Randall’s Ramblings – 28 Feb 2016

Hard to believe another week’s gone by. Between real world activities and about six inches of snow (hard to tell as some areas drifts were nearly to my knees), time sailed by. Thanks again to all my faithful followers.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

This week I thought I’d cover how I prepare to write my story. Last week I mentioned I’m a plotter, using an outline to keep me on track. I read a few articles this week that says using an outline is a no-no, but until fiction writing becomes second nature for me, I’ll stick with what I know.

When I began to scheme about my first novel, a long-time friend and colleague suggested I write about what I know.  Sage advice and I’d read that somewhere before as well.  So I began. What do I know – a fair bit about a lot of things, but how do I pick a setting for a novel?  In ‘The Kurdish Connection’ I went with Turkey as my main location as I’d lived there, had plenty of photographs, guide books, etc., to help me on my way.

I wanted realistic characters and the internet is a great research tool.  I identified several lists of Turkish and Kurdish names and began crafting my characters, selecting names that would be the easiest to pronounce.  Based on a recommendation, I tried to have only one foreign name per letter of the alphabet. That became problematic as I ended up with about sixty named characters.  I also maintained a separate file with the names and a bit about the characters relationship within the story.

Locations were another area that would require research, as I didn’t want to box in my story. Once again, the internet was a useful tool, using country maps to cross-reference areas I hadn’t been to.  For unknown areas, Google aided with the scenery, at least in areas where I could narrow into specific locations.

Next week I’ll explain how I meld my research and outline together.

My Work in Progress

With the first draft of ‘The Kurdish Connection’ completed, I’ve started going through the various reviews I received and pick recommendations that I thought would enhance the story. There were some great ideas that were discarded but the suggestions took me away from where the characters and I wanted to go.  But everything is saved in a file for further reference.

Another friend suggested I put the manuscript aside for at least a month and work on something else.  I think that’s an excellent idea and I should be able to return with fresh eyes and revised thoughts.

In the meantime, I’ve written the first chapter of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ and posted it on the two subscription writing sites I use. Within twenty-four hours I had three reviews, each providing outstanding recommendations. These suggestions are now either part of the first chapter or resting in the outline waiting for a home.

Blog Posts I’d Like to Share

Every week I skim through dozens of blogs, sometimes for enjoyment purposes and other times to help stimulate my creativity. Today, I’d like to share the following blogs with you. One contains a series of interviews conducted by the blog’s author while the other is by a songwriter and the inspiration behind the music.

The Cultural Omnivore – Craig combines photographs related to the interviewees interspersed with their response to his questions.

Junior Chills – a three-piece band discuss the inspirations behind their original music.

Books I’m Reading

This week I read ‘Rebel Train: A Civil War Novel‘ by David Healey. This is the first of his works that I’ve had the pleasure to read and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

David created an excellent thriller, combining historical facts with a roller coaster ride as Confederates attempt to hijack a train carrying President Lincoln to Gettysburg. Throw a government payroll onto the same train and the ride becomes wilder. A conductor provides relentless pursuit of the train through Maryland, driven to recover his train. Non-stop action and an easy read.  Will be checking out more of David’s novels.

Writing Resources

This week I’d like to mention two addition books I’ll be using as I edit ‘The Kurdish Connection.’

My Writing Life – Ten Tales of Writing Passion – demonstrates how writing changed the lives of ten people and how it can change yours.

The Psychology Workbook for Writers – Tools for Creating Realistic Characters and Conflict in Fiction – how psychological theory can enhance characters and improve conflict.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!












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