Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Few Words on Writing

I'm no expert when it comes to writing. I'm not pretending to be. I do know what has worked for me.
I’ve started 2017 at a breakneck speed. I've written 56,000 words. I can't keep this pace up long. I don't write full-time. Not yet. I hope one day…
2016 finished really strong for me. Reviews have been good and sales even better. I’m  still in the romance game, but at least I'm having fun and making money (don’t judge; a fella does what he has to do to get a foot in the door).
A friend recently asked how I've increased my output. How am I writing at a faster pace? I told him I have no doubt the reason. It's what I believe the key to being a good writer is. I read.
An author I follow on social media recently made a comment that for a writer, all reading is research. He's a wise man.
When I read, I soak up tips and pointers from the masters without even realizing it. It sinks in through osmosis. It's as if these guys mentor me, even though I never speak to many of them.
When I read I learn sentence and paragraph structure, pacing, and story flow. I have no doubt it all shows up in my own work. When I spend time with authors who are great, I find  myself getting better than I was.
So if you want to write, my humble advice, and take it for what it's worth, is to read, read, read! Soak it all in. Enjoy the stories for what they are. Be entertained! But I promise, it will improve your own craft.
So here are a few recommendations.
Louis L’Amour was terrific. For sheer imagination, I love the guy. He could take a location and write a fun, exciting tale around it.
For pacing, I read a lot of James Reasoner! Every part of his books propel the action, moving the plot forward. Pacing is something I often struggle with. I wrote a romance following “Reasoner’s Rules” (pacing tips I've learned just by reading his work—but I like the name). It's the best reviewed and highest selling work I've ever done.
Speaking of pacing, Robert Randisi knows a thing or two, or a hundred. He writes the Gunsmith series under a pen, as well as a ton of titles under his own name. Check out his Rat Pack mystery series! Fun and fast.
And while we are talking pace, let's talk Lee Goldberg. King City is a great place to start. It's like watching an action movie.
You want to read a well-crafted action scene? Check out John Hegenberger. The man knows where it's at.
If you want to see a fine example of nonstop excitement, read Brad Thor or the late, great Vince Flynn. Those are darn good thrillers they put out.
And finally, for great first person perspective, Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole books are wonderful.
Let me know your thoughts and the writers that help you!

1 comment:

  1. Ryan, Just discovered your blog today (Randisi interview) although I realize now that I read your Reasoner interview (but ended up commenting on his Facebook link). I, too, have learned Reasoner's Rules (I like it, too). I recently read my first (then second then third and now on the fourth) Longarm novels. Reasoner wrote all but 1. It finally dawned on me, as I scribbled and marked-up my paperback, that the structure was consistent. Like you, I noted how characters were introduced, when action scenes started, and how many cliffhangers and their positioning in the novels. I even broke the chapters down into approximate word counts. I have a western hero for whom I've wanted to write novel-length adventures. I decided to take the structure and pace of a Longarm novel as the basis. Viola! Like you, I've writtne like a mad man this month...and I just finished the book this morning. Having the Longarm structure in place was so liberating.

    Good luck with your writing. And, no, I judge not a fellow writer.