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Thursday, April 24, 2014

How They Write – Author Styles, Tips & Techniques





Excerpts: compiled on how these featured authors find/found their literary pathways, styles & techniques…

Francine Rivers - born 1947

Almost every story begins with a question or issue with which I'm struggling, and each story seems to dictate the time in which it needs to be told.
In each case, once the time and place are set, it's a matter of immersing myself in the time period, finding good books, finding pictures, making binders with dividers between subject matter – what people wore, what their homes and daily lives were like, the political atmosphere, music, customs, etc. I even listen to music that fits the time period while I'm working. The writing process is a quest for answers and a journey with characters that become real people to me. Writing a story is my way of worshipping and praising the Lord.

Michael Connelly - born July 21, 1956

When starting a book, the story is not always clear but Connelly has a hunch where it is going. The books often reference world events, such as September 11. Even events that might not be considered as world changing are included in some of the books because they are of personal interest to Connelly. In Angels Flight, Detective Bosch investigates the murder of an eleven-year old girl. This was written during Connelly’s early years as a father of a daughter and it hit close to home. According to Connelly, he didn’t mean to write about the biggest fear of his life… it just came out that way.
Detective Bosch’s life usually changes in harmony with Connelly’s own life. While Connelly moved 3,000 miles across the country to Florida, Bosch had some life changing experiences that sent him in a new direction in the book written at this time, City of Bones. According to Connelly, his "real" job is to write about Bosch, and his purpose in bringing McCaleb and Bosch together in A Darkness More Than Night was to use McCaleb as a tool to look at Bosch from another perspective and keep the character interesting.

Stephen King - born September 21, 1947

On Writing is an autobiography that features practical advice on writing, including tips on grammar and ideas about developing plot and character. King himself describes it as a guide for how "a competent writer can become a good one." This includes his beliefs that a writer should edit out unnecessary details and avoid the use of unnecessary adverbs. He also uses quotes from other books and authors to illustrate his points.
He also reveals that he does not stick to an extensive outline, If I don't know where the story is going, how can the reader?

Writing style:

King's formula for learning to write well is: "Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer." He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met. He also has a simple definition for talent in writing: "If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented."
Shortly after his accident, King wrote the first draft of the book Dreamcatcher with a notebook and a Waterman fountain pen, which he called "the world's finest word processor."
When asked why he writes, King responds: "The answer to that is fairly simple—there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do." He is also often asked why he writes such terrifying stories and he answers with another question: "Why do you assume I have a choice?" According to Jenna Blum, King usually begins the story creation process by imagining a "what if" scenario, such as what would happen if a writer is kidnapped by a sadistic nurse in Colorado.
King often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of fictional books in his stories, novellas and novels, such as Paul Sheldon who is the main character in Misery and Jack Torrance in The Shining.


David Baldacci – born August 5, 1960

I’m very much a writer who lets the story develop. I don’t plot everything out, and I have no idea how the book is going to end when I sit down to write it. I sit down to write when I’m ready to write, when things crystallize in my head and I know what I want to say.
The bestselling thriller author, whose new novel, The Target, talks about writing since he was a kid.
I’m not a words-per-day kind of guy. I always felt that if you have an artificial number, it probably means that you don’t want to be writing, anyway.
I work on multiple projects a day - few hours on editing - It’s not a job, it never has been. It’s a lifestyle.
Don’t write what you know about, write what you’d like to know about. And never chase trends.


Ray Bradbury  August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012

Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun with it. If it’s work, stop and do something else.
What if you have a blockage and you don’t know what to do about it? Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing. You’re being warned, aren’t you? You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have... a lot of fun.
I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year.
Get out of here tonight and say: “Am I being joyful?” And if you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.
- - - - - - -

These authors’ personal revelations stood out to me because I employ many similar approaches & combinations when working on my projects.
We always hear “Write what you know…” or “Write what you don’t know…” "Plot your project out…” or “Don’t follow an outline…”, but what do you employ?
Does your approach vary with the project and/or genre? Do you write what you have a passion and interest for whether you know all about the topic or not?
In any event… WRITE!

Some of my favorites from the above:

-Rivers:

Almost every story begins with a question or issue with which I'm struggling.
In each case, once the time and place are set, it's a matter of immersing myself in the time period, finding good books, finding pictures, making binders with dividers between subject matter – what people wore, what their homes and daily lives were like, the political atmosphere, music, customs, etc.


-Connelly:

When starting a book, the story is not always clear but Connelly has a hunch where it is going.
Even events that might not be considered as world changing are included in some of the books because they are of personal interest…

-King:

If I don't know where the story is going, how can the reader?
I was made to write stories and I love to write stories.

-Baldacci:

I’m very much a writer who lets the story develop. I don’t plot everything out, and I have no idea how the book is going to end when I sit down to write it. I’m not a words-per-day kind of guy.



-Bradbury:

Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun with it. If it’s work, stop and do something else.




#francinerivers
#michaelconnelly
#stephenking
#davidbaldacci
#yafiction
#adultfiction
#MustRead
#GoodRead
#HistoryWriter
#KidLitChat
#Yalit

1 comment:

Royce A Ratterman said...

"I have several walls in several rooms of my house covered with the snowstorm of rejections, but they didn’t realize what a strong person I was; I persevered and wrote a thousand more dreadful short stories, which were rejected in turn."
-- Ray Bradbury as featured in Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life
(http://www.amazon.com/dp/1582971943)