The Ricochet Podcast Episode 116 A: Ricochet Podcast Special Edition: Lileks, Klavan, and Box on Novel Writing Link to MP3 File

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. 

  1. Diane Ellis

    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.

  2. Mama Toad

    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!

  3. DocJay

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

  4. Troy Senik, Ed.

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

  5. I. raptus

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

  6. ParisParamus

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

  7. Horace

    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.

  8. The Great Adventure!

    I’ll keep my wet blanket comments to myself.

  9. Jerry Carroll

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

  10. raycon and lindacon

    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.

  11. Cunctator

    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 . . . . .

  12. Jan-Michael Rives

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

  13. Horace

    *cough* no Goldberg *cough*

  14. 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. Horace

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

  16. raycon and lindacon

    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.

  17. Skarv

    What a great podcast. Like.

  18. Cunctator

    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 . . .

  19. Sister

    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.)

  20. common

    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? 

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