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Thursday, February 26, 2015

A journal for detail

“It is the job of the novelist to touch the reader.” – Elizabeth George

Journaling can be an author’s best friend, especially when thinking about day-to-day things that have happened to him or her as well as just being able to document “an ordinary day” as well as an “extraordinary day” in a person’s life.

Elizabeth George, a native of Warren, Ohio, who made her claim to fame by writing about “ordinary and extraordinary” days in the life of a detective 6,000 miles away from her home, is a strong advocate of journaling.

“I’ve always liked creating a journal.  It’s like the way I clear my throat,” she said.  “I write a page every day, maybe 500 words (that’s two pages double-spaced).  It could be about something I’m specifically worried about in a new novel; it could be a question I want answered; it could be something that’s going on in my personal life.  I just use it as an exercise.”
Susan (Elizabeth) George

George, whose given name is Susan and whose birthday is today, holds two degrees - one in teaching and one in counseling/psychology - as well as an honorary doctorate in humane letters, because it was in the writing world that she became a worldwide celebrity with her books about an English detective named Lynley.  After a 14-year teaching career, where she also excelled and was twice named Teacher of the Year for California’s largest county, she started taking bits and pieces from her journals, including travels to England, and wrote a series of books, 11 of which have now been adapted for television by BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

Oh, and recognition of the detail in her works – a hallmark of her writing – also has earned her Britain’s Anthony and Agatha Awards and France’s LeGrand Prix de Literature Policiere – a writing version of an Academy Award.  Definitely a testamonial for "keeping a journal."  Happy writing!

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