THE OFFICIAL SITE OF JAKE DRIVER AND PETE GRIMM
this page readers will find links to many of their favorite
authors and writers will find a short distillation of some of
the guidance I received at the outset of writing
I got much of this guidance from a two hour one-on-one meeting
with NY Times bestselling author
who also holds writing seminars, and a writer's workshop held by
NY Times bestselling author
I highly recommend that prospective authors take the opportunity
to attend such a workshop. In the spirit of "pay it forward"
here you go:
Here is a link to the Thriller Writer's Association. On the
Author's page you will find profiles of over 1000 thriller
authors and links to their web sites:
Here is a link directly to
the authors pages:
The six books every author must have and study
(from Robert Dugoni):
Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler (The most
valuable reference you can find for developing plot and
2. Stein on Writing – Sol Stein (Things to
think about when creating and describing characters and scenes
and when you go to edit)
3. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Browne &
King (This is the book most editors keep on their desks and will
help you to present a clean and professional manuscript. Robert
Dugoni's editor at Time Warner told him that The Jury
Master was the cleanest manuscript he had ever read.
Reportedly many publishing houses no longer do extensive editing
(or any at all...). If a submission is not squeaky clean at the
outset it is simply rejected.)
4. Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict
Action & Suspense / Beginnings, Middles & Ends / Scene &
Structure. (Very good books also on structure. They are thin
text books but a lot of practical instruction)
5. The Sell Your Novel Toolkit / Nonfiction Book
Proposals Anybody Can Write – Elizabeth Lyon. (When you
are ready to send out query letters and synopsis etc… you are
crazy if you don’t get this book and study it. She shows you
how to use the writer’s journey to create a one page query and
one-page synopsis with all the buzz words to catch an editors
6. Writing Genre Fiction : Thomas H. Milhorn
Steve Berry's Ten Rules for Writers:
1. There are no rules (I lean on this one a bit too much....)
2. Don't bore the reader.
3. Don't confuse the reader.
4. Don't get caught writing (avoid "author intrusion").
5. Don't lie to the reader (avoid a "deceptive narrator").
6. Don't annoy the reader.
7. Writing is rewriting (polish, polish, polish).
8. Shorter is usually better.
9. Story never takes a vacation.
10. Tell a good story (for your audience).
Here are some of Berry's Do's and Don'ts for writing:
1. Start a story as close to the end as possible
2. Don't quit. Keep writing.
3. Develop a disciplined schedule and stick to it.
4. Every scene should accomplish as many of these as possible:
a) Advance the plot. b) Develop character(s). c) Maintain
suspense. d) Provide comic relief.
5. "Show" don't "tell" (as much as possible).
6. Use flashbacks carefully and sparingly.
7. Avoid adverbs ("ly" words) as much as you can.
8. Use strong verbs. Substitute strong verbs for was, put, took,
9. Avoid using an exclamation point. Let the action and words
provide the emphasis. Never use "!?" in your story.
10. Never use the word very.
11. Avoid the use of the word "well" in dialogue.
12. Eliminate "hello" and "goodbye" as much as possible in phone
conversations. Don't waste words.
13. Don't use passive voice.
14. Dialogue is not filler. Good dialogue shows the reader
conflict, character, plot etc.
15. Keep to one point of view per scene.
easy, doesn't it? I thought so too. It turns out that when you
finish the first draft you are really only about halfway through
what needs to be done to produce a good finished product. Then
you could labor through five unpublished books and eight years
while working at your day job, like Steve Berry did, before you
become an "overnight" success.
thousands of books and web sites on writing. I'll leave you with
a couple of final pieces of advice. Don't let "the rules" change
your voice. Tell the story your way first. Get it down,
then worry about the rules. Just remaining cognizant of
point of view and some of "the rules" will probably add enough
discipline to your initial drafts.
A few words
about publishing: Don't despair if you cannot or do not find a
publisher. The times, they are a changin'. Traditional "Dead
Tree" publishing is rapidly being replaced by electronic
publishing and self-publishing.
Amazon is now paying authors whose books sell on Amazon as
much as 70% of sales.
Smashwords is paying as much as 85%. This puts immensely
more revenue and power back into the hands of authors. Paper
publishers are going to need to become marketing experts if they
want to justify the paltry 10% margins they pay authors.
for the heretofore unpublished author will be getting your book
found on the electronic shelf. There are millions of books
out there with hundreds of thousands more being added each year.
Polish your viral marketing skills if you want to have any