Literary Birthday – 22 March – James Patterson

Happy Birthday, James Patterson, born 22 March 1947.

James Patterson: Nine Writing Quotes

  1. I write first thing in the morning, about 360 days a year.
  2. I find that I’m working on three or more projects at any given time. For some reason, this is a very comfortable way for me to work.
  3. Stop trying to write sentences and start trying to write stories.
  4. I’ve always concentrated on the product. There are very few cases where people or enterprises or franchises have succeeded unless the product is really good for that audience. [Writers] always want to hear it’s the advertising. It isn’t—it’s the product.
  5. As I do with all of my books, I outlined The Beach House from the beginning to end.
  6. I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished. I’m very conscious of an audience. I’m very conscious that I’m an entertainer. Something like 73 percent of my readers are college graduates, so you can’t condescend to people. You’ve got to tell them a story that they will be willing to pay money to read.
  7. Knowledge is valuable, but imagination is invaluable.
  8. People that really know me consider me to be an incredible underachiever. Because I was supposed to, you know, really write nice, serious books. And… I don’t know, got derailed, and here I am.
  9. If it’s commercial fiction that you want to write, it’s story, story, story. You’ve got to get a story where if you tell it to somebody in a paragraph, they’ll go, ‘Tell me more.’ And then when you start to write it, they continue to want to read more. And if you don’t, it won’t work.

Suggested Reading:

Follow this link to find out where James Patterson writes.

From an interview in The Telegraph with Adam Higginbotham:

‘I was just reading this thing about Heinz Ketchup,’ he says. ‘Everybody likes ketchup, apparently, because it hits all these flavour points: it’s sweet, it’s bitter, it’s…’
Umami? ‘Yeah. Right, right. Yeah. I like that. I like the notion of being ketchup.’
I’m not sure I have heard him correctly. Of being ketchup?
‘And satisfying a lot of people. Yeah.’ He hesitates, and I begin to say something else, but Patterson is enjoying this thought.
‘I don’t want,’ he says with satisfaction, ‘to write tofu.’

James Patterson is an American author who has sold an estimated 350 million books worldwide. Since 2006, one out of every 17 fiction books sold was a Patterson title. He first became famous for his Detective Alex Cross novels starting with Along Came a Spider. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children’s best-sellers lists. He is the only author to have five new hard-cover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year – a feat he’s accomplished every year since 2005. Patterson has had 19 consecutive #1 New York Times best-selling novels, and holds the New York Times record for most Hard-cover Fiction best-selling titles by a single author (76), which is also a Guinness World Record.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 22nd March 2013