Monday, October 20, 2014

How Authors Write ~ Paul Smith

It's amazing how life works. A few weeks ago I ran into someone I hadn't seen in close to 13 years. While we were catching up, she mentioned that her husband had published a book recently. I was all, really? Me too! Have him get in touch with me. And he did. And now, I'm happy to introduce Paul Smith and his book, Jason and the Draconauts, to you!

MW: Welcome Paul! So nice to connect with you again after all these years. Tell me a bit about what you write.

PS: Right now, I am writing middle grade/youth/YA urban fantasy. The on-line serial I did a few years ago was in the superhero genre and aimed at adults

MW: Oh, I'm going to have to go look for that serial. LOVE superhero stories. What POV do you use in your writing?

PS: I like to use 3rd person mostly. However, I did a writing workshop and did a fun 1st person short piece. It was fun...I should do something else like that.

MW: It's always fun to try new things. I usually write in 3rd also, but my upcoming release is in 1st, and it was quite fun to explore. How do you get started with your books? Is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?

PS: It starts with an idea, and then I create story arcs connecting different points in the story. It helps be to break up the overall plot.

MW: Nice. Are you a quick drafter?

PS: So far, my drafts/outlines have been short. But as I am writing the sequel to Jason and the Draconauts, I find myself needing to outline the book with more detail to keep my focus.

MW: I'm learning to do more outlining (or at least a 1-2 page plot summary) too. It really cuts down the time on chasing unthought out plots :-)  What about research? Do you do it before your first draft or as you write?

PS: I research as I go. For example, I know in the later chapters my characters will be going to City X in Montana, so when I get to that chapter, I go online and find out what I need about that city.

MW: What about outlines? Do you use one, and if so, what's it like?

PS: I've started using a speadsheet. Someone posted a pic of one of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter outlines on the net and I liked how that looked. My mind breaks things into grids, not unlike a spreadsheet, so I am enjoying this method so far.

MW: I've never seen that. I'm always looking at what other authors do to see what I can adapt into my own style. Thanks for mentioning that.  (Scribbles note to look for JK's outline.) What about names. Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?

PS: I name everything upfront...probably because I would forget to go back and name it :-)

MW: Nice. I create a character chart with name, eye and hair color, and some personality traits for all my WIP's so I don't forget those while I'm writing. 

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? 
PS: I haven't yet, but I would love to have Beta's for the Jason and the Draconauts sequel

MW: Here that, peeps? If you're interested in CP'ing or Beta-ing, get in touch with Paul. I've found that a good CP is worth their weight in gold. (But, remember, be honest (while kind) when CP'ing, 'cause if you think it's broken, but don't say anything as you don't want to hurt feelings, you aren't helping the author improve. IMO, if you don't know it's broken, you can't fix it. While I like seeing all the "oh this is great" comments, I skim over them looking for the "what were you thinking??" comments so I can get it right. OK, end of soapbox rant :-) )

There are tons of writing aids out there. What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?

PS: When I did a lot of fan fiction on-line, I got a lot of helpful feedback from the readers. It was like getting the story edited as it unfolded.

MW: See- excellent use of good CP's and beta's. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?

PS: Self publishing is hard. But the marketing for self-publishing is even harder. It has been discouraging at times.

MW: I think we can all relate to this. Writing often seems like a solitary pursuit, but I've found that by making connections with other authors out there you learn you aren't as alone as you think. I know I couldn't make it without my author friends support. 

What do you have out now, or coming out? And where can we find you on the internet?

PS: Jason and the Draconauts is available at Amazon, and I am working on a sequel titled Jason and the Draconauts: The Council of Ancients

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@PaulDSmith4321) and at my blog, Jason and the Draconauts

Book Blurb
The creature hiding in the barn can’t exist. Fifteen-year-old Jason Hewes knows it’s impossible. A live dinosaur would be more believable; at least dinosaurs once roamed the land which is now the Hewes Montana farm. But this beast from legend? Quite impossible—although it doesn’t seem to be going away just because it shouldn’t exist.

Jason is about to reevaluate what is or isn’t possible. His discovery is very real, leathery wings and all. Nor is his new friend alone. Others of his kind are awakening from a centuries-long slumber. Realizing how traumatic contact between mythological beast and modern life could be, Jason and his impossible new ally devise a plan to integrate the newly awakened creatures into society through teenage interaction. What could possibly go wrong?

As the sound of giant wings becomes a common occurrence on the Hewes family farmstead, a malignant force senses his old enemies are flying again. Determined to end an eons-long war forever, this being turns his attention to a small rural Montana town, a family farm, and Jason Hewes.

About the Author:

Paul Smith lives in upstate New York with his wife and two sons, where he works with emotionally disturbed and mentally ill children. He earned a master’s degree in social sciences from Binghamton University in 1999.

A lifelong love of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero stories influences Paul’s writing. His most recent work was a popular weekly online series that generated over 20,000 views. Jason and the Draconauts is his first novel.

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