Thursday, June 20, 2013

Writing - Bert Carson's Second Rule

by Bert Carson
Writing - Bert Carson's First Rule is:
You Cannot Write If You Do Not Read.

My second rule is a continuation of the first.  To Learn To Write You Must Read Like Evan Gattis Plays Baseball.

Proper reading for you, an author begins with proper book selection.  That means, read authors who write the way you aspire to write.  Do not waste your time reading authors who are selling the number of books you want to sell unless they write the way you intend to write.

I want to write like Nevil Shute, Robert Parker, and Robert Crais, all rolled into one amazing author.  So I read Nevil Shute, Robert Parker, and Robert Crais.  I intend to sell more books than Amanda Hocking, John Locke, and J.A. Konrath put together and multiplied by two, but I don't read them (That doesn't mean I haven't bought their books - I have).  I read Shute, Parker, and Crais.  

I love Evelyn Woods.  Legend says she dropped a book in a stream, quickly retrieved it, and immediately began flipping the pages to brush off the water.  A moment into the task, and she realized that regardless of how fast she moved her hand across the pages, she could still read every word.  That was the beginning of what became known as the Evelyn Woods Speed Reading System.  Today the company that has evolved from that incident is called Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics.   Years ago, I forked over the tuition fee and attended the seminar, raising my reading speed by more than 600 words a minute in one afternoon.  I continue to use what I learned, and I continue to push my reading/comprehension level higher.  However, speed reading is a way to gather the most information in the shortest period of time.  Speed reading isn't a tool for fiction writers.

Among them, Shute, Parker, and Crais have written almost 200 books.  In spite of the volume of their work, speed reading isn't a tool that I use to learn from them.    Before I begin reading one of them, I pause, take a deep breath, and slow down until I've brought my full awareness into the moment.  Then, like Evan Gattis, the Atlanta Braves' rookie catcher, I bring all of my attention to the pitcher.

You see, when I'm reading to learn to write, the experience is a ball game.  A game with only two players, the pitcher and the catcher.  The pitcher is the
author, I'm the catcher, and the ball is the story.  Like Evan Gattis, I squat down behind the plate, as the first batter steps into the batters box.  I flash a sign to the pitcher, give him a target with my mitt, and shift all of my attention to the ball - the story.  Like Evan, I expect the story to go the way I signaled, however, also like Evan Gattis, I know the author can throw the ball anywhere, at any speed.  Hell, he might bounce it two feet before home plate, so I'm ready for anything.  I'm one with the story.  I'm totally focused on it.

Total focus precludes speed reading and distractions.  When I'm in that state of awareness, nothing gets by me, I catch every nuance, every technique, every slight movement, and I learn.

Writing - Bert Carson's Second Rule - To Learn To Write You Must Read Like Evan Gattis Plays Baseball.