You have to read 1,000 books to write one good one. – Matthew Quirk
Matthew writes thriller novels. He writes a new thriller every year and has a lot to say about what it takes to be able to do that (and how you can too.)
In this interview Matthew talks about how to write by getting away from your computer, why writing truly is rewriting and how the tactics behind writing fiction and non-fiction are practically the same.
We also discuss once you know the grand arc of your writing project remember to be incredibly generous with yourself when writing your first rough draft. Let it be messy. Just get the words on the page because you can’t clean up nothing.
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Topics We Explored
- Write by getting away from your computer. Taking long walks, sitting with and meditating on the things you want to write about.
- Knowing people who write a lot, but don’t really like writing.
- How to manage big writing projects.
- Writing is rewriting.
- The incredibly hard work of creating something from nothing.
- Writing as compared to stage fright.
- Why reading is so crucial to writing.
- How the tactics behind writing fiction and non-fiction are practically the same.
- Building a house is like writing a book.
- The way to deal with not getting married to the things you write.
- See the scene in your mind and loop it. Go over and over it again in your head until it’s firm in your mind. Then take it to the computer and use the computer as a recording device. The real thinking happens in your head, undistracted.
- Once you know the grand arc of your writing project remember to be incredibly generous with yourself when writing your first rough draft. Let it be messy. Just get the words on the page because you can’t clean up nothing.
- Creating something from nothing is hard enough as it is without having to polish as you go. That’s why you should separate those two things.
- Think about writing like laying out part of a model and you’re just trying to get them near where you think they go. You have to look at the whole structure of the thing.
- If you think you’re a novelist but you don’t know what you should write – write what you love to read.
Resources and Books Mentioned
- Screenwriter John August
- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird (book)
- Michael Lewis
- James B Stuart
- onPoint Tactical
- Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear (book)