I can picture you, dear reader, right now saying, “Oh no, another rant about how he writes,” but you can be appeased as I will make this a quick entry and not one of encyclopedic proportions with every nook and cranny of the research bit I had to dig.
First off, you must be informed who to blame for this. Who but a dear friend would have put me up for this, right? Well, right. I’ve known Catherine Lea for a couple of years now. We met in a virtual gathering, a haven for beginners and experienced alike, named Backspace. Of course, she living in New Zealand and I in Honduras had prevented a face-to-face, but I think we know each other well, and we’re also fan of the other’s book.
My writing process is similar to the one she describes here, although with some differences:
First I come up with a theme, a title, the seed, whatever you want to call it. Usually, it begins with a what-if. As I was feeding a bottle to my then-six-month-old son, he spilled some milk over his lip forming a mustache, a rather short one that will forever be associated with the antichrist of World Word 2. So I though, he looks like Hitler, only by this time he should be his grandson. What would happen if Hitler had had children? Did you hear the click? I did, and that thought became the basis for a novel I wrote in Spanish titled Heir of Evil, about a fictional son of Adolf Hitler. The theme for FIREFALL, was the comeback road for a broken here, my first vision of the story was when my character loses his wife and son aboard a jetliner.
After I decide on a topic I sit down and write a short bullet list of the things that will happen, you know, the major shifts in the story. The list also serves as the basis for my subsequent chapter list that will serve as basis for the synopsis. That list also serves as a guide to pinpoint issues I need to research, define the characters—I confess it pretty much feels like holding a casting session for a Hollywood movie.
Then it is the writing of the first draft. This section of my process varies, it can be as short as forty days (well, rather nights), or it can expand over the course of years. It all depends on what other projects I have to work on. For writing I need a good space, and music. I don’t have a problem with people talking around me, I can tune them out. The only distraction is when they actually expect me to response. For instance, I’m writing this blog while sitting in a crowded restaurant and the TV is playing a football game, Brazil versus Colombia.
After the first draft is done, I print it, or transfer it to my kindle—the point is to use a different format, and work on the second draft. That draft is the one that goes to beta readers, trusted friends with no qualms to tell me where I’m wrong. Then it is out for final line-editing with another trusted friend.
At this stage it is when my two previous books started to be sent to agents and publishers, so there comes a period to follow the instructions on the back of the bottle of shampoo: rinse, wash, repeat.
For short stories that I have published directly at Amazon, the previous step is sort of skip over, but it is replaced for a more thorough set of revisions, searching for good cover artwork, and planning the promotion tour.
And that is it, in a nutshell.
During the very last Backspace Conference in 2013, author Jonathan Maberry told the attendance some serious truths, the one that stayed with me the most is this one: writing is an art, publishing is a business.
Now for the tagging, I’d like to exact my revenge—I mean tagging—on the following marvelous authors: J.E. Taylor, Ian Barker and Alex Shaw.
Now off to watch the most appropriate movie for today.