How To Write Fiction
(For the short term, I’m switching gears from Security Tips to How To Write Fiction. The big difference will be the How To Write Fiction material will be legit, educational presentations, while the Security Tips material has been more humor based, if not out and out insane.)
To make it up to the one person out there waiting to read Crawler:
I’m going to post as my blogs some chapters that were written, but are not going to be used in the final version of Crawler.
I usually write 4 times more material than I need, so there will be tons of plots, subplots, jokes, action, fights, shootings, and coffee at various Holiday Inn Express’ given away for free over the next couple of weeks.
I’m also going to offer up some writing tips. Letting you read unpolished pieces is a great way to explain the process I go through when I write.
If there’s anyone out there interested in writing, or knows someone interested in writing, it’s going to get all educational and stuff up in here.
To begin with, to start with learning’ ya’ll, I’m gonna use part of the very first chapter I wrote for Crawler. It ended up being cut of course.
I’m going to break the chapter up into three parts. It will be covered in the next three blogs.
SO BEGIN-ETH THE LESSON
I’ve been a professional writer for over thirty five years. And I have some definite opinions on How To Write Fiction.
There’s a simple process I believe in and I’m going to share it step by step as I share the extra material that didn’t make it into Crawler.
Of course, always keep in mind the first rule that is both dogma and soul crushing:
SHOW DON’T TELL
“Gina was nervous.”
It might be better to write:
“Gina tapped her pencil continuously.”
The above isn’t perfect. Just trying to give you an example.
Okay my process. My steps.
The first step is I look INSIDE my character.
I am looking for what the character is FEELING.
Not mood. Not what kind of mood.
What is the character FEELING?
How does does main character FEEL?
Angry? Sad? Relieved? Horrified? Happy? Joyful?
A combination of feelings?
How can you SHOW how your main character feels INSIDE?
When I write a scene for the first time, I try to sit in the middle of my character’s temporal lobe and absorb all of his/her emotions. The first draft should revolve around those emotions.
The second step is to measure the character’s level of self-awareness, and awareness of their affect on others, and awareness of the situation of the scene.
The character is looking OUTSIDE.
Gage, as a character, is hyper-selfaware, and also hyper-aware of the emotions, actions, and (educated guessed) thoughts of those around him.
As I go through a scene a second time, still in my main character’s head, I look outward.
I look OUTSIDE of the character.
Is the character aware of how their actions are affecting others? Are they clueless? Are they manipulating? Are they in control? Are they taking advantage? Do they joke? Do they see the situation as it is? As a threat? As an advantage?
Do they have any idea what the hell is actually happening?
SO END-ETH THE LESSON
There’s a lot more where this came from, so you’re gonna get a lot of free reading in the #crimefiction #crimeseries #vigilantejustice #vigilantefiction genre. Also #thriller and #mystery and #suspense and #mysteryhumorous.
MY THOUGHTS WHEN I WROTE THIS CHAPTER
- I had an idea in my head of using part of a story that really happened to someone I knew.
- The story started off strong, but went off the tracks along the way for some reason I couldn’t figure out.
- One thing I didn’t like about this chapter is that it made Gage sound weak for hiding from his father.
Three things I did like:
- The self-deprecating humor.
- The expertly drawn description and mood of the scene.
- The name Naomi.
Note: This chapter hasn’t been edited with a fine tooth comb for publishing. It’s barely been proofread. You’re getting some raw stuff. Don’t get your panties in a wad if it isn’t perfect.
Okay then. Part of the first CUT chapter from CRAWLER.
I’d been hiding from my father for three months.
By the way, being a fifty-three year old man hiding from his father does wonders for your self-esteem.
I’d been hold up in a Motel 6 in Hotashell, Florida, under a fake name, paying cash for everything, spending my days by the pool, warily watching any vehicle that slowed as it passed, and especially any that actually pulled into the parking lot.
I was always ready to bolt. Car keys on the table next to my lounge chair. Nothing in the room I needed. Completely mobile.
I was even prepared to disappear into the swampland behind the motel if necessary. I had bug spray taped to my butt.
To be honest, there was more to it than hiding to my father.
Five months ago, I’d lost two people that I’d come to think of as my family for the past thirty years. I’d been there when they died. An argument could be made I was responsible for their deaths.
I believed the argument.
Some would say my heart and soul were destroyed and would never recover.
An argument could be made for that too.
I wasn’t sure if I believed that argument. Some days I did. Some days I didn’t.
But in the wee morning hours, sitting alone in my room, listening to the dark, I always believed it.
I saw both of them die thousands upon thousands of times in my mind’s eye.
I’d gone soft, physically. Five months of inactivity, poor diet, and binge-watching Gilmore Girls doesn’t erase a whole lifetime of being a big strong guy with muscles.
But it didn’t help.
I was slower. I was maybe just a tiny bit smaller. Maybe just a tiny bit weaker.
But I think my skin cancer tan made me look better. So that made up for it. Like Billy Crystal used to say. It is better than to look good, than to feel good.
Two days ago, I’d been getting coffee in the matchbox size lobby of the Motel 6, and I heard the desk clerk talking on the phone.
I listened long enough to know someone in his extended family needed the kind of help that was my specialty.
I heard the name Ruby and I heard the town Spring Harbor, Kentucky. I heard the general gist of what was going on.
But I was still in hiding.
I was still grieving.
Didn’t want to be found.
Not yet. I had a lot of stuff to figure out.
First time in a long time I had my own problems. And I needed to focus on them. On myself. I had decisions to make. I had to find a way forward.
And maybe that didn’t include spending my life solving everyone else’s problems.
All which explained why I was standing in the multi-purpose room of the Spring Harbor Heavenly Fields assisted living facility two days after eavesdropping on the Motel 6 desk clerk.
If you haven’t read the first book in my vigilante thriller series of novellas, Take It Back, look to the right panel and sign up for my newsletter, and we’ll send you a free PDF. Or follow this link to sign up, and we’ll send you the free PDF. Thank you.
I always loved anything written by John D. McDonald, Robert Parker, Ross Thomas, Michael Connelly, John LeCarre, Lawrence Block, Sharyn McCrumb, Robert Crais, Ray Bradbury, Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, James Lee Burke, John Sanford, Dean Koontz, Lawrence Sanford, Nelson DeMille, Karin Slaughter, Carol O’Connell, or many others who captured my imagination.