In this new feature, I’m responding to reader questions about writing – specifically, writing fantasy and techno-thriller novels. Here’s today’s reader question… and my response.
Q: Author Michael Crichton has been an inspiration to you. Can you elaborate on that?
Thomas Locke: When I started writing, I read how 90 percent of a professional athlete’s exercise time was spent on strengthening the 10 percent weakest part of his or her abilities. Every author has weak points.
As I struggled to learn this new craft, I had to come to terms with what my weaknesses were. Before I could correct them, I needed to identify them. Which was very hard indeed.
The creative work is not something “out there.” It is visceral, which means I was not criticizing a work external to me and my character. It is at the heart of who I am and the life I yearned to begin.
One issue I identified was a need to craft my characters more swiftly. How to merge this hunger I had for living breathing people who literally rose from the page, to a swift-moving story.
Michael Crichton was a master at this. His dialogue and his descriptions carried great depth, while being very terse, very taut. Like his plots. I modeled my early work on his example, and gradually learned how to form my own voice.
Ask me anything about writing, about my writing techniques, about writing fantasy and techno-thrillers. Watch for my responses in upcoming blog posts.