On this blog, I've always since put out my own version of "reviews." I've learned, simply by being a reader, that some things work (and other things don't!) in books. During NonFiction November, it's serendipity to be approached by an author who has written a book that while mainly targets aspiring authors, I know book bloggers will read with interest too.
Terry Richard Bazes—who once received a flattering note about his work from Joseph Heller (can I say wow?)—gives us a glimpse into his writing life. He's also giving away two copies of the book Plot Fiction Like the Masters wherein he looks into the tricks of the trade of three beloved authors Ian Fleming, Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh. Don't forget to enter!
Welcome, Terry! We look forward to looking at your little writing heaven!
Chateau d’If by Terry Richard Bazes
Author of Plot Fiction Like the MastersMy private prison—the messy little twelve-by-twelve hovel where I gnaw my pens, crush my pages, despair, exult and write—occupies the back half of a converted one-horse stable. That means, I suppose, that my predecessor and fellow prisoner was a horse that went to its eternal reward about a hundred years before my tenure. Upstairs, right above my desk, is the horse’s hayloft. Owing to the fact that the hayloft’s door has never—or at least not in recent memory—been closed, I have very good reason to believe that there are bats sleeping up there in the daytime—not to speak of the squirrels I often hear scurrying and the spiders I sometimes see poking their black legs between the white boards of my ceiling. There are mice too, of course—and not only in the hayloft. I know that for a fact because I often find their little pellets down here on the scarred pine floor, on the dusty shelves of my bookcases and even amidst the heaped books on my butcher-block desk.
These books (tumbled on battle-scarred pens and scribbled-over scraps of paper) are my only permitted companions: Swift, the Earl of Rochester, Kafka, Captain John Smith, Nabokov, Berger, Descartes, H.G. Wells, Huxley, Barth, Heller, and Pynchon consort with Alice in Wonderland, Madame Bovary, Moll Flanders and Fanny Hill. I also keep a statue of a camel on my desk to remind me that an animal with its own resources can walk across a desert. Behind me are my dictionaries—Webster’s, American Heritage, and the compact OED that, in my advancing age, requires both eyeglasses and a hand-held magnifier.
The place of honor on my walls belongs to a kind letter sent to me by Joseph Heller. There are also two paintings and one etching by my great-grandfather, quotations by Flaubert and Milton, a painting of Dickens at his desk, a photograph of Nabokov in the midst of writing The Defense, a framed Barnes and Noble poster advertising my first novel, a few framed reviews, a picture of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and a photograph of the open jaw of an alligator emerging from a swamp.
The other half of the stable (separated by a wall and behind me at my desk as I compose this sentence) is the tool shed. In that little room you can, if you like, find my tractor, two rusting lawn mowers, two saws, a one-armed hedge clipper hanging on a rusty nail, two cross-country skis which no one in my family ever used, a filthy and crumpled blue tarpaulin, a discarded black plastic sled, a defunct automobile battery, two cans of gasoline, an archery target, a yellow arrow with only two feathers, an aluminum bicycle pump, an open bag of peat moss, a mound of rotting pine needles and a rusting stroller.
Whenever I must return to solitary confinement, this junk-filled shed is on my left. I always walk, between a derelict radiator and a pine tree, down a very well-worn avenue of dirt which I have come to call my “psycho-path.” My office has a cinder-block front step and a red, wood door. The red door has a brass lion’s head with a knocker in its teeth. I open the door and am back, as they say, in business—in the belly of the beast.
About Terry Richard Bazes
About Plot Fiction Like the Masters : Ian Fleming, Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Story-Building by Terry Richard Bazes: Plot Fiction like the Masters is an exercise in reading like a writer - reading with the purpose of figuring out how the plots of a few recognized masterpieces succeed in making readers turn the page. The reason for proposing this as a way of learning plot-making is my own experience as a writer -- that the most accomplished novelists are the greatest teachers and that their lessons may be drawn from a close study of their work. The three novels under consideration - Ian Fleming's Dr. No, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust - have all achieved astonishing success. They are all not only recognized masterpieces of their very different genres but have also won the glittering prizes - fame, fortune, movie deals -- for which many a haggard writer would sell his or her soul to the Devil.
Terry Bazes is giving away 2 paperbacks - Plot Fiction Like the Masters.
Open US, Can, UK and Ireland.