Friday, September 21, 2012

Write Now: Advice from Bob Olmstead

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to hear Bob Olmstead read from his latest novel, The Coldest Night. If there is an audio book, Bob should definitely read it.

I read Coal Black Horse earlier this year and it is an amazing novel. I look forward to reading Far Bright Star as well.

After Mr. Olmstead read, he spoke about his writing process. He uses a laptop and there are about eighteen different places in his home where he writes. He gets bored and likes to move around.

He also said that in our busy world, people just don't take the time to do nothing. When was the last time you stopped? No television, radio, smartphone, twitter, facebook, etc.? I often find myself turning on the television, not necessarily to watch, but for the background noise. I grew up in a house with two brothers and a sister. And later I had two children of my own. Now that they are grown, the house is often quiet - something I used to wish for. And now what do I do with it? I add noise, which is something that I am going to stop.

He also encouraged us to pay attention. It is the small details that surround you that make some of the best descriptions. And he does borrow from real life. He met an usual character briefly while standing in line for ice cream. They didn't speak, but that persona was placed on a character in one of his novels.

Mr. Olmstead thinks in sentences, which include punctuation. I find this hilarious. I don't always do this, but I have done it especially when I'm trying to find the right descriptions.

As I came in to work this morning, I noticed the lovely sunrise and how the blues, pinks, and purples blended together against the cloud filled sky. He had read about a similar sunrise in The Coldest Night and that scene immediately replayed in my mind.

This weekend I plan on unplugging and taking some time to do nothing.

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