Author Scott Craven was nice enough to stop by the blog today to share this thoughts on the writing process. You'll also be able to find him on various other stops on the Dead Jed Tour.
I'm always interested in knowing how author's approach the writing process. Writing for me is an odd mix of cathartic and chaotic and I wonder if I'm alone in this. Here's what Scott Craven had to say about writing Dead Jed:
When I sat down to write “Dead Jed: Adventures of a Middle School Zombie,” ($8.99, Month9Books) I was focused more on concept than anything else. I wanted to turn the zombie genre on its head, so the story was not about a zombie going to middle school. It was about a kid, who happened to be a zombie, going to middle school. It’s tough enough to fit in when your limbs remain intact. What would happen if you were, say, cardiovascularly challenged? I dove into the concept right away, stepping into my protagonist’s skater-boy shoes to explain how he’s learned, in his 13 years of being a zombie, that Hollywood had it all wrong. After the first sitting, I had about 1,500 words. I was happy with it save for one small problem – it was all about the idea, with no plot. I forged ahead, something I did throughout the 6-month writing process, busting through mental blocks with brute force and going back to improve and finesse. I focused on the bully-victim relationship, since much of seventh grade is devoted to controlling (if you are a predator) and surviving (if you are prey).I had no idea where the story would start until I crafted the first scene. I had no idea where it might finish until I was about three-quarters through. For the first time I envisioned the finale, how I would be able to tie it to the scene I’d just written. Until that moment, I’d been stacking chapters one after the other, adding a bit of mortar here and there to keep together. Now I had a blueprint. Well, at least a sketch on a napkin.The process taught me many things about the process. As a journalist, my career has been one story after another. I wrote “Dead Jed” much the same way, one chapter after another. No outline, no notes, just seat-of-the-pants writing, one sentence, one paragraph at a time. For the most part it worked, especially when I devised a trick to keep me writing consistently (not always easy since my day job had me writing several hours each day). I tried to finish each chapter as a mini-cliffhanger, or at least a scene that would blend right into the next. I was more likely to carve out time when I knew where the story was heading. It didn’t always happen (thus the bulldozer method mentioned earlier, plowing through obstacles). Two things happened that helped Dead Jed in becoming a much better book than I had hoped. A friend read the first four chapters and has some great suggestions, allowing me to amp up the plot and more quickly engage the readers. Secondly, I worked with a very talented editor (thank you, Courtney) who challenged me while giving me much-needed encouragement without being condescending.
Thanks Scott, I look forward to more awesome tales from you in the future!
For more information on Dead Jed and other writerly musings, visit Scott Craven's site. Before you go, enter below to win one of three e-book copies or the grand prize of one signed copy of Dead Jed.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Can't wait to read Dead Jed? Follow the links below to order your copy:
The Book Depository