I’m often asked about my writing. Here’s the breakdown of my three most FAQs:
How I Got Started: When I was five years old, my mother worked from home as a typist. All day I’d hear the "click-clack" of the typewriter (this was before home computers and printers) as she typed up pages and pages of labels for direct mailings. When she got to the last row of the bottom of the column, I got to type in the zip code. I was still learning my numbers, and my reward for a correct answer was being allowed to type that number. That said, it probably took me anywhere from one to two minutes to type those five digits. A far cry from my mother’s eighty words per minute.
When my father got home from work, he’d remove the typing ribbon and let me have at it. I would sit at my mom’s desk, located in our kitchen, and pound away on the keys, pretending to write awesome stories that everyone wanted to read.
Once I started school and learned the basics of reading and writing, there was no stopping me. As a young child, I was constantly reading the Encyclopedia Brown series (Donald J. Sobol) and the Choose Your Own Adventure books (R.A. Montgomery). As any writer will tell you, reading is a part of writing. I’m still reading as much as time allows. My wife and I have made a decision to no longer watch TV in the evenings, now we have a lot more time to read.
Why Do I Write: This question has a simple answer—because I have to. I can’t see myself doing anything else. Believe me, I’ve tried many other professions. There were many years spent in restaurants, machine shops, warehouses, and retail, and every day while going through the motions to earn a paycheck, there was a story eating away at me. I spent much of my time counting the hours until I could race home and write them down.
On my breaks, I’d spend my time filling up a notebook with ideas, dialogues, scenes, and outlines. In later years, I was leaving myself messages on my answering machine which evolved into recording ideas into my cell phone.
Mainly I write because I enjoy it. With non-fiction it’s the process of researching and organizing data, interviewing people, and discovering things unknown or forgotten. In fiction, it’s creating characters, painting pictures with words, plot twists, and surprise endings. Some of my writing takes years to accomplish while other works are written in two weeks.
For example, my horror novel Necropolis Knights: The Gravetime Society of Seven Cemetery took more than thirty years to complete. Mind you, some of those years the manuscript was sitting on the back burner, yet the characters and storyline were always in/on my mind.
It started out as a short story (nine pages to be exact). I shared it with a small writer’s group in the early 1990s and was left with the feeling that they wanted more. So, from there I began to add to the story, introduced a couple more characters, and it grew into one hundred twenty pages. From that point, I had it go through a critique and took the suggestions made to heart and then started the daunting process of sending it to publishers.
It was still a snail-mail process and I got nowhere. After rewriting the story—again—I went with a company who critiqued the story and received some valuable advice. Then, I took another twist with my story.
I wrote it as a movie script. In my mind, this story always played out as a movie. I never finished the movie script but in 2016, I finally got serious with the story—again—and in 2018 it was published!
Looking back, I think I was attached to the characters and felt I was one of them, experiencing everything right there with them and didn’t want it to end.
My latest book, The Little Black Book of SINS, is much different. I had the idea for a long time, but never acted on it. Then one day it just all poured out. I constructed a brief outline in Scrivener and started to create each character. Two weeks later, the book was ready for review, then it went to an editor, and was published (one month prior to Necropolis Knights).
My Writing Routine: Truth be told, I don’t have a set routine. I don’t have a certain hour or two set aside every day to write but I’m writing all the time. No longer do I have to wait. When a thought hits me, I write it down. If a scene is playing out in my head, I write it down.
Most of the time, I write in the morning, sometimes with a hot cup of chai. Other times, I’m up late at night clicking away on the keyboard.
My wife and I try to sit for an hour with no distractions—no TV, no phone, no social media, and spend that time writing instead. We also include writing time as sending out queries, researching agents, and putting together an outline. On average, when I’m in a writing groove, I hit about a thousand words an hour.
So there it is, how I got started, why I write, and my routine. I’m just a writer, like you!
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