I love Jodi Picoult, she is a writing wonder woman! Her stories are so intricately woven and her characters are so real that they make me feel like I know them – they’re close friends and I have a vested interest in their life and what happens to them.
I went to her book signing tonight and she read from her new book ‘House Rules.’ It was fabulous to hear the characters come to life from the writer who created them.
There was a question and answer question afterwards and I noted these little gems down… Please note that she was far more eloquent than my scribbled notes here portray her as being. She was a charismatic, lovely and confident public speaker. There were loads of gushy fans there, me included!
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
There are three things that you need to know
1) Write – don’t read about it, do it. Get into the practice of writing everyday and let it come out.
2) Take a writing workshop course – it helps hone your editor
3) Start writing, if you think it’s crap then keep writing until you get to the end – force yourself and then you can fix it or scrap it. It all builds confidence in your writing ability.
She said it’s always better to edit garbage than it is to edit an empty page and sometimes what she writes is garbage, but it’s still better than writing nothing. You can’t fix an empty page.
When asked how she creates her characters and whether she bases them on people she knows, she explained that they pop up like mushrooms, full of flaws and deep set character traits. She does however steal snippets of conversations from her friends and family.
Her favourite books are The Life of Pi and books written by Alice Hoffman.
She researches for about 3 months before she even starts putting pen to paper.
Jodi knows the beginning and end of her books, but the middle can take her on routes that she didn’t quite expect the characters to go on.
The only book she ever scrapped was when she was writing away and kept hearing a voice in her head saying ‘the first time I disappeared I was 6 years old’. The voice got louder and louder, until she just knew the book she was writing wasn’t for her and there was another book calling her. She sat down and wrote 40 pages straight – the start of the book ‘Vanishing Act’.
I was SO jealous that she gets these voices, as I get zip when I sit down quite frankly. She said that she is like a schizophrenic who gets paid for hearing voices and describes herself as a conduit. I want to be a conduit goddamit!
When asked if it bothered her about how the movie adaptation of her book ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ changed the ending, she diplomatically said that when you sell the rights to your book it’s like putting a baby up for adoption. You hope that they go to great homes and are raised as you would want them to, but unfortunately some of them end up living with a pack of prostitutes. Everyone laughed and she said that she was so happy she could be open about it now.
She would however sell another book as getting the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ made opened up a whole new audience to all of her books. Salem Falls has had a screenplay written, but the movie she’d most like to see made into a movie is ’19 Minutes’
I sat in the balcony at the Bloomsbury Theatre and had a ache in my chest as I listened to her speaking. I want to be a writer so badly, but I’m not making the small efforts each day which are going to get me to my goal. I’m going to use this as inspiration, and one day I’ll be up in front of a crowd of people talking about my latest creation. But first I have to get off my ass and do my morning pages!