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3 Things I Learned from Dean Koontz

Alessandra Torre, Inkers Con co-founder and contributor

  1. Dean works really hard. This is a quote from his website: “I work 10 and 11 hour days because in long sessions I fall away more completely into story and characters than I would in, say, a six-hour day. On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page.” And he works six days a week, sometimes seven!

    This was encouraging to me because it told me that it was okay to write slowly. I sometimes get discouraged because I talk to authors that can write five or ten thousand words in a day – but that doesn’t mean that that is the right or wrong way to do it. He also shared with me that he doesn’t eat lunch. He said that lunch disrupts his flow and he’s useless afterward. I typically go into a food coma after eating but had never considered skipping the meal entirely. Now I’m going to give it a try.
  2. He edits every page before he moves to the next. If you’re reading this and you’re a first time author – pretend you didn’t see that and move on. If you second-guess every word of your first manuscript, you’ll never get through it! But for those seasoned authors out there – Dean edits a page or scene over and over and over again (sometimes a dozen times), then prints it out and reads it on paper and marks it up with a pencil, because he says his brain sees it differently on paper versus on computer. I thought that was really interesting. I move things around and delete/add too much in rewrites to do that on my first draft, but am definitely going to start printing out my drafts once they are finalized so I can work on and improve the language.
  3. He hates every book 40-50 pages in. Oh, hearing this made my author heart sing with joy because I’m exactly the same way! So many authors struggle with imposter syndrome or self doubt and it was really great to hear that – even with all of his success, he also has a moment where he thinks “gosh this book is terrible” as he is writing it.

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