Well, it’s been a little while since I posted and I have a few things I want to talk about, but I’m going to save those up for a real post in the next few days. In the mean time, let’s get a couple of random items out of the way.
Firstly, my editing. This is what has been keeping me busy. I have gone through the entire book with a red pen and crossed out great swathes of text… well, ok, I’ve made some alterations but it’s about getting the flow of the sentences and the flow of the narrative that I’ve been working on. I’m now mid-way through putting these alterations into the text file (for while I am a writer, I am perhaps more accurately a typist). I’d hope to have these done by the end of the week so I can start on the path of finding an agent…
Anyway, in addition to that update, I wanted to share some links which I think are particularly useful for the writer. You may or may not be familiar with the writing of Elmore Leonard, but really you should be. His novels have spawned some excellent films – Jackie Brown, Out of Sight, Get Shorty, 3:10 To Yuma – and some not so excellent films which I will not bother to go into.
There are two things that Leonard’s writing is perhaps most well-known for (or that I particularly revere him for) – 1) his characterisation and 2) his narratives. He knows how to draw a character with minimal effort and maximum impact – they always feel real and three-dimensional and you always believe in their actions. It sounds simple but so many writers bring in characters to achieve a certain goal and never flesh them out. But the greater achievement is the narrative thrust he builds. At all points you know he is building towards something and every scene brings you closer to that end goal.
With all that in mind, I would highly recommend you check out his ten rules of writing, available on the NY Times website, here:
He acknowledges that his rules aren’t hard and fast, but it’s best to know the rules before you go about breaking them. Generally, you need a good reason to do any of the things he tells you not to. There’s little point me highlighting any of it – I won’t be able to sum any of it up better than he does – just click the link above…
Secondly I’d like to direct you to a column by Nathan Rabin at the AV Club – an excellent site with some of the best interviews and features around (though despite my high impression of these sections, I find I rarely agree with their film reviews. Strange, I know).
Anyway, Rabin recently released his memoir, The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought To You By Pop Culture. I have to confess to not having read it yet, but Rabin’s columns are some of my favourites on the site, especially his series “My Year of Flops” (http://bit.ly/18xdO5) and so I imagine the book will be a particularly good read.
In the link here…:
…Rabin discusses various things aspiring authors need to know. Admittedly, it’s relatively US-centric (unsurprisingly), but there are still plenty of things to glean, including the truth about advances, how to accept bad or unfair reviews and what to expect as a real reward for all your hard work. He says it much better.
[Addition on Jan 15th]
An horrific oversight on my part – I have been sent two very useful links on Twitter from @MarkDury. Firstly, how to go about getting your book reviewed. There aren’t that many books that publishers will throw their weight behind and ensure they get press coverage so you may have to do it yourself. However, many people have no idea how to do it without annoying those they wish to influence. Here’s the link:
And secondly, 17 applications made especially for writers. While I can’t vouch for the quality of any of these myself, they could well be a better writing partner than MS Word or Open Office, so check ’em out and, if you give them a go, feed back your thoughts on which work best.
Hopefully those are useful links. I shall be back soon with something more substantial, I promise…