My Writing Process Tour – Now at Engaging Blogs Across the Planet

I spent many years in manufacturing, so when I hear the term writing process, I envision a Dr. Suess-esque machine with a Zuzz turning a crank at one end and books plopping out at the other.  But it’s a finer, more subtle effort to write a novel.  And it takes a lot more work.  Ask my friend Shawn Hopkins.  We met when he compiled a thriller sampler called MYSTERY THRILLS & SPILLS. He hosted the previous stop on this tour and writes detail-rich stories of supernatural suspense, ancient conspiracy, espionage, and mystery.  Check out Shawn’s work here.sampler

What am I working on?

This past year held several surprises for me. Most good, some really crappy.  My first novel, 3 LIES, hit #1 on Amazon’s Technothriller list, and I’m writing its sequel.  I’d planned to have it and at least one other novel completed by now, but I realized long ago, my sanity is of some value.  Use it or lose it.  Ever the optimist, I’ve decided to make the rest of this year stellar.

I’ve written two unrelated novels since I wrote 3 LIES, and it’s wasn’t a simple process to reacquaint myself with the details of my original story.  In part, because I write multi-threaded, multi-POV novels.  The main character of each thread needs to be heard and remembering what each of them said—exactly—is not one of my superpowers. So I needed to research my own book.

But now I understand why authors write series—beyond the lure of repeated sales.  I’d forgotten how much I like the people I’ve created, even the dastards.  Each has a set of qualities that welled from my experience, from the people I’ve encountered in my walk.  Some of them, I missed.  Now that we’re sharing pages again, I want to stay close.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’m a student of theater.  When I write, I want the reader to know what the character is thinking.  He sat in a chair, but why that chair?  Was it closer to the lone window in the room?  Did it over a superior vantage point?  Was it comfortable enough to soothe an aching back?

Motivation.  I make those same choices every time I select a chair.  So should the actors in my novel.

Another distinction of my work is my use of technology.  I write thrillers about tech-savvy people who use tools unheard of in years past.  But none of the main characters are of the Uber-doober variety.  Smart, but they make mistakes, and they all have a sense of humor.  Another reason we get along so well.

Why do I write what I do?

Intrigue and mystery are the twin lakes of any good bit of fiction.  These are my swimming holes.  It doesn’t matter what genre categorizes a novel, without these waters running through the story, it’s lifeless.  Since I’m a purist, I go straight to the source: the thriller.  Thrillers are the aquifer of creative writing.

How does my writing process work?

Think shampoo instructions.  Write, edit, repeat.

Writing is a recursive process, culling the working words from the ones that make me think: meh.  Even my own opinion of them changes, so I need to let them breathe awhile before deciding their fate. Then, I need to hear them aloud.  I spared the world the iniquity of—Chester gestured—after it assaulted my ear.

As for the day-to-day, I need enough of a road map to find my next few stops.  When I initially outline too heavily, I tend to back track when I think of some thread that I prefer.  But I want to improve my word count. To that end, I plan to spend more upfront time contemplating the storyline, so I can blast toward the finish. So far, this is purely theory, but I’ve often been called tenacious.  Or was it bullheaded?

Who’s next?

Allow me to introduce you to Susan Clayton-Goldner whose stories and poetry have graced the pages of numerous literary journals and anthologies.  Her family dramas typically revolve around a mystery, and her poetry “…exposes emotion before it reaches the intellect.”  Plus, she swims with dolphins.  Talent and game.  A winning combination.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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On My Ride . . .

I ride my bike a couple of times a week, and this summer is rife with insect and arachnid activity.  Here are a few of my finds:

WolfLunch-ToGo

A wolf spider hauling her egg sac. The sac was about half an inch wide, so she was close to three inches long.  I had to shoo her off the path so she didn’t get smushed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cicadas

These two lovers were on my driveway as I left today.  The cicada chirping rings throughout my neighbor.  Now I know why.

 

 

 

husks

On my way home, I drove past a series of posts with lights embedded at the top, which line the walkway. The heap of stuff at the bottom caught my attention. It’s a pile of mayfly carcasses. These weren’t here last week. They live a short life and, apparently, the party is over.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Prose & Cons

I’m hanging with the Gang of Twenty-One at Prose & Cons.

Thanks!

 

 

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On Life’s Observation Deck

MarkWhile I don’t always love to be in a crowd, I love to linger at its edge.  Just outside of the activity bubble, I can observe people without interfering in their stuff.  I do my best people-watching here, preferably with some paper and a pen.  Wine’s always nice, too.

I take notes on what people do with their arms, the way they respond to whispers, how they react to an unexpected touch.  My favorite places are where people are doing something routine:  eating, gassing up the car, waiting for their flight to be called at the airport.  Uneventful occasions where we tend to think we’re alone.

Occasionally, I get more than I anticipate.  Intimacy that should be behind a closed door.  An argument that seems especially painful.  Or someone who seems completely untethered.

Once, I was able to help out someone.  I was cruising the mall on Halloween with my son who was about two.  Kids lined the place because they were giving out candy.  I happened to notice a woman and her young son, who was maybe four years old.  I don’t remember if he wore a costume or why I noticed them.  Maybe because it was another mother with her son at an age I’d yet to experience.

Sometime later, I saw the same little boy hanging out with a security guard.  The kid wasn’t stressed, but they were obviously waiting for Mom to appear.

In another little while, I saw the mother, scanning the ground as if searching for a lost diamond.  The agony on her face told me all I needed to know.  I stopped her. “Ma’am, your son is with a security guard, that way.”  I pointed in the direction and relief rippled through her.  She stood upright and hauled panty-hose toward her son.

It was a good moment.  And it actually made up for a few of the red light nose-pickers.

Thanks to Kim and Robert!

 

P. S.  3 LIES is on sale for .99¢ through 5/31.   Kindle   ~  Nook   ~  iBooks (make sure price has changed at iBooks, first)

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