A to Z 2014

A to Z 2014
A to Z 2014

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Writers

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a National Writers Series presentation "An Evening with Gillian Flynn", author of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects guest hosted by Doug Stanton.  A New York Times best seller, Gone Girl  is a dark mystery/thriller about a twisted marriage, lies, and murder.  The book is being made into a movie for which Gillian is writing the screen play.

The attendees were mainly female and I'm guessing like me, are  book club members and "wanna be" writers.  My goal was to find out just how one goes from being an unemployed TV critic to the "it" writer of the moment.  I didn't walk away with a fool proof plan but I must say that for someone who writes dark psychological thrillers, Gillian has a great sense of humor and had the audience laughing most of the evening as she answered questions put to her by Doug Stanton.

In real life, she is the mother of a two year old and lives in Chicago with her attorney husband. She described her writing space as "in the basement right next to the root cellar" and she has to switch off the darkness of her subject matter by playing Pac-Man and dancing to Eminem before she can rejoin her family upstairs..

What really stood out for me was her connection to the characters, as though they are real people.  She described how she would write scenes through the eyes of a kindergarden teacher, or a mom, or a best friend, not to include them in the book but as an exercise in getting to know her characters, to really understand them and be able to portray that complexity.

She also claims that when she starts a book she does not know how it is going to end.  Personally, I was happy to hear this because I have never been able to lay down a plot outline and stick to it.  I'm being a little pretentious here since I have yet to finish any of the books I've started.  But that's o.k. because Gilliane says she pulls out stuff she started years ago and picks up where she left off.  And she sometimes scraps pages and pages of effort when the story peters out or takes a wrong turn.  Hey, maybe I'm on the right (write?) track.    

Here is where I'll throw in all those little platitudes, "If at first you don't succeed; The only failure is in not trying  .. blah-blah-blah."  But really, I'm re-energized and ready to give it another go, bring it on "X", "Y", and "Z"! 


  1. I have to admit I cheated on X, I have altered the position of the X to make a cross.
    Hope you get on well with X Y Z.


    1. Great idea on the X. I'm not sure why, but whenever I go to your blog I can see the page for a few seconds and then it disappears and all I can see is background and no text or pictures so I've never been able to check out any of your posts:( Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

  2. Aloha Vicki, Just finally getting to your blog now. It's been a bit tough for me to keep up w/ comments, esp. when sometimes they don't show up on my commenting platform, so I have to scroll through comments in blogger's dashboard.

    I've heard that some writers have also said they don't know how the story will end, which is inspiring. Ever read the book, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? There's a great chapter about how she keeps rewriting the same book.

  3. Aloaha Courtney and thanks for responding to my comment:) I'll be sure to check out Bird by Bird, I don't know why but I always feel better when I read that other's struggle with the same problems I do. And I look forward to your blogs so keep posting those great pictures!