When Crowded Ocean (my marketing consultancy with Carol Broadbent) was in business, the core of our engagement with our startup clients was a positioning/messaging workshop we conducted with the startup founder(s) and core players. One of the things we taught that, as they entered an established market as a decided underdog, they needed to leverage their major advantage: the ability to adjust to changing market conditions on the fly, unburdened by the status quo (legacy products and customer expectations).
Steinbeck used to contrast his “big books” (East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath) with his smaller gems (Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men) and the difficulties that each type of book posed. One of my early readers, who has read all three of my novels, has been after me to write a ‘big book’ with Silicon Valley at its core. I didn’t set out to make my next novel ‘big’ just to satisfy my friend, but as I laid it out, I realized that it was going to be at least half again as big as its predecessors. It had more of everything: characters, locations, back stories, technologies, etc. So I got in touch with some writer friends and asked for their advice.
Among the many wise things that Winston Churchill said, one that applies to us writers is: If you want me to speak for two minutes, it will take me three weeks of preparation. If you want me to speak for thirty minutes, it will take me a week to prepare. If you...
If you’re feeling emotionally and psychologically balanced, I have a way to fix that: for your next writing project, render it as both a novel and a script at the same time. I’ve been doing that with The Forever Game, the novel (and script) that I’m halfway...
After all these years of writing and having some of my work published, I rarely, if ever, considered word count. It wasn’t until Newsweek told me to lose 200 words of my carefully (and beautifully) constructed article on pedophilia in the Catholic clergy that I thought in terms of length. But word count only mattered in journalism, not fiction.
If you think you’re a pretty good writer (which I do) and you want to become a better writer (which I also do), then my advice is to hire an editor. Bear in mind, though, that even though you’re paying them, a good editor will be direct and honest, often brutally so. It’s kind of a writer’s version of going to an S&M parlor.
In my previous novels, I’ve stuck pretty much to the maxim: write what you know. Readers who don’t know me might raise their eyes at this statement, since my three novels have been about sexual violence and prison life; genocide; and pedophilia. In my defense, I...
Petra doesn’t need an alarm, not after all these years. Though she sets one every night.
Waking before the alarm goes off—not a stumbling into the day but sitting up alert and relaxed—she checks the clock, though she knows what it will say. 5:40. Clad in yoga pants and a sleeveless stretchy black t-shirt, she slings her feet over the side of the bed and pads out of the bedroom on panther feet.
If you read the previous blog, please continue reading. If you’re joining this blog at this point, I’d recommend going back and reading the previous installment.
Here’s the deal: I’m writing my next project as both a script and novel. I opened both with the Prologue from the earlier blog (a bunch of VCs aboard a yacht), but while the producer I’m working with on the script loved it as a grabber opening, my writing coach felt I was introducing characters that we wouldn’t see again until the end of Act 1. She wanted something more in line with antagonist/protagonist line of development.
I’m trying something a bit different with my fourth novel. In the first three I wrote either a complete novel or a complete screenplay, then, once it was out and making the rounds, I’d write its counterpart. Left for Alive was a novel for three years before I turned it into a screenplay. The Devil’s Breath was a screenplay first, then a novel. Same with The Empty Confessional.
Left For Alive
Two brothers and their ex-con cohorts are investigated at every turn by press and police. Their violent mysteries start to unravel, until a final revelation gives one brother a new life while ending the life of the other.