Sunday, April 4, 2010
Examining Your Genre's Writers
Jason Pyles here again. I know you wouldn't think it, but that Fast Freddy Connors is smarter than he looks. I remember him encouraging us to browse through our genre of choice, noting how other writers successfully published the kinds of books we're hoping to someday publish.
Well, Fred is brilliant (though he won't take credit for initially having the idea). Indeed, it works wonderfully well! And trust me, you can glean a lot more than you might think:
For example, through some comparative study, I've noticed that the authors who write in my genre typically make their books between 275 to 350 pages. And since I'm writing a novel and a screenplay of the same story concept, I've noticed that for every one page of screenplay plot, there are approximately three pages of novel plot that cover the same ground — just more in-depth. (These are generalizations, of course.)
You can note how each writer's subplots are interwoven with one another, as well as the main plot; how character story arcs are developed and interrelated; etc. Oh, and I've been browsing through bookstores and just looking at how each author begins, noting what works and what doesn't work. The key is to be analytical and to make good notes for yourself.
In short, I'm glad I tried Fred's suggestion. I would encourage anyone in our group — regardless of your genre — to spend some time browsing through your section at the bookstore and see how the apparently successful writers do what you want to do.
And hey, who knows, at the very least, we can imitate what those writers are doing, and at most, we might even find a way to improve upon it.
Writing away from Salt Lake City,