I am humbled to be invited by author, Jerrie Brock, to be one of two authors to follow her post of last week on a Blog Hop. (Check out Jerrie’s site and posting at http://www.jerriebrock.com… It’s worth a visit.) The Blog Hop is called #My Writing Process, and I have been instructed to answer the four following questions: 1.What am I currently working on? 2. How does my work differ from others in my genre? 3. Why do I write? 4. How does my writing process work?
As a follow up to my post, I have invited two additional authors to post to #MyWritingProcess next week on August 11. Meet Ed DeVos and Victoria Randall following my answers to these questions.
I hope you, the reader, find my answers enlightening. Here goes.
What am I currently working on?
I am currently near completion of the first draft for a historic novel, Breaking Liberator’s Shackles. I anticipate publishing no later than January, 2015. The novel focuses on an American airman who endured seventeen months of brutality in a Japanese POW camp located in Rangoon, Burma. The tentative back cover blurb follows:
Grant Metzger’s nightmares ceased almost two decades ago… until this past night. Memories locked away have surfaced. Brutalities he and hundreds of other POWs suffered at the hands of Japanese soldiers are vivid again. Terror of war-time imprisonment torments him, but now new fears compound his emotions.
His son, Doug, is to deploy to Vietnam. A Green Beret, he is likely to operate behind enemy lines. Grant is horrified his son could be captured and endure struggles similar to Grant’s tortured past. Since a military debriefing following his captivity, Grant still refuses to speak with anyone about the experience. Engulfed in anxiety for his son’s future, Grant must share horrors of the past. Doug’s life may depend on it.
Breaking Liberator’s Shackles is a historical novel of endurance… an accounting we must remember.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
Historical fiction, as I write it, places my characters into the fabric of a historically significant conflict. I do not intend to establish who was right or who was wrong… the reader may make that decision. I concentrate on each character’s experiences and emotions interfaced with the cultural conditions causing conflict.
The ultimate conflict of my novel, The Blanket Hill Insurgency, is the shooting of four students by National Guardsmen at Kent State University, but the slowly developing clash between the establishment and an emerging culture is the real story. My approach is to follow everyday activities and events of young adults as a divide grows finally resulting in tragedy. As author Susan Ward wrote in a review posted on Amazon, “Unlike too many authors, Terry Wilson Does Not over play a single card. Instead of rushing in and painting epic, romanticized tales of the 60s, he tells his tale simply and with great honesty. It is a story worth telling, worth reminding us all of, and a story that would have been diminished if told in any other way.”
Understanding conflict so many POWs experienced during and following the Second World War is the focus of Breaking Liberator’s Shackles. Scheduled for publication no later than January, 2015, I delve into what could cause an ex prisoner of war to refuse to tell anyone… including his family… about the horrors inflicted on him. After years of silence… to possibly protect his son… he tells his story.
Why do I write?
Writing consumes a substantial amount of my time, and as a retired architect who had a fast-pace and hectic schedule, I need to stay busy or go insane. I started writing fiction (a novel and short stories) in the sixties during free time while I served in the army… getting drunk everyday did not appeal to me. Architecture and fiction writing both requires creativity, and it comes naturally for me. Historic fiction requires creativity closer in kind to architecture creativity than does other genres. In successful architecture all creativity must take a backseat to project requirements such as fulfilling a client’s functional requirements, the laws of physics, budgets, codes and the like… clients still expected creativity. Historic fiction is similar… there is no clean slate. Historic facts, places and figures create a structure the writer’s creativity is bound by. I don’t have to create the historic events, but the fiction has to realistically mesh with them.
How does my writing process work?
The process I use to create a novel has evolved from no set process to what I consider a bit unique. When I first started, I knew the story I wanted to tell, and I would begin at the beginning trudging forward. This required substantial rewrites of earlier parts of the novel to properly set the scenes for what would develop as additional pages emerged.
Currently I use a different approach. Following my determining the story I wish to tell, I concentrate my writing on what used to be the last task.
I start with a tentative pitch… the back cover blurb… a very short presentation of what the reader will be able to expect while reading my novel. The reason I start here is twofold. First: the completed pitch helps to keep my storytelling focused. Second: the writing of a pitch once a novel is completed is almost as difficult as writing a complete novel; it becomes a Herculean task to present in one hundred to three hundred words something doing justice to thousands of words (in the case of The Blanket Hill Insurgency 104,000 words).
The next task for me… rather than starting with the first chapter… I write the final chapter. This is what all other chapters lead to, and if the end of the story is going to be successful, all preceding writing must properly set up the ending.
With the end focused, I next write the first draft of all earlier chapters. I have found this method eliminates writers’ block… I already know where the story must go, and the only nonproductive time I have is when I feel like being lazy. Once the first draft is complete, the story is complete, but the book is a long way from being ready to publish.
My next task I consider the most important. I focus on making certain I produce a page turner. I want every reader to become engrossed with the story and characters. Every line of the draft becomes a target for a rewrite as I ask myself many questions. Am I showing the story or telling it? If I’m telling it, there is a problem. Description of settings must be told with action… for an example rather than “a cold wind blew” the rewrite would state “he raised the collar of the jacket shielding the cold bite of the wind.” Are my characters believable and capable of evoking reader empathy? My desire is to let the reader understand them, their actions and care for them… even the antagonist(s) I create. Do I show the story through human senses? I focus on character thoughts and what they see, smell, hear and feel (like my earlier comment about the wind).
Because I write historical fiction, the writing process I describe follows another very important task… research. Historical figures, facts and settings must be accurate, and the fictional story must mesh with truth.
NEXT WEEK’S AUTHORS:
Now meet two other talented authors who will participate in this Blog Hop next Monday, August 11. Ed DeVos who authors inspirational historic fiction and Victoria Randall writing in her most recent genre of dystopian thriller will answer the same four questions on their websites. Information for these authors follows:
Author of The Stain: Crisis in Conscience and The Chaplain’s Cross: Crisis in Conscience- An Inspirational Historical Novel – http://www.eddevosauthor.com
Ed DeVos, a decorated military officer, is an experienced writer of thought-provoking historical fiction. His prior work, The Stain, is the story of the Roman Centurion at the Cross. A Bible teacher and military historian, he speaks to groups near his South Carolina home, where he and his wife, Susan, reside.
A copy of my review posted on Amazon for The Stain: Crisis in Conscience follows:
The Stain is a powerful novel told through the point of view of the Roman Centurion who is charged with the crucifixion of Jesus. Paralleling events depicted in the New Testament, the Holy Land comes to life as Ed DeVos places the reader into believable and well researched settings. The main character, a man of strong principles dedicated to his duty as a soldier of the Roman Empire, struggles with events and miracles he experiences attributed to Jesus. His duty forces him to serve and follow orders from Herod and Pilate leading to questioning of his own convictions. The story is well developed with excellent dialog and descriptive settings and actions. This is a novel that is well worth the read.
Author of Get on Board Little Children and Come on Home, Children in addition to The Witchstone and The Ring of the Dark Elves – http://getonboardlittlechildren.wordpress.com
Victoria Randall lives with her husband and youngest children in Seattle, where she works in the medical field. A graduate of Oberlin College, she is the author of The Witchstone, The Ring of the Dark Elves and the Children in Hiding series. She believes in the power of story, especially science fiction and fantasy, to help us appreciate the textures of our own reality and create new visions for our lives.
A copy of my review posted on Amazon for Come on Home, Children follows:
Out of the creative imagination of the mind of Victoria Randall we look thirty years into the future. Technology has advanced to include hover cars, sensory music and small pocket-size gadgets that quickly expand into laptop computers. Invention has enhanced lifestyle…. That is, if you’re a legal citizen. Because of years of unwed mothers placing a strain on society, the No Unwanted Children Act has become law. A license is required to have a child, and children born without a license are placed in Retention Children Centers. If not adopted prior to their seventeenth birthday, they are conscripted to work in factories as non-citizens.
Come on Home Children follows a girl, Willa, who escapes from a Children Center and struggles to make a life for herself, as an illegal, and for her young daughter. Catastrophe strikes when her daughter is seized by the state and placed into the Children Center and is scheduled for adoption. With help from a young man who has affection for Willa, the two connive formulating a complicated and ingenious plan to rescue Willa’s daughter. The path to success is blocked by numerous unanticipated obstacles. The journey through the pages of this novel is fast paced, well written and very believable. I enjoyed the read; I only put the manuscript aside long enough to catch a sandwich and grab many cups of coffee. Come on Home Children is a page turner.