Monday, March 14, 2016

Learning from the masters

By Jennifer Goble

This past weekend I went to heaven without dying. I attended the Tucson Festival of Books

I heard panels, conversations, and workshops from authors I have never heard of, and those I  have admired for years. They were so generous to share their experiences, show their vulnerabilities, and parent our author endeavors. 

When it ended, I was exhausted and exhilarated. 

With a magic wand, I could share very word, emotion, and vision. Unfortunately, I can only give highlights. Enjoy.


  • J.A. Jance: I start with someone dead and spend the rest of the book trying to figure out how s/he died and who did it.
  • Margaret Coel: Find characters who are the same as you. Feel their heartbeat. 
  • Jeffery Deaver: Writing is a job. I write eight to ten hours a day. I rewrite everything fifty times.
  • Sara Hepola: It is a myth to believe all people in addiction treatment have bad parents. 
  • Thomas Perry: As a writer you can write what you wish you would have said. 
  • Reed Coleman: If the writer is not interested, the reader will not be interested. 
  • Paula McLain: You need to be overwhelmed to write a novel. Historical fiction is like a living wax museum.
  • Alan Zweibel: What makes a joke is something surprising and something you know. 
  • Luis Alberto Urrea: American reader’s favorite word is home. Joy and loss are great unifiers. 
  • Andrew Milward: There are things short stories can do novels cannot do.
  • Bryn Chancellor: A novel is a house, a short story is a room, and a short-short is looking through a peep-hole. (source unknown)
  • Agent Clair Gerus: Don’t praise your writing. Don't hurt children or animals.
  • Agent Ron Hogan: Boom - get to the story in the logline.
  • Agent Jeff Kleinmen: Create new, original settings. Grab us emotionally, immediatley.
  • Social Media: Devote as much time on social media as you spend writing.
What do you learn from the masters?

Until the next time: Live while you live!

2 comments:

Susan Kane said...

Mostly, I have developed a deep respect for these masters. The influence they have on up and coming writers is immeasurable.

Jennifer Goble said...

It is so true. They give expert examples of how, and we have to figure out the who, what, where, when and why.

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