I like to call them my three W's. And I really do love them. Of course each in their own way, maybe some more than others depending what's going on in my life. Tonight, the post is about the third one, writing.
I've gotten some more feedback from various people, all positive. A few even telling me they can't wait for the follow up novel. A friend at work was telling me how much he enjoyed it and how I needed to be working on the second one. I purposely left the end of Who Is Olivia Green with a lot of questions still unanswered. To be honest, a few of them are still unanswered in my own mind. But, just a few people telling me to get going on the second one has started a familiar burning inside of me.
It won't be long now, and I'll be writing "What Is Olivia Green," the follow up. I really should spend every minute I have trying to sell the first one, but I can feel it coming out of me already. It might be two weeks, it may be two months, but it's coming soon.
All this because sometime in the last ten years I found a love for writing. I wish I was able to point to a time or event in my life that took me here, but I can't. I wrote my first book because I loved reading, mostly detective novels at the time, and every time I read them I would tell myself, "Cops just don't talk like that!" So one day I sat down and started my own where cops talked like cops. (If you don't know me, I've been a cop since 1998) Once I started, looking back, I enjoyed it, but I finished that book more out of a sense of finishing something I had started. Of course when my dads friend edited the book for me I had to take out the "fuck" word because I used it 643 times. Kidding, I don't know the exact number of times, but it was a lot.
But he made a great point. There will be people that wouldn't read past page one with that many uses of the F word. He taught me so much by editing that book, that was just one piece. And the irony isn't lost on me. I ended up with a detective novel where the cops don't talk like cops.
Then I wrote my follow up book to my first detective novel. I think I was invested a little in the main character and had killed his girlfriend in the first one. I wanted to do a follow up where he moves on with life a bit. It's a great book, and involves four major plot lines that explode in the end. When I was writing that book I really found how much I love writing.
After that had been finished, and some prodding from my aunts, I decided to write "Who Is Olivia Green." And the few months it took me to write it completely solidified that love.
I can't explain how much I enjoy sitting at this computer, typing away, making up a story, music blaring, and just feeling good.
I plan my writing nights. I try to get one or two a week in, and if I don't get at least one in, I get frustrated. In some ways, writing has become my therapy. I can't imagine not working on something, not writing something.
I just finished my fourth novel about the North American Power Grid going down, and used the current neighborhood I'm living in as the setting, and my alter-ego as the main character. I wrote it in the first person, which is new for me, and really like it. Since that is my most recent novel, I'd thought I'd share a bit about my writing process.
Like the detective novels I wrote, that story has been told before. The post-apocalyptic story of communities banding together after losing power has been probably written hundreds of times, by hundreds of authors. I knew that going in, but I wanted to try something from the first person. And when I decided to use my neighborhood as the setting and a forty year old cop as the main character I just thought it was going to be fun. Nerdy readers like myself are the ones that notice the point of view from stories, and are blown away when their favorite authors like, Michael Connolly write from the first person instead of the third. It was new to me, and I really enjoyed it.
Once I started developing the characters, I was confident I'd be finishing it. Before I knew it I was planning my writing nights. Nights where I would get home, turn down the lights, turn up the music, grab a whiskey, and sit down in front of this computer and make up a story. I started in August of 2015, and finished last month. On average I write once a week. The manuscript is just shy of 100,000 words, about 15,000 more than Who Is Olivia Green.
I never knew where the story would take me. I really didn't. Like everything else I've written, I just let it go. I don't outline a thing. I try and develop the main character quickly, and allow the supporting characters to slowly build up with him or her. As they build, the sub-plots slowly form. I work hard at letting the characters tell the story. With each word I type, the character forms just a bit, and slowly, a story emerges.
I think that's why I love writing so much. I get attached to the characters I slowly allowed to develop in my mind, and sometimes even I don't know where they are going to go next.
I know I want to start writing the follow up to "Who Is Olivia Green." I know the title will be, "What Is Olivia Green." I know a lot of questions will be answered about what she is, and where she is from. The 'man who gets things done' and his plan will be revealed. I know she will be in Charlestown, trying to figure out where the dirty bomb had been purchased, and where it was headed. That's about it. I have a long way to go until I get in between eighty and a hundred thousand words.
The only thing I know for sure, I'm going to love the trip.