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Joe Prentis

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Writing a Novel and the Feverish Impulses that Drive Us
By Joe Prentis   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, December 13, 2010
Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010

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A novel of suspense, danger, and adventure in the Middle East. This is a page turner you won't be able to put down.

Someone asked me recently what it is like to write a novel. Authors like that question because it gives them a chance to explain all of those things they can’t put on the back of their book. Whenever I talk about writing, I always start by describing the feeling of excitement that accompanies me from the story concept to the finished manuscript. Writing, like any art form, is a demanding mistress, and I do not say that lightly. Maybe I should explain that metaphor a little more clearly.


Intense love affairs do not evaporate like a damp fog with the rising of the sun. On a good day you might manage to go for a full ten minutes without thinking about the one you lost. They have a tendency to stay there in the depth of your heart so that much of what you do in the future is an attempt to prove things. I will allow you to finish that thought based on your own experiences.


If a book is to be worth reading, it has to spring from some emotional experience in the author’s life. That experience might be as simple as a childhood longing for something beyond our reach, or it might be more tangible. Research and interviews help with the details required to make the plot believable, but unless there are emotions involved, the story will fall flat. Think of something that stirred you deeply in one of your favorite books or movies. Was it the flash of explosives and the sound of gunfire, or was it because you knew what it would be like to be there? It is not necessary that we experience every detail in a book for us to know what that event was like. Anyone who has been harassed by a controlling supervisor or an over-aggressive coach, knows what it would be like to be dressed down by an officer on the field of battle. All of us have experienced defeat, danger, failed love affairs, and disappointments within our families. These things touch us deeply and the author must rekindle those emotions if he expects the plot to resonate with the reader.


Abraham’s Bones came about through a combination of experiences over several years of my life. The leading characters are two archeologists who were lured away from their jobs in Israel by the American State Department. Having once worked in Washington, it was easy for me to create the type of characters required for the plot. Most people who acquire jobs within federal agencies are idealistic and driven, just the type of people I needed in my plot.


Having a strong interest in history and archeology, plus some knowledge of Islam and Christianity, made the additional research a pleasing experience. I was fortunate to know two people who had lived in Israel. I depended on their advice as I worked out the many details that went into Abraham’s Bones. After a lifetime of reading mysteries, thriller, and suspense novels, I knew what my fellow readers expected to find in this type of fiction.


As for the romance, danger, and deception you will find in Abraham’s Bones, I will leave it to your imagination to decide how my knowledge of these things came about. That would be telling, and an honest writer never exposes the edgy details of the good stuff. I hope you will put Abraham’s Bones on your reading list and I look forward to you enjoying it as much as I did in writing it.




Web Site: Official Website of Author Joe Prentis

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Reviewed by Roxanne Smolen 12/14/2010
How interesting that you incorporate personal emotions into your writing but rely on advice to fill in the details. I write in a similar manner, packing my novels with my own quirks while hoping scientific fact will fill in the plot.
Reviewed by Joyce Scarbrough 12/14/2010
I wondered how much of the romance in ABRAHAM'S BONES was from personal experience because--like all the other elements in the book--it comes across as completely realistic and spot-on!
Reviewed by Linda Lovely 12/14/2010
Great article, Joe. I agree that writers can (and should) call on emotions they've experienced to make their characters real. While I've never rapelled into a cave, I can certainly imagine how one of my characters (who shares my fear of heights) felt when she swung over the ledge and into the dark.

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