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Posts Tagged ‘New York Times bestsellers list’

Writing Advice From Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including the now-classic Waiting To Exhale. Now, 25 years since her debut, she’s back with Who Asked You?, a multi-generational family saga that is already being applauded by critics. In the latest installment of So What Do You Do?, she tells Mediabistro about creating memorable characters, the challenges of writing from the perspective of an eight-year-old and the pressure of living up to all the hype:

You’re known for writing such authentic characters. How do you keep them all straight?
Well, first of all, it’s not as hard as you would think. If you take [people] that you know really well, and you had to capture them on paper — their gesticulations, how they talk, how they think — from what you know about them, you could do it. But before anything, I do a lot to profile my characters so that I know them. I know almost everything about them, in terms of their educational background, how tall they are, what color they are, what they like and don’t like, what their favorite class was in school, what they’re afraid of, what their biggest secret is, if they lie, if they pay their bills on time, what they wish they coulda, woulda, shoulda done, etc., etc.

To learn more about Terry McMillan’s writing process, read So What Do You Do, Terry McMillan, New York Times Best Selling Author?

Aneya Fernando

Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting January 7, work with a published memoir writer to tell and sell the story of your life! In this course, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create your story around a marketable premise, hone your narrative voice, write a memoir with a solid structure, and sell your memoir before you've even finished writing it. Register now!

Isabel Wilkerson on the 15 Years It Took to Write The Warmth of Other Suns

It’s a pretty big accomplishment for a first-time author to land on the New York Times bestsellers list, but Isabel Wilkerson definitely deserves it. The Pulitzer-prize winning journalist spent 15 years researching and conducted over 1,200 interviews for The Warmth of Other Suns, an account of the men and women who lived through the Great Migration, when 6 million African-Americans moved to the North.

One of the biggest challenges the author says she faced was time. ” I tried to find the oldest members of this migration and capture a range of experiences,” she explained in the latest Mediabistro feature.

“One of the men I chose, the one from Florida, was keenly aware that he was speaking to unborn generations of people. He took it very seriously. At one point he said, ‘If you don’t hurry up and finish this book, I’m gonna be proofreading from heaven.’ And he was right. He didn’t live to see the book.”

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T.D. Jakes on Breaking Into Hollywood and Selling Your First Script

After penning over 30 self-help titles and novels (two of which became New York Times bestsellers) and producing films like Jumping The Broom and the highly anticipated Sparkle remake starring the late Whitney Houston, Bishop T.D. Jakes has become a true force in Hollywood. But his breakthrough into the media bizz was anything but conventional.

In his Mediabistro So What Do You Do? interview, Jakes gave some valuable advice for writers and authors looking to break into the film biz.

“The old adage is it’s not what you know but who you know. I think that’s very, very important. There are a lot of people who know the ‘what’ of it but don’t know the ‘who’ of it. Everything advances through relationships, and the better you build strong relationships, the more opportunity you’re going to have.”

So, what makes a script great for TDJ Enterprises? “I think it has to be something that has a message,” he said.

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Bishop T.D. Jakes?

Andrea Hackett

James Patterson Responds to Critics

No other author has had as many New York Times bestsellers at one time as James Patterson. People magazine called him the “king of the bestsellers list.” He has outsold writers like Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown.

Yet Patterson has not gone without criticisms. His stable of co-writers, his non-literary style of writing and his dominance of every genre have all been fair game. In this GalleyCat contributor’s interview with Patterson, he responded to those critics. He also discussed the secret to his success and his advice for aspiring authors.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview: “My success revolves around the fact that I am fairly analytical, logical, have a pretty good IQ but I’ve got street smarts too. You know, a lot of people who have nice IQ’s are just dumb as a brick when it comes to thinking about how other people think and what they might like and how to act in public and things like that. I think I have, you know, gifts involved of those areas. I mean, if I am writing a story that kids are supposed to not want to put down, if I don’t feel it, then I don’t think kids will feel it. If I don’t think that the pages are moving in the story and the characters aren’t involving, then I’m going to assume that the people reading it won’t.”