All posts tagged: novels

Crichton

Words like “clean” and “concise” come to mind when I think of Michael Crichton’s writing, but I’d go further and say that his prose displays almost surgical-like precision. It makes sense: He was a medical student and the creator of the television show ER. Jurassic Park was first published when I was twelve years old, but I don’t think I read it until after the movie came out a few years later. I’ve read a few novels that feature dinosaurs since then, and it’s still one of my favorite sci-fi reads. I’ve read most but not all of Crichton’s work (several copies sit on my bookshelf), and it’s all expertly crafted. And whereas I wouldn’t say there’s anything glamorous about his writing, there doesn’t need to be. Maybe his involvement with Hollywood was the flashy part of his work because his books seem to come from a genuine fascination with science. Of course, he told stories and created suspense incredibly effectively. He was also known to do a great deal of research. I read that …

15 Minutes

Last year, I signed a contract to ghostwrite the first draft of a short novel. It was on a tight deadline, and I have a day job. So I knew I was going to have to maximize the way I use my time both before and after work. I did this by breaking both periods into 15-minute increments. While I was writing the book, I woke up every day at 6 AM and spent 15 minutes eating breakfast and drinking a cup of coffee. Then, I took a quick shower. By 6:30, I was writing and doing so for one hour. The rest of the morning went to a workout and a bit of straightening up or reading before heading out the door. When I got home, more often than not, I went to work on the novel. That left me with some time afterward to take a walk, eat some dinner, and unwind before going to bed. The best thing about this kind of routine was that I knew where I was supposed to …

Huxley

All writers are inspired–at one point or another–to write. But I’m not at all sure many of them can recall the exact moment when they definitively decided to become a writer. (On the other hand, maybe every writer does.) I was in college, sitting in a tan corduroy armchair reading a paperback copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. There was an oversized “Devil’s Haircut” poster on the wall behind me and forest green, low pile carpet under my feet. It was past time for a good vacuuming. It was my second reading of that book; the first had come in high school. I was a fan of it in the tenth grade, but by the time I got to college, I’d decided I needed to reread it. From Brave New World, I went on to Brave New World Revisited. This reading led to Island, The Doors of Perception, and Heaven and Hell. However, it was the caste system (Alphas, Betas, Deltas, etc.) described in Huxley’s seminal work that gave me my eureka moment. I …

Competition

A friend of mine and I run together a couple of times per week. Right now, he’s training for a ten-mile race. Together, we run a fraction of that amount because three miles is just about my limit. I’ve run four but regretted it later. He’s the better runner. He’s less winded than I am when we hit the three-mile mark and can usually outrun me in the final sprint. But this doesn’t bother me much, and there’s a reason. I lift weights, and he doesn’t. Pull-ups? Push-ups? I’ve got him beat. When it comes to competition, we often neglect to think about other skills. That may not be the point in a heat, but it’s important. Not being able to run faster or lift more than someone doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It could mean we’d win at something else. I’ve never been particularly competitive. I wasn’t athletic (or… coordinated) when I was young. But I could probably make an argument that I have become extremely competitive with age–at least with myself, which is …

Film

I spent about ten years trying to make a film that would get noticed by Hollywood-types. I got so far as to have a short featured on the IFC Channel’s Media Lab Shorts Uploaded before realizing that the novel might suit me better. However, I’ve never completely lost my interest in film, so I’m currently learning a bit about cinematography. It’s possible that filmmaking is as integral to me as ever because one of the driving forces behind my writing is the possibility of seeing a novel adapted into a film. The last manuscript I submitted to agents was written as a screenplay first. I used it as a kind of outline. I like to see the writing I do as cinematic. I think it is, in part, because I write by watching the film version in my head, transcribing what I see. I’m not sure if that’s unusual, but that’s the way I do it. However, I might want to be careful when it comes to adaptations. In a commentary, Michael Crichton said: “…Whenever …