Words of Wisdom: Author Bob Mayer - Writer's Digest

Words of Wisdom: Author Bob Mayer

Searching for some fiction writing advice? Look no further than Bob Mayer, a man with many accomplishments. Mayer has written more than 35 novels, has been on just about every bestseller list out there, and is now with his fourth literary agent.
Author:
Publish date:

Searching for some fiction writing advice? Look no further than Bob Mayer, a man with many accomplishments. Mayer has written more than 35 novels, has been on just about every bestseller list out there, and is now with his fourth literary agent.

He presented at the HAWC this past weekend; here are some of his precious nuggets of wisdom for fiction writers:

  • If you're writing genre material, it's probably best to "frontload" the work, meaning you can outline heavily before delving into the work.
  • Don't start your query letter with "I've just written a novel..." The agent realizes this.
  • Know the difference between lecturing the reader and entertaining. "As fiction writers, we are entertainers," he says.
  • Writers often don't sell their first novel because the story is about the writer's life and problems. "First novels tend to be blood-lettings," he says, "and they're focused on you, not the reader."
  • Agents look for solid characters in fiction work. To demonstrate this point, Mayer brought up the TV show, "The Closer," which is essentially just one of countless cop shows, but succeeds because of great characters.
  • The protagonist must be reluctant to get involved. They should also be likeable and interesting, but also different and flawed.
  • Give your work high stakes. What will happen if the protagonist fails?
Image placeholder title

Bob Mayer(right) speaking with
an attendee at theHAWC.


writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The 3 Prime Rules of Horror Writing, Contest Deadlines, and More!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series! There's always so much happening in the Writer's Digest universe that even staff members have trouble keeping up. So we're going to start collecting what's on the horizon to make it easier for everyone to know what's happening and when.

Bell_10:25

Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.