Ever wanted to know more about being a successful writer? Some of the biggest names on the New York Times Bestsellers list sat down together for a panel on Saturday at 5:30PM in the Hyatt Centennial I ballroom and discussed life on the list.
The biggest question asked of the entire panel was why do you write what you write? The resounding answer from all the panelists was because it is what they enjoy, they get paid to do what they love, and it is what the voices in their head tell them to do.
A story isn’t a story without the characters, but how do you know when your character is right? Jody Lynn Nye said it is when the characters come to life and take on three and even four dimensions. For Kevin J. Anderson, it is when the characters take over and write themselves. When it’s right, Laurell K. Hamilton’s characters start attracting other characters and make the world become more real.
One of the most gratifying parts of being a writer is the effect you have on your readers. Anderson’s moment came when a fan came up to him and told him the story of a dyslexic child who was determined to read and finish Anderson’s book. Not only did the child finish the book, he went on to become an avid reader and no longer needed Special Education classes. Katherine Kurtz has a similar story. A teacher came up to her at a signing and said that she had a student who told her, on the first day, that he had never finished a book and wasn’t about to start now. Just before Christmas break, the teacher gave him one of Kurtz’s novels and told him to read at least some of the book. When school started up again, the student came in and asked for the next one. That student also went on to become an avid reader.
To be successful, you have to love what you write and trust in your characters. The resulting book just might change lives.