Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

March 30, 2014

Some More Best Quotes About Writing

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:13 AM

Here are some more of the Best Quotes about writing from Writer’s Digest.

“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
-Ray Bradbury, WD

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write
. Let them think you were born that way.”
-Ernest Hemingway

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”
-Robert A. Heinlein

“There is only one plot-things are not what they seem.”
-Jim Thompson

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
-Elmore Leonard

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
-Mark Twain

“You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.”
-Marie de Nervaud, WD

“Writers live twice.”
-Natalie Goldberg

October 19, 2013

Don’t Give Up!

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:34 AM

Writing is a very lonely profession on one hand, but on the other, you are living within a stable of people you created. Still, when other profession receive support for their ongoing endeavors, writers need to find that the power to keep going in the face of rejection and perhaps the occasional ‘Oh. That’s interesting’ when you tell others of your story.

I found an article about authors who didn’t give up. It was written by Janeen Elite, and much was taken from Jack Canfield. Here it is.

 “Well, take heart dear writers and don’t give up. Just because a strange ‘someone’ didn’t like your piece does not mean it is not good.”

The following is a list of writers who also received “that” letter. Many even received it more than once, but they didn’t let that stop them, and you shouldn’t either.

Margaret Mitchell received ‘that’ letter 38 times. The book? Gone With The Wind

Talk about rejection, James Joyce’s Dubliners was rejected 22 times! And even after it was published, only 379 copies sold in its first year. To make matters worse, Mr. Joyce admitted that he purchased 120 of those copies himself.

“A very bad book.” Told to Pierre Boulle about his “Bridge Over River Kwai”

“The book is not publishable.’ regarding – “Who Killed Virginia Wolfe?”

“…too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling” told to Dr. Seuss, about his book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

“This is a work of almost-genius – genius in the power of its expression – almost in the sense of its enormous bitterness. I wish there were an audience for a book of this kind. But there isn’t. It won’t sell.” told to Ayn Rand about her book The Fountainhead.

“…she is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro. She wastes endless pages on utter trivia, writes wide-eyed romantic scenes …hauls out every terrible show biz cliché in all the books, lets every good scene fall apart in endless talk and allows her book to ramble aimlessly …” The author was Jacqueline Susann and the book was “Valley of the Dolls.”

So, if you are writer, don’t despair – keep writing.  And remember this quote from Judy Blume . “I would go to sleep at night feeling that I’d never be published. But I’d wake up in the morning convinced I would be. Each time I sent a story or book off to a publisher, I would sit down and begin something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent.”

Surprise!

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:32 AM

You’ve seen them in books and movies. Those turnabouts called by a number of names—“reveals”, “revelations,” “twists” or “surprises”. They add a lot to a story and make it much more interesting.

What you never want to do is make your story predictable or derivative where the reader or viewer says, “Yeah. I know what comes next.” Makes for a boring story.  I used the surprise of reveal device many times in my stories and I get the result I was looking for from my readers.

Case in point. In my first Jeremy Nash novel – A Taste of the Apocalypse – I have a major character turn on Jeremy Nash and the Mossad agent Sabra in a very surprising scene. A reader told me that what transpired was like a punch in the stomach.

Dave Farland wrote about these surprises.

The truth is that writers love a reveal because we as an audience love a reveal. We crave those juicy little surprises that pop up in a good story. In fact, as a writer, I crave them so much that I often like to write by the seat of my pants often just so that I can have those nice little surprises jump out at me as I’m writing. You know what I mean—those moments when you discover that the protagonist’s best friend is really the killer that they’ve both been hunting throughout the book. Sometimes the idea will strike you, and you’ll look back at your story, and see that it seems you’ve been setting up that surprise all along.

A good writer will season his work with surprises, peppering them in.

Read more of his comments on surprises here.

As I develop my next novel, Gaigin, I consciously look for places to put in reveals that will surprise the reader.

October 3, 2013

What’s the Rush?

Filed under: Frank Remarks,MURRAN,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 9:06 AM

One day, while writing my first novel CYBERKILL, my wife, impatient to read the manuscript, asked me how long will it take to finish the story. I replied, “As long as it takes to tell it”.

When I sent out MURRAN to my beta readers, I received some interesting side remarks that spoke to how people read.

One reader remarked that it was taking so long to read through the first part of the book. He didn’t see why I took so much time on the first section. I told him pretty much what I told my wife, “As long as it takes to tell the story properly”.

Now, his comment did concern me. This was my first foray into mainstream fiction and I wondered if I was doing teh genre justice. But my mind was put to rest with this comment on MURRAN from my first publisher.

“A decided departure from Cyberkill and the Nash Chronicles, Murran shows a maturity in pacing.  While Cyberkill and Nash (by their nature) create an action-adventure feel by quickly moving from scene to scene, my fear in starting Murran was that a more dramatic story requires a different pace to set the mood.  And, this manuscript met the task – pulling the reader along but never making the storyline feel rushed.”

I was thankful for that remark since it proved that my pacing for MURRAN was correct.

Dave Farland said it best.

There was a time, say a century ago, when people used to talk about sitting down to “enjoy” a novel, or “relax into” a novel. A story wasn’t necessarily seen as an adrenaline pump.

There are a lot of virtues that a slow story can have that a fast story can’t. For example, if I want a story to be intellectually complex or morally profound, I may need to spend more time narrating thoughts and internal dialog as my protagonists wrestle with major life-changing questions. Does this “slow the story down?” No, it actually engages the reader intellectually, and may carry the reader better than another action scene would.”

So, what’s the rush?

 

September 16, 2013

A Recipe for Great Characters

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 1:18 PM

It’s getting to be habit with me, discovering how I write from David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants.

I’ve never taken a writing course or took creative writing in college. But I am told by a few publishers that my writing shows a maturity not seen from many writers. In David’s latest kick in the pants, he talks of how to make characters interesting. As I have said before, I learned much about writing fiction by watching movies. I’ve learned that the structure of a story, whether it be a book or movie, follows pretty mush the same pattern.

David talks about three ways to make your character interesting.

1) Give your character a mystery. This might include a hidden agenda, or a secret about his past, or perhaps a secret about himself that even the character doesn’t know. If you do this, then part of the forward movement of your story comes as we, the audience, tries to unravel the mystery.

Now, I’ve done this with my writing even before I’ve seen David’s kick in the pants on this. In the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash – my three part action adventure – i had a couple of characters in each story surprise the reader with a quick a and vivid reversal in behavior based on a secret that he or she held.

2) Give your character a major internal conflict. By that I mean, pick a word that describes your character. For example: He’s compassionate. Then find another word that can also describe your character, but make it a polar opposite—terrorist. Now, look for ways to reveal both sides of you character. For example, your protagonist might be at a French Restaurant. He sees a mother and a baby, and tries desperately to drag them away from the restaurant—just before it blows up. He saves them! But how did he know that the restaurant would explode? Because he set the bomb. Giving a character a dual nature creates an instability, a lack of balance, that probably can’t stay forever.

In CYBERKILL, my first novel I used this example in a character that on the surface looked innocent enough, but then turned out to be responsible for the reason the weapon was activated.

3) Make your character powerful. I talk about your protagonist needing a “secret power,” something which might be as simple as the gift of gab. But villains need it, too, as do contagonists, guides, sidekicks, love interests, and so on.

In MURRAN, my soon to be released mainstream novel, the hero carries with him a talisman given to him by a shaman that he used to escape near the end of the story.

All three of these techniques I have used and learned from watching the movies. They are important for making any character interesting and even surprising.

August 23, 2013

Writing Novels As Screenplays

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 2:15 PM

I break a cardinal rule of writing.

As I have said many times in my interviews, I don’t read books from other authors which is to improve ones writing.

What I DO is watch tons of movies because I apply what I’ve learned watching movies to my novels – and as it turns out – studying HOW movies are written parallels how screenplays are written. Many of the rules for writing fiction are similar to writing a screenplay.

How so?

Let’s take Rule #1 writing fiction. SHOW don’t TELL.

Too many authors spin pages of narrative telling the reader what is happening instead of showing it through dialogue. Good examples are the later works of Crichton and Brown. In Crichton’s book ‘Prey’, he spends too much time explaining what nano-technology in long narratives instead of showing it through the dialogue of the characters. Compare Crichton’s explanation of nano-bots within his story and mine in CYBERKILL. Compare for yourself. Which story is in that matter is more fun to read. Dan Brown’s ‘The Symbol’ suffers from the same fate. One critic said he could have cut out 20% of the narrative or chapters and it wouldn’t hurt the story.

Screenplays do not have the luxury of long narratives – of telling. Screenplays depend almost entirely on dialogue showing the story.

Here’s another rule writing fiction. Rule #2. The reversal or the All-Is-Lost-Moment.

Watch a movies and as it moves along there is a point where either the story is working fine for the hero or heroine then BAM!! Everything goes to pot.  Another example of this is the All-Is-Lost-Moment where it looks like everything is lost. Then the hero resurrects himself.

This is important in a novel, too.

Rule #3. Pacing. A novel should start off by drawing the reader into it right away and give them a hint of mystery of what is to come.  I use the device of Prologue in my novels to do this.  This breaks another cardinal rule. Editors and publishers claim they don’t like Prologues. I think they can be used to grab the reader’s attention before the actual story starts.

RULE #4. Multiple sub-plots that parallel the main plot. Not only does this make for an entertaining read (how will the author tie this back into the main plot?) but also helps in the pacing of the story. The secret here is to eventually tie them all together within the story or by it’s end.

Pick up one of my books and you will see how I’ve used these rules of screenwriting to write my novels.

 

August 13, 2013

Famous Literary Characters and Their Real-Life Inspirations

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 4:39 PM

So where did some famous writers get inspiration for their characters? Ever wonder that? I sneak in little tidbits of inspired characters in my novels. But as of yet, only a few readers have discovered them.

But what the hell. I’m not famous yet.

So let’s look at some famous examples of literary characters and their real-life inspirations.

Let’s take Alice in Alice in Wonderland.

Alice Liddell was the inspiration and namesake for Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Alice in Wonderland. Carroll, then known as Charles Dodgson, was close with the Liddell family and when 10-year-old Alice begged for a story, Dodgson began to spin his famous tale of Alice and what happened after she fell through the rabbit hole. Unlike previous stories he had told her, she asked him to write it down. The rest, as they say, is history.

And how about Moby Dick – or in real life ‘Mocha Dick’.

Mocha Dick was an albino sperm whale who lived in the early 19th century, so-named because he tended to frequent the balmy waters near the island of Mocha, off southern Chile. Of him, explorer Jeremiah N. Reynolds wrote, “This renowned monster, who had come off victorious in a hundred fights with his pursuers, was an old bull whale, of prodigious size and strength. From the effect of age, or more probably from a freak of nature… a singular consequence had resulted – he was white as wool!” Needless to say, Melville drew on the notoriety of Mocha Dick as well as his own seafaring experiences for his classic novel.

Then we have Long John Silver.

When Robert Louis Stevenson was trying to come up with a good villain for Treasure Island, he was inspired by his friend, William Ernest Henley, an English poet, critic and editor, a jovial fellow who had had his left leg amputated from the knee after a childhood bout of tuberculosis.

And then we have Severus Snape

When Rowling admitted that Snape was “loosely based on a teacher I myself had,” the press tracked down John Nettleship, who taught Rowling Chemistry at Wyedean School near Chepstow. When first approached, he was surprised, explaining, “I was horrified when I first found out. I knew I was a strict teacher but I didn’t think I was that bad.” In retrospect, however, he admitted that he was “a short-tempered chemistry teacher with long hair…[and a] gloomy, malodorous laboratory,” which seems pretty on-point.

And finally we have Ebenezer Scrooge.

Evidence suggests that Charles Dickens based legendary miser Ebenezer Scrooge on the 18th century politician John Elwes, who had inherited a fortune but was loath to spend a single penny, preferring to live as if in poverty, squatting in empty apartments. 

There you have it. So next time you are around a writer, take head to what I say on one of my t-shirts:

‘Watch what you do. You may wind up in one of my novels’.

 

 

Some Famous Writers on Literary Rejection

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 4:24 PM

I’ve given examples of famous rejection letters. Now let’s see how famous authors handled rejection. So here are some famous writers on being rejected. Some inspiration for us all.

“Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.” – Isaac Asimov

“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” – Ray Bradbury

“Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.” – James Lee Burke

“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”  – Neil Gaiman

“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’“ – Saul Bellow

“To ward off a feeling of failure, she joked that she could wallpaper her bathroom with rejection slips, which she chose not to see as messages to stop, but rather as tickets to the game.” – Anita Shreve

I think anyone who tried and failed could find something in these once struggling writers.

August 10, 2013

New Interview at Literature and Fiction Blog

Filed under: On Writing,The Oracle — Frank Fiore @ 9:56 AM

Was interviewed by Shelagh Watkins recently on my new book THE ORACLE.

August 9, 2013 — shelaghwatkins

Frank Fiore is a bestselling author with more than 50,000 copies of his non-fiction books in print. He has now turned his talents to writing fiction. His first novel is the five star rated cyber-thriller titled Cyberkill. This was followed up with the five star rated three book series titled the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash. His latest work is a book of speculative and Sci-Fi short stories titled The Oracle.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Frank.

Frank: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I wrote “To Christopher” under the guise of a book to my young son that leads the reader through social commentary, personal experience and entertaining stories, which take the reader on a thoughtful journey through the challenges and opportunities facing the next generation. My writing experience also includes guest columns on social commentary and future trends published in the Arizona Republic and the Tribune papers in the metro Phoenix area. Through my writings, I’ve shown an ability to explain, in a simplified manner, complex issues and trends.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Frank: In high school. I started a novel but never finished it. Then one summer while in college I did finish a complete Sci-Fi novel. I still have it. It was derivative and not very good.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Frank: Number one – I want to be a noted author with a following. Not get rich, necessarily – which would be nice – but to know that what I have written has entertained my readers and perhaps informed them at the same time.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Frank: It’s called The Oracle and consists of a series of short stories tied together by means of a background story – a story within a story (similar to Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man). And like the Jeffrey Archer and Twilight Zone stories, the Oracle short stories are written with surprise endings.

oraclefinal4

The background story begins with a young musician on his way to Phoenix from Los Angles for a concert. He is given a car by his manager and shortly after entering Arizona it breaks down. Out in the middle of nowhere he decides to hitch a ride to the nearest town for help. While waiting for a ride, the weather turns inclement and he seeks refuge at a ranch house inhabited by an old and lonely couple. They invite him in and persuade him to stay for dinner.

After eating, they retire to the living room. After a while, the old woman offers to show their guest some of their three dimensional slides on their old-time stereoscope.

Being polite, the young man decides to endure the request. His hosts carefully remove a set of slides from a shiny metallic box from under the coffee table and place the first one in the stereoscope’s viewer. They instruct the young man to hold the stereoscope up to the living room lamp and focus it towards the viewer.When the viewer is focused and the light hits the slide, something amazing happens.

The still 3D image begins to move!

The first image he sees tells a tale that happens to be one of the short stories in the series. At the end of the first story, the young man turns to question his hosts on this wonderfully strange device. The couple just smile and offer him another slide. He asks again what the device is and where did it come from. The couple respond that the device is an ordinary stereoscope of the early 1900s that they purchased from a Sears catalog many years ago.

But the slides – ah yes, the slides. That’s another matter indeed.

What’s the hook for the book?

Frank: The main overall story and the all the short stories end in a twist – like the old Twilight Zone episodes. Some stories are meant to shock while others are whimsical. Either way, the endings are not predictable.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

Frank: Many years ago, I started collecting ideas for my novels. I created file folders for each proposed story I would write. As I found any and all material that fit the story line, I would drop it into the assigned folder. This would include websites, books, news items, magazine articles, videos, etc. etc.  This process has worked well for me in helping develop my stories.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

Frank: I’ve completed five novels and currently doing research on a sixth novel. I have at least three more in the hopper.

Which is more important to your story, character or plot?

Frank: Plot. Plot. Plot. Without plot characters have nothing to do. Plot first then develop characters to drive the plot. And in the process, SHOW don’t TELL.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

Frank: A fellow popular author colleague of mine. Write, write and write. Create a back list of books. If one takes off, readers will flock to your other books. The more books you have in the marketplace the better return on your writing time when your first book becomes popular. Then Tom Clancy – yeah, that Tom Clancy – told me to don’t suffer over a book. Complete and go on to the next one.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Frank: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. A Brooklyn boy gets right to the point and in a way that communicates quickly and efficiently.  You would know this if you ever spend time around New Yorkers. So that’s how I write. Conversationally without long boring narratives. If you want a quick entertaining read, then the The Oracle fits that bill.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Frank: This is for the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash.

 ”I read Frank’s Jeremy Nash trilogy on the beach in Mexico over Christmas vacation. It was perfect. The characters were believable, the plot kept you guessing, the twists were surprising, and the action kept you turning the pages. All the books were a terrific read, written in a style that just keeps your eye moving and your imagination seeing what’s going on. Now I’m waiting for Nash’s next adventure.”

What are your current projects?

Frank: I’ve just finished my fifth novel. It’s called Murran. I expect this to be my breakthrough novel because it is steeped in politically incorrect controversy. It is getting very good reviews from my beta readers.

Murran is the story of a young African-American boy named Trey coming of age in the 1980s, and his rite of passage to adulthood. Trey is a member of a ‘crew’ in Brooklyn and is enticed into helping a violent drug gang. He is eventually framed for murder and flees with his high school teacher to his Maasai village in Kenya. There, Trey learns what a true Black African and African culture is, goes through the Maasai warrior’s rite of passage, becomes a young shaman, and returns to America to confront the gang leader that framed him.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Frank: Check out my author website at www.frankfiore.com and my blog at http://frankfiore.wordpress.com/

Thank you for joining us today, Frank.

Frank: Thanks for the opportunity.

July 12, 2013

Writers on Writing

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 11:26 AM
Tags: , ,

Thought it time for a palette cleanser.  Ever wonder what great writer’s think of the art writing?

Well, here are some to consider.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~Ernest Hemingway

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~Maya Angelou

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”  ~James Michener

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.  I’d type a little faster.”  ~Isaac Asimov

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” ~Joseph Heller

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”  ~Sinclair Lewis

 

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