Friday, April 15, 2016

Dusty Richards Speaks


Dusty Richards is a big man in a big hat with a somewhat gravelly voice that reminds me of actor Tommy Lee Jones. Richards is on the brink of publication of his 150th book. Last night he drove up from Springdale, Arkansas to speak to the Joplin Writers’ Guild about his books and about writing. He assured the listeners that western writing is not unique; it just tells a good story with the same craft of all writing.

I made some notes from his program:

Be sure and tell the reader WHERE the character is, as in the kitchen, the barn, the bedroom. Let the reader get located first.

When writing, never stop at the end of a chapter even if tired. Push on to a page or so more because if you end with a cliff or a chapter stop, it will be hard to revive the energy the next day. So push on, write and set up a scene that gives a good place to start the next day because the energy was already put in gear.

Publishers don’t count words, they count pages. An average book should be 300 pages which will equal 75,000 words.

Best advice he got early in his career:

Think of a clock as a book. The first fifteen minutes of the hour should be about 75 pages. The character is lost or has lost something. Next fifteen minutes, the character is alone—no one will or can help him. Next fifteen minutes, someone comes forth to help the character or the character has some confidence building that makes him deal with his problems. In the last fifteen minutes on the clock, the character is either a hero or a martyr.

Everyone left enthused about writing no matter what their genre!





9 comments:

Rebecca said...

I'll bet it WAS inspiring! (Thanks for passing on some good writing counsel.)

Linda O'Connell said...

I have heard rave reviews about Dusty and his books. So glad you shared this information. Good advise.

Elephant's Child said...

To enthuse the whole audience is the mark of a very good speaker.

Patricia A. Laster said...

Dusty's speaking again this year at the AR Writers Conference the first weekend in June. Thanks for reminding us of some basics. xoxo

Sioux said...

Claudia--Like others, I've heard his name, but never read any of his books. It sounds like it was a great event. It's always interesting to hear how a writer approaches their work...

Sioux said...

Claudia--I too have heard his name, but haven't ever read any of his books. Which is the one you'd recommend--as his best?

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Interesting! I've never heard the clock analogy. That gives me something to think about!

Terra Hangen said...

That sounds like excellent writing advice for fiction. I write nonfiction, somewhat of a different animal.

BECKY said...

I've never met Dusty but heard about him for years, mostly from his friend Lou Turner. I like his advice about keep writing, even when tired...although I don't know how good I would be at that! :)