So here I am reading an article in Entertainment Weekly about author Henning Mankell, a man who has had the sort of life we don’t tell our children they can lead if they drop out of high school — a wildly successful and satisfying one.
Yes, at age 16, in Latin class, Mankell decided, “Hey, I’m outta here” and told his dad he was off to live life and become a writer. Now, at age 63, he has had a career that many writers dream about, one that has spanned decades and launched the very popular Kurt Wallander mystery series, of which the final installment, The Troubled Man, is being released.
I don’t know about you, but I devour any article I can find about writers, their process and their roads to publication (more so than articles on how to write), which is probably why I profile debut authors on this blog every Tuesday. And there’s always a little somethin’ somethin’ worth gleaning, and for this article it was this quote:
“I am not that interested in police procedure,” Mankell says. “What really interests me is why things happen. For me, it is a very important challenge to let Wallander stand thinking in a room for 10 pages and make that read [well].”
Virtually any writer, particularly those who rely on plot to move their stories forward (thriller writers, etc.), who has ever tried to make “thinking” exciting knows what Mankell is talking about. For Baby Grand, I had lots of thinking going on, and I was always very aware of not having too much for fear of boring, and losing, the reader.
I am tempted to open the manuscript and see just how many pages I devoted to “thinking” in one gulp. I’m inclined to say it was quite a few. Whether or not I was able to “make that read well” remains to be seen.