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Friday, August 23, 2013

David Morrell - Advice from ThrillerFest 2013

Most pundits advise us to 'show, not tell', but David says that can lead to trouble.  He reminds us that, as human beings, we've all got emotions that go along with what our eyes see:
  • For setting, choose a location and mine it for everything it can give to you. Forget about sight and concentrate on feeling. When someone says writing is one-dimensional or flat, it's because the writer is relying too much on sight, almost like looking at an image on a movie screen. If you incorporate two other senses, you'll create more textured details and make readers feel like they're more in the setting.
I find that advice interesting because Morrell is the author of First Blood, the man who created Rambo.  And here he is, telling us our scenes are flat when we leave out feelings.  Not many authors can say they created a character whose name is now used a verb.  As in, "I'm going to do a Rambo on him." 

I also like this advice from Morrell:
  • "Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of another author."
Morrell's first book was made into a movie, and he's now a best-selling author, living happily ever after, so I figure he knows what he's doing.