Straight Talk on Writing: 20 Conversations with Authors about the Craft

By Scott Francis | Go to book overview

Jeff Gerke

“Just because some famous
novelists break the rules of
good fiction and have
terrific sales doesn’t mean
you should.”

Jeff Gerke is a novelist and professional book doctor. He is popular at writers conferences across America as a fiction teacher. His style is informal and droll and tends toward the speculative. Gerke spent twelve years on staff at various publishing houses before launching his own small publishing company, Marcher Lord Press, in 2008. He writes under the pen name Jefferson Scott having authored such books as Virtually EliminatedI, Fatal Defect and the Operation Firebrand series. He’s also the author of The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction, and The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors, and Readers, and Set Up Your Novel For Success.

I’ve edited a couple of Gerke’s books and I can tell you first hand, he was made for this. From writing to editing to running his own publishing company, Gerke does it all, does it well, and loves what he does. In this interview he discusses writing and publishing advice, how movies can help you understand storytelling structure, and more.

—SF


What keeps you writing?

In my fiction, it’s the stories I want to tell. I got into this biz because no one was writing the stories I wanted to read, and that hasn’t changed.

For my nonfiction, which is mostly about the craft of writing fiction, I do it because I love to help and encourage novelists. I love to equip them to better do what it is they’re trying to do with their fiction.


What message do you find
yourself repeating over and
over to writers?

Just because some famous novelists break the rules of good fiction and have terrific sales doesn’t mean you should. Their books succeed in spite of their low craftsmanship, not because of it. Think how much better their fiction would be if they applied an elevated skill-set. And think how great it will be when yours is better written than theirs!


What the best writing
advice you’ve ever
recieved?

There are seasons in a writer’s life. Sometimes you can write all the time. In other seasons you’re not able to write because of schedule and other responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean you’re not a writer

-29-

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Straight Talk on Writing: 20 Conversations with Authors about the Craft
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments i
  • Table of Contents ii
  • Introduction 1
  • Laurie Alberts 2
  • Barbara Baig 6
  • William Cane 9
  • Orson Scott Card 13
  • Sage Cohen 21
  • Sarah Dornet 25
  • Jeff Gerke 29
  • April Hamilton 32
  • Becky Levine 37
  • Donald Maass 41
  • Dinty W. Moore 43
  • Jessica Page Morrell 46
  • Steven Harper Piziks 49
  • Peter Seigin 53
  • George Singleton 57
  • James Alexander Thom 60
  • Fred White 62
  • Karen S. Wiesner 64
  • You’Ve Read the Interviews… Now Read the Books! 68
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