So you can read my books

Friday, June 22, 2012



Christi Goddard is having a FOUR IN THE MORNING Twitter Release Party!

See the book trailer for it:

Now, back to our regularly scheduled post ...


That's a question we would all like to know the answer to.

Sure you do. Deep down we all do.

But how to pull off that miracle?

Like the photo to today's post suggests ... by giving the reader what he wants to read.

And that's what has readers come back to read our novel a second ... even a third time.

It's what has them rush to their friends, talking about the book that they just have to read.

Word of mouth gives birth to bestsellers that become modern day classics ... to movies being made of said novels ... maybe your book.

Word of mouth.

That phrase leads us to one of the three things will ensure your book is worthy of coming back for seconds,

thus becoming a classic -- (Sorry, I think I can get to only one of the three.) :

1) Dialogue that sparkles.

Take the sixties Western, THE PROFESSIONALS :

Burt Lancaster. Lee Marvin. Robert Ryan. Ralph Bellamy. Jack Palance. Woody Strode.

Each actor at the apex of their careers. How did the director draw in so many large stars at the time of one-star vechiles?

The studio couldn't afford that much in salaries.


Each actor was given lines that didn't just say something but words that MEANT something. Words that didn't just move the plot along but spoke to something primal within the hearts of the audience.

Such as :

Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) : Rico, buddy. I don't deserve you.

Rico (Lee Marvin): I agree. I can understand you getting in a crap game and losing $700 you didn't have, but how'd you lose your pants?

Bill Dolworth: In a ladies bedroom, trying to raise the cash. Almost had it made, too. Do you realize that people are the only animals that make love face to face?


Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) : Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?


Rico: So what else is on your mind besides hundred-proof women, 'n' ninety-proof whiskey, 'n' fourteen-carat gold?

Bill Dolworth: Amigo, you just wrote my epitaph!


Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) : Mr. D, whatever got a loving man like you in the dynamite business?

Bill Dolworth: Well, I'll tell you. I was born with a powerful passion to create. I can't write, can't paint, can't make up a song...

Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan) : So you explode things.

Bill Dolworth: Well that's how the world was born. Biggest damn explosion you ever saw.


Jesus Raza (Jack Palance) : La RevoluciÛn is like a great love affair. In the beginning, she is a goddess. A holy cause. But...

every love affair has a terrible enemy: time. We see her as she is. La RevoluciÛn is not a goddess but a whore.

She was never pure, never saintly, never perfect. And we run away, find another lover, another cause. Quick, sordid affairs. Lust, but no love. Passion, but no compassion.

Without love, without a cause, we are... *nothing*! We stay because we believe. We leave because we are disillusioned. We come back because we are lost. We die because we are committed.


[last lines]
J.W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy) : You bastard.

Rico: Yes, Sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made man.


On the surface THE PROFESSIONALS was just an adventure tale, plain and simple.

But your novel to become a classic cannot be plain and simple.

It must have depth. Your dialogue must do more than say something -- it must MEAN something.

As THE PROFESSIONALS had depth. Beneath the adventure was an examination of what it means to be a professional in all you did, what it took for mature, intelligent men to fight for love or for a cause when ultimately all loves, all causes, betray you.

Each character had a different surface answer. But their base-rock answer was the same : you lived in such a way as to not betray yourself -- you fought because of the people you battled alongside and for.

And that leads back to us :

as authors we write for ourselves and for those who read our words -- not to betray ourselves or the readers who paid cash money for our tale. In the end, we want what all authors want :

to tell a story that sings a song to the soul, that murmurs "You are not alone."


  1. Roland- While I think you are on to a great idea about something starts to become a classic, this was actually a topic for discussion in one of my literature classes at the college last semester.
    A classic has to have something a reader can learn about, discuss, criticize, analyze, and it truly becomes a classic because each generation can learn or devise something new about the written material. Thats why literary works and epic novels always tend to make the lists. Then there is the issue of doing something know one else has done like Chaucer for example- he basically is the father of short story writing. Shakespeare is the the father of drama/love themes. they did something with literary works that had never been tried and they created a sensation with them using themes that we can use today.

  2. Hi, Summer:
    Ah, but I didn't get to the other two things that make a novel a classic. I just flat ran out of space!!

    I agree. A classic speaks to us in a way that is new or from an altered perspective. Chaucer and his short stories. Shakespeare and his plays of the soul.

    If a work of fiction catches us by surprise, it is on its way to becoming a classic. But often literary fiction devolves into boring self-reflection, elaborating only on the obvious.

    Thanks for the intriguing discussion! Roland

  3. Thanks for stopping by and championing me again today!

    I have your book Let the Wind Blow Through You, by the way. I just haven't had a chance to read it, yet.

  4. Andrew:
    LET THE WIND BLOW THROUGH YOU is really a novella, short but hopefully touching the bruised heart in all of us. I hope you enjoy it. I was glad to champion you again today, Roland

  5. Dialogue that sparkles. Well, my books won't be classics then. But that's all right. They're selling well which is beyond what I ever imagined. I will do the best I can on the last book though.

  6. I don't think my books will ever be classics, but I'm just happy if people read and enjoy them.

  7. Alex:
    Becoming a classic is for time to tell, and it hasn't been long enough. You selling well is fantastic. I have sold 15 total this month (6 were bought by me as gifts!)

    No, the handwriting is on the wall for my novels. END OF DAYS is prophetic in its title.

    A story arc is finished. Alice & Victor are re-united(true, inside flaming Troy, surrounded by Greeks & Trojans and an enraged Apollo - but whoever said love runs smoothly?)

    There are questions left to be answered but it is plain that very, very few care to hear the answers.

    As I told Alex: time and readers will be the judge of that. You have many readers, and who knows what time will say ... her lips are notoriously mute!

    I wish both you and Alex only the highest sales. Roland

  8. Very interesting post, Roland.

    Those old westerns were great, but a lot of the success was also the actors who were delivering that dialogue. Lee Marvin is a classic himself. . .

    FYI, I'm starting your ebooks now. Just finishing up with MPax's Backworlders.

  9. Great post. I think it's important for each character to have a unique, memorable voice as well - it should always be revealing something about them and their motivation. Not easy to do! I hope you get to the other two elements of classic novels because I'd be interested to read them.

  10. D.G.:
    Yes, I do not see many actors of that calibur in today's modern films. I hope you enjoy my books!

    You are so right. The characters should all sound individualistic. No, it is not easy to do at all!

    Tomorrow's post (probably later on tonight), I will have a post on the THIRD KEY to classic novels -- just to toss things in the air, so to speak. LOL.