Answer the four questions below, link back to the person who invited you, and link to the people who will be posting the following Monday.
Too many things. I’m writing the sequel to “Out of Nowhere,” my story about an immortal healer hiding out in a paramedic’s uniform. My second book, “In Every Clime and Place” is being formatted and should be out within the month. It’s a near future s/f space Marine story. I’m plugging away at another fantasy short which I’m serializing on WriterLot. It’s a pulpy, old school sword and sorcery thing done in the vein of Leiber’s “Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser” tales. I have a handful of these, and pretty soon they may wind up bundled in to a collection.
My urban fantasy story is devoid of werewolves or vampires. It’s got more in common with a detective story as far as style and feel. Except the protagonist isn’t a detective, really, he just is thrown into a situation where he has to investigate a threat. And I think I keep the scale smaller than a lot of urban fantasy. Our hero isn’t saving the world, just his life and his friends. Which, when you think about it, is plenty, really.
My fantasy stories are closer to the old pulp shorts. Again, the focus is small, close. The characters are thieves, adventurers. It’s not about saving the world or defeating a Dark Lord. It’s about making a score, making enough to pay the next weeks rent, the next bar tab. I think the intimacy of focus helps the reader identify with the characters. Most of us aren’t saving the world, we’re just scraping by, protecting those close to us. Having to confront personal threats, and make choices about what lines we’ll cross to meet those threats is fascinating to me. And it hits home, because while we may not have sword fights in dark alleys, we do confront those lines and dilemmas in our daily lives, and the decisions we make reveal our character. And create our character.
My space Marines story, “In Every Clime and Place,” is unique, I think, in that the protagonist isn’t an officer, like we’re used to seeing in Space Opera. He isn’t a ship’s captain or a platoon leader. He’s a corporal, an enlisted man in a grunt platoon, with just enough rank to have people he’s responsible for. So he experiences some of the burden of command while still being at the fore. Again, I wanted the reader to be there in the mud, with sore feet, at the point of the spear.
So I guess the common thread of how my writing differs, is that I write in genres that are usually epic, but my characters experience those events in a close, small, personal scale.
Because nobody else will.
I feel I have a story to tell, and I tell it. I don’t set out to write a story, I just get an idea and run with it.
It’s a mess.
I start with an idea. Sometimes it’s just a situation or a character. Then I sit down and start writing. I don’t plan the story, or outline, I just kinda scribble. I call it my Blitzkrieg theory of writing. I drive to the sea, getting to the end of the story and cutting off the BEF. I bypass the tough points and leave them to be mopped up by the follow on forces in the second edit.
Long ago, when I started my first book, I kept revising and rewriting as I went. Instead of a complete draft, I wound up with a first chapter than had been rewritten six times. Revising stalls me, and every new thing I write forces me to go back and revise everything earlier, so it turns into a vicious circle.
So now, I just write. If I can’t figure out how to make a scene work, I leave a placeholder and write the next scene. As I write, I get into a creative mode and the story takes shape. Then, when I get to the end, I go back and fill in the gaps, smooth over the joints and fix the inconsistencies.
As far as how I work, I don’t set word count goals. I put time aside to write, and it goes how it goes. Sometimes I get things really flowing and I can tear through pages, sometimes it’s a struggle. I’ll write a sentences, walk around the room, get a cup of coffee, write another sentence. It can be grueling. The important thing is to put aside that time and force myself to write, even if it’s a slow, uphill struggle. Most of “Out of Nowhere” was written at the ambulance base between calls. I was working two jobs at the time and our son had just been born, so free time was rare and precious. I just brought my laptop to work and if we weren’t running emergencies, I’d chip away at the book.
Now I have more time because my son is in school, so I try to write when he’s away. I don’t want to miss out on his childhood because I’m banging away on a keyboard. I still bring the laptop to work and write there when I can.
Be sure to check out answers from Ren Waron and Ray Coulombe next Monday