David A. Schwinghammer
· Soldier's Gap
· Fisher of Men, Chapter 8
· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Eight
· Mengele's Double, Chapter Eight
· Bereavement Blues
· Fisher of Men, Chapter 7
· Speed Dating With 'Janeane Garofalo'
· The Cynic
· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer - Chapter Seven
· Mengele's Double, Chapter 7
· Mengele's Double, Chapter Six
· Empty Mansions, book review
· Pilgrim's Wilderness, book review
· WWII Cartoonist, book review
· Write Yourself Into a Corner, book review
· Roanoke Island, book review
· Billboard Theology
· Baghdad Without a Map, book review
· Into the Wild, book review
· The Zookeeper's Wife (review)
· The Lost Painting, book review
· Alumni Game
· Girls Who Wear Glasses
· The Do Drop Inn
· Ode to Neve Campbell
· Jacks or Better 101
· Never My Love
· 3 O'Clock
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Blogs by David A. Schwinghammer
Everything you always wanted to know about writing a novel
10/20/2009 8:08:43 AM
A novelist answers questions about his work.
Q. How did you start?
A. I was an English teacher. Just about every English teacher wants to write a novel. I thought I could write during the summer and at night. Yeah, right. I also like to read. A beginning writer should pick out a writer he/she likes and try to imitate that person. Mine was Joseph Heller, author of CATCH-22.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. Lots of them come from the daily newsaper. I'm always cutting out clippings. There's also some personal stuff going on, as was the case with my first published novel, SOLDIER'S GAP. I'm always a character in my novels.
Q. How many novels have you written?
A. It depends how many you count. I wrote a couple of practice novels that I can't really take seriously. I have published one, SOLDIER'S GAP, a sort of humorous mystery. Excerpts from MENGELE'S DOUBLE; HONEST THIEF, TENDER MURDERER, FISHER OF MEN, and STRANGERS ARE FROM ZEUS are posted on authorsden. I am currently working on finishing STRANGERS ARE FROM ZEUS. I have a decent first draft, but it may be too preachy.
Q. What is the worst thing about being a novelist?
A. Definitely rejection. Judging by the responses sometimes, it seems they don't even read the manuscript, even when they ask to see it.
Q. What's the best thing?
A. You get to play God, make up your own people. The more you work at a character the more real he or she becomes. I also like reviews, even the bad ones. They all tell you something about your writing, something to work on.
Q. What advice would you give a beginning writer?
A. Write every day, no matter how bad you feel or how uninspired. Sometimes warm-ups help (See other blogs) to inspire. Keep plugging away. There are some pretty terrible writers out there who make millions. Also, go for a walk before you start writing and carry a tape recorder with you. You will be surprised how rapid fire your ideas will come. You will barely be able to speak them into the recorder before another one hits you. Just keep talking and make sure your batteries are good.
Q. What do you think about self-published novels?
A. It's a good way to go through the process. They give you an editor of sorts and there's some give and take. We had a little spat about the cover of SOLDIER'S GAP. I was surprised about how easy it was to spot mistakes when I got the galleys, easier than doing it on the computer. I found over forty mistakes and I had sent it to about a half dozen critique partners, plus I was used to finding mistakes from all those years correcting compositions.
Q. Do you have a favorite author?
A. Probably Lawrence Block. It used to be Ed McBain but he's gone to meet his maker. There are some 87th Precinct novels I haven't read, but I don't recognize the titles of the ones I've read. There are about fifty of them.
Q. Do you read any women?
A. Of course. I like Joyce Carol Oates and Flannery O'Conner is just amazing. I'm reading a novel written by a woman right now. It's entitled BLAME by Michelle Huneven. It's about this drunken history professor who runs over these two Jehoval Witnesses with her car and spends two years in jail. It reminds me of Stuart O'Nan.
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Character sketch - Thursday, August 13, 2009
Characterization - Wednesday, August 12, 2009
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