Tag Archives: character

Sue Grafton (b. April 24): “Ideas are easy. It’s their execution that separates the sheep from the goats.”

24 Apr

Sue Grafton, born 24th April 1940, is an American crime writer. She is best known as the author of the ‘alphabet series’, starting with “A” Is for Alibi. The books feature private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Grafton is the daughter of detective novelist C. W. Grafton. She wrote screenplays for television movies before she became a novelist.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.
  2. I focus on the writing and let the rest of the process take care of itself. I’ve learned to trust my own instincts and I’ve also learned to take risks.
  3. I write letters to my right brain all the time. They’re just little notes. And right brain, who likes to get little notes from me, will often come through within a day or two.
  4. We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.
  5. I started writing seriously when I was 18, wrote my first novel when I was 22, and I’ve never stopped writing since. Of the first seven novels I wrote, numbers four and five were published. Numbers one, two, three, six, and seven, have never seen the light of day…and rightly so. The eighth novel I wrote was ‘A’ IS FOR ALIBI.
  6. I’m a writer by default. I think it is in my blood and in my bones. As I was growing up, women could be secretaries, nurses, ballerinas or airline stewardesses and I’m squeamish so there went my nursing career. I started writing early in my life as a way of surviving and my way of processing rage, grief and confusion. Now it is just what I do because I love it.
  7. I think with the mystery novel you have to know where you’re going, but not in any great detailed sense. I generally know whodunit, who died, and what the motive for the crime was. Then I have to figure out what I call the angle of attack. In other words, how do you cut into the story? Where does the story begin? What’s relevant in that first line or paragraph from the reader’s point of view? And I have to figure out who hires Kinsey Millhone, and what she’s hired to do.
  8. For one thing the mystery novel is a very elegant, delicate, highly structured form. You need to know how to plot, how to structure a story, you need to understand how to make a character work. People who start writing and think they can start with the mystery novel are often defeated before they put that first word on the page. So my advice is to learn your craft with mainstream fiction, where you’re not as stringently challenged and then come to the mystery when you’ve acquired some of the proficiencies that you need.
  9. I’m usually at my desk by 8:30 or 9:00. I like a tidy office because I find messes distracting. Being disorganized wastes time. I keep journals for every novel I write, and I start my workday by logging in, talking to myself about where I am in a novel and how I feel. I focus on the scene or story moves coming up. I worry about pacing and suspense. I revise. I stop sometimes and consult my research library, which is packed with books about crime and law enforcement. If I’m stuck, I call on the small army of experts who assist with each book. I break for a brief lunch and then work another couple of hours. Most days, I walk three to five miles when I’ve finished writing. I need the stress relief and fresh air.

Cara Black (b. November 14): “I’m an eavesdropper” & other quotes on writing

14 Nov
black

pinterest.com/pin/39406565465150740/

Cara Black, born 14 November 1951, is a best-selling American mystery writer best known for her Aimée Léduc novels featuring a female Paris-based private investigator.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Write what you are passionate about – that’s the best advice I ever received.
  2. I wanted to tell a story. Crime fiction is a great framework, a structure to hang a story.
  3. Research is the BEST part of my job. It means I must go to Paris, as I tell my husband.
  4. I’m an eavesdropper, bad habit, but invaluable in my line of work. I think writers do that all the time. 
  5. The past informs the present. Memory makes the map we carry, no matter how hard we try to erase it.
  6. To me a gripping story is about the characters, how crime impacts them; the victim’s world and forensics and technology are tools. 
  7. Maybe mysteries help us deal with the frustration and unresolved situations we encounter in daily life. When I read a mystery I like to experience some sense that justice is served. Not that all the loose ends are tied up but that good in some form triumphs.
  8. A line of dialogue or a mannerism can put a character onto the page. The challenge is to keep the character speaking more dialogue, being memorable and intrinsic to the plot and storyline. Especially in crime fiction and mysteries, everything happens for a reason, every detail could be a clue, a red herring, a false lead or a key to a sub plot and a suspect.
  9. I like to think that Paris is a character in my books. Sense of place, that unique part of Paris that speaks to me drives the story. Paris is really a collection of villages, twenty arrondissements or districts that each have a flavour. I try to think why crime would occur here in this quartier of Paris, what crime would happen here, who lives here, what is the distinct taste of this quartier of Paris and then the story comes
  10. My writing group meets twice a month and we critique each other’s work in progress. I’m an equal member and receive comments like everyone else. I’m always looking to make my story better. It’s important to listen to the comments, take what makes sense or would make the story clearer, deepen or enhance it. Or even delve more into the character, strengthen what would be more organic to the plot. If several people make the same comments, I listen.

 

Edward Norton (b. August 18): “I relate to a character in terms of arc…”

18 Aug

norton

“I tend to relate to a character in terms of the arc: what’s interesting is where he starts versus where he ends up.”

~ Edward Norton, b. 18 August 1969

pinterest.com/pin/39406565464659308/

Sue Grafton (b. April 24): “Ideas are easy. It’s their execution that separates the sheep from the goats.”

24 Apr

Sue Grafton, born 24th April 1940, is an American crime writer. She is best known as the author of the ‘alphabet series’, starting with “A” Is for Alibi. The books feature private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Grafton is the daughter of detective novelist C. W. Grafton. She wrote screenplays for television movies before she became a novelist.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.
  2. I focus on the writing and let the rest of the process take care of itself. I’ve learned to trust my own instincts and I’ve also learned to take risks.
  3. I write letters to my right brain all the time. They’re just little notes. And right brain, who likes to get little notes from me, will often come through within a day or two.
  4. We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.
  5. I started writing seriously when I was 18, wrote my first novel when I was 22, and I’ve never stopped writing since. Of the first seven novels I wrote, numbers four and five were published. Numbers one, two, three, six, and seven, have never seen the light of day…and rightly so. The eighth novel I wrote was ‘A’ IS FOR ALIBI.
  6. I’m a writer by default. I think it is in my blood and in my bones. As I was growing up, women could be secretaries, nurses, ballerinas or airline stewardesses and I’m squeamish so there went my nursing career. I started writing early in my life as a way of surviving and my way of processing rage, grief and confusion. Now it is just what I do because I love it.
  7. I think with the mystery novel you have to know where you’re going, but not in any great detailed sense. I generally know whodunit, who died, and what the motive for the crime was. Then I have to figure out what I call the angle of attack. In other words, how do you cut into the story? Where does the story begin? What’s relevant in that first line or paragraph from the reader’s point of view? And I have to figure out who hires Kinsey Millhone, and what she’s hired to do.
  8. For one thing the mystery novel is a very elegant, delicate, highly structured form. You need to know how to plot, how to structure a story, you need to understand how to make a character work. People who start writing and think they can start with the mystery novel are often defeated before they put that first word on the page. So my advice is to learn your craft with mainstream fiction, where you’re not as stringently challenged and then come to the mystery when you’ve acquired some of the proficiencies that you need.
  9. I’m usually at my desk by 8:30 or 9:00. I like a tidy office because I find messes distracting. Being disorganized wastes time. I keep journals for every novel I write, and I start my workday by logging in, talking to myself about where I am in a novel and how I feel. I focus on the scene or story moves coming up. I worry about pacing and suspense. I revise. I stop sometimes and consult my research library, which is packed with books about crime and law enforcement. If I’m stuck, I call on the small army of experts who assist with each book. I break for a brief lunch and then work another couple of hours. Most days, I walk three to five miles when I’ve finished writing. I need the stress relief and fresh air.

Norman Mailer (b. January 31): “Style is character.”

31 Jan

mailer3-crop

“A really good style comes only when a man has become as good as he can be. Style is character. A good style cannot come from a bad, undisciplined character… I think good style is a matter of rendering out of oneself all the cupidities, all the cripplings, all the vague desires. And then I think one has to develop one’s physical grace.”

~ Norman Mailer, b. 31 January 1923

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462367931/

Cara Black (b. November 14): “I’m an eavesdropper” & other quotes on writing

14 Nov
black

pinterest.com/pin/39406565465150740/

Cara Black, born 14 November 1951, is a best-selling American mystery writer best known for her Aimée Léduc novels featuring a female Paris-based private investigator.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Write what you are passionate about – that’s the best advice I ever received.
  2. I wanted to tell a story. Crime fiction is a great framework, a structure to hang a story.
  3. Research is the BEST part of my job. It means I must go to Paris, as I tell my husband.
  4. I’m an eavesdropper, bad habit, but invaluable in my line of work. I think writers do that all the time. 
  5. The past informs the present. Memory makes the map we carry, no matter how hard we try to erase it.
  6. To me a gripping story is about the characters, how crime impacts them; the victim’s world and forensics and technology are tools. 
  7. Maybe mysteries help us deal with the frustration and unresolved situations we encounter in daily life. When I read a mystery I like to experience some sense that justice is served. Not that all the loose ends are tied up but that good in some form triumphs.
  8. A line of dialogue or a mannerism can put a character onto the page. The challenge is to keep the character speaking more dialogue, being memorable and intrinsic to the plot and storyline. Especially in crime fiction and mysteries, everything happens for a reason, every detail could be a clue, a red herring, a false lead or a key to a sub plot and a suspect.
  9. I like to think that Paris is a character in my books. Sense of place, that unique part of Paris that speaks to me drives the story. Paris is really a collection of villages, twenty arrondissements or districts that each have a flavour. I try to think why crime would occur here in this quartier of Paris, what crime would happen here, who lives here, what is the distinct taste of this quartier of Paris and then the story comes
  10. My writing group meets twice a month and we critique each other’s work in progress. I’m an equal member and receive comments like everyone else. I’m always looking to make my story better. It’s important to listen to the comments, take what makes sense or would make the story clearer, deepen or enhance it. Or even delve more into the character, strengthen what would be more organic to the plot. If several people make the same comments, I listen.

 

Sue Grafton (b. April 24): “Ideas are easy. It’s their execution that separates the sheep from the goats.”

24 Apr

Sue Grafton, born 24th April 1940, is an American crime writer. She is best known as the author of the ‘alphabet series’, starting with “A” Is for Alibi. The books feature private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Grafton is the daughter of detective novelist C. W. Grafton. She wrote screenplays for television movies before she became a novelist.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.
  2. I focus on the writing and let the rest of the process take care of itself. I’ve learned to trust my own instincts and I’ve also learned to take risks.
  3. I write letters to my right brain all the time. They’re just little notes. And right brain, who likes to get little notes from me, will often come through within a day or two.
  4. We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.
  5. I started writing seriously when I was 18, wrote my first novel when I was 22, and I’ve never stopped writing since. Of the first seven novels I wrote, numbers four and five were published. Numbers one, two, three, six, and seven, have never seen the light of day…and rightly so. The eighth novel I wrote was ‘A’ IS FOR ALIBI.
  6. I’m a writer by default. I think it is in my blood and in my bones. As I was growing up, women could be secretaries, nurses, ballerinas or airline stewardesses and I’m squeamish so there went my nursing career. I started writing early in my life as a way of surviving and my way of processing rage, grief and confusion. Now it is just what I do because I love it.
  7. I think with the mystery novel you have to know where you’re going, but not in any great detailed sense. I generally know whodunit, who died, and what the motive for the crime was. Then I have to figure out what I call the angle of attack. In other words, how do you cut into the story? Where does the story begin? What’s relevant in that first line or paragraph from the reader’s point of view? And I have to figure out who hires Kinsey Millhone, and what she’s hired to do.
  8. For one thing the mystery novel is a very elegant, delicate, highly structured form. You need to know how to plot, how to structure a story, you need to understand how to make a character work. People who start writing and think they can start with the mystery novel are often defeated before they put that first word on the page. So my advice is to learn your craft with mainstream fiction, where you’re not as stringently challenged and then come to the mystery when you’ve acquired some of the proficiencies that you need.
  9. I’m usually at my desk by 8:30 or 9:00. I like a tidy office because I find messes distracting. Being disorganized wastes time. I keep journals for every novel I write, and I start my workday by logging in, talking to myself about where I am in a novel and how I feel. I focus on the scene or story moves coming up. I worry about pacing and suspense. I revise. I stop sometimes and consult my research library, which is packed with books about crime and law enforcement. If I’m stuck, I call on the small army of experts who assist with each book. I break for a brief lunch and then work another couple of hours. Most days, I walk three to five miles when I’ve finished writing. I need the stress relief and fresh air.
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