Many of you know that I enjoy reading, and also that I am an aspiring author. I’m always looking to learn more about my craft and my chosen genre. Part of that is reading what others have written and learning from them.
For the past two weeks I’ve been reading R.A. Salvatore’s books. You can call it my latest addiction. I’ve done little other than read his books. I’ve read the first ten books (yes, ten!) Legend of Drizzt series, and I’m eager to read the more.
What is it about these books that I enjoy so much? What can I learn from these books, and how can I apply it to my own writing?
Picture courtesy of R.A. Salvatore’s website
I tend to be enjoy characters who have a lot of depth to them, and Drizzt Do’Urden certainly possesses that. From the very beginning he stands apart from everyone else. When the world around him is evil, he is good and caring. He was born knowing right from wrong, born with a strong sense of morality–and I say born because he certainly wasn’t taught good from evil. When everyone around him wants him to do bad, he chooses to do good. The fact that such a character rose from an evil place as the one he was born into is simply amazing.
And that’s not all there is to him. Let’s face it: Drittz is the perfect hero. He has almost everything: loyal friends, unparalleled skill in combat, striking looks, a heart that feels deeply, and strong morals. He fights with a pair of scimitars–curved swords–and is so good that virtually no one can beat him. Yet, he doesn’t let his spotless track record make him prideful or boastful, but seeks to use his skills to help others.
I’ve thought many times that I would love to see Drizzt fight on the big screen. Salvatore’s fight scenes are simply awesome, and I doubt I could ever write fight scenes with the same skill and knowledge.
What Drizzt doesn’t have only makes him a better hero. He doesn’t have looks. If you take a look at R.A. Salvatore’s website, then you’ll see that Drizzt is more striking and exotic than handsome. He’s more intimidating than trustworthy. In fact, most people hate and fear him on sight, based on the way he looks and also on his people’s evil reputation. And trust me, his people are very evil. Most people met with this kind of instant hatred would end up hating the world in kind. Drizzt doesn’t. Instead, he is selfless and understanding, and never hesitates to help others–even when they hate him.
Applying what I like to my writing
Recently in my writing career, I’ve concentrated on character building. I’ve deliberately chosen a deliberate character to do this with a difficult to relate to character, one with mental problems. Yes, this can come back to bite me (and it has, on more than one occasion), but I figured if I can learn to do this with a difficult character, then I can learn to do it with a hard character.
After reading of Drizzt, I have to ask myself: does my character evoke the same reaction? The answer, unfortunately, is no. I have a lot to learn. I need to learn how to evoke feelings from my readers, not just mastering writing techniques.
Looks like I got some work to do.
Writing is constant learning process. No one is born knowing how to do things. I may never be published, but I’m not going to stop learning, or stop reading.
With that in mind–I’ve got another book calling my name.