What I'm working on

Lisa de Nikolits.jpg

Lisa de Nikolits tagged me with four questions making the rounds on authors' blogs. As my recent dearth of posts will indicate, I haven't had a ton of time for blogging, but when Lisa asks for something...? Well, her 10,000-watt smile makes it pretty hard to say no. Besides, this may be what it takes to get me back on the blog. You can find Lisa at Goodreads here, and my answers below.

Melissa Yuan-Innes.jpg

Next up, I've tagged Melissa Yuan-Innes, a prolific multi-genre author who somehow manages to squeeze ER doctoring into an uber-packed life. And here's her post on the tour.

As for me...

What am I working on?

I’m doing the second rewrite of Ka-boom, sequel to my novel Stinking Rich. In it, a favorite secondary character from the first novel becomes the protagonist in a story about a bible camp gone bad. I sketched much of the plot line at novella length a couple years ago, which has given the characters plenty of time to percolate and take up residence in my mind. As with Stinking Rich, most of them are a bit wacko, others flat-out deranged. It’s time to wring them out onto the page—before they make me bonkers, too.

How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I write crime fiction laced with black comedy, told largely from the point of view of the criminals. My protagonist is often a good person who does bad things, as opposed to someone living a criminalized life per se. Some readers have confessed they found themselves torn between rooting for the protagonist and hoping the antagonist came out okay as well. I’ll take that!

Why do I write what I do?

I write to entertain. I’m the kind of guy who reads local papers for the small stories, the petty crimes, the folks who win—or lose?—the Darwin Awards. I like to get into the heads of those people and imagine what drives them. I don’t think they get up in the morning and say, “I wonder what stupidity I’ll engage in today.” And yet, they do. As for my own mistakes, I laugh at them the loudest, pray they never make the news, and fob the odd one off on my less fortunate characters.

How does my writing process work?

At first draft and for early revisions, I write blind. By that, I mean I start from a vague idea about a place, a person, an event, and I let one thought follow the next pretty unfiltered. After that, it’s all about honing. If I discover on a rewrite that two characters work better together in a different relationship, I’ll peel them apart and put them back together. If a plot twist doesn’t seem plausible, I’ll find another way to get the story where it wants to go.

As far as daily routine, I’m working on it. My fingers find the keyboard pretty much every day, but I do most of my rewriting long-hand on a working copy of the manuscript. I edit best standing up with music on loud. Alternately, I dial it down and read everything out loud, listening for cadence, verisimilitude in dialogue, and active voice. I’ve never enjoyed work more.