Wednesday, October 27, 2010
MY BOOKS ARE LIKE ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S FAMOUS MOVIE – PSYCHO
No, I don’t write horror or psychological thrillers. But for anyone who has seen Psycho, you know the movie doesn’t show the ordinary blood and guts of today’s cinematography, and that’s where Alfred Hitchcock and I are alike.
I believe a person’s mind is far more creative than what I can express in the written language. Take for example characters: I could spend five pages describing the hero and what he is wearing, but how often does your mind create its own image based on the personality of the character? If you ask ten women to describe their idea of the sexiest man, you will most likely hear ten different descriptions. Why not let their imagination do the work? Isn’t that what writing is all about--creating a fantasy world the reader will enjoy? And who better to tell you what that fantasy is than the reader themselves.
I personally hate reading books where they describe every item of clothing the person wears every day. Come on. Who cares? Get to the good stuff. And even if the author spends three pages describing a scene, my mind is only going to associate it with someplace I already know. Plus how pertinent is it to the movement of the story?
Years ago, there was a debate about half hour television programs. Many thought it wasn’t enough time to develop characters and have an audience relate to them. The success of shows like Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel and All in the Family (to name a few) prove that theory wrong. I was recently watching a rerun of Have Gun Will Travel and marveled at the depth of one particular episode. At the end, I looked for the writer’s name. It turned out to be Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.
At an author’s convention, I pitched my book to an editor. I explained my characters’ personal struggles and flaws, their conflict of circumstances, their reasons for not being able to have a relationship at the beginning of the book, the antagonists’ background and motives, the plot line of danger and suspense, the epiphany of both hero and heroine and the conclusion to the book. At the end, she told me my manuscript had a lot of depth and detail. She then asked how long it was. I told her 57,000 words. She informed me that was too short. I told her the only thing I’d left out was the boring descriptions. She didn’t laugh.
My readers like my books because they are fast-paced. Despite the “short” length, they tell me they didn’t want the book to end. That always tells a writer that the reader connected with the story and the characters. You can’t go wrong with that.