In this special edition of the Ricochet Podcast, James Lileks, Andrew Klavan, and C.J. Box discuss the writing process, their inspirations, noir movies, and the pros and cons of self publishing. It’s a fascinating inside look at the life and thought processes of the working writer from three guys who do it every day. 

Ricochet members, you’ll get this in your Ricochet Podcast iTunes feed or you can play the show in its entirety using the player above. Not a member? You only get the first ten minutes. So, join now to get the complete show. 

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There are 44 comments.

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  1. Contributor

    I haven’t read most of the authors you fellows reference, but I’m 19 minutes into this podcast and I’m loving it. More!

    By the way, the youngest member of the Ellis family–my 12 year old brother Charlie–is on the third book of Drew’s Homelanders series, which he loves. Will pick up Drew’s latest for him.

    • #1
    • May 4, 2012 at 1:44 am
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  2. Member

    I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I just want to say that my boys are just re-reading Andrew Klavan’s Homelander books, which they loved, and I am just about to read the last chapter of CJ’s book Open Season.

    I’m betting that Mama Toad will request kitchen/garbage duty after dinner tonight instead of bath/bedtime routine so she can listen to this podcast!

    • #2
    • May 4, 2012 at 1:47 am
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  3. Member

    My wife votes for the cowboy….wait, this isn’t the bachelorette?

    • #3
    • May 4, 2012 at 2:39 am
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  4. Editor

    “Skull Cracking Eye Burster” — an all-time Lileks classic

    • #4
    • May 4, 2012 at 3:04 am
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  5. Member

    Actually, naming computers on a (private) network after chemical elements is fairly common.

    • #5
    • May 4, 2012 at 3:23 am
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  6. Member

    I”m just fascinated by the fact that Monty Python humor barely registers as “funny” to me any more….

    • #6
    • May 4, 2012 at 3:29 am
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  7. Inactive

    Great stuff, James et al. Makes one marvel at the brains that have these people and stories living inside of them, as well as making one want to go out and write a book. I’ve a feeling that urge would result in a page of doodles or about six sentences sitting on a new word document in the background on my laptop, while I end up surfing the web for six hours ultimately deciding I was never going to write a page, let alone a whole book. Fun to get a peak under the hood of a writer.

    • #7
    • May 4, 2012 at 3:52 am
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  8. Member

    I’ll keep my wet blanket comments to myself.

    • #8
    • May 4, 2012 at 4:15 am
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  9. Inactive

    Fine guys, wonderful writers. What a crowd gathers here!

    • #9
    • May 4, 2012 at 4:37 am
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  10. Inactive

    Been working through most of Drew Klavan’s books. My wife and I generally read the same book at the same time on our Kindles. We have a running conversation about the characters and events, and try to keep synchronized to the same place. Identity Man is tops, and we are now reading Don’t Say A Word. Didn’t see the movie, so the book is fresh for us.

    Like many listeners, I have a novel I started over 14 years ago, let it go, restarted it, and now find that the characters want to go in a different direction than I first envisioned.

    Thanks James, Drew and CJ. I feel much more free to go where my characters want to go, and enjoy a new story as it becomes.

    • #10
    • May 4, 2012 at 5:20 am
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  11. Member

    Being a non-creative person, I can’t even imagine characters taking on a life of their own in the writer’s head (ref “taking dictation”)

    For creative people, I bet they can’t imagine anything else . . . . .

    • #11
    • May 4, 2012 at 5:46 am
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  12. Inactive

    It’s rare to just have three creative types talking to each other. This has been a really fascinating podcast. Like.

    • #12
    • May 4, 2012 at 6:22 am
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  13. Inactive

    *cough* no Goldberg *cough*

    • #13
    • May 4, 2012 at 6:50 am
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  14. Contributor

    Horace: Jonah’s tomorrow.Great adventure: you realize that qualifies as a wet blanket comment anyway. ;) That’s Minnesota-level passive-aggression.Not JMR, Troy: thanks!

    • #14
    • May 4, 2012 at 6:55 am
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  15. Inactive

    Thanks James, looking forward to it! This special edition thing is so confusing!

    • #15
    • May 4, 2012 at 6:56 am
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  16. Inactive

    Just finished listening to the podcast again. Can’t tell you how encouraging it is and at the same time what a downer it is. For someone who has some experience in writing for technical magazines and even ad copy, never as an important part of my vocation yet I always loved it, a novel is a daunting undertaking.

    I guess I’ll just have to hate myself for jumping into a lake inhabited by some very big fish and see if I survive. 

    Please, more… more …more. And especially about character development. Drew Klavan is especially good at that, and Don’t Say A Word is a great read. Identity Man is, in my mind, flawless.

    By the way, who recorded that version of When I Write The Book? Can’t find it on YouTube. Huey Lewis is just too cluttered for a song in which the story is so important.

    • #16
    • May 4, 2012 at 6:57 am
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  17. Inactive

    What a great podcast. Like.

    • #17
    • May 4, 2012 at 7:18 am
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  18. Member

    James has talked about his vivid dreams in podcasts. I wonder if some creative people can channel this – almost in a hypnagogic hallucination type way – where they can let their subconscious take over . . .

    • #18
    • May 4, 2012 at 7:22 am
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  19. Inactive

    Homelanders is not just for the kids. I loved them! (I use the excuse that I must preview books so that I can recommend them to the students with whom I work. So, I have Klavan’s latest, Crazy Dangerous, waiting for me now.)

    • #19
    • May 4, 2012 at 7:45 am
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  20. Member

    Okay, I want to put these authors (especially Lileks) into a PET scanner to image their brains while they are writing. What is going on in there when they reach the state of not being entirely in control of the story? I mean, there isn’t actually an external entity–signals from the celestial spheres or something–directing the narrative and dialog. It is some evidently unconscious part of the author’s brain driving the story which to the author’s conscious mind seems like “taking dictation.” Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see what parts of the brain light up when this feeling occurs where to the writer it seems as if the characters are taking off on their own, doing things of their own devising? 

    • #20
    • May 4, 2012 at 7:51 am
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  21. Inactive
    Talking about writing.I enjoyed it. Nice job. I may read a book someday.
    • #21
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:15 am
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  22. Inactive

    I loved the intro!

    ParisParamus: I”m just fascinated by the fact that Monty Python humor barely registers as “funny” to me any more…. · 6 hours ago

    Maybe it was just a flashback but I still consider that very funny.

    • #22
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:19 am
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  23. Member
    James Lileks: Horace: Jonah’s tomorrow.Great adventure: you realize that qualifies as a wet blanket comment anyway. ;) That’s Minnesota-level passive-aggression.Not JMR, Troy: thanks! · 15 hours ago

    Yeah, I know. I whine too much.

    • #23
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:31 am
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  24. Contributor

    Raycon: that’s Nick Lowe singing with Rockpile.

    • #24
    • May 4, 2012 at 11:37 am
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  25. Inactive

    I’m getting a “permissions error” when I try to download the file, whether I do it from the direct link above or through iTunes. I can still download Left Coast/Right Coast and the regular podcast.

    • #25
    • May 5, 2012 at 10:56 am
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  26. Member

    For some reason it doesn’t play for me. 

    • #26
    • May 5, 2012 at 11:14 am
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  27. Inactive
    Stephen Bishop: For some reason it doesn’t play for me. · 4 minutes ago

    Same here, and I can’t download it (see above comment).

    • #27
    • May 5, 2012 at 11:20 am
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  28. Inactive

    Isn’t working for me, either.

    • #28
    • May 6, 2012 at 1:12 am
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  29. Thatcher

    I am traveling in India and having a hell of a time getting this podcast.

    The MP3 downloads as 1kb. Trying to get it off of iTunes (an old version on my work computer) but the download doesn’t deliver anything.

    When I try to get it directly on my iPod or iPhone, the download fails.

    There are definitely technical difficulties here.

    P.S., It won’t play from the website player, either.

    • #29
    • May 6, 2012 at 1:44 am
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  30. Inactive

    Well, I managed to get Winamp to get it…..

    They mention how sometimes things make perfect sense until the person gets home from the movies, looks in the fridge for something and then goes “wait a second….”

    There’s a trope for that! Fridge logic, from TV tropes!

    I would seriously urge any author spend/waste some time on, just tooling around.

    It’s like wikipedia, but for stories and without quite the level of issues as Wikipedia.

    • #30
    • May 6, 2012 at 2:51 am
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