Monday, 18 July 2011

R J Ellroy: Inspiration and courage in spades

Had the pleasure of attending an event in Derby Library on Saturday with Roger Ellroy as speaker.  Wasn't a workshop since we didn't do any writing as such but it was a tour round the life and experience of a successful writer.

There are a lot of quotes about not giving up whether it's learning a skill, creating an invention like Edison or pursuing any other kind of dream.  To hear the story of how his first book finally made it to publication was an example of:
  1. The importance of the personal connection between the writer and someone who believes in them.
  2. The value of patience.
  3. The absolute necessity of self belief.
We looked at the elements of creating a successful novel and the first and only essential thing is to write the book you want to write.  I'd agree with that because I can only start when I have someone running round in my head demanding that I have a go at telling their story.  I've no idea whether it will lead to a published book, so far it hasn't, but tell the story I have to.

Roger gave us some good practical tips especially about self editing which is one of the hardest skills to acquire I think. 

  1. Read aloud; which is something I was taught to do with my business writing.
  2. Print it out in a different font, on different coloured paper; which I haven't tried before.
  3. Read it in a different place from where you wrote it.
It was a thoroughly entertaining day though at the start I felt embarrassed because I hadn't read any of his books.  Now I have three on my pile and knowing the background to how they were written look forward to the experience.

If I needed any other reason to like him, he's a passionate supporter of libraries and does a lot of similar events. 

For more information about him

1 comment:

  1. This is one area where owning an e-book reader comes in handy because you can upload your WIP and look at it formatted as if it was real book. It makes the whole thing fresh. I've also heard of at least one author who gets it to read to her. Again another way of distancing yourself from the work.