Some New Year’s resolutions, with a little help from my idols

In 2016, I’m tailoring my New Year’s resolutions–at least the ones dealing with my writing–according to the advice of a few people I admire.

  • Read more and as widely as possible: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King, On Writing.
  • Choose topics that challenge me. “The number one piece of advice you get as a writer is to write what you know. I get that and it is true, but you also have to write what you don’t know and what you never want to know because it scares you.” –Michael Connelly, 2015 interview in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Write more essential scenes. “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” — Elmore Leonard, Ten Rules for Good Writing.
  • Seek out more people who know what they’re talking about to make my books more authentic. “There are a million experts out there waiting for you. The trick is to find them and then ask the right questions. The Internet doesn’t think.” –Stuart Kaminsky, “Where Do I Find a Jewish Indian? Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Research,” in Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America.
  • Do more to support the institution that has supported me my entire life. “If you are not supporting libraries, then you are not supporting yourself.  Let’s set aside the fact that library systems buy a LOT of books and that they are great champions of genre fiction.  You need readers.  Guess where they are incubated?  But it’s more than that.  If you are a human being living in the world, you owe it to the rest of society to do everything you can to support libraries.” — Karin Slaughter, 2015 blog in The Strand magazine.

2 replies »

  1. All good and Michael Connelly quote is my favorite. I saw him interviewed at Bouchercon in Indianapolis several years back. Initially, he dealt with his unhappiness working at the newspaper by coming home every night and writing his novel. I loved his “Lincoln Lawyer.” Happy New Year to you, a little late, Andrew!

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