Happy Birthday, Jeffery Deaver, born 6 May 1950
Jeffery Deaver: 10 Quotes On Writing
- For me a thriller is a very carefully structured story. I spend eight months outlining and researching the novel before I begin to write a single word of the prose. The skills I use to do that are the same I used when practising law — researching and structuring a legal document or case.
- Outlining is the most efficient way to structure a novel to achieve the greatest emotional impact. The most breathtaking prose and brilliantly drawn characters are wasted if the plot meanders and digresses. Outlining lets you create a framework that compels your audience to keep reading from the first page to the last…Best of all, once the outline is finished, you can write the book very quickly and in any order.
- Write about settings you’re familiar with. I try to add some local colour and description, but also try not to go overboard — too much description can detract from the story.
- Style is aural. There’s just something about a good turn of phrase, not in a clever punning way, but in that it just sounds nice. When I sit down to write, I always try to do it in a way that there’s kind of a catchiness about what I write—so that in the oral tradition of storytelling it’s more memorable.
- My goal has always been to be a working, professional novelist, nothing more than that. Success to me is being able to make a living by telling stories. I don’t think it gets any better than that. I just wish there were more hours in the day—to write as much as I’d like and still do the public appearances and blurbing and author touring around the world that I’d like to do to meet fans and my publishers and editors.
- My books are primarily plot driven but the best plot in the world is useless if you don’t populate them with characters that readers can care about. So I work hard to present the human side of my characters while not neglecting the plot. Ideally, I like to integrate the human issues into the suspense story itself. In suspense novels even subplots about relationships have to have conflict.
- I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block.
- The best way to learn about writing is to study the work of other writers you admire.
- I revise a great deal. My publisher doesn’t even get a peek at my manuscript until I’ve revised it at least twenty or thirty times (and I mean major revisions).
- Ah, there’s nothing like music. It’s seductive, it’s all-consuming, it’s emotional, it’s infinitely creative … . I was a singer-songwriter, not particularly talented musically but drawn to the craft of song writing. I liked the challenge of writing in a very concise structure in which both meaning and form are important.
Read my Interview with Jeffery Deaver in August 2012
Jeffery Deaver is an American mystery writer of more than 30 books. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. He has a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University. He practised law before embarking on a successful career as a best-selling novelist. He is well-known for creating the characters, Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance. His novels include The Cold Moon, The Bone Collector, and A Maiden’s Grave. Follow him on Twitter: @JefferyDeaver