James Rollins

Literary Birthday – 20 August – James Rollins

Happy Birthday, James Rollins, born 20 August 1961


  1. Books are keys that open many doors.
  2. Whenever I start a novel, I’m always looking for two things: a bit of science that makes me go ‘what if?’ and a piece of history that ends in a question mark.
  3. A first-time writer needs to have the ENTIRE novel done before approaching an agent or publisher. Print it in proper manuscript format. You can find guidelines in most how-to-write books.
  4. Read. Read everything in the genre in which you want to write, but don’t limit yourself. Read broadly. The best teacher of writing is a good book.
  5. Write Every Day. Even if it’s only a few paragraphs, set aside some cracks in time to spoil yourself with the luxury of writing. If you write every day and read every day, your own skills will improve constantly. As you write and stumble on a scene or ponder some technique to develop character, you’ll find the answer in the next book you pick up and read. You’ll hear yourself constantly say, “Oh, that’s how you do that!” So let me repeat: The best way to learn to write is simply to read.
  6. Be Persistent. Once you’re happy with your project, chuck that baby out and keep sending it out there until someone notices. Also allow the power of networking to help you: go to conventions, writing conferences, book signings. Talk to authors, agents, publishers. Sometimes this can be the back door into getting your own work noticed.
  7. The truth is often one’s best shield.
  8. I think the worst and most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will be looking for some bit of fact or figure to include in the novel, and before I know, I’ve wasted an entire morning delving into that subject matter without a word written.
  9. I don’t actually have a one wellspring of inspiration. Though I’m most often inspired while reading – both fiction and nonfiction.
  10. With two books a year, I don’t have time for writer’s block.

James Rollins is the pen name of James Paul Czajkowski, an American writer of action-adventure, mystery, and techno-thriller novels. He has also published fantasy novels under the pen name James Clemens. Visit his website for more tips. His latest novel is The Seventh Plague.

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by Amanda Patterson

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