Archives for posts with tag: Novelist

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From SNOOPY’S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE

Contribution by Elmore Leonard

Snoopy has come up with an especially clever name with “Good Authority,” one that makes the story work.

I once named a character Frank Matisse, but he acted older than his age; and for some reason he wouldn’t talk as much as I wanted him to. I changed his name to Jack Delany and couldn’t shut him up.

Because I use a lot of dialogue in my stories, the characters must be able to talk in interesting ways. So I audition them in opening scenes to see which ones will have important roles in the plot. If a character doesn’t speak the way I want him to, and changing his name doesn’t work, he could be demoted to a less important role.

The best kind of character is one who starts out in a minor role – sometimes without even having a name – and talks his way into the plot. He says a few words, and I see this guy has an interesting personality and I look for more ways to use him in the story.

I write my stories in scenes and always from a particular character’s point of view. Then I may rewrite the same scene from a different character’s point of view and find that it works better. After I finish a book, I continue to think about my characters and wonder what they’re up to.

The most important advice I would suggest to beginning writers: Try to leave out the parts that readers skip.

ELMORE LEONARD is the bestselling author of nearly forty books, including Get Shorty, La Brava, Cuba Libre, and Stick, many of which have been made into films.

SNOOPY’S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE is available at Amazon.com(The books is out of print, but used copies are available for around $7.50 plus shipping.)

Illustration: Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schultz

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Credit: New Yorker cartoon by Donald Reilly

Editor’s Note: Writers will understand…

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Congratulations to Rachel Carey — whose debut novel DEBT will be available from Silver Birch Press later this month — on the premiere of Phases, a play she wrote and directed that’s featured in the 2012 Thespis Theater Festival in New York City.

The play’s final performance will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at 9 p.m. For more information, visit the Thespis Theater Festival website.

Phases is a comedy about the ways that the memory of past relationships can haunt present relationships — and follows John, a young man who becomes obsessed with running away to Alaska but can’t decide which girl he wants to take with him.

Congratulations to Rachel Carey for an outstanding coast-to-coast October 2012 — premiere of her play Phases in New York and publication of her novel Debt in Los Angeles.

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Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. DOCTOROW

Photo: BAZZAE73, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You’re there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see – every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.”

GRAHAM GREENE

Drawing by Francesca (franvisions), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED