a weblog for readers and writers

Monday, December 19, 2005

'Tis the Season for Reading Dickens

When John Irving is asked who among his favorite writers most influenced him, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Dickens are usually mentioned. Especially Charles Dickens. Irving points out the writer's sympathy for children and their vulnerability as well as strength of character. "I realize the power of his characters over me even today."

John Irving is often cited by critics and fans as a modern day Dickens. Irving admits to some similarities. "Dickens had a tendency to overwrite. I'm an overwriter like Dickens." When critics complain about Irving's books being too long, Irving responds, "Just think of how I feel!"

Whether you're in the mood for Dickens, Hawthorne, Irving or anyone else, have a happy holiday season and a writefully good new year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Baldacci's Idea Train

David Baldacci, best-selling author of such books as The Christmas Train, Wish You Well and The Camel Club is full of ideas -- and yet he can't slow his idea train down. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Baldacci at the National Book Festival.

Busy at his craft, Baldacci has a lot of books in print: 40 million copies in 37 languages and 80 countries. Where does he come up with all of the ideas?

"As a writer, you can never turn off your passion for the written word and love of a great story. So I watch life, listen intently, and basically drive everyone around me a bit crazy as I absorb every environment in which I find myself. And believe me, being naturally curious uncovers many possible storylines. Writers have to see the world exactly as it is, and then go a step further and realize the potential of what could be there."

Among the authors Baldacci admires are Flannery O'Connor, Harper Lee, Walker Percy, Truman Capote, Anne Tyler, Mark Twain, and John Irving.

Up next: John Irving on Charles Dickens.

Friday, December 02, 2005

NaNoWriMo Winners Announced

National Novel Writing Month has ended -- and the winners have been announced! During November, 59,000 NaNo-Novelists around the world wrote their hearts out to the tune of 714 million words, or about 3 million pages.

Of the 59,000 novelists, 9,700 of the world's most prolific novelists keyed their way to the finish line by reaching the goal of writing 50,000 words, or about 200 pages each.

The Old Line State seems to have more line writers than line riders; Maryland takes the world-wide lead by about 684 thousand words with a total word count of 7,624,477.

I'm proud to count myself among the winners: my novel, Womb, weighs in at 87,316 words, or 319 pages.

Celebrate with us -- check out my NaNoWriMo page, where you can see the stats and take a look at an excerpt from my newest novel.