Tag: Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben

The Thrill of a Thriller for Non-Thriller Lovers

Okay, I’ll say it. I find many, more likely most thrillers boring. I know. I must surely be in the minority, but someone has to say it. Non-stop action with weaponry technologically impossible to imagine page after page is as monotonous as any repetition. It’s like having sex in every scene. Who cares? I said most thrillers because there are some fantastic exceptions. Books where writers have taken the time, however brief, to artfully engage the reader in the story in which the action takes place. Books where writers have captured the reader and facilitated an attachment with the character(s) so there is something/someone to care about during the wild ride ahead. One of my favorite thrillers is Harlan Coben’s Tell No One, one of his earliest novels and the one that landed him on the NY Times bestsellers list forever. During the first several pages we meet a young doctor, a pediatrician, who works in an urban setting and witnesses his patients falling prey to sociological problems beyond his medical talents. He is honest and sincere and has in his short time practicing medicine learned not to judge. We like him. We soon learn he has had his own […]

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Insecurity is part of the process

 “Reminder to writers who think their book sucks: This is normal — push through it. Insecurity is part of the process. Only bad writers think they’re good,” Harlan Coben tweeted last week. If you’re anything like me, your first response to this quote was relief. Hey, you’re not the only one who looks at your 80,278 words and thinks only about two sentences were any good. Your second response to the tweet was probably despair. Your inner critic will remind you “Harlan Coben can say that because he’s Harlan Coben. You’re not Harlan Coben.” True. I’m not.  “Maybe it’s not perfect,” I tell my inner critic, “but I did as well as I could.” That’s when powerful insecurity takes hold. The moment I admit that the best I can do may not be good enough. Not a pretty way to feel. Feeling insecure is distinctly uncomfortable. That’s why most people avoid it. That might be okay for most people, but not for writers. Being uncomfortable is a requirement for anyone doing new things. If you avoid feeling insecure, you avoid exploring places beyond your comfort zone; you don’t go where no one has gone before. That makes it hard to write. It makes it really hard to write well. The truth is no one can tell you your insecurity is baseless. Someone (besides you) is bound to think your writing is bad. Maybe some of it actually is bad. That’s okay. But, just because it’s normal to feel insecure doesn’t mean you should stop. Thank you, Mr. Coben, for reminding us that sometimes feeling not so great is completely all right.  Now get back to writing.    

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