Dean Rich, another friend I met thanks to the awesomeness that is AQC-surprised? :p Technically I spent so much time there as a lurker that I didn't really 'meet' him until I started interacting with blogs. Anyway, he's very awesome and I'm super excited to have him on my blog. He's a father of five, grandfather of one. When he's not writing he's a General Manager of a National Quick Service Food Chain. He writes fantasy, and is currently trying to make sense out of his MS that is over in word count and in dire need of major cutting and rework(lol, according to him btw ;). Once that is figured out, he will pursue publication in one form or another. You can find Dean over on his blog, on Twitter, his group blog and of course at AQC.
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing in grade school, on line paper that I put in a notebook. By Middle School I was working on a novel. In High School I was writing trilogies. During Collage I went back to my early works and started working them “for real.”
2. What made you want to write?
A funny story when I look back on it now. I had a friend who loved to draw pictures of space ships from the science fiction TV shows and Movies, Lost in Space, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, 2001 a Space Odyssey. He gave his dad about 5 pages of pictures who took those pictures to work and made photo copies of them. My friend then stapled them together and gave them to his friends. He had a “book”. I wanted a book too! So I asked if I gave him some stuff, would his dad make me a book as well?
The answer came back as a yes. So I spent days working on a “book” about a TV show. I illustrated the different vehicles, weapons, space ships, and gave technical specs on each. My friend took my “ms” and a few days later I had three copies that I stapled together. I had published a “book”.
Later I realized what had happened. I laugh about it now, but at the time it was like, so cool!
Yet, that experience whetted my appetite. I am not very athletic, and I am very myopic, but I loved to read. (Still do.) Then one day an idea popped into my head and I started to write it down. Then I recognized I wanted to write.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
When I was in Collage, I decided that the stories I had written when I was younger could be better. I had two complete trilogies written, (in longhand on notebook paper.) I had a Science Fiction story, and a fantasy story. I decided the science fiction stories were original at the time I wrote them, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and Enemy Mine had come out, and my story was too similar to those. So I decided I would go with my fantasy story. I set out to make it the best it could be, and I wanted to publish it. Once that was done I’d return to the science fiction trilogy.
4. What genre(s) do you write?
Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, and I’m dabbling in suspense/action stories.
5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
Why not? I mean those are the best! At least I think so. My favorite stories were A Wrinkle In Time, The Hobbit, and Dune. I know, that dates me, but those were the stories that got me into writing.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I did, right now I just grab a moment when I can. I like to format the story as I go. However I like to make it look like a book. Page numbers, headers and footers, a dedication, a title page, even a book cover. I guess it goes back to my first “Published ‘book’”. I like to see what it could look like. That motivates me to keep working on the stuff inside.
I find myself thinking about the story as I drive, take a walk, take a shower, drop off to sleep. Then I jot the ideas down. When I get ready to write that section I pull out the notes and tick them off as I write them into the MS.
7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I jump in with both feet. Then when I get a ways into the story I start to outline. I do have an ending in mind when I start. It has to be a really cool ending, and then I want a fabulous start. The middle is the hard part. That is where the outline comes in.
8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Music. I have classical, new age, and soundtracks I like to play while I write. I don’t do lyrical songs, that distracts me, but instrumental is great. It helps me block out other sounds and then I get into the zone and I’m good.
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I started out writing longhand. My mother then made me take a typing class, and then I moved to the typewriter. I was so excited when the word processor came out, and I eventually got a computer. Now I work on a laptop, which is nice. But I like to have a notepad handy to capture those great ideas that come to mind when I am away from the compter.
10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
Well, lets see… I guess I’ve about 15. Wow, I never stopped to think about it before. I wouldn’t show anyone most of those, bad stuff really, but it got me going.
11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Yes. But no one thinks I’m wasting my time writing.
12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I love, love, love AgentQuery Connect. I joined about a year ago, and my writing has improved so much. It is there I learned about blogging and twitter, where I met you. I don’t use facebook for writing much.
13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
Write two hours a day. I do not have that kind of time to devote to writing. I have a very full schedule right now, so that is my biggest cringe-worthy advice I don’t follow. It may be good advice, but I don’t follow it.
14. What types of models do you build?
I started with HO scale Model Railroad. Houses, train stations, rail cars. Unfortunately I don’t have much room for a huge layout (nor the time to work on a huge layout, but one can dream.) I also build WWII aircraft, and ships. A few years ago I got a new job and moved out of state. I built model cars at night while watching the History channel.
My favorite model was a large scale model of the USS Constitution, under full sail. I spent 8 hours a day for a month building it. Lots of little knots, and sails. The Model was 2' long and about a foot and a half tall. I had a wood base built and mounted. My father built a mantel over the fireplace to put the ship on. It was the best model I ever built. I painted all the wheels on all the cannons. I also started building the Cutty Sark, I got it to the point I was going to add sails, but my two oldest sons were throwing a ball in the house, I leave you to draw the obvious conclusion to what happened.
15. Do you ever find inspiration from those models?
I like learning about the time period and what was going on at the time of the models. Ship stories have made it into my fantasy book.
16. What about from your photography?
I like to have pictures tell a story, so I just look for something that works. Check out my blog post The Snapshot.
17. How did you come to be a member of the Blog Ring of Power?
Agentquery connect. TBruce and I are both members of the Speculative Fiction Forum. I had a brainstorm for a group blog, and she was looking to make a blog ring. I joked with her and asked how many rings of power she had, and she loved the Blog Ring of Power name. So it stuck and I said I’d join her on that as well. By the way you can check out the group effort of Aliens, Dragons, and Wraiths, Oh My!
18. What makes and/or breaks a book for you?
This is the hardest question of all! Lol.
Intrigue, mystery, suspense, and something to keep me turning the pages. I like action, but good characters as well. Plot or character driven doesn’t matter to me, but the challenge has to be a good one.
19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Unfortunately these days I spend more time not writing than writing. When I am not at work, or writing I enjoy doing things with my family. I’ve two children left at home, and I like doing things with them and my wife. I also enjoy photography, and model building. Of course reading is another love of mine.
20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Learn your craft. Learn your genre. Know what works. If you are going to break a rule, know why you are going to break it. When it is time to query know the agent, and what the agent wants. Target your work to the agent that is looking for what you offer. Don’t send things to the world, you waste your time and the agents.