Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bill Noel: Folly Beach Mysteries Highly Acclaimed – Part 3

Source: iUniverse Author Focus

iUniverse publishing continues its interview with the Star Author of the Folly Beach Mysteries series, Bill Noel.

iUniverse: You’re a photographer too Bill. Does your photography inspire your writing, or vice versa? How?

“Noel: I’ve been a published novelist for only five years but a photographer for more than four decades. My experience behind the lens has been invaluable in my writing. Many of the basic principles of photography apply to writing; particularly to fiction. For example, consider selective focus and editing. In a photograph, that means focus on what’s important, Most appealing photos have the foreground and background slightly out of focus—that way the viewers are drawn to the main subject; the subject in sharp focus. In writing that means don’t spend too much time on the irrelevant or things that don’t move the book along. Scenery and minor characters are necessary, but not in excess. I learned to stay in focus. Edit out what’s not important. In a photo, you must watch for and edit out the distractions—trees sticking out of the head of the subject, thumb covering part of the lens, etc. The same is true in writing. It’s easy to lose sight of the story and go off on a tangent. In other words, you are not looking at the whole image. Elmore Leonard, the bestselling author, when asked why his writing was so successful, said, “I leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” James Patterson has said about his writing, “I’m always pretending I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until I’m finished.”

Another thing I learned from photography is that the camera’s technical settings must be correct. If the aperture, or shutter speed aren’t set correctly, the photo will be poor. It won’t matter how great the subject matter was, it will still look bad. The same is true in writing. Typos, incorrect grammar, poor sentence structure may have nothing to do with the plot, but if they are sloppy or incorrect, the book will reflect the shortcomings. The opposite is also true, I can take a technically perfect photo—correct exposure, focus exceptional, composition superb, but still look at it and say, “Yuck—so what?” A book can be technically perfect, but uninteresting or boring.

Photography also gave me the courage to present my books to the world (okay, more accurately, a small part of the world). For years, I have participated in juried art shows. I’ve displayed my photos knowing that not everyone would like them and that that’s okay. The same is true for my novels.”


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