Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ah, To Be Back at Full Stride

It took awhile for all the dust from the carnage of my job loss to quiet down. Now that it has, I have settled back into the routine I love, the one in which I spend several hours a day being an author. It is good to have a certain degree of normalcy in my life.

No author will give details about what he or she is writing, but I will give a brief overview. I am a West Coast guy, so I focus my plot in familiar surroundings. There is not a single place I write about I have not visited or been exposed to by stories of people who have lived there. Part of that is because of one of the central tenets in my writing -- make the settings so familiar to readers that they can easily identify with them. I am a fan of Stephen Spielberg's early films, movies like "Duel" and "E.T.", because they take average folks in average surroundings and make them face amazing circumstances. The viewer then is taken along for the ride.

I owe part of that tenet to writers such as Harlan Coben. His "Live Wire" is about a top sports agent representing the rich and famous, and he adds rock stars and Mafia folks and the stuff of elevated reality. But he surrounds those people in the familiar surroundings of his New Jersey, right down to listing stores at big malls and scenes along highways in the area. Any reader familiar with that section of New Jersey -- and let's face it, there are millions and millions of readers familiar with it -- buys into Coben's details and the novel as a whole. I hope to do the same with my Western U.S. settings.

I also have adopted a new pace to my writing. I used to write huge section after huge section, then wait to review and rewrite after my novel was complete. I don't do that anymore. I have adopted something closer to Joe Lansdale's way of writing. He says he spends just a few hours a day writing and produces maybe three to five pages of manuscript. He writes, then reviews and rewrites that single section. I am doing that, and it works.

So, I have borrowed part of Jeffery Deaver's method of outlining the novel first, and part of Lansdale's pace of writing. Now, if I can only match their success. At least I have the weight of worry about job loss placed on the back burner where it belongs and can concentrate on being an author. Happy days are here again!!!!!

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