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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 10

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Tuesday, 19 February 2013
in Digger Cartwright

What do you think makes a good story?

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I think the components of a good story are interesting characters and a complex plot. I like the story that keeps me engrossed in what’s going on and that keeps me thinking about the story and the characters. If there are twists and turns, all the better. Lots of details? Great. If there are secrets for the characters, that’s good too; it keeps the mind working trying to figure out what the characters are all about. And I think the good story has a unique storyline as opposed to one that has been used over and over again in other books. It’s ok if it’s a storyline that is not really original but it needs to have a unique spin on it. Let me explain what I mean by that. The classic love triangle has been done so many times that it really takes a special spin to make the story good and unique. Murder mysteries are pretty basic. Someone gets killed. There’s a list of suspects, and one of them did it. How the story presents the characters and events is really what’s important.

Readers will get to see a lot of what I think makes a good story in my own books. They usually have a pretty complicated plot. There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns, and they’ll keep you guessing until the very end. There’s going to be a lot detail. I try to paint the picture of each scene for the readers, and I do that by going into some great detail. There’s going to be a lot of character development. Strong characters with real depth make all the difference; it makes the readers feel like the characters are real people, like they can connect with them on some level. I draw sharp contrasts between my books and my writing style and my storytelling and that of other authors who don’t really go into much detail and who have pretty boring and static characters and who tell very simplistic stories.

My books aren’t for the faint at heart. You’ve got to focus and really pay attention. Some people say my books are hard to read, and I suppose there may be some truth to that when you go from reading books written at a fifth grade reading level to one that is much more advanced or at a college level. It’s not like reading Shakespeare or the classics when you read one of my books, but it is quite different from reading some of the mainstream writers of today.  

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 6

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Saturday, 09 February 2013
in Digger Cartwright

What are your thoughts on book reviews? Are they beneficial to an author or the readers?

I don’t really think there’s much value to having book reviews. There’s an old saying that you can please some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all the people all of the time. Just look at any book by any known author on Amazon or wherever and you’ll have hundreds of readers’ rating the book. And those ratings are going to go from one star to five stars. And you’re going to see a wide range of people’s comments on this. However, I don’t know any of these people. They could be anyone. Why should I trust the judgment of someone that is only a screen name online? It’s somewhat absurd. Quite frankly, if you blindly take the advice of some unknown person who has allegedly read a book then rated it, you must not have a brain of your own or be able to formulate an opinion of your own. But I think most people pick up a book and read the synopsis and look at the cover and decide if they want to read it, or at least I hope that’s how people do it.

Then, we have the critics from the newspapers or magazines or whatever. To me the critics are the ones who have never had the guts to write a book of their own and soothe their own feeling of inferiority or their own complexes by tearing down someone else and their work or trying to build them up when the book isn’t good enough to stand on its own merits. To me these so called literary aficionados are nothing. Here again, the average person on the street knows little about these critics. They could have a personal axe to grind with the author or they could be getting paid by the author or the publishing house or PR firm or they may like a certain style as opposed to another and that clouds their judgment in their review. It’s somewhat asinine to even have these and promote book reviews.

I admire anyone who has the will and the heart and the discipline to sit down and write a book and put it out there for all the world to see and take all the talk and heat that comes with being an author. Not everyone that writes a book is going to write a good book. That’s just a fact, but the market of willing individual readers in the world can make the determination of if the book is good or not. Personally, I don’t care what the reviews are for a book. In fact, if some supposed literary critic raves about the book, I’m probably less inclined to read it. I’d probably be more likely to read the book if the supposed critic pans the work. I don’t really have much faith in the critics and the book reviews.

Now having said that, I think that there are some benefits to having an editor review the manuscript. They may have some constructive criticism or catch things the author doesn’t in terms of plot development or character development or flow of the novel. And this type of constructive criticism from an editor is beneficial to an author in that it may give some ideas for improving the work product. This can be good for the author, but I don’t think there’s much benefit to having book reviews. They’re not really worth the paper their printed on or the time it takes to read them. I take them with a grain of salt.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 5

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Thursday, 07 February 2013
in Digger Cartwright

How long does it take you to write a book?

It can take me anywhere from six weeks to seven or eight months to write a book. If I just sit all day every day, I could turn out a manuscript in four to six weeks. Unfortunately, the mind doesn’t permit me to sit and write that long. I’ll generally have the creative inspiration in bursts of maybe an hour or two then in need to take a break. I might come back after a break and realize that I’m not in the zone anymore, so I’ll have to put it aside. I have to be in a certain mindset before I can sit down and write. When I’m in the right mind, it just comes naturally. If I’m not in the writing mode, it feels like I’m forcing it, and I don’t think that lends itself to my best work. Thus, why it may take me seven or eight months to write a manuscript. I might not have the inspiration for several days for a week, but when I get it I might have it for weeks on end. And, of course, I get sidetracked with business from time to time and that takes me away from my ability to sit down and write.

Sometimes I’ll write myself in a bind. You know, I’ll be writing and take the story in a direction I hadn’t anticipated then I have to step back and figure out where I go from there. Sometimes I’ll readily know how to adjust the story for the unexpected change, and sometimes I won’t know right away. I might need to think about it and let it play out in my mind before I can sit back down and start up again. Writing is a real fluid situation. Changes come up and that impacts the timetable. Overall, I think the average for me would be in the six month range, and remember I’m writing in addition to overseeing my various enterprises and charitable endeavors.

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