“Peter, I haven’t read a single book about how to write.”
The load of books I carried flew from my hands. Like missiles, they launched into the air. “You’ve got to be kidding me! I find that impossible to believe.”
I was at a book signing, and next to my table was one of the world’s leading authors. I’d been setting up when she dropped the bomb. And now, as I looked past raining copies of my book, Gideon’s Call, I saw shame and embarrassment in the author’s eyes.
How to fix this? Being a beginner in the author world, I couldn’t afford to offend. “Your books read as if you’ve mastered the art.”
The answer hit me about the same time a copy of my book did. “You’re a voracious reader.”
She nodded, and then changed the subject. Thankfully, now we’re close friends.
The truth remains. This author is highly respected, and her books are award winning. So, how is it done?
Simple. A writer analyzes novels. Analyze and reproduce.
The writer I had spoken with had been a critical reader her entire life, and it showed.
She’d read one hundred, sometimes two hundred pages a day, and when she wrote, her analytical mind whispered sweet suggestions into her ear. The plot is too slow here. Kill someone in the manuscript. Or fifty-five secondary characters are too many. Even you can’t just end the book with a nuclear explosion and kill everyone.
I believe in studying the art of writing. I devour books on how to write. But I started analyzing novels as well, and it’s helped. There’s a voice in my head that whispers NO! It doesn’t make sense for two manly cowboys to walk into a saloon and split a cinnamon roll. I take it out, because the voice explains there’s not enough tension. Unless, of course, one cowboy gets a bigger piece and a gunfight ensues. But the idea isn’t marketable.
Don’t forget the importance of reading novels!
~~~~~Peter Leavell is an award winning historical fiction author. He and his family research together, creating magnificent adventures. Catch up with him on his website at www.peterleavell.com, or friend him on Facebook: Peter R. Leavell.