Later on, when I finish my next novel, I can credit both my friend, Victoria Graydale, and Elmore Leonard for getting me off the snide and writing the first chapter. Last night, I attended a book signing for Graydale’s first novel, The Wizard’s Daughter, at OoLaLa in Houston, TX. It was the first book signing by an author I already know. And it was tres cool. Just seeing her there, copies of her book piled on the table, her artist bio poster acting as a backdrop, big smile on her face was a great feeling. And it reinforced my desire to do the same thing: have a signing for my books.
So how does Elmore Leonard come into play? I am reading (actually listening to the audiobook via Audible.com) his latest book, Up in Honey’s Room. I am greatly enjoying it, especially his co-star, Carl Webster. The reader does an especially fine job of conveying the speaking style of Carl, a boy who was born in Oklahoma in 1906, and all the other characters in Detroit of 1945.
But it is Leonard’s casual prose styling that I’ve been paying most attention to. His style is not flashy, just straightforward. As I have listened to this story, I remembered what my wife said to me as I tried, in vain, to write chapter 1. You are the storyteller, she said, so just tell me the story. I protested. But my wont is to be flashy, literary, unique. She smiled, and just repeated what she had just said: just tell me the story.
And I took that advice to heart last night. I pounded out six pages of text. And it felt good. It flowed nicely. So, I’m on the road. Thanks to Victoria and Elmore. See y’all on the other side.