Putting “Pen” to “Paper”

Scott fav 2013 smPutting Pen to Paper

The Writing Process or pen to paper

When you think about authoring a book, what comes to mind?  Do you see a frustrated writer, head in hands, staring at a blank page?  Do you wonder, “What should I say?”  Perhaps you see, in your mind, as I have, the vast quantities of books at Barnes and Noble or the library and wonder, “Who would buy my book?”  These barriers to putting words on paper are not insurmountable.  What should you do?  Sit down at your computer and start to write.

I have read books on “how” to write, but I have found that I have my own way of going about it.  So do you.  You may need to prepare an outline, write out all of you characters, define your plots and develop a story board before you begin.  For me, I just need the kernel of an idea.  I start writing and let the plot and subplots formulate in my mind as I go.  My first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” began after writing a series of prose sketches I titled, “As I Walk.”  I merely wrote my observations and thoughts about the surroundings of the bike path where I exercised daily.  If I were in a different city I wrote about the walk there.  It sounds dull, and, in fact is rather bland, but it exercised my mind and my powers of observation.  Eventually I began to ask myself the question, “What if?”  “What if I took that path?”  What if I stopped to talk with that person?” and finally “What if I found a murder victim in the ditch beside the path?”  That was the initial premise for “A Step Ahead of Death.”

Once I had the premise or idea, my imagination began filling in details.  My characters appeared as I wrote.  Some are similar to people who are close to me.  Dr. Jack Sharp is the main character.  He, like I am, is a family physician.  He resides in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Hm, that’s my location.  But Jack is not me.  Jack has his own personality and likes, dislikes, abilities and history.  Writing about things I understand (medical practice, military service, mission work) is the easy part.  Research is necessary to retain realism in areas where my experience is lacking.

My second book, “Congo Mission,” came more easily than my first.  I began writing it before my first book was even published.  The idea of a doctor in The Congo as a missionary was nothing new.  My family and I spent over a year there in the 1980s.  Again, life experience made writing fiction possible.  In this novel, Jack is twenty years younger than in “A Step Ahead of Death.”  He goes to Congo to work as a short-term missionary in a hospital in the middle of the jungle.  The similarities to my past end there.  Jack has experiences that are very realistic, though fictional.  The subplots raise the level of intrigue and interest as there is an antagonist to Jack, the protagonist.  There is also a connection with the first novel making it possible to read either book first without spoiling them.

Publishing books is another major undertaking, but it has been a rewarding and enjoyable adventure.   I will cover this in my next communication.  My books are available in multiple places and formats.  The e-book versions are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.com.  Amazon also carries both books in paperback versions.

Sit down today at your computer and just begin writing or pick up that pen and scrawl your first lines on your notepad.  You may have the next best-seller waiting at your fingertips.

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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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