Jeffrey Archer was on the radio this morning (I'll confess; it was in fact Jeffrey Archer I was referring to in my previous Good Read post), and he made several interesting points. The one that sticks in my mind is this. When he decided to write a novel to resolve his bankcruptcy, he asked someone's advice on how to go about making money out of writing. The answer was, you choose between being a writer or a storyteller. He chose the latter, and must now be one of the wealthiest people in this country.
I think we all want to tell stories; after all, that's what novels are. But when the story is all, and it's a really good story, we are, as it were, lead by the nose. We can't help ourselves. The writing may be awful, the descriptions dire, but the story pulls us along. Those great big glittery blockbusters labelled "No 1 Bestseller" (surely they can't ALL be the No 1?) are, above all, compelling stories. I've read some of them, and I can see what they're doing. But can I do it?
My books are character-led. They start with the characters, and move on from there. I love my characters, get deeply involved with them, and most of them are nice people. I miss them, and think about them long after they've gone. They've paid a few bills, but that's about all.
But perhaps it's time to change...