With great pleasure, I welcome Author Rik Stone to my blog today. Lets chat with him about writing fiction!
- Welcome Rik! Writing fiction is not easy. Please tell us what do you find most challenging while writing a book?
I love writing. It is me. It is what I do. It was my revelation of what I was always meant to be in life. But like everything there is a downside.
Marketing! Some love it, or at least that’s what they tell you, but I find it hard.
When writing, a day can pass without me noticing it had even got underway. At the end of a day put aside for marketing, I’m knackered, my cheeks are red to the point I look like my head might explode and I want to crawl off to my pit and sleep, but know my mind is too overactive to succeed. And then I feel like I’ve failed along the way somehow, but I can never put my finger on why I feel like that. A question like this is nice because it allows me to tell the world how it feels; when you are doing the business, you have to come across like you’re Mister Professional, like everything is a doddle – it ain’t.
- I agree, marketing is a necessary evil. Lets talk about research. How much research do you do for your books?
Birth of an Assassin is set in the Soviet Union. I have never been there and the Russians are El Supremos at keeping their dealings and their history to themselves.
Needless to say, the research for this book took as long as the writing, probably longer.
The Turkish Connection, on the other hand, was a breeze by comparison. I have toured Turkey quite extensively and have knowledge of all of the places mentioned in this book. That doesn’t mean, however, that I was able to bang it out without forethought. My advice to any aspiring writer is to never, and I mean never, believe anything you think you remember. Always check out your work because there are legions of people out there who feel they have won something by informing you that you got it wrong!
- I feel that characters are crucial to a story. How do you go about developing characters of your book?
A lot of people have said it before me, but I honestly believe my characters evolve their own personality. Having said that, you can’t paint what they’ve revealed in black and white.
There are always grey areas in real people, so you have to apply that truth to the fictional ones; remember, the guy in the black hat has as many ambitions and wants in life as the one in the white hat.
Think of friends and of those you might not be so fond of. Knowing them, you will also know they all have as much depth of personality as each other, albeit you don’t like some of the quirks. Think of those people, and yourself, when developing characters, mix them up, exaggerate certain points and produce someone new and unique, but keep it believable.
- Dialogues are important in fiction. Do you want to share any tips for writing dialogues?
I write an outline of what the character wants to say and then rewrite it in the way I would say it. When I’m satisfied it sounds right, I rewrite it to fit the character’s personality.
It sounds a convoluted approach, but it’s really only writing and rewriting in the way every writer writes the rest of their narrative. What I am saying is don’t be satisfied until you believe you are listening to someone real.
- That’s a good advice. Tell us, what is your favorite hobby that helps you relax?
I’m a fine weather gardener; some of my neighbors are out there all weathers – not me. I sound like I’m looking for a date, but, I’m solvent, a keen walker, love to travel and make a lot of plans for it while at home. My garage had never been used to house my car, so I had it converted into a small gym. I work out when I’m not nursing an injury I’ve picked up while working out. Why do I do that? Strange, but doing these things help my writing. They take me away from the front line and my mind relaxes. It is often during these times I come up with my best ideas.
- I agree, I also find non-writing activities inspire me to write. What advice do you have for an aspiring author?
Never leave a piece saying ‘that will do’; leave it saying ‘that is perfect’; it won’t be, but you should feel it is.
Each new project should be better than the last else you’re not improving.
Writing is about rewriting; that comment is hardly new, but you can’t change the truth. Why is it true? Anyone can jot down a story, it is those who persevere that succeed in producing professional copy.
If you read through the piece you’re working on and do no more than change the odd word or two because you’ve thought of a better fit, you are probably ready to send the work to an editor. If you can’t do that, it’s not ready, keep writing until you can.
- Which book are you working on next? Do you want to share a glimpse of it?
My current project is book three in the Birth of an Assassin series. This story brings together the heroes of the previous two books and takes them forward against the main enemy in the overall theme. The plan is to get the book out there by the end of this year, but who knows? outside influences often affect best intentions. The following snippet is a peek of what is coming. The keyboard might well change this on its final tappings, but the basic outline will remain.
Pavel gripped Nazar’s wrist and pulled himself to his feet, but the pinkie ring he wore had a small diamond held in by a gold claw and one of the claw points was bent outward; it caught Nazar’s hand as Pavel pulled his own away.
“Ouch,” he said.
“Oh shit, I’m so sorry. Are you hurt,” Pavel asked nervously. “God, how much more can happen? Everything’s gone wrong today.”
Nazar rubbed the injury, sucked at a tiny droplet of blood on the side of his hand. “It’s okay, just a pinprick, but I hope you can pull yourself together soon or who knows what calamity you might cause.”
Alexandros laughed. Nazar tilted his head back towards him and sniggered. They walked off, heads almost touching. Pavel watched them go. It was done. Tentatively, he took the ring from his finger; the chemical pellet, no bigger than a pin head, was no longer attached to the claw, but he wasn’t taking chances. He walked across to the sea-side of the road and tossed the ring over the railing and into the water.
Later, he thought, Nazar will have a high fever and in three or four days, maybe less, he would die. The policeman had seemed pleasant enough, but Pavel was resigned to this kind of job and felt no remorse. He turned and made his way back along the Gezi Yolu coast road towards Marmaris marina, thoughts of the cheery guard on the train in the Perm district crossed his mind and he began humming the Song of the Volga Boatmen.
Rik’s Book Link: Amazon
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