I was reading Sonja Foust's blog and that lead me to Alexandra Sokoloff's blog
Among books I wish I had written are Da Vinci Code (though a better one), Twilight books, Outlander books, Pride and Prejudice, Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland and Romeo and Juliet (and everything else Shakespeare wrote). And the Bible.
Not because I think they are good books, but because people love these books. Yes, I'm very materialistic on some level. Yes, I wish I could support myself with my writing, even get rich by writing. I am extremely jealous to Dan Brown, who in my mind cannot write, but who can support himself with his writing. :-(
I wish I was as productive an author as Agatha Christie, Shakespeare and Barbara Cartland.
I wish I was an author good enough to get Nobel prize.
I wish I was a popular and beloved author.
Sigh. I went and read Geoffrey K. Pullum's critique on Da Vinci Code, and it was delightful and soothing read. I don't know if my book - if there ever is one - is considered as worthless, but I am not an English teacher in University level. Dan Brown is. I don't understand how he could get the job, when he writes crap like that.
Anyway, languagelog is very good reading for all writer-wannabes. I found among other things this "16 first rules of fiction".
Show, don't tellthe links aren't working, but I managed to hunt down a couple of them through Internet Archive. :-D
Be readable; grasp the reader's attention.
- "something terrible happened', and instantly we want to know what, and where, and how, and why"
Know your characters.
"The words the characters use need to reflect their heritage, upbringing and life experiences."
Drop the reader right into the middle of the action.
You can do anything.
Write what you know.
You can't talk about fiction.
Be true to the characters and let the story flow from them.
A relieved sigh ALWAYS brings trouble.
Truth is stranger than fiction, so appeal to the sense of absurd to gain credibility.
Never, ever, let your readers be confused about the precise geographical locations of your minor characters.
The narrator can't die.
Create a believable universe out of nothing.
It is not real life, but it must somehow honestly represent something of real life.
The voice may be yours, but the characters are just characters. ("all similarities to existing people are purely co-incidental")
Here's another take to this list. Better than mine, which is not really even a take...
BTW, this is my list of 10 top films and books:
1) Big Fish
3) LA story
4) Amelie from Montmartre
5) Quiet Man
6) Father Goose
7) How to steal a million
9) Don Juan de Marco
10) Enchanted April
1) The Eight
2) Lord of the Rings
3) Narnia books by C.S.Lewis
4) Overwhelmed by joy
5) Jonathan Livingstone Seagull
7) Foucault's Pendulum
8) Wind in the Willows
9) Fifth Elephant
10) Jonathan Stroud's demon trilogy
I just wonder what's the common denominator here...