In the last “writing” series blog post, I introduced and thanked Martin Wilsey.
He sent me some of his recent author interviews, and I’m going to shamelessly pick just a few of the quotes here :-).
Tell us a little about yourself.
MW: I am a writer, hunter, photographer, rabble rouser, father, friend, marksman, story teller, frightener of children, carnivore, engineer, fool, philosopher, cook and madman. My wife Brenda and I live in Virginia where, just to keep me off the streets, I work as a research scientist for a government funded think tank. I have two awesome kids in college. I look forward to retiring so I can write full time and have a dog in addition to my cat Bailey.
What is the Soltice 31 Saga about?
MW: The story is about a simple maintenance man named Roland Barcus. When his deep space survey ship is suddenly destroyed, killing its crew of over 2000, he must fight to survive and figure out what happened, or die in a savage genocide.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
MW: Do NOT wait for the muse. Sit down and write every day. Make it a habit. Turn off the TV. Do NOT open Facebook of any internet social media. Just write. Something. Anything. Do outlines. Keep files of ideas. Keep a notebook with you at all times because you will find ideas everywhere.
Read a lot. Read the kind of books you like to write. Also read about writing.
When you finally sit down to write your novel, hammer all the way through a first draft without going back to edit or revise or polish. It’s a trap. There are millions of stories out there that remain unfinished because the author keeps going back. Give yourself permission to finish a first draft that isn’t perfect!
What are your writing stages (i.e., outline, storyboard, draft…) And how long does it normally take you to complete a novel?
I am a big planner. It begins with pencil and paper. It starts with a single line that describes the story.
When [INCITING INCIDENT OCCURS], a [SPECIFIC PROTAGONIST] must [OBJECTIVE], or else [STAKES].
- That becomes a 10 line outline.
- That becomes a 2 page outline.
- That becomes a 10-15 page outline.
- Then that outline is conveyed to Scrivener.
- Then the flesh is put on the bones.
- First line to first draft is about 12 weeks.
- Second draft about another month.
- Then reviewers read and I revise.
- Final edit. Start to publish about 6 months.
Name one author who has inspired you and if you could meet him or her in a casual setting, what would be one question you’d ask?
I wish I could meet Arthur C. Clark. I’d ask him what he thought the world would actually be like in 100 years.
Tell your readers and visitors of EllisonBlackburn.com, something unique about you.
I have never been sick. Never had the flu. Never had a flu shot. To offset that I seem to get damaged more often than normal people. I’m largely held together by plates and pins and screws.
Why do you write?
I write because I enjoy it. It’s amazing how fast television and Facebook get really old.
When did you decide to become a writer?
A few years ago I sustained a severe spine injury. I ended up spending a lot of time trapped in my recliner. After getting bored of TV and movies and the computer I decided to start writing just to keep my sanity. I started writing every day. And when you get in the habit of writing that much pretty soon you got a novel.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I always wanted to write a novel. It was one of those bucket list kind of things. And then out of the blue, my brother died. He was 53 years old at the time and I was 51. It really got me re-examining my life and the goals that I had for. The timing with my spine injury really made it a priority.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I currently write part-time. I really look forward to when I retire so that I can write full-time.
This is only the tip of the iceburg. Martin warned me of the editing trap, which I had already fallen into. I was stuck revising my first four chapters without moving on. He urged me to just barrel through a first draft, then edit.
Once I thought about it, it made much more sense: won’t the editing be much better as an entire unit – rather than small pieces – when the entire story is done, to include the full picture?
Copyright: Martin Wilsey