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My Writing Process Blog Tour

Posted by Douglas Quinn on March 17, 2014 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (6)

Douglas Quinn

My Writing Process

Blog Tour

17 March 2014

 

Today is my day to post and participate in the continuing series “My Writing Process” Blog Tour. My writing colleague, Ashley Howland, a children’s book author from Australia, posted hers last week. You may read her blog on this subject at http://ahowland.org/wordpress/

What am I working on?

 

I’m a multi-tasker, which doesn’t sound so good for a fiction writer, but since I have the ability to compartmentalize my projects, closing down one and bringing up another (in my mind as well as on my computer), it works for me. Currently, I have six book projects in various stages of completion.

Samuel The Pioneer, the second book in my Ancestry Historical Fiction/ Adventure Series is in the final edit before submission for publication.

The Adventures of Summer McPhee of Ocracoke Island—The Pink Lady, the third book in this Children’s Chapter Book Series is completed and nearing the final editing stage.

Solstice The Determined Beagle—Long Journey Home, the second book of my Little Book For Little Readers Series, is completed. While Donna Higgins Colson works on the illustrations, I am in the third stage of the editing process.

Charles and Hero—The Dreadmen, the third book in this Purple Dragon Children’s Chapter Book Fantasy Series, is completed and ready to go to my line editor when she’s ready for it.

The Adventures of Quinn Higgins: Boy Detective—The Case of the Gray Ghost’s Belt Buckle, the sixth book in this Children’s Chapter Book Series is completed and with my line editor.

Egret’s Cove, the fourth book of my Webb Sawyer Mystery Series should be completed by the end of April this year with a publication date of early 2015 in mind.

In addition, I’m doing research for a stand-alone novel, which I refer to only as “Project X.”

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 

This is a strange question for me to answer since I work in more than one genre. My Webb Sawyer mysteries and the Ellis Family novels are influenced by other writers I’ve read over the years, and not just in the mystery/suspense/thriller crime genres.

My historical fiction/adventures series are based on stories from my ancestral past.

My children’s chapter book stories are influenced by conversations heard during school lunches with grandchildren and from local lore and stories from the “old-timers” in the community and from places I’ve visited.

You know the saying, “Write what you know.” Since writers follow that old adage then, ergo, each writer’s work is different no matter the genre.

 

Why do I write what I do?

 

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and read all of his novels, including Tarzan. I even picked and sold pecans to buy his books. As a teenager, I expanded my reading to everything from adventure to mysteries to fantasy and science fiction. I even enjoyed biographies and history. All the stories, both fact and fiction, and my own life experiences, stayed with me and, eventually, when I was finished raising a family and doing my entrepreneurial thing, like ERB once said, I decided,“I have stories to tell as good as the people writing these stories (at that time he was talking about the pulp magazines). I can find a story in anything and everything. An overheard conversation, an article in the paper, family history, a thought that pops into my mind; they all conjures up tales to tell.


How does my writing process work?

 

Generally, I do a minimum amount of research before I start the book. I’ve always been thinking about the plot line, settings and characters for some time—sometimes years. I’m not a writer who agonizes over every word, sentence and paragraph. For me, doing that would make the writing stiff and contrived. I access the narrative and dialogue I’ve already stored in my mind and write very quickly. I iron everything out in the editing process. Each book, whether it’s a 125 page children’s chapter book, or a 300 to 400 page novel, the editing process is the same. I print out the rough draft for each chapter, give it to my wife to read and edit. I then give it two hard edits, then pass it on to my editor, who sends it back with edits, editorial remarks, questions and suggestions. I input the chapter edits, give it another edit of my own, then put it aside as I work on the rest of the book, until the work is completed. Then I give the whole work a sixth edit. Then put it aside (as I’m always working on other book projects). Usually, three or four months later I bring the manuscript back off my pending shelf and give it a final edit (number seven), then send it to the publisher. The eighth and final edit is the galley proof. As I’ve said many times, the writing is the fun and easy part of writing a book; it’s the editing process that’s work.

 

To continue this My Writing Process Blog Tour, go to:

 

J. R. Lindermuth at http://www.jrlindermuth.net and www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth


Kevin Tipple at www.kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com


Brenda Wynn at https://www.facebook.com/ChroniclesOfElydir" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.facebook.com/ChroniclesOfElydir

30 Years in the Making

Posted by Douglas Quinn on September 26, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (1)

30 Years in the Making

Brenda Wynn’s Journey

Writing the Fantasy Epic

Silverdream and Bloodfire

Book I of the Chronicles of Elydir

by Douglas Quinn

 

I first met Brenda Wynn in 2004. She was working on a book project in the romance/fantasy genre and was having creative difficulties with the independent publisher (and I use the word “publisher” advisedly). When I told her I had negotiated many publishing agreements in the past, she asked me to review her contract with this fellow. The contract was one-sided (in his favor) and she didn’t have her heart into the project since the publisher wanted her to portray the female protagonist, who was based on herself, to be weak and helpless. This didn’t sit well with her. Long story short, I suggested she dump this guy (there was no penalty for her to do so) and go back to her unfinished fantasy novel.

Actually, to say it was unfinished is an understatement. She had only written the beginning of what turned out to be a 135,000+ word epic fantasy novel entitled Silverdream and Bloodfire. She sent me the prologue and first four extremely long chapters (to that point, all she had written) to read and get back to her with my comments. Little did I know that was the beginning of what has become (to date) an eight-year relationship, not only where we each have provided quid-pro-quo editorial services for each other, but have become good friends.

It was 1981 and Brenda was in the 9th grade when she wrote the basic outline for Silverdream and Bloodfire. A year later she began writing the story. Her work on the novel was inconsistent, writing in fits and starts as a thought hit her. There are some writers whose work is top secret, hidden away while they write, as if embarrassed to let even their friends and family in on their endeavor, afraid of what someone might think or say about what they were doing. Not Brenda. At various points along the journey, she showed or sent what she had written to various friends for their feedback, only to get statements like, “It’s a good story,” or, “You need more details,” without any specifics. As most writers know, budding novelists are not taken serious by anyone until they see the book on Amazon or on a shelf in Barnes and Noble.

This disrespect and lack of interest led Brenda into long periods of reflection and second-guessing about her writing and there were long periods of time–sometimes lasting years–when she didn’t write at all. Yet, she persevered. What drove her to keep after it? She says it was because she couldn’t get the story out of her mind. That may be part of it, but I think there is something else that motivated her; the character she created named Amanda Jennings, also known in the fantasy world of Elydir as Amen-Jen. It is Amanda/Amen-Jen with whom Brenda has a special bond.

Brenda was born with a condition called myelomeningocele, more commonly known as spina bifida, the most severe form of the medical problem. Consequently, she has spent most of her life confined to a wheelchair. For those unfamiliar with spina bifida, it is a birth defect in which the spinal column and the spinal canal do not close before birth. Her character, Amanda Jennings, is also confined to a wheelchair. Through a series of events, Amanda is transported to the fantasy world of Elydir where she finds that she has the ability to walk. It is on this point that the work transfers itself from the standard good vs. evil quest plot line to that of a character-driven novel in the person of Amen-Jen.

However, it is the unusual twist and moral perplexity that Brenda offers the reader that makes this novel special. Because of an unusual set of circumstances set forth in the fantasy world, a young man named Prince Kelvan is performing the Bloodfire ritual while, at the same time in the real world, Amanda Jennings is performing the Silverdream ritual. Both are shocked to find themselves in the other’s world. And while in the fantasy world Amanda Jennings/Amen-Jen can now walk, in the real world, Prince Kelvan cannot.

The moral dilemma comes into play at the end of the novel, after Amen-Jen has performed the dangerous quest originally planned for Prince Kelvan. Amen-Jen, along with the high priest, Lord Kantis, is pressured by Kelvan’s mother, Queen Talitha, to find a way to return her son to Elydir. The only problem is, Amen-Jen is afraid that to do so would require her to return to her world where, once again, she will be unable to walk. This premise is what makes the novel so interesting.

Now Brenda has begun Book II of the Chronicles of Elydir, a novel she calls Smoke and Mirrors. She tells me that one or more of the antagonists in Silverdream and Bloodfire are already plotting deeds that will, I imagine, not bode well for Amen-Jen.

Unlike myself, who writes as if there is no tomorrow, Brenda still writes in fits and starts. Where I hone in on a project like a laser beam, Brenda is easily frustrated and distracted with her job as a medical transcriptionist/quality assurance specialist, as well as medical and other issues with family and friends. Maybe it’s the age difference–I’m much older and retired from the daily grind. That said, she has accomplished a lot in finishing this epic first novel.

Throughout my writing career, many people have said to me, “I’ve been thinking about writing a book,” (I won’t give you my standard cryptic reply). They never do. Brenda Wynn is the exception. She thought about it, then wrote a terrific debut novel. Maybe it was the 30 years in the making that made it the successful work it has become. I hope it won’t be another 30 years before we can read Book II.

 

 

March Newsletter Information

Posted by Douglas Quinn on March 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Item  #1

Anyone who visits this site and registers as a site member will receive a 20% coupon for any Douglas Quinn novels and children’s chapter books published in 2012 (good through December 31, 2012).

Book/s purchased with your assigned coupon number will be signed by the author and shipped free of charge.

Item #2

March Release: The Adventures of Quinn Higgins: Boy Detective--The Case of Blackbeard’s Treasure

April Release: The Adventures of Summer McPhee of Ocracoke Island--The Midnight Skulker

May Release: Swan’s Landing: a Webb Sawyer Mystery

Item #3

All currently published Douglas Quinn novels and children’s chapter books published through 2011 are now available at the East Albemarle Regional Library System. Review and place hold for check out at: http://www.earlibrary.org/TLCScripts/interpac.dll?Search

Item #4

All currently published Douglas Quinn novels and children’s chapter books published through 2011 are now available at the East Albemarle Regional Library System. Review and place hold for check out at: http://www.earlibrary.org/TLCScripts/interpac.dll?Search

Item #5

All Douglas Quinn’s novels published through 2011 are now available on Kindle at www.amazon.com. Simply type in the key words “Douglas Quinn.”

 


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