Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fascinating book called Outliers: The Story of Success. One of the things he found in his research of successful people was that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become a master. Humbling. He gives numerous examples including how Bill Gates became successful. So you are not just learning how to write a novel, you are becoming a proficient, accomplished writer. Do the math. If you write 10 hours a week and there are 4.3 weeks in a month (43 hours a month) times 12 months, that comes to 516 hours a year. Divide 10,000 by 516. It will take you 19.3 years to get in your 10,000 hours at 10 hours a week.
The Next Big Thing
I’ve been tagged! Some wonderful authors have generously found a way to share their readers by introducing them to new authors. It's called The Next Big Thing in which authors answer ten questions they hope will help one of their books become just that. I am grateful to Jane Kirkpatrick, author of many wonderful historical novels, who tagged me. My tagged authors are at the end of this post. Here are my responses to the ten interview questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My Australian friend, Bronwen Porter, is an interior designer and I wrote the book to entertain her because she liked my first two books, The Forty Column Castle and The Hieroglyphic Staircase. Fiona Marlowe, the main character, was originally Australian but when Bronwen read the book she said, “I love Fiona, but she’s not very Australian.” So Fiona became American.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Fiona Marlowe: Anne Hathaway would be perfect
Jake Manyhorses: a younger Graham Greene
Opal Crawford: Betty White or Helen Mirren
Hudson, the English butler: Anthony Hopkins
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Fiona Marlowe, interior designer to the rich and powerful, discovers her wealthy old client dead in his library and helps his Wild West relatives solve the mystery of his demise.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be self-published in e-book format and available December 1, 2012 at Amazon and other online retailers.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About six months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Little to compare to. Designer Detective is a lighthearted romantic mystery, and there are not many of those published these days. Fiona may be like a more sophisticated Stephanie Plum.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My friend, Bronwen.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Here’s the story: Fiona Marlowe, interior designer to the rich and powerful, finds her wealthy old client, Albert Lodge, dead on the floor of his library in the posh McLean suburb of Washington, D.C. As the investigation unfolds, Fiona discovers she has detective talent, and her innate curiosity spurs her into sticking her nose where it does not belong. Albert’s eighty year old eccentric sister, Opal, arrives from her ranch in south eastern Oregon to settle the estate. She has talked her ranch hand, Jake Manyhorses, into the role of private investigator as she is convinced one of the numerous family members murdered Albert for his money. With Opal's encouragement Fiona joins Jake in the investigation as it spirals into the netherworld of betrayal, blackmail and smuggling, none of which Jake or Fiona bargained for when they said yes to helping Opal solve the mystery of Albert’s demise.
Please visit these authors I’m tagging to learn if their next book might be the Next Big Thing. Keep in mind, they may not have their post up yet about their upcoming book, so just poke around and check back to see when their "Next Big Thing" post is up. It's a great way to learn about new authors.
I had a great time at the workshop. It was so much fun meeting other writers who are writing novels and book length works! I was impressed with the quality of writing and the ideas that each participant had. We got over all that I had to say about the process of writing. The handout captured my thoughts not only on process but also on craft and publishing. Everyone enjoyed the exchange, most thought there wasn't enough time and everyone was interested in a Publish the book Workshop in June, 2013. The challenge now is to finish the book by June 1, 2013! Happy Writing!
I'm a serious writer, meaning I have a regular daily writing habit, and I'm interested in sharing my work through publication. My favorite literary form is the novel. I write to entertain myself and my readers.