Sharing my Writing Process–an Experiment of Sorts!

photo (19) Fellow writers and readers: grab a corner booth and sit down! My friend Keanan Brand, writer of epic fantasy, has challenged me to a reveal of my writing process. And I’ve accepted! My writing process is not a tidy one, it is “a poor thing, but mine own.” But if it gets the job done, it’s how I roll.

I’m using the Q and A framework posted by Keanan at Adventures in Fiction .

Q: What are you working on?

A:  What I’m writing is a novel I never thought I would attempt. It’s a mystery thriller featuring a mentalist, a wager, and six people who are thrown into a situation filled with choices and a life-changing game. I don’t want to give away too much, that’s a very short summary.

I didn’t think I would write about mentalism or hypnosis, because my primary voice up to this point has been in horror and suspense fiction. However, once the idea was sparked, the book began to come alive.

I would also love to create a short comedy screenplay or novel about life in a retail setting.

Q: How does your work differ from others of its genre?

A: Tough question. Most thrillers tend to be all action, or a mix of action/cognition. My novel is more like the latter–it delves into the characters’ thoughts and motivations. And it mixes historical ideas with more modern ones: a nice dark blend of fact and fiction, interwoven into the plot. I’ve been told that not a lot of research has been done in some of the areas I want to explore in this book. So I’m searching out sources with care, and looking at similarities in research situations to draw ideas from.

Q: Why do you write what you do?

A: I’ve always been fascinated with the genres I mentioned above. But I wasn’t interested in magic or mentalism till last year. I saw a program which sparked my interest, even if I was sure I was looking at clever television production as well as true mentalist’s art. Actually, good film production IS like magic…but don’t let me get off the subject.

I write about people’s deepest thoughts and fears. I write about their hopes and dreams, and their journey. Because I have been through some of these things I write about, and have searched out the answers. Sometimes the question I asked was never answered. I write for the “inquiring brain” that enjoys adventure, questioning, and deep ideas.

Q: How does your writing process work?

A: For years, I was able to whip up short stories and articles at on a whim. Too bad I was not employed as a writer then! Today’s process–at least for the novel in progress–is a slower one.

I realized that I knew nothing about hypnotism when I began to write the first chapter of my novel. I blithely wrote down my impressions of a TV show I had seen. It looked so simple! Then I set off into the wilds of the Internet to find hypnotists to interview. I found, to my pleasant surprise, four interviewees who either performed stage mentalism or were hypnotherapists, and they went above and beyond to give me the best look at what this type of phenomenon really is. To my dismay, I had to re-write chapter one: all my “TV knowledge” was a sham.

Nothing beats talking to real people about their jobs. I’m extremely grateful to my interviewees!

After tallying up everyone’s views and experiences, I tried to use the basic ideas they held in common (and have probably favored some opinions over others).

So besides referring to my notebooks, I research in the directions I was pointed to. I write in chapter or half-chapter “chunks” and revise almost immediately. I write at least twice a week. As much as I’d like to hurry, I know that good work can’t be rushed. But I set deadlines for myself anyway!

I hope to independently publish my work in 2015 or 2016. I’m not sure if I will publish under this name or my real one. In any case, I’ll be sharing links to the work here.

Thanks for “sharing a booth” with me at this writer’s chat!




SuSAn: a novel of robots and the future–free preview download

Looking for something new to read? Download a FREE preview copy of Fred Rothanganger’s book here. Available in Kindle, EPUB and PDF Formats.

I’ve helped with editing this work for the past year and I highly recommend it!

Get ready for an amazing science fiction adventure featuring SuSAn, a robot with a mission: “SuSAn is the first, a prototype for the race of sentient machines. Beautiful, clever and rebellious, she embraces life on her own terms. Her creator sets her free, and shows her the highest law a robot can follow.” 

This novel features nanotechnology and has a strong core of “hard” science behind the adventure. A must-read for any fans of robotics. Imagine seeing a robot grow from a “child” form into an adult one, and the main character seeing the world we live in thrown into conflict through wars caused by a shortage of resources. How will SuSAn survive and preserve the people she cares about, and the art and wisdom of all the generations which came before her? She’s a robot with a mission to save us all.

Please consider leaving feedback for the author at his blog located in the site’s main menu. Fellow writers and readers, share this with your friends! Link to the book page:

Book Cover Art by Fred Rothganger.

April Sketching

handssketch1Some odd little sketches for April! I’ve been writing my novel, but have had some requests for logos, and I realized just how out of service my little basic Wacom tablet was. I broke the tablet out and discovered that it had some pretty darned wonderful brush options. But I had to use Illustrator, Fireworks and Photoshop a little bit as well. I want a program that does ALL the things that these programs do well–something with filters and brushes and proper lasso tools…”but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

The top sketch was two ideas I was working for on a logo. The ideas involved a compass rose and the word “reach.” What came out of this mix was not a proper piece for the company, but it was interesting. (I also have the hands surrounding a globe, from a distance, the picture looks like an eye). And yes,I did sort of mess up the background, but I like the picture enough to share, and may update it soon….:)

The peacock sketch was the result of playing with color and gradient (seen in my not-so-subtle use of the spiral in the bird’s tail). I do love how there can be amazing textures created with the simple tablet brushes. And I look forward to learning from my experiments.


Steps of faith and a new view of relationships?

CIMG0024  I went to get my hair done at the local beauty school yesterday, and my hairdresser taught me quite a lesson.

There are three little words that a single person always dreads hearing from anyone: “Are you married?” And sure enough, my chatty gal asked this. I said “No.” But then I stopped to kind of think aloud. “I guess I am one of those people. Everyone around me got married, but it passed me by. I like my freedom, though.” The last sentence used to be said in a burst of defensiveness, but now it is uttered in complacent tones.

I do love my freedom. I have all the time in the world after work: time to pursue my interests, to do artwork, to engage socially. I should have invented a better alarm clock by now, judging by all the time I’ve had. I should have created beautiful artworks. But I lack discipline when it comes to time…I should not waste so much of it.

I think single and married people waste time at the same rate, really!

But this girl had a new response to my “freedom” idea. She said, “Marriage isn’t bondage. It’s a partnership.”

For the next few minutes we analyzed how a smart person like myself had managed to think the way I did about marriage. The truth is, I grew up in a very old-fashioned home. My parents were great people, but Dad had every last say on where the family lived, what we wore, and what the discipline would be for bad behavior. This idea of the woman of the house meekly submitting was nothing I wanted to do. This feeling of “being trapped” was  underscored by my first college boyfriend. He showed a double standard and spread malicious gossip about me in order to keep me in the relationship when it was about to fall apart. He couldn’t accept the idea that I didn’t want to be serious yet, at 18.

I rebelled to all this authority. If I couldn’t be free in marriage, I wouldn’t marry. But this ran counter to my desires as a young woman. I desperately wanted love and affection. I wanted what the other women seemed to have in their relationships: a spouse that loved them. But I could never get past my mental prison–”I won’t be free if I do.”

This girl challenged me to start looking at a Biblical view of marriage. It is definitely not the view I had instilled in me when I was young. Perhaps I need to take a step of faith and look at marriage and relationships differently than before. Maybe the view I had was colored by my past experiences and now I must be the grown-up and look at things as they really are.

I’m taking a step of faith by even looking at relationships as good things that won’t curtail my freedom, but would rather bring it to a new level.  Maybe that means I still  won’t get married, but I will see marriage in a new light. And this will help me climb up the steps of faith without the past holding me back.

Now, I also need to learn how to be free in my career choices…thinking outside the box….that’s yet another level I need to reach on the steps of faith.

The handwriting in the notebook

ghosts This week, someone mentioned the handwriting on the wall in the story of Daniel and the Babylonian party–and it occurred to me that I’ve been doing quite a bit of handwriting myself these days. Only I hope my handwriting is not a portent of evil. I’m taking notes on interviews for my projected work of fiction.

It’s funny how I feel about writing a novel. Some days I feel like it should be a screenplay. Other days I see it as a storyboard. Most often, I realize that I’ve written nothing but short stories up until now. Unless you count National Novel Writing Month in 2009, where I actually finished writing 50,000 words of science fiction-y something. My current novel stands in development at just under 5000 words. But there are only 3 chapters thus far.

I have played with several plot twists. I have about 3 that I want to keep.

I believe in this novel. And I understand that’s what it takes to make it a good one. The more research I do, the deeper into the rabbit den I fall, though…. I’m learning things that I never expected to, and realizing that most accepted ideas on the subject are far from the reality of it.

But I’m also finding my idea could work…fictionally. And I might have a fresh take one my subject.

Rediscovering writing and the patience it takes to make the craft. (Deleted documents are not nearly as satisfactory as crumpled paper, though!)



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