Friday, December 10, 2010

Modeling after the Successful...?

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

For January first, I need some kind of big new project, and a novel is big enough. There are lots of things floating around. I just have to pick a direction, and Alistair Maclean keeps popping into my head.

What would he write next? Bearing in mind what I have done before?

In order to become successful, a person might consider the technique of 'modeling' their behaviour after someone more successful than themselves.

In terms of writing this involves trying to figure out which authors you really loved as a kid, I suppose, or some book that really impressed you.

Almost any writer remembers wanting to be a cop or a private detective at some point in their life, or a military hero, or the heroine in a romantic historical fantasy; a witch, a champion horse-rider, or whatever.

The so-called 'child-adult' continues to pursue these notions well beyond reasonable extent, but that is where all art ultimately stems from.

When I was a kid I stayed home 'sick' from school, and lay in bed reading all of my mom's books.

That's one reason why it was so hard to determine what was 'adult' content in a book.

When I consider what I read at age ten, or age fourteen, then you realize that the ratings and warnings are for the peace of mind of the retailers and not much more.

I wanted to be like Hercule Poirot.

After reading 'The Young Lions,' I asked a question.

"Mommy! What's a 'wor'?"

"How is it spelled?" she asked.

"W-h-o-r-e," I replied.

Your kid's head won't explode if he gets a hold of the wrong book, but you might want to exercise some guidance.

As for me, I liked Alistair Maclean as a young man, and if I could write anything, I guess I want to be like him. Clint Eastwood, 'Where Eagles Dare,' (and Richard Burton,) and Harrison Ford, 'Force 10 from Navarone,' and plenty of other (Edward Fox, and was that Gregory Peck?) fine actors were in films made from his books, and you have to like that.

It might begin something like this:

It was the road of death, and it led straight to nowhere, but he loved it for all the right reasons.
Too many legends had died here, and a constellation of lesser lights. For the moment he was alone with their ghosts and the howl of the tires and the rumble and bark of the exhaust. Downshifting from fourth into third, Archie eased out the clutch and touched the brake, and she drifted through, clipping the apex of the right-hander at a clean seventy-five.
A lorry lumbered along up ahead, and there were vehicles in the oncoming lane. The Panzerotti Special squatted on the road like a panther, lithe and supple.
Archie put it in fifth gear and let the revs drop. The brakes seemed all right, but with two days to go, they had better pull something out of their sleeves…

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