How I Write by Glenn Muller
To be honest, “writing” isn’t really a good description for how I create stories. If you catch me unawares the process looks more like “staring aimlessly into space”, or even “having a nap”. However, I assure you that while I’m doing everyday tasks, like talking to customers about overdue accounts, or standing in line to buy a drain snake at the hardware store, my mind is often elsewhere – which, once you get to know me, explains a lot.
To keep wine on the table I’m a full-time bookkeeper, so I can’t always type my flashes of brilliance at the moment they come to me. Still, the time away from the keyboard makes sure that I examine those shiny nuggets, from every angle, to see if they really are gold or just an ordinary bit of pyrite that flashed in the pan.
With modern-day crime-fiction thrillers, certain parameters must be respected. The story needs to be plausible in aspects of life that readers are familiar with, and continuity is even more crucial in print than it is in the movies. There is some freedom to “invent stuff” but if I’m going to leave clues lying about they had better not be too obvious or, even worse, out of the realm of possibility because today’s audience knows what to look for. Therefore, the ratio of time that I spend thinking about my plots compared to typing out the chapters increases exponentially with the length of the story.
Having said that, there is usually a list of elements that I want my story to have; perhaps I’d like a sword fight in a pawn shop, and maybe a marauding band of wild pigs, and let’s throw in a hot air balloon descending into a mine field. The scenes that present themselves most vividly tend to get written first, and I will give them a dedicated file name so I can visit them easily, and rearrange the order they appear in the story – if they appear at all. For example, I’m currently working on the sequel to Torque, and after writing several chapters I realized that a few of them really belonged together in a different story. That can happen when you try out different ideas but it’s never a loss since those scenes will probably get used under a different title.
I do most of my writing on a netbook, and take it outside when I can. Gone are the days of scribbling with a pencil, crossing out sentences, and writing tiny alternatives between the lines. Or, having to re-write the whole thing (by hand) because the original sheet became such an illegible mess. And I do love revising. For me that is the easiest task in the world and I’ll polish a piece to within an inch of its life. After that, I expose it to other writers, for their critiques and suggestions, and then do a final edit. And that in a nutshell is how I write.
Glenn Muller lives and writes in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada (just up the road from Niagara Falls). His writing credits include book reviews for Astronomy Magazine and Astronomy.com, a specialized sports-column for a local newspaper, and presentations for astronomy clubs and conventions. He is currently working on the sequel to Torque, and has a short story, The Letterhead Affair, about to be released in an anthology.
His debut thriller, Torque, inspired by the twelve years he spent as a driving instructor, and influenced by his experience as a witness in a murder trail, is available through most online retailers.
yours in storytelling,