March Author Series #4: Doing Things the Wright Way by Dan Wright
Please welcome Dan Wright as he shares some of the ways he goes about the writing process in...
Doing Things The Wright Way
I’m pretty much a self-taught writer. I don’t have any major qualifications in writing (aside from a C in English Lit), so I learned how to write by reading books, comics, having people proofread my stuff and just working out what works best for me. You could say that I created The Wright Way to create novels. Gettit? My surname’s Wright?
(Insert tumbleweed effect here).
Ahem, moving on. In keeping with the theme of this blog, I decided to go through the three phases that were suggested when creating a new book.
Because I have such an overactive imagination, I tend to get ideas all the time. In fact, if I turned ALL my ideas into novels, I’d probably have about 1000 novels now. But they would most likely all be rubbish! See, having an idea is not enough for me – developing it is – and it’s rare that I really think of an idea that I think can be developed into a legitimate story.
I guess my main inspiration for writing (and one of the reasons why I have such a weird and wonderful imagination), started in the 80’s. I spent most of my youth (like many others) watching 80’s cartoons – in fact I couldn’t get enough of them! I loved their silly and somewhat appeal, but at the same time enjoyed their exciting storylines and over the top characters. My favourites included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers (before Michael Bay completely butchered it!), Thundercats, G.I Joe, He-Man and She-Ra. Yes, I know She-Ra was intended to be a girls cartoon – but what can I say, She-Ra was hot! And I was only 10 or 11 at the time!
Actually, all joking aside She-Ra was actually a direct inspiration for me to write strong female leads. She was the first instance I remember females being the main lead as opposed to the damsels in distress. In fact, where it not for She-Ra, I probably wouldn’t have an affinity for writing female characters as I do now. I actually prefer creating female leads as opposed to male leads if I’m being honest.
Nowadays, I can pick up inspiration from pretty much any source. Whether it’s a film, a video game, a book, a comic, or even just something emotional event that happens to me in real life. For me, the emotion is always important. When see a scene that effects me strongly, I like to think “how can I recreate that feeling in my writing?” Strangely enough, some of the most emotional scenes I’ve seen thus far is from video games.
Manga is also a very important factor in my writing – mainly because it suits my style. It’s epic, over the top, has great drama – but also a lot of humour and not afraid to mess around at times. This is perfect for my imagination and is certainly the lynchpin of how I write today.
I prefer to make sure the characters are all created before I sit down and think of the story. Characters are the most important aspect of any fiction in my opinion and the story should revolve around them, not the other way around. I guess this is purely down to personal preference, but I like to make sure my characters are thought out first before anything else. Because you can have the best storyline in the world, but it won’t mean a damn if you have bland, uninteresting characters.
When it comes to the story, I actually like to plan out the entire plot before writing a single chapter. In the past I used to write a blow by blow synopsis of the events of the book – but I do that less these days. Nowadays I just like to work it out in my head, usually when I’m trying to get to sleep – so I have a lot of broken nights sometimes! This way, I won’t be sitting a blank screen for so long.
Believe it or not – I actually don’t write the chapters in chronological order. Normally I just write the chapters that I have planned the most and return to the others when I can. One example is in my book, Trapped on Draconica. There is a scene where (SPOILER ALERT!) one of the main characters dies. I didn’t actually write this until I was near the end of the book, because at that time, my grandmother passed away. Writing anything to do with death was just too painful for me and I had to give it a rest for a bit. When I did write the scene, I actually think the memories of my nan helped the emotion of the scene and reflected in the reaction of the heroine.
It may seem strange writing this way, but sometimes I just get so excited about writing a chapter that I have to write it asap whilst I still have attention to it. The other chapters find a way of working themselves into it later.
There are some writers who would say that you should write every waking hour of the day that you have – this is actually something I don’t necessarily agree with. Let me explain.
I work a full time job 9-5 during the week, and as well as writing I review books (I usually have about 4-5 on the go at any one time and usually they are to strict deadlines). Add to that that I blog usually 3-4 times a week and promote my book whenever possible, it’s a busy life for little old me!
Writing for me should be something that you MUST be in the right frame of mind to do – as I found out the hard way. I used to just sit down at my computer straight after work to do some writing. But after an eight hour shift, which involves working on a COMPUTER, and taking abuse from customers (I work in the complaints department you see), then I found that a mixture of fatigue and being stressed out did not help with my writing and I usually ended up achieving nothing.
These days I limit myself to writing on weekends. I find I can accomplish more in two days than an entire week. In fact, most of the time when I’ve had a chance to chill out, I can sit at a computer for hours over the weekend and just type away like a machine gun firing bullets. Does it mean I have a social life? Kinda, but then again my friends (the ones that count) understand that writing is my life and there will be times when I will go out to socialise.
So that’s “The Wright Way” of how I like to write. Thanks to Mysti for giving me and other authors this opportunity and I look forward to reading the other guest posts.
Dan Wright lives in Canterbury, UK with his brother and their cat – although he spends most of his time in a fantasy world! A writer of Fantasy that was strongly inspired by Manga, Dan currently is writing a series of books set in the world of Draconica, where dragons once ruled as gods! He is heavily inspired by medieval fiction, Greek and Egyptian mythology and a few RPG’s.
He has written two books, Trapped on Draconica and The Wandering Valkyr with more planned for the year. Please visit his website for more details!