By Taylor Baker
“New York Times” bestselling author Jeffery Deaver visited Barton with a message for aspiring writers on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Deaver is known for writing books such as, “The Bone Collector,” “The Skin Collector,” “The October List,” “The Kill Room,” “A Maiden’s Grave,” “The Devil’s Teardrop” and “Bodies Left Behind.”
He has written 32 novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book. He has won many awards for his writings and a few of his books have been made into movies.
The event was comprised of a book signing, a lecture and a dinner.
During his speech, Deaver described his process for writing books and gave the audience tips on writing successfully. He also provided the listeners with personal accounts of his writing career.
While explaining the writing process to the audience, he shared quotes of other authors to add to his message, but not without adding a personal touch. When sharing about his passion for writing, he read a quote by author Chris Humpreys that said, “Don’t write what you know. Write what you love. That’s what will keep you writing.”
Deaver talked about the importance of planning a novel before writing it. He said that novels are based on a long pondered plan and aren’t made quickly, which is why he spends about eight months planning and outlining his novels. He sticks post it notes with ideas on his billboard and moves them around until he gets his story line the way that he wants it.
He typically writes mysteries and crime thrillers. When he is brainstorming ideas, he said that he “sits in his den with a beverage, trying to think of an idea that will scare the hell out of the reader.”
Deaver said no one reads a book to get to the middle, but to the end. The storyline should be intriguing from page one to the end of the book. He compared good books to mint flavored toothpaste and bad books to livered flavored toothpaste. He said that mint flavored books are refreshing in the same way as the mint toothpaste, and livered flavored books should not be written in the same way that the liver toothpaste hasn’t been invented.
He said that an outline helps the novel to be more structured and makes the process of writing easier. After establishing an outline, Deaver said that he can write about 160 words of prose in two months because he knows where the book is going to go.
Deaver said that the words of a novel should flow. He recommended that aspiring authors stick to their own writing style and not to read works of other authors while writing their novel. He said that it risks the author adopting the writing style of another writer rather than using his or her own style.
To keep the number of errors in his novels to a minimum, Deaver said that he first edits his work over the computer, but then edits his work on paper.
He said that there is no such thing as writer’s block, but an idea block does exist. If an author reaches a point when the ideas don’t flow together, Deaver said that the author should not force his or her way through the book. He said that it is better to throw the idea out and start over from scratch than to publish a liver flavored book that isn’t worth reading.
Deaver said that there will be two obstacles that every author will face during his or her writing process: criticism and rejection.
“Rejection is a speed bump, not a brick wall,” he said. “If you want to write, you can write.” After his encouragement in the face of judgment for those wishing to write, he read rejection letters of many authors that are famous today.
After having read many quotes of other authors throughout his speech, at the end Deaver said that even though each were different, they each had the “passionate desire to reach into the hearts of readers; to make them laugh or cry or scream in terror and perhaps better understand this mad world in which we live in. And in doing so, make their time here on earth a little bit saner, a little bit richer, and a little bit more fun.”
Though the majority of the audience was comprised of elderly adults, the message delivered by Deaver was geared towards young, aspiring writers.
Senior Donovan Woods attended the event and enjoyed hearing from Deaver and about all of his success.
“I thought he was very entertaining. I was very impressed by all of the awards that he has obtained. He was very personal. I was impressed overall with everything,” said Woods.
Senior Brandy Ham also attended the event and said, “The event was very successful.”
The event was held in Hardy Alumni Hall and received 70 or 80 guests, according George Loveland, director of Hackney Library.