Sunday, June 29, 2014

Writing Advice From Janet Evanovich



Writers should continue to study their craft. You can join writing organizations and listen to speeches, or you can simply pick up a book and read the advice given by experts. I enjoy reading novels by Janet Evanovich (pictured above) so I picked up a copy of How I Write - Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof.

In the section on characterization, Janet gives three tips.

1. The main character must want something.
2. Someone or something (nature, money, distance) must stand in the way of his getting what he wants.
3. The choices that a character makes in his efforts to overcome obstacles and ultimately get what he wants define the character.

For more advice, you can pick up this title in ebook, paperback, or audiobook.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Learning From Movies - Jersey Boys



Friday night, I watched Jersey Boys. What a great movie! Clint Eastwood picked another winner. I remembered the songs from my childhood and was surprised I knew the lyrics. Of course the story wouldn't have been made into a movie if the group didn't have hurdles to overcome and drama behind the scenes. I'm not sure if Jersey Boys will appeal to a younger crowd, but I hope so.

Although the songs are still playing in my mind, I did find lessons in the story that also apply to writers.
First, Frankie Valli kept working on improving his ability. No matter what you want to accomplish in life, you need to keep working toward your goal.

Second, he stayed true to his voice. No one sang like him. That can be good or bad, depending on what your audience wants. He could have tried to alter his singing style, but he had faith in his talent. Writers need to learn this lesson. Don't try to emulate Nora Roberts or Stephen King. Find your voice and let it work for you.

Finally, Frankie found a songwriter who could produce hits. Once you find your voice, write the story that will appeal to an audience. Analyze the stories and movies you like. What is it about them that appeals to you? I'm not saying to follow the trends. Do you enjoy a mystery element in a story? Or perhaps taking a fairy tale and twisting it? What about crazy relatives? Use what appeals to you to bring out the story that you want to share with the world. Odds are if you love your story, someone else will, too.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Influenced You?



This weekend, I found the second season of Murder She Wrote in a bookstore. I have to admit, while growing up I watched a lot of television, which included the Jessica Fletcher character pictured above. I also enjoyed Diagnosis Murder, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Charlie's Angels, and Matlock. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few titles. Don't get me wrong, I did read, but for every one book I read, I watched twenty mystery shows with my mother. I still enjoy watching these reruns over and over again.

I discovered I had a strong desire to create stories in my early forties. As Jessica says, "You're never too old to start writing." I had always felt like there was something missing in my life and when I put pen to paper that feeling went away. These shows I watched greatly influenced my writing. I'm not satisfied with a story unless it has a mystery element. I also find I'm not comfortable with writing extreme violence or sex scenes. I blame that on watching too many reruns of the Brady Bunch. I'm joking. I feel the enjoyment I found watching family type mysteries, also touched me in a way that I find myself replicating their tone.

Sometimes when my mother visits, we watch Matlock together and I smile. I guess I can thank my father for my writing genes and my mother for the type of stories I write.

What influenced your writing?

Counter