Today, I am privileged to have novelist Norm Applegate write a guest post for my blog. Applegate is the author most recently of Blood Bar. See my review of the book here.
When and why did you begin writing?
Started writing in the 90â€™s while traveling to sharing my experiences with my wife. But began my first novel, Into the Basement in the mid 90â€™s. It took me a couple of years to get into the daily habit of writing, and reading everything I could about developing a story, it took a while to find the zone
Always wanted to write a book, didnâ€™t know how, thought it was beyond my capabilities, but while working in New Zealand it began. The hypnosis career changed my life, and realizing nothing is impossible, began writing short notes, tales, and just life experiences to my wife back in the States.
How did you come up with the title?
Blood Bar, A Vampire Tale…what the hell is a blood bar? Sounds creepy, but intriguing. The premise for Blood Bar, was what would happen if you found out you were turning into a vampire. Where else to be initiated but a bar. So I built the plot around my murder mystery sleuth and heroine Kim Bennett, sheâ€™s in my first two novels, murder at a bar for vamps, gothic dressed men and woman, and your basic role playing vampires, however itâ€™s fertile ground for picking up fresh meat…if you like that sort of thing. Are you going ask if blood bar exists, I canâ€™t disclose that here for fear of being arrested…blushing sinfully.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I have found my voice. I weave factual information into the plot. For instance, in Blood Bar, a vampire tale, the references, and murder descriptions to Jack the Ripper are all real, as are the unknown facts about the Brooklyn Bridge, did you know John Roebling the builder, died before the bridge was complete, tetanus, cut on something they believe, I think he was bit by a vampire.
What have you learned about the writing process?
Some of what I’ve learned is from making mistakes, a lot from my mentor David Hagberg, and others from studying how writers put it together. For example, let’s call this the “golden rule,” pick an author you admire, a best seller, and type out a few chapters, this will show how the pro’s do it.
A common mistake young authors make is to repeat words, here is a very simple example: he pulled the gun from behind his back, fired one shot from the gun, and casually tossed the gun into the bushes. As you can see the word gun is repeated, a better choice would be, he pulled the gun from behind his back, fired one shot from the pistol, and casually tossed the weapon into the bushes.The point is don’t repeat but use different words.
The first paragraph of each chapter should set up the scene, place, time, action, people, and events.
The main character should be likable, but flawed, honest with no bullshit, and to help us identify with them we need sympathy.
Editing: people read at 250 words per minute, we write at 10, therefore the rule is read your work at speed, but edit slowly and re-write until it works. Read the sentence, take a word out—– does the sentence still work? Continue with a paragraph then the chapter, and if it needs more use layering. This will make it longer, slows it down, but the added descriptions make it interesting with, place, people, setting, weather, and time.
Refer back to your characters POV every three or four paragraphs. I would say these are my top rules when writing.
How do you make space for your thoughts in this busy world?
Don’t let a day go by without writing.
Think about your writing in the shower or driving your car.
Become a good day dreamer.
and learn to compartmentalize your brain.
What are your current projects?
Just finished re-editing Into the Basement, was never happy with what my previous publisher did to it. Next is the screenplay to Basement, written by Nicholas Grabowsky and myself, we have a producer/distributer interested, and the movie is cast with Courtney Gains, then my next novel in the Kim Bennett series that Iâ€™m tentatively calling Black Sun Rising, is another vampire tale. You can go to www.intothebasementthemovie.com to read more about the cast, director J.L. Botelho, and see his trailer for Into the Basement…itâ€™s wicked, prepare yourself, you donâ€™t want little kids watching this, seriously donâ€™t let your kids see this.