I just read Janet Evanovich’s How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author over Memorial weekend. A three to four hour read, I really enjoyed the book. While I may have read all of the writing hints before, Evanovich kept me interested by dropping in examples from the Stephanie Plum series.
I’m a great fan of the Plum series. Some of the few times I laugh aloud reading is when Stephanie has once again blown up a car.
What struck me as interesting was how Evanovich’s voice came through. I saw her give the opening speech at the National RWA Convention in 2009. She flung the Q&A cards around the stage, made fun of herself and kept the thousands in the audience laughing. She does this in her books, in her non-fiction writing and in person. Making you laugh at her characters and in some little part – yourself.
But what came through loud and strong is Janet’s perseverance and work ethic. It took ten years for Janet to publish her first book. She started as a romance writer (near and dear to my heart). When she decided to change genres, she took a year off and researched. Some might not deem buying beers for policemen as research, but it seems to have worked.
What did I pick up from the book besides chuckling?
· Ten years to publish.
· Writing is a job.
· Use active interesting verbs.
· Writing is a family endeavor for the Evanovichs.
· She has both a parrot and a trend mill in her office.
· Write ever day – even a sentence, or a paragraph, better yet a page, even better -- ten pages.
· Stop polishing the first chapter of your completed manuscript. Write the next book.