Women’s sports leagues are struggling to get media exposure in the United States. Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett talk with a sports journalist about what’s being done to change that. Then, in Teach Me What You Know, they learn about the process of writing a novel, from conception to publication.
Featured in this Show
Author Reveals How To Unleash One's Inner Novelist
Not everybody can write a novel that makes the best-seller list, but writing a novel is something that anyone can do, given enough imagination and tenacity.
Author Tony Vanderwarker said he knows the ups and downs of writing first-hand. A former advertising executive in Chicago, Vanderwarker said he left the business and written several novels, only to have them all rejected by publishers over and over again.
That’s when his friend, John Grisham, decided to step in and lend him a hand. That’s right, the John Grisham, best-selling author of blockbuster books like “The Firm,” “A Time to Kill” and “The Pelican Brief.”
What was Grisham’s offer? To mentor Vaderwarker through the process of writing a novel. The exercise is now a book by Vanderwarker called “Writing with the Master.”
According to Grisham, when a person is writing a thriller, rule No. 1 is hooking the reader.
“You must hook the reader in the first 40 pages,” he said.
That first 40 pages, accordingto Vanderwarker, grows from the elevator pitch — the ability to sum up the book in a single, understandable sentence. That’s the author’s premise.
Next, Grisham told Vanderwarker to make an outline — and not just a single outline.
For Vanderwarker, the process took an entire year.
“John put me through seven outlines,” he remembered, ruefully.
Once the arduous outline has been put to bed, is it time to start writing? Not so fast, said Vanderwarker.
At that point, Grishham told his friend to outline every single chapter, a process Grisham believed “keeps you honest throughout the book,” keeping the would-be novelist from getting lost in tangents and tangles that have little to do with the main thrust of the plot.
So, now is it finally time to get writing? Yes, said Vanderwark, who reminds writers to keep the end of the book in mind.
For those who like to meander their way through the process and see what happens at the end, Vanderwarker cautions that “the ending should have been in your head before you wrote the book.” The chapter outlines the writer has labored over earlier in the process should serve the author well now in the middle of the book, which is an easy place to get bogged down, according to Vanderwarker.
Once the drafting process is done, he said it’s time to read carefully through the whole thing, looking for things like issues of continuity. Is the character drinking coffee in one scene and Coke a moment later? Are there typos? Digressions? Inconsistencies? This is the kind of thing a continuity an editor would look for in a film, said Vanderwarker.
At this stage of the game, sometimes a writer still has doubts. Was the idea good enough to bring to light in the first place?
“No artist knows,” Vanderwarker said. “You keep your fingers crossed that you made the right decision.”
It’s a safe bet that Vanderwarker made the right decision working with Grisham. Today, Vanderwarker is the proud author of a published novel called “Sleeping Dogs.”
How To Increase American Interest In Women's Sports?
For the past two weeks, the Winter Olympic games have put women’s sports in front of prime-time audiences, but can that exposure help out women’s sports leagues in America, which have long struggled to attract media attention. A sports journalist discusses the challenges facing these leagues in America, and what’s being done to try and shake up that model.
Teach Me What You Know: Writing A Novel
During this week’s “Teach Me What You Know” segment, an apprentice of novelist John Grisham teaches us how to begin writing a novel.
- Rob Ferrett Host
- Veronica Rueckert Host
- Tony Vanderwarker Guest
- Alana Glass Guest
- Chris Malina Producer
- Galen Druke Producer
Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2024, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.