Slow Moving Dreams

Thursday, August 11, 2005 at 12:18 PM

Writing

My son suggested that I talk (or write) a little bit about my experience writing a book. It's a little awkward for me because this is only my first book and I really don't know how successful it's going to be. I have faith in the book itself. I think it is a good book and everybody who has read it thinks so, including Nelson DeMille. But there are a lot of good books that are not commercially successful. Marketing plays a big part.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was going to talk(write) about my writing experience. First of all, I don't consider myself a writer just yet. A writer is somebody who makes a living writing. I make a living practicing law. I'd like to make a living writing because my passion for writing now exceeds my passion for practicing law. There's the practical issues though. There always are. Most people don't ever get the opportunity to fulfill their passions because of responsibilities and circumstances. When there are mouths to feed, personal preferences have to take a back seat. I don't have any mouths to feed anymore so I can step off the precipice somewhat. I say somewhat because I, like everybody else, still have to meet the monthly payments and as you get older and more established the responsibilities change--i.e., no more mouths to feed-- but that doesn't mean life necessarily gets less expensive. I'm still chasing the rat.
My writing experience: I began writing many years ago as kind of an outlet, a stress reliever. I would get up early in the morning and just write for an hour or so. In the beginning it was just dialogue. Then I graduated to trying to create scenes. I should tell you that, as a lawyer, I have considerable writing experience. I have written literally hundreds of legal memorandums and appellate briefs. But that's a different kind of writing. It's an exercise in logic and applying abstract legal principles to a particular set of facts. It does teach you to be concise and direct and you do hone the ability to get thoughts from your brain onto the paper. You also learn how to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Those are valuable tools but having those tools does not mean you will be a good fiction writer.
What does it take to be a good fiction writer? I don't know if I have the credentials to answer that question at this point but I can provide an opinion, for what its worth. Here's my opinion for today because I have to stop my passion to go back to my responsibility, and really my other passion-- practicing law.In any writing you have to be true to yourself. There's an old saying-write about what you know. I think that's true. I'm a lawyer so I wrote a legal thriller. The law is certainly something I know about although some judges might want to weigh in on that statement. I certainly don't think I could write a medical thriller unless I did some extensive research. Of course, if I did the research, then I would know about my subject matter.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make a living practicing law. I'd like to make a living writing because my passion for writing now exceeds my passion for practicing law.

I second that.  

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Blogger sidra said...

I just sent you an email before I saw the blog and realized that I did locate the author of The Mayor of Lexington Avenue. I have to disagree with your definition of a writer. Anyone who writes as well as you is a writer. Also a writer is someone who makes it look easy to write because what they have written is so easy to read. Keep writing.  

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