Like that one guy said: Good writers borrow, great writers steal. Welcome to the place where all things have been lifted, looted, and otherwise pilfered…Remember, possession is 9/10s of the law.
As you know from yesterday’s post, I finished my 2016 goal of writing 365 Little Stories! Now I need something else to do. So, after much pondering, I have decided that I’m going to return to something that I did on my previous blog:
All artists need to study their craft, yes? And to study, you need teachers. And the best teacher for writing is reading, yes? Therefore, I’ve decided that I will do some focused reading on writers, both currently practicing and those that have long gone to the great library in the sky, and I will report my findings here…so we can steal their techniques, their methods, their habits, and their insights to improve our own writing.
(Not plagiarism. Plagiarism is bad. This is to learn the mechanics of things, not to steal the things themselves.)
You may have heard of her.
I write mystery reviews for Criminal Element, and for the last month, we’ve been collectively working on reading through the J.D. Robb in Death series, so I’m quite fresh-up on Roberts/Robb work. (And, for the sake of not having to do slashies — all of my references to Roberts/Robb will now be Roberts.)
Here’s what you need to know about Nora Roberts, and why I think we can learn some things about writing from her:
1. She’s been writing for my entire lifetime. She started writing during a blizzard in 1979 that kept her inside with her small children. She got an idea, started writing, and in 1981 her first novel Irish Thoroughbred was published. So she’s got the experience.
2. She’s incredibly prolific — having written over 200 books, she shows no sign of slowing down. There are over 40 titles in the in Death series alone. So she’s got the work ethic.
3. She’s a mega-bestseller. Millions of copies of her titles have been sold around the world. So she can reach people.
4. Known for romance, she mixes up genres within the genre. So she’s got some flexibility in those typing fingers.
5. She has a blog too, if you want to learn about her “everyday” days. So she’s a real person.
Every Tuesday in January and February, I’m going to post something about Roberts’ work. I’ll switch mentors every couple months. Here’s a link to the previous mentors I studied on my last blog (I prefer WordPress’s format, so I moved over).
If there’s something specific you’d like me to look into about Roberts’ work, please let me know. And I would love to know if, as I suspect, there are writers reading this, there are any writers you particularly look up to? Why?