Writing Tip of the Week October 23, 2014: Facing Reality

Earnest Hemingway, Sun Valley Idaho, 1939 (A few miles from my home.)

Earnest Hemingway, Sun Valley Idaho, 1939 (A few miles from my home.)

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Benjamin Franklin (thanks to brainyquote.com)

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Ernest Hemingway (thanks to brainyquote.com)

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. Ernest Hemingway

When you write a novel, you should know what you are writing about. You should know the terrain and you should know people. That is, you should know real people who you can place in your novel that they should not be identifiable with any living person. In other words, you have to make some changes.

When I was writing the detective novel In No Way Guilty, the action was centered in South Jersey, the Atlantic City area where I lived. But some of the action was centered in Arizona. There I tromped around the hills and talked to old-timers and characters who I could transform and place into my novel. (Incidentally, that novel is about compulsive gambling. The New Jersey gambling commission supplied me lots of information on compulsive gambling.)

Hemingway was an ambulance driver in Spain at times of war. He spent a lot of time in Spain watching bullfights and hanging around with other writers. He spent time in Paris and he went to Africa. He wrote about all of these places and the people that he knew disguised in his novels.

I painted this to commemorated Poe's El Dorado. The searchers spent time in New Mexico.

I painted this to commemorated Poe’s El Dorado. The searchers spent time in New Mexico.

Right now, I’m writing another Western. This one centers in New Mexico where I have spent quite a bit of time. However, I am studying New Mexico history to enhance my writing, fictitious as it is.

Reality is the name of the game.

John

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