John Grisham Shares Writing Tips and Talks Plotting

Posted on June 7, 2017

John Grisham is back with a new novel called Camino Island. Grisham will be going on a book tour for the new novel. It will be his first tour in 25 years. Grisham says his new novel is not a legal thriller. He calls it a "mystery without lawyers." It involves the theft of valuable original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from a vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library.

The novel follows a novelist, Mercer Mann, who struggles with severe writer's block. She is approached by a mysterious woman and is convinced to go undercover and investigate the manuscript theft.

Grisham himself is a fan of rare books. He says his new book is a "beach read." Having been accused of writing beach reads in the past he wanted to deliver a beach book. Grishm tells CBS This Morning, "I wanted to write a beach book. For years, my novels have been criticized as being, you know, nothing more than beach books so I thought, 'OK, I'll show you a beach book.'"

CBS shared a list of writing tips from Grisham:

  1. Do writer a page every day
  2. Don't write the first scene until you know the last
  3. Do write your page each day at the same place and time
  4. Don't write a prologue
Grisham also weighed in on plotting in the CBS interview. He talked about writing and says the idea that an author will create a great character and that character will then take over the action is "total B.S."

Grisham says, "Plotting takes work. You have to carefully plot and outline your story before you start. Especially if you are writing mysterious, or suspense or thrillers where the plots can be very intricate. It takes a lot of work. I spend a lot of time outlining before I write the first word."

He also says prologues are "gimmicks to suck you in." He also says you hopefully have a job doing something else before you start writing. He also recommends not keeping a thesaurus nearby.

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