Given the choice, I would rather not whip and spur an old horse. It’s just not my thing. After this week’s news, however, concerning Q.R. Markham and the recent revelations about his book, I feel compelled to once again touch upon the issue I’ve written about for my last two posts.
It is true that we learn much from reading other writers. I have learned a ton about dialogue from Elmore Leonard. I have also learned much about narrative and prolific sentence structure from the likes of William Gibson and James Lee Burke and the earlier works of Dean Koontz (his later works aren’t quite as prosaic). I have learned much about writing characters and backstory from Stephen King, trying to give little pieces that readers tend to pick up and snap together. Still, it is one thing to learn from others in an attempt to hone your own voice and craft; it is quite another to copy their work into yours, and then have the audacity to say you wrote it. While we all learn from other writers, we can never-ever-ever stoop to the level of plagiarizing their work. I can’t stress that point enough.
And enough on that subject, too.
This week has had its positives. First, my NaNoWriMo project is moving along nicely. Today, I passed the twenty-thousand marker and moved beyond twenty-one-thousand words as well. And with that I am now over forty percent of the way home. In the next day or two, I expect to roll past the halfway point. Halfway for my NaNoWriMo goal, that is; the way this novel is working, I don't expect that it will be finished until much later. My first project two years ago ran over one-hundred-thousand words. We'll see how far this one goes.
The plot is starting to come together nicely as well. At this point in the story, I have been able to see little nuggets of foreshadowing—unintentional at their origin, but quickly recognized as something that will have more voice as the story progresses. The final road map is not clear in my mind yet, but it is coming into focus far better than it did when I started. And that’s a good thing.
In my readings, I finished Stephen King’s The Girl Who Love Tom Gordon. For those who criticized it as slow and boring, I have to strongly disagree. It was a powerful story and the end touched my heart in a way that many books do not. For those who have never read it, this is one of his better works.
Those are my quick updates for now. For a future post, I am considering the prospect of sharing some personal thoughts about dialogue. While I have learned much of what I do from other masters, I have also developed strong opinions of my own.
Until next time…