I like to think of myself as something of a renaissance man. Others regard me as a dilettante. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. I perform my own car maintenance and repairs. I sew (some of) my own clothes. I’ve done all the framing, electrical, plumbing and other work in renovating several homes. I create stained glass. I’m a volunteer mentor at my local jail. I also sail, garden, bake and race sprint canoe. Yes, the latter is a real Olympic sport. This year I won two golds in my age category (not quite dead yet) at the National Championships.
I also write when the mood strikes me and/or I make the time.
All of these things enrich my life and I wouldn’t want to do without any of them.
It’s a real rush to pass on a tip from Lawrence Block because he just might be the most major monster in crime fiction. Consider: he’s author of over forty novels (and that’s just under his own name — not counting another 50 or so under various noms du travail). But it goes way beyond that. He’s one of those writers that everybody in his field has read, and most other writers in that field have been influenced by. His Matt Scudder series is an uber-classic, a modern version of Chandler or Hammett. But with a more human character arc, readers watched Scudder come to grips with his alcoholism. Scudder alone would enshrine Mr. Block in the Crime Hall of Fame… Continue reading “Tips from the Masters: Lawrence Block”
Have you ever sat back and asked yourself, “Why do I write?” You know, as in, “Why, out of the million or more other things I can do during my time on this planet, have I chosen to make writing that thing that sets me apart from everyone else?”
Well, I do.
In fact, I have been asking myself that question since sometime in the early 1980’s.
And I never quite seem to find an adequate answer. I never quite nail it. “Because it’s fun,” certainly doesn’t cut it. “Because I’m downright awesome,” is far too egotistical. “Because I’m the best at what I do,” is something Wolverine might say.
No. I’ve never really been able to answer that one. I actually put it aside some time ago, chalked it up as one of the Great Unknowns in life. Now, when that question pops into my head, I just push it aside, push it aside, push it aside…
How many times have we all heard that old saw “write what you know”? What does that even mean?
Many take this as advice to write only about our areas of expertise, what we have studied, where we have been. The implication is that if we are not well versed in our subject matter that we will slip up somehow and that our ignorance cannot help but be revealed.