Audio books are on my list of favorite things. I’m currently listening to Eric Jerome Dickey’s series of books about a character named Gideon. Gideon (no last name) is a powerfully sexy yet emotionally tormented contract killer. I just finished the book, “Dying for Revenge,” and have “Resurrecting Midnight” on standby to load into the car CD player. Gideon and his conflicts are compelling to me. I’m still thinking about him–and all the other characters, even though the book is over and I know he is safe now.
Listening to Dickey’s books has made me consider the impact of my own work on readers. I’m not comparing myself to Dickey’s talent, style or genre. Not at all. The similar part I want to achieve is to have my work be as compelling as the stories he writes. Well, no, that’s not true–. I want my stories to be even MORE compelling than his. I remember reading a quote that said something like: If your story is lagging, you can always add excitement to it by brining in “a man with the gun.” My book is character-based so I’m not sure I can introduce a gun-wielding scenario that would make sense for my story–. Instead, I will continue work on improving my own voice, my own style, and my own overall talent.
While contemplating Dickey’s success as an author, I came up with a few tips that may help the rest of us struggling writers.
• Write and publish tens of novels and plays like Dickey has done. We can accomplish this by writing and publishing continuously for nearly 25 or 30 years. Your writing, although probably good now, will continue to evolve into greatness. Just pick up the pace and become more devoted toward improving.
• Create endearing, complex characters that can transcend among other books. Better yet, create characters that are compelling enough to lend themselves to a series of adventures in future books. How? Refer to the first tip. Practice begets perfection.
• Travel and see more of the world so your books’ settings can be authentic. When Dickey’s characters travel to exotic and exciting places, his readers travel there too. But he doesn’t stop the action to describe the pretty or gritty street scenery along the way. Dickey brilliantly USES the scenery, i.e. the bridges, the streets, and the indigenous corner store in his stories, to further his action.
• Pay attention to people along your daily path. Take notes about strangers who have unique traits. Use the distinct nuances about them to help make your own characters distinctive and memorable.
We may not be Dickey or Morrison or Tan or Steinbeck–. But you are [your name here]! And you, and I, are going to be great soon.