At some point in my life, I’ve always been a teacher of this and that. I used to teach music, and once had a musician come to me to learn.
Except he didn’t want to learn. He wanted to pay me to show off what he’d designed. He’d come up with an innovative style of music. So I asked ten simple questions, and then gave him a list of all the areas that he didn’t know.
He got offended, and never came back.
There’s a lot of novelists and screenplay writers who suffer from the same mistake. You’ve written 15 chapters of your book – so you assume now you know how to write.
I’ve written 3.65 books, several movie scripts and… right now I’m going through 5 books I bought from Writers Digest University.
I’m learning how to write.
I’ve read a lot of Clancy. I’d love to write like that. Well, surprise. I write like that.
But there’s people like Clavell out there. Baldacci. Grisham. Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov. You know, some of these people are REALLY good.
I’m not that good yet.
By the time I get through these books, I’lll be better.
If I’ve written this much and an willing to sit down and learn… so should you.
I owe it to the people who hypothetically will plunk down $9 or $10 for a novel to give them the BEST story I can. I owe it to them. I owe it to my future literary agent to make him or her rich, because I’m learning the areas I don’t know.
Words on a page do not equal a book. If you’ve got dull areas in your book… you’re missing knowledge in some area. Quick, what’s an adverb? What’s an adjective? What’s a predicate and a preposition?
That kind of stuff is annoying, and slows me down. But I should learn all that.
I want my books to be timeless, where you can read them again and again. If I don’t do my homework, and then try to apply that homework – my books will all join the long, long list of books you read once.