific journal.
- Blog – blog article subjects are as diverse as the writers creating them from magazine type content to personal journal to refined subject matter.
- Encyclopedia article – is primarily a division of content.
- Marketing article – content designed to draw the reader to a commercial website or product.
- Usenet article – a message written in the style of e-mail and posted to an open moderated or unmoderated Usenet newsgroup.
- Spoken article – a audio recording, commonly known as a podcast.
- Listicle – an article where the primary content is a list. These are most popular on blogs.
- Portrait – portrait of a person.
I was recently approached to publish an article I wrote. The first link is live now. The second will publish the article in the next few weeks.
Articles can cover a multitude of subjects and there is always a ‘place’ for your views and thoughts, should you want to submit content.
Why not share where you have had articles published?
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both at times, as strange as that may sound. When the words are flowing I seem to gain energy as I go along. But there are times, usually when I am pushing to make a hard deadline, when I feel like I’m dragging about five tons of brick around on my shoulders and it is difficult to write the next sentence.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
The Internet. It is just too easy to hop on to check my email “really quick” and get distracted by something and three hours later suddenly remember I was supposed to be writing. The house hound also tries his best to distract, usually when I am really on a roll.
- Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Briefly. But I was writing for newspapers for so long that it just seemed natural to continue to do so when I transitioned to fiction writing. Plus, I really dislike posting in online forums under fake screen names as I feel that leads to bad behavior by folks who feel they can get away with anything without any accountability. So I have always made it a point to put my real name behind everything I write, online or off.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I know so many of them that if I tried to list them all here we’d break the internet. Not to mention I’d probably forget some of them and then have to spend the rest of the year apologizing. But in their own ways they have all helped me become a better writer. Sometimes it is from just reading their work and seeing how they develop a character or lay out a scene. Sometimes it comes from the way they market their books or deal with unfair criticism.
- Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Almost all of them are stand alone, although I have readers asking me when the sequel to Escaping Infinity is coming out. I do have one trilogy though, the Jack Del Rio political thriller series. Writing in so many different genres as I do I very much doubt there a way for me ever to be able to connect them. All I really hope for is that they are all enjoyable stories that readers continue to want to read.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The $20 that I spent on three Himekami CDs many years ago (pre-MP3 era). Listening to the beautifully enchanting synthesized music produced by this group from Japan seems to put me into the perfect state of mind to write.
- What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I sat down one day at the age of 4 and heard a man say that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. It took a few more years for me to fully understand the concept, but those words made perfect sense to 4-year-old me. It wasn’t what a person looked like that mattered, it is what they said and did that was all that counted. I’ve always strived to keep that lesson in my heart in the half-century that has passed since I first heard them and am reminded of that day every time I read those words again.
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Time Traveller’s Never Die by Jack McDevitt. I loved the way Jack (I get to call him that because we’ve worked together on a Sherlock Holmes anthology and corresponded a few times since) dealt with the paradox of time travelling and it was this book, and discovering Jack’s path to becoming a writer at a later age, that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Polar Bear. Because they are patiently relentless in their pursuit of their goal. For them it is their next meal but for me it is getting the current novel finished so I can begin working on the next one.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
About 30 in various states of started but not finished to just outline-only.
- What does literary success look like to you?
When I have finished a book and it is available to be purchased on Amazon or in a bookstore. That means another story of mine – another world or universe of my creation – is available to be read and, hopefully, enjoyed.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
With my two non-fiction books I spent years going through newspaper microfilms, online searching and interviews before I sat down and started writing them. It probably worked out to two years each from starting research to writing completed and the book released.
With my fiction works I’d say I research for about a week before I start writing. Even then I find I will pause writing at points to do additional research when something does not sound right or if I make a change in the original outline along the way.
- How many hours a day/week do you write?
At least 30 hours a week and sometimes as many as 60 depending on other things going on in my life.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
I have a couple of ways. Usually the names seem to come to me and I go with them if they “feel” right. But I discovered a website that generates first and last names based on several factors of race, ethnicity, gender and genre. I’ll scroll through a few randomly generated names until I find a combination I like.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
In Reservations which was the first Jack Del Rio novel. I had decided to kill off one of the major characters and when I got to the chapter when the death was to occur I found it harder to write with each passing word. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to kill the character or not. It took me 14 hours to write that chapter and I recall finishing it, saving it and then walking away from my desk in tears when I finished writing the death scene that ended the chapter. It felt like I had murdered a loved one. But the response I have received from readers has convinced me that I made the correct decision.
- Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
My early books were sports non-fiction, which were easy to do coming off 20 years as a sportswriter, and then my initial fiction works were political mystery-thrillers. But my first love as a young reader was science fiction and that is the genre I will be doing most of my writing in for the foreseeable future.
- How long have you been writing?
Since 1983 when I started as a freelance writer. Aside from being the lead writer for two issues of a comic book series in 1986, I started as a full-time novelist in 2011 after I retired as a newspaper writer/editor in 2010.
- What inspires you?
My family. I want to leave a legacy in my writings that my children and grandchildren and their grandchildren can be proud of long after I am gone.
- How do you find or make time to write?
I am fortunate in that this is my full-time job so I have a nice routine that allows me to write on a regular schedule. Having worked for 20 years in newspapers where I was expected to write 2-3,000 words a day has made it something of a habit now, one that seems as natural to me as breathing.
- What projects are you working on at the present?
Many. I am helping finish the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( www.sffcguild.com) .
- What do your plans for future projects include?
I have three science-fiction/fantasy projects lined up I want to finish by the end of 2018 – When the Gods Fell, Cursed Firstborn and Seadragon.
- Share a link to your author website.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
This mostly depends of what I am writing. Subject matter or issues of personal interest can be energizing to work on while other subject matter can be more difficult.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Probably distractions of any kind. When I am writing, I like to sit down in my office chair and completely focus on the job at hand. Interruptions can disrupt my thought patterns and make it difficult to concentrate completely.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Not yet! I don’t feel a need to do so and feel this may not be in my best interests. I would prefer readers to recognize my name and/or associate it with my books.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I know a number of local authors – including Todd Babiak, Roberta Laurie, Mandy Eve-Barnett, Alison Neuman, Darla Woodley and Dorian Joyal. I am also a long-standing member of a local writer’s group. Knowing and associating with other writers / authors can be helpful (writers seem to be the only people who understand writers …), motivational, and inspirational. I would have to give credit to my writer’s group for helping me increase my self-confidence as a writer and to give me the push needed to write my first book.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I am favouring the second route where I am building a body of work with connections between each book. My first book, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians, opened the door to my writing my second book, The Successful Caregiver’s Guide. As a twice-chosen contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, I have provided them with caregiving-related stories. I also continually freelance write about senior caregiving and other senior-related issues.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Probably hiring a lawyer to review my first book publishing contract. This was an area I knew very little about but I knew it would be important to have somebody more in the know to read through this contract, make sure that all the “I’s” were dotted and the “T’s” were crossed, and that this contract was fair for me.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Many years ago when I was much younger, I remember writing a letter to the Editor of the Edmonton Journal about my lost dog being found and returned. Unbeknownst to me, my mother kept a copy of that letter until she passed away. When sorting through Mom’s filing cabinet after she died, I came across this letter and was very surprised! The message that I learned here was that if I had impacted my mother so greatly with what I had written, I expect I would have impacted others as well. That theory has been repeatedly verified from my meeting with people at current book signing events … I routinely see nods of approval for my topic choice or hear high praise from those who have read my books.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Hmmm, I think I would choose an owl. My mother always liked owls and shared her appreciation with her children. I admire these birds for their grace and beauty.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Perhaps surprising, but none! While I do know other writers with half-finished book projects saved on their computer’s desktop, the only thing I have saved is a related project I am currently working on!
What does literary success look like to you?
Publication of one’s written work and royalty cheques! Literary success also includes the positive feedback from readers (meaning that they have read your book and appreciated it at some level).
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
This depends on the book’s subject matter. With my own works, I drew from my own personal knowledge as a caregiver for both my own aging parents. Researching can also be done by other means … I have “google-searched” on-line (being mindful of both the source and the currency of the information provided), read associated material, and interviewed subject matter experts.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
Due to other working commitments, I often can write for only two to three hours per day a couple of days per week. I have been known to also write in the evenings and/or on weekends, but I usually only do that if I have a tight deadline and need to get something done in short order.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
After serving as a caregiver for both my own aging parents, this area has become very important to me. While I realize that the number of seniors in our country is ever-increasing and there will be a higher demand for the type of information I provide, I also gain immense satisfaction by helping others (who are prospective, new, and/or current caregivers).
How long have you been writing?
I have been casually writing for many years (as mentioned, I think it all began with that Letter to the Edmonton Journal’s Editor about my missing dog). I recall enjoying writing English essays in school and have worked a number of jobs where writing was involved (i.e.radio broadcasting and marketing). I finally stumbled across the Professional Writing program (offered through Grant MacEwan University) and decided to register for classes to see if writing was simply a casual interest or something I should take more seriously.
What inspires you?
Good writing, music, the great outdoors (gazing at a mountain peak, for example), a cleaner and more organized desk and working area, and participating in a writer’s group (where I can receive support and motivation from others).
How do you find or make time to write?
While I do have a secondary job outside of my own writing from home, I have arranged for this work to be part-time. As a result, I have a couple of days per week left mostly open for writing projects. My reduced regular paycheque provides me motivation to chase after freelance markets as well!
Caregiving seems like an odd book subject choice … why did you pick this area to write about?
Thanks for asking! I was a former co-caregiver for my own aging parents (Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease). By helping and supporting both of them before they passed away, I learned a great deal about their health conditions, my own abilities, and how relevant caregiving has become in today’s society. As a means of coping with Mom and Dad’s decline, I began by writing newspaper and magazine articles about my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. After my parents both died, I continued to write about this subject – feeling that it was both very valuable to other prospective, new, and current caregivers as well as therapeutic for me. Some years later, I spotted a book publisher’s call out for an author to write a book about caregiving. This got me thinking, “I have the related experience and could probably do this …”. I, very nervously, wrote up a pitch letter to introduce myself and the proposed book (as I saw it …). After some dithering on my part, I finally mustered up the courage to e-mail my letter to the publisher. It’s a good thing I did as I received a very enthusiastic “yes” on my proposal and then a book contract.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I am mostly writing in support of what I have written. This means I am continuing to write caregiving-related articles for newspapers, magazines, and on-line markets. While I am not always paid for these articles, I always have the opportunity to provide a concluding bio – this includes my own name, my book titles, and my author’s website. I feel that doing this is a great way to promote my own name and work.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Probably more similar writing. I always have my door open for other opportunities and am interested in a number of ideas: public speaking, collaborating with others, exhibiting opportunities at senior’s trade shows, and so on. Although book authoring can be an extensive job, I haven’t ruled out my writing another book (or more …)!
Share a link to your author website.
(I am also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CaregiversGuideForCanadians/ and Twitter at https://twitter.com/cdncaregiver).
Find Rick at Words in the Park, Spark Gallery, Premier Way, Sherwood Park, Alberta on 29th September