Show me your pile
What I'm reading: Cape Fear
by John D. MacDonald.
I speak to a lot of newbeis about writing. Mostly about craft. Some about storytelling. We have discussions about technique versus craft. What I've learned is that there is no one way to tell a story. Some people get hidebound over style and throw ugly conniptions about POV shifts and exposition as if these were the most foul of human trespasses. I've come to appreciate there is a difference between writing and storytelling. Some authors are very good writers yet mediocre storytellers, and as a result, in a novel, they lose their readers. Other authors are fantastic storytellers yet middling writers. Their prose doesn't dazzle. But roll out a good story and readers will overlook a lot.
One drawback to being a writer is that I've had to retrain myself as reader. It was too easy to read a book through my critiquer goggles and get so nit picky that I missed the richness of the story. This doesn't mean I finish every book that I start. If I put a book down, it's seldom because of style but because the story lacks coherence (i.e., a plot).
One bit of advice hasn't changed in my years as a writing instructor. And that is: Read. A lot.
Read bunches in your genre and bunches out of your genre. I'm amazed when I asked a wannbe to list their favorite books and they reply that they're too busy to read. Or they want to pen a (fill-in-the-blank--mystery, thriller, historical) and haven't bothered to read one. Last year I challenged myself to read a book a week and so far, I'm on the money. Here is my TBR pile, in no particular order that the books will be consumed. Four are nonfiction, the rest novels.
If life was truly fair, then local writer Manuel Ramos would be in the end caps at Costco with Michael Connelly and CJ Box. The Denver Post
gives Ramos a bit of his due in this chingaton review
Labels: Cape Fear, Desperado, John D. MacDonald, Manuel Ramos, the Highlands, the North Side