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Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's Going Around

           No, I’m not talking about Boogie Fever.

Siv Maria tagged me in the latest round of platform challenges. Which is great, because I’ve been waiting for someone to officially ask me to play with the other writers. For anyone unfamiliar with Platform Tag, you are asked a batch of questions by one of your fellow bloggers. You answer the questions and then select a predetermined number of other writers to do the same. That encourages people to hop around the various blogs.

I’ve participated in a couple of these before and answered a few questions. However, Siv Maria had been tagged by two people with separate lists of questions and she provided one of her own. Now, I’m a glutton for punishment and don’t mind answering all those questions, but didn’t want to pass along a novel sized Q&A session for the people I tag.

Here is my reduced list:

Q: What is the first story you remember writing?

A: When I was in 6th grade, I wrote a story about an army of insects that declared war on a neighborhood as the first step in their plans for world domination. It was written from the bug’s perspective. (They lost.)

Q: What was your first car?

A: A beat up 67 Chevy pickup that my dad gave to me when he bought a new one.  (There’s a story to go with it too.)

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: Ice cream. Yum. But I’m not supposed to have it anymore.

Q: Do you write by outlining first, or by the seat of your pants?

A: I’m definitely a plotter. I like to work from a basic elevator pitch and then carefully plot it out; and not just once. I make three passes at the rough story line based on the stages of the story outlined in “The Hero’s Journey”, “Save the Cat”, and “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing.” That gives me enough information to lay out the chapters and scenes that I want in the book.

Q: Do you use foreshadowing to strengthen your plotline?

A: I try. This is an area in my writing that needs improvement.

Q: Who is your favorite author?

A: Growing up it was Edgar Rice Burroughs. He still is one of my favorites. As an adult I gained an appreciation for Keith Laumer through the Retief series of novels.

However, I think I’m going to change this question a bit for the people I tag. Which author do you most resemble in writing style?

The answer to that is Glen Cook.

Q: What genre do you write?

A: I’m intrigued by angels and devils and the conflict between good and evil. Since I write those stories in modern settings I think that falls into the Urban Fantasy genre. However, I have written various Science-Fiction and Fantasy stories, have outlined a western/romance, plan to work on a holiday screen-play suitable family viewing, and my wife forces me to write children’s stories at Christmas time

Q: What is your all-time favorite character?

A: As much as I hate to nominate one of my own characters for this it would be Dave from my novel “Exit Stage Left.” He is an ex-surfer turned used car salesman who works with his high-school friend to solve crimes in Hollywood.

Q: How often do you post on your blog?

A: When I first started my blog I posted 2-3 times a week. Currently, I only post once a week because I don’t have time to post more often and still get any work done on my WIP. I hope to go back to twice a week soon.

Q: How often do you check your stats?

A: More than I need too.  LOL. When I get home from work and then sometimes before I go to bed at night. (Not that they’ve changed that much in a short period of time.)

Q: What influences what you write about?

A: Usually it is whichever project I feel most passionate about when I finish the previous one. Or what my wife tells me to write. (Last year I won the First Chapter contest at LDStorymaker11 and my wife believes I should tackle that story next. And I probably will.)

Q: What is the most important thing that happened to you last year?

A: A lot of things happened; it was a busy year. Still, THE most important of them was the adoption of my sons Nick and Rick.  

            That’s it. Now, this is the list of people I am tagging to answer the questions above, or make up some of their own:



  1. Oh wow, I didn't know you adopted your boys last year (I might not have been following you then). That's fantastic.

  2. Thank you.

    I try to keep the blog more about writing than my personal life, so I may have not mentioned it. However, these were our surprise children. We had seven already and are old enough not to expect any more. So, it was a bit of an adjustment when we got the call that child protective services wanted to drop them off with us.

    Of course, we said yes and haven't regretted it a second.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your answers, Randy, especially the on about plotting - that was very interesting and I'd love to hear more about your process (with examples) because I am trying to learn how to plot a novel! And, wow, 9 children! And through CPS - you and your wife must be amazing, wonderful people :) I can't believe you EVER have time to write :)

    1. Hmm, that sounds like I should do a post on plotting. Or possibly several. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Only two of the children are through CPS. My nephew had his children taken away and they needed a home. I don't consider myself amazing - except amazingly goofy - it was just a matter of doing what needed to be done. Although, now I am super glad that we did.

      And recently I haven't had much time to write. I have a novel almost finished and an editor that wants to read it and I am several months behind scheduled.

      Still, thanks for all the kind words.

  4. Wow, I just saw this so sorry I have not checked in before now. These days I feel a bit like Chicken Little, running in too many directions at the same time :)Loved your Q&A. My son who I gave away for adoption at birth just found me after 35 years. Both his adoptive parents had died. It is such a joy to have him in my life now. Anyways, long story. Loved your post and learning more about you.

    1. Oh no! A CAPCHA MAN! Nope not a robot, but after several tries I usually get it right. I do not see so well so I am sorry but my comments here will probably be limited unless you get rid of this evil :)

    2. I can imagine that was a surprise when your son contacted you. How awesome that must have been. Thanks for the comments.

  5. I love learning about other writers, especially about everyone's different processes. Now I have to get a copy of Save the Cat. So many people swear by it and I need some serious help plotting.

    Congratulations on the adoptions of your sons. :) And thanks for the tag! I answered your questions on my blog. ;)

    1. Save the Cat is definately a good book for plotting. Even though it's written for screenplays it applies to novels. I plan to post a blog on it sometime over the next couple of weeks. Still, it would be well worth the expense to pick up a copy for yourself.

      Thanks. The boys are pretty happy about the adoption as well. I'm going over to your blog now and check out those answers.