Readers' Comments

Including Technical Details; Motivation to Write:

Bill A. wrote:

I enjoyed your remarks [in the Painted Rock Interview  ].  As one immersed in a PhD program -- but a closet writer nonetheless -- I've had to have my face surgically removed from a textbook after 3 years of coursework.

In other words, I've had no time for interest in fiction.  Even though I'm staring a dissertation project in the face, I've finally submitted something for publication (non-academic).

Your ability to inform, educate and yet maintain interest appeals to me greatly.  Although I have woefully few examples to draw from, your style reminded me of Michael Crichton's Great Train Robbery in that he interspersed tidbits of info about 19th century life in London.  Everything from the origin of the word "cop" to the architecture of their infamous Newgate prison.  I loved that...

Thanks for the inspiration.  You've shown me that it's possible to write novels that aren't mushy romances.

Bill A.

Dirk Wyle wrote:

Dear Bill:

Thank you for your letter and for permission to quote it in this Discussion.  Life was also hectic for me while working on my dissertation, back in 1966-1970.

Be encouraged to keep up your writing, whether or not you get a publisher.  The process is ennobling, increasing your understanding of yourself and others.

Thanks for your comment on entertaining vs conveying information.  It took me many years to find the "right mix" of background detail vs action, and I am still exploring the question in my sequels.  The problem is "correct-sizing" the technical detail so that you don't bore some or lose others.  Fellow writers' criticism of drafts was of great help to learn what was "just right" for readers of similar personalities and intellectual bent.  Hashing it out with them also helped to make me a better listener.  Your example of Michael Crichton is a good one.  He has always incorporated interesting information while maintaining a sense of adventure.  I guess Arthur Hailey (Hotel; Airport) was the real pro, when it comes to packing in interesting information.  One of my best examples is Stephen Coonts' Flight of the Intruder.  He made me feel what it was like to be in the cockpit of an attack fighter.

I wish you luck on your dissertation, and with your fiction.  Don't give up on fictional description of romance.  It can be very interesting if both characters are strong or complex.

-- Dirk Wyle

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