Monday, November 10, 2008

"Only Slightly Dead"

As you probably heard, mega-author Michael Crichton died last week. I thought this reminiscence on the Washington Post’s book blog was funny and shows that readers will find ways to go with the writer, as long as the story is good and the writer is bold:

“…Crichton, a physician turned author who died of cancer this week at age 66, was a master of narrative structure. Fans loved the way he mixed fact (especially science) into his fiction. Hollywood loved his action-packed, potboiler plots. But structure and pacing are paramount in Crichton's novels, and everything else -- plausibility, characterization -- is subservient.

“Here's a small example: In Jurassic Park (the book, not the movie) the mathematician Ian ("I hate being right") Malcolm dies. But when Jurassic Park became a colossal success and Crichton sat down to write a sequel, The Lost World, he knew he needed Malcolm back, if only to explain the science. So Crichton simply revived him. As our review noted at the time, the ludicruously shallow explanation -- 'but as it turned out I was only slightly dead,' Malcolm says -- showed 'splendid panache on the author's part.'"


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.