In school, I always did well when it came to writing and English class. Spelling came easy and by high school, my friends would all copy off me. I remember when I had to do a report in my junior year. I was really into music at the time with bands like Yes, Genesis, Rick Wakeman, and others. I loved the synthesizer and found out that Moog was actually from Buffalo. I sent them a letter (real snail mail) and in turn, they sent me an envelope full of magazines about their products. I read them all and wrote an awesome report that received an A.
So, how does this relate to my writing style? I think it’s basically the same way I do research for any project. It’s how I researched information for old houses when I wrote home histories and articles for the Buffalo News and for my other non-fiction books. I use the same techniques for background info for my fiction stories.
I usually do most of the research before I start writing, but always find a need to do more. I always find some little item that needs clarifying or more substance. Sometimes when doing research I find a hole to crawl down that leads to a new detail or maybe a new person or place that I didn’t know about. When I was writing Washington Beer I let a few people in the industry proof the draft. One of them came back and asked me about a specific aspect of history that I didn’t come across in my research. It turned out to be pretty important and I added it to the book.
When I decided to start writing fiction I had no idea where it would go. (I consider They Call Me Korney non-fiction even though it has some fictional elements to it.) I had a story idea that would work well in a memoir, but I didn’t want to waste time writing a book no one would read. Then I found a name painted on a rock near where I live and a character developed. I took the two and added a little twisted Mafia history and voila, Rex Carlton and Double Rush were born.
The first draft was sparse without much dialogue, as I wasn’t quite sure how to write it. When I re-read it and started to add dialogue, the characters became real. They started to tell their own stories. It was crazy. I could picture the scene in my head and what the characters were doing and telling each other. I couldn’t get it out of my head fast enough. When I was done with subsequent drafts the story became complete and real. The characters were now alive and real to me.
When I discuss the stories with my wife I talk about the characters as if they are real. They are to me. I would guess most authors feel the same way. I have several stories about Rex Carlton and already have a sci-fi series outlined. I plan on releasing at least three books in 2018 and continue that pace for the next few years. I may never return to non-fiction, but it provided me with a lot of writing experience, for which I am thankful.
Since it is New Year’s Eve, Happy 2018 to everyone. I look forward to a great new year and wish you all the best!