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.by