Friday, February 27, 2009

The Old Flip-Flop

A friend who's into me being a writer asked me how things were going. I joked that I had my head into three novels - selling one, editing another, starting a third - and wasn't always sure which one I was talking about at any particular time. And I told him that the new one was really coming to me strongly, was threatening to take over my life, and that I was purposely slowing it down a little while I finished my editing on the previous one.

"Oh, you shouldn't do that!" he said. "You've got to strike while the inspiration's there." And then launched into a five-minute talk on the art of writing, involving some movie with Sean Conncery a few years ago ("Finding Forrester"?).

I was actually highly amused, because this happens all the time - amateurs giving advice to the 25-year veteran novelist. So I just listened until he come to this understanding himself and said, "Well why the heck am I telling YOU all this?"

I think it's mostly projection, but it is funny how much advice I get sometimes. People are always telling me about books I should read, and I feel like saying, "Shouldn't YOU be asking ME about good books to read?"

Image: The last line, final draft of "The Monkey Tribe," novel number ten.


Stephen said...


I saw your name and avatar out on the EU Forums and decided to track down your blog.

This is an interesting post. On a smaller scale, I sympathize with the stress level. Right now, I am only juggling short stories as my attempts at novels have always labored out of the starting gate and never made it down the first stretch. Maybe later this year, I'll attempt to throw a novel back into the mix. Then again...

Regarding your final point. My focus is on crime/suspense stories, and I'd love receive any novel recommendations you have to offer.

Michael J. Vaughn said...

Hey! Thanks for asking. I guess I'm a sucker for the classics, but I certainly love Raymond Chandler. And David Baldacci among the more recent authors (although I interviewed him once, and he was so nice I'm probably biased). My absolute ultimate, though, is "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote, not just for crime writing, but for writing period. The use of language is gorgeous.