How did you do it?
Think of a high concept. For me, that’s the ability to tap into the internet with your mind. So you can surf the internet the way you peruse your own memory today.
Try to remember the lyrics to a song. Might take a few seconds, then you remember. You find that information in your brain, obviously. Sort of a local hard drive, to use computer terms.
Now imagine you’re transparently tapped into the Global internet 24x7. Try to remember the lyrics to a song. They’re there instantly. Feels like you found them in your brain, just like before. But you didn’t. You found the words on a server in Germany. Doesn’t matter, all transparent to you.
Characters make a great story.
For me, anyway, it’s all about the characters. I’ll give a book 50 to 100 pages. By then if I haven’t connected with at least some of the characters then I generally won’t finish the book. Unless, maybe, the plot is just a killer, like The Da vinci Code, or something like that. Preferably, I’m looking for the protagonist to blow me away because most of the time you are reading from his/her point of view.
But occasionally it’s enough if the antagonist is blowing me away, such as the Hannibal series by Thomas Harris.
Now, you put together a novel that has two or three characters that I can identify with? Or more? That’s a novel I’m not going to put down.
Character driven plot – rare gems these days
They make the best TV and movies too. Think about Breaking Bad – hell yes the story is outstanding. But the cast, the cast! Walter, Jessie – sure. But also Hank, Skylar, the various villains. So you don’t mind when they switch scenes because the cast is great so all of the subplots are intriguing.
For my own novel, I probably relate to Mitch the most since I was in the Navy and I had similar discussions with my mother. My Mom always pushed me hard to get an education.
But I am most entertained by Cheslov. And most surprised by him. He is the character everyone who reads my novel seems to talk about. Some are darkly drawn to him. Most found him fascinating in his evilness. But he’s the one people remember. Me too.
Confidence is key
Just know that if you get in front of the keyboard at the right time of day for you, then you’ll write. Think about your characters, where the story is going to go. You don’t have to have it all planned out. It doesn’t have to be the next Da Vinci Code in terms of plot development. It just has to flow, to take on a life of it’s own.
Don’t start off thinking about how the hell you’re going to write a 300 page novel. Just start off and let the journey occur. Think about it and make your characters come alive and write their thoughts and lives and then let the interactions occur and you’ll be amazed and surprised and hopefully delighted by the results.
OK – so you have the high concept. Now what? Well, you have to have conflict. For me, I created a moral dilemma between the protagonist, the ‘monster’ Cheslov, and a local politician who thinks he has a direct connect with God.
Next – ratchet up the tension at every opportunity. I made my protagonist an ex-Navy seal so he could pretty much deal with anything. Made Cheslov part wolf, paranormal. Then went into detail explaining how screwed up the politician is, he’s hooked on drugs due to his wife’s death, etc. Keep ratcheting up.
Then create an outline – and write, write, write to fill in the outline. Don’t worry about adjectives or effect or the best dialogue or even grammar/punctuation.
My initial draft took 3 months to write. Then finishing the novel took another 3 years.
Oh – and don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft. It will suck, indeed.
I finished the first draft and put it down and thought – hey, this has got to be one of the best books EVER. The agents will be beating down my door when they get so much as a whiff of this manuscript! So I set it aside and took a little break. Felt like I was on top of the world.
A month later I opened the manuscript and started printing and reading (you must print and read to get the full effect. Not good enough to read a word doc directly from the computer. Better yet, print and read out loud to understand how the dialogue really sounds – helps avoid unrealistic speech. Example: “What is up with that” quickly becomes “What’s up with that” when you’re reading aloud).
Anyway, I started reading and was horrified at how bad it was. Thus started the 3 year polishing cycle.
Creating the initial draft is the hardest. The initial overall idea of what your book is going to be about. Who are the characters, what’s the high concept, where will the conflict come from.
Once you get past that and start writing, it gets easier.
And once you get that initial draft completed – then it’s fun. Truly. From that point forward, you only need to polish. Just pick you’re your gem every few days and polish for a few minutes. Hear someone say something funny at the mall, consider a tree limb in a park and how you might describe it, smell a familiar smell and let your mind run – all of these ‘experiences’ … feel them and bring them back into your novel as you polish and make it shine and breathe life into it. That’s the best part. Oh, it’s so hard to get that gem established at first. But once you do, it’s your gem. And it may never sell, it may never make millions of dollars – but it’s your gem and you can publish it and you can get it in print and you can show your friends and one day your children and one day, many years from now, you’ll read that work as a different person, as an older person. You’ll wonder who wrote that? You’ll be amazed all over again.
Greg Kiser is happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, and has two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.
Greg graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Greg also earned his MBA from the University of South Florida. He is currently a Director at Cisco, a high tech fortune 50 multinational corporation.
Greg has written extensively for fortune 50 high tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.
Book Title – inSyte
Genre – Paranormal Thriller
Format – Print & E-book
Released – May 13, 2011
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - http://www.gkiser.com/gk/HOME.html
Blog - http://gregkiserinsyte.blogspot.com/
Paperback - http://www.amazon.com/inSyte-suddenly-answers-interesting-questions/dp/0615484875/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1328135846&sr=1-1-catcorr
Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/inSyte-ebook/dp/B004YWKIB6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328135846&sr=1-1
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