Quick Writing FAQs

Many people on AW (absolute write.com) make threads asking tens of hundreds of questions about writing. From what is a plot to how to get published. There are many personal ones, and since my blog is going to be mostly focused on my writing, here is my own little mini-interview (that is if you're allowed to interview yourself >.>)

Where did you get your ideas for your novel?

You know, when you're younger you pick up on
some things, but not many. I picked up that people made fun of Jews -- a lot. I asked my mom, heavy catholic, when I was about seven years old what the difference between me and a Jew was. She shrugged the question off like she usually did (yes, I was the annoying kid that asked every. freaking. question.) and just gave me an answer she thought would shut me up.

"They don't believe Jesus is apart of the Holy Trinity. They think he will come later in the future." I was a smart kid. And I had one question that boiled in my head every since I got that answer: if Jews believed their messiah would come later, and we believe the next person to "pretend" to be the messiah, then it would start a war... right? They'd be praising this one guy, and we'd think that guy is the anti-christ.

So I guess you can say that's how it started. Religions fighting religions. Being a theologian now, I prefer not to "pick" sides or lean one way or another. So instead of having different conflicting view points between religions, I made a story up about devils. Let's assume every religion on the Earth is right. Each religion has their God, and in turn, each religion has their devil. Now, imagine if those devils finally came together, for their own reasons of course, and fought the entire idea of religion. That's where I started.

How did you figure out the names of your characters?

It's pretty obvious by my previous answer that I came up with my antagonists first. I pinpointed what genre I wanted to write in (Young Adult), and I wanted to make sure it was something catchy that opened up to the older end of YA readers. The names were hard. I started my main character with the name Gabe simply because I like it. I was in the middle of my first outline when the phone rang at work.
"Good morning, Williams Sign."
"Well, good morning to you." A man answered me with the smoothest voice I've ever heard. "I was wondering if I could speak with Lowell Taylor."
"Your name, sir?" (Yes, I'm southern. I say sir and ma'am.)
"This is Tony Martini with Memphis Goodwill." Tony -- Martini. I liked the ring of his name, so much that I actually named one of the character's Tony Martini. After work, I went out to eat with some of my friends and grabbed the picture menu at Chili's. Bourbon, Sherry, Mudslide, Whiskey -- list can go on forever. That's how I came up with the names of my MC and his closest friends: Bryce Bourbon, Sapphire Sherry, Jive Mudslide, Singapore Sling, Miss Bombay, and of course, Tony Martini. I wouldn't change them for the world.

What keeps you up at night when writing?

I actually lose very little sleep at night over my book. If I get an idea while trying to lay down, hell it's time to break out the lap top!

On the other end of the spectrum, I've cried myself to sleep because of writing. :P

How do you find motivation?

Perhaps one of the reasons it takes me so long to actually write a book is because I don't go out and actively seek motivation. I will take a month off, perhaps two. Right now, I am unpublished. So I have time to take breaks, I don't have deadlines.

There are certain times I have to motivate myself to write a certain part, like a death. When doing that, I read real stories about death. For example, Alex is a paramedic. He sees more in one day than I have my entire life. He'll write in his blog when he can't get the memories out of his head, and even though it's tragic, it's inspiring.

Happier scenes are easy to motivate myself for. I enjoy the simple talks and the sweet moments. The older I become the darker my books get; so when I do come across a happy scene, I enjoy every second of it.

Other scenes like fighting scenes, I do a number of things. My father and brother are into MMA, so I go to fights with them. I actually watch quite a bit of Anime as well to get my blood pumping.

How did you decide which character would be your main character?

This is probably one of the harder questions. I knew I wanted a male teenager. I immediately thought of a boy that looked like the picture posted at the top of the message. I gave him a name, and I wanted him to be a bit braver than he looked. I'm someone that completely contradicts the way I look, and I love that about myself. So I wanted him to be the same. Scrawny, tall, young -- but a hero through and through.

I've always been enchanted by history, so knowing the boy's past before he was a New York city slicker was incredibly important to me. So I dug in his past a bit deeper, and realized what if he were the devil? What if this sweet, innocent, brave boy was actually just a reincarnation of one of the most terrifying demons that have ever lived? How would he handle that? And that is where his shy, clumsy personality blossomed into a boy that would be the hero. A boy that had to face his past. A boy that had to correct the wrongs he once made. A boy that turned into a man.

Are there any "writing rules" you've happily broken?

OH YES. There are. The biggest one is according to writers, people are sick and tired of the destruction of the world. You know, I don't blame them sometimes. Sometimes it's ridiculous that a character that average is going to stupidly save the world. But I'm a firm believer in BIG. I want the stakes to be high. Killing everyone. Destruction of the world. Character getting dragged to hell and back. I want all of it. But I'm also a firm believer in having the character be just as big as your plot.

The next thing is legend. People say it's to fill-in for weak plots. I have a legend in my story. Of course, middle of the second book, you find out that Bryce is in fact NOT the boy of legend. So he's strutted around all this time thinking he was the legend, and he isn't. I use this "cliche" as a tool of motivation. The prophet, Aki Sake, would have never brought Bryce to his full potential unless she made him believe in himself. What a better way to manipulate him and say, "Hey, you're the kid everyone's talking about. You're not going to die, you're supposed to save the world!"

The third biggest rule I break is sentence fragments. I like them. A lot. I write in first person, so it gives my character a bit more voice. He's a sarcastic brat sometimes, and that's when the sentence fragments start. It's writing. Times have changed. Call me the next Chaucer. I don't care.

That's all for today! If you have any specific questions -- feel free to leave a comment and ask! Have a good one folks.
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