1. In the latest review on Amazon for The Asphalt Warrior, the first book in the eight-book series by the late Gary Reilly, a reader wrote:
"Writers, good ones, create their readers. And this book does that.”
Do good writers “create their own readers?”
I love that idea. Are you going after your readers? Or someone else's?
2. On a similar note, I’m currently reading Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott. It’s a finalist for an Edgar Award in the Best Paperback Original category. So, it’s a mystery. And mysteries are supposed to have a body (a victim) near the beginning. There are bodies in Shot in Detroit. In fact, lots of bodies. But the first half of this book is all character development. It’s a slow burn and a gritty build-up. The main character is dour and down—and interesting. She's different. She sees the world in her own unique way. And halfway into the book, we get the shift into that sort of “who done it?” format. It’s great to see the rules being broken—and broken so well. But I don’t think Shot in Detroit is for everybody. What book is?
Does every story need layers and layers of complicated plot to pull us in?
Didn't you feel like you knew these characters, particularly after that long scene in the diner at the end?
4. I’ve had some great guests on the podcasts recently, but I highly recommend the one with Marc Graham. He makes some excellent points for up and coming writers about connecting with mentors. He talks about making a concerted effort to emulate success and how he “reverse engineered” the accomplishments of others. Marc also talks about the advantages of being “relentlessly helpful” along the way. These were some powerful insights from a guy whose first novel, Of Ashes and Dust, is being published two weeks from today. Listen here. Or check your favorite podcast provider.
5. Can reading make you happy? Have ever heard of The Novel Cure? Can you match a book to what ails you? Can reading make you happy? Alter your mood?
There is an excellent article in The New Yorker about this topic.
The article cites the example of George Eliot, "who is rumored to have overcome her grief at losing her life partner through a program of guided reading with a young man who went on to become her husband." (Now, that is healing!) Eliot is quoted as saying: “art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot.”