Good day, my fellow book lovers. I’m constantly in awe of authors. Not only do they create amazing, and often memorable, characters, but they then go on to craft a wonderful tale involving that character or cast of characters. Most authors do this while working full-time jobs as sales clerks, mechanics, teachers, librarians, lawyers, physicians, engineers, professors, chemists, etc. Coming up with one story idea is wonderful, continuing to come up with new stories is simply mind-boggling to me, yet I’m incredibly grateful to authors for doing this day after day, month after month, and year after year. Like many of you, I wonder about author’s writing process. How do they get from a germ of an idea to a complete book? How do they begin? What’s their writing routine? I’m pleased to welcome D. Marshall Craig M.D., author of Hidden Agendas, the second book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler thriller series, to the blog today. Dr. Craig will be providing us with answers about his writing process. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and add Hidden Agendas to your TBR list. Thank you, Dr. Craig, for taking the time to join us today.
My Writing Process
by D. Marshall Craig, M.D.
Every writer has his or her own personal way to create a story that will interest the reader. Some writers are very methodical in their approach to writing, some are completely random. I believe there is no one correct method to successfully complete the process of writing on what content you want to convey to the reader.
With that said, I would say that my methods of writing have evolved from a combination of some structure and occasional randomness. I usually have some ideas about what the progression of the plot is going to be, so I start by trying to put them down in a general outline. I then figure out the beginning of the story that will hook the reader’s attention. Next, I jump forward to creating an ending that will be surprising and not at all expected. As the process of the flow of the story is formulated, I will add thoughts and different situations to the plot to grab the reader’s interest as the story’s suspense builds. There are times as I progress with the story that I will switch around the order of events to make the story more climactic.
For my first novel, I used all my experiences with the crazy individuals and hard-to-believe situations I experienced or heard about as a surgeon during my career of over thirty years. I knew from the beginning that this initial story was going to expand into a series of books about my protagonist in the future. For each successive novel, I again make a rough outline of the plot and where I want to go with the story in relation to my main protagonist in order to keep the reader interested.
I strongly think that the development of characters in the story is key to keeping the reader turning the pages with interest. I try to make the characters seem believable but still somewhat unique in their own way. For my Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series, I like to use fast-paced, snappy dialogue between characters to create a kind of tension, especially when there is a potential love interest. The trick for me with each new novel is expanding the personalities of the principal characters forward with each story while introducing new characters at the same time to make the story full.
With that in mind, I have to admit that it’s not an easy process. Face it, there are times for any writer when it is difficult to produce anything of value on your computer screen looming before you. Like anyone else, I have periods when I don’t feel inspired to write at all. I have come to accept that those periods are part of the process. I have learned to just walk away from the keyboard if ideas are not flowing in my brain. I’ll go focus on something else leaving whatever I was stuck on totally behind. Then for whatever reason, I’ll come back to my keyboard later to look at things with a fresh point of view. This usually works to get new ideas going in my brain. I really can’t explain it, but the same thing happens to me when I work crossword puzzles. Just a new sense of confidence, I guess.
With a fresh start, these new ideas lead to the evolution of the plot. At those times, I feel compelled to get my ideas down on my computer as soon as I can almost in a frantic sense of desperation. It’s during those times that new ideas with plot progression just seem to flow out of my brain to my fingertips on the keyboard.
I’ve been asked before if there is a central message or theme in my current novel series that I want readers to grasp. I guess you could say that as my protagonist progresses in each novel, he is like David facing overwhelming odds against a Goliath opponent. In each situation, it leads to the theme of “never give up.”
If I was asked for one of the best pieces of writing advice that I have ever received, it would be to write about what you know. Despite what some people might think, you’re not going to know about everything. So, if there’s something you don’t know, become an expert on the subject with exhaustive research. Put the effort in to make your story interesting enough to grab the attention of the reader.
I’ve listed a few ideas about how I try to get an interesting suspense/thriller story written that may or may not help other writers go through the process more easily. Everyone has their own process to conquer. If you can figure out that the key is to enjoy the process as much as the result, then the writing itself will fulfill you that much more. ♦
Hidden Agendas, Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series #2, by D. Marshall Craig, M.D.
ISBN: 9781633635463 (paperback)
ASIN: B09LC35T1D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: White Bird Publications LLC.
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Medical Thriller
When busy trauma surgeon Dr. Kyle Chandler goes to a medical symposium in London, he agrees to two innocent meetings for his friend Ian Griffin, who runs a private investigation firm. During his time in England, Dr. Chandler stumbles on a mysterious system of illegal smuggling to the United States. How could the smuggling of products in bulk wine carriers have anything to do with the shipping of French antiques? As Kyle continues his investigation, he soon realizes he faces a powerful, complex network involving organized crime while escalating threats to him reveal the truth – and the truth nearly costs him his life.
Meet the Author
D. Marshall Craig, M.D. draws upon his knowledge of medicine gained from over 30 years as a trauma, plastic, and reconstructive surgeon to continue the story of hard-working hero Dr. Kyle Chandler. Craig’s series of medical suspense thrillers are inspired by some of his wildest stories and most colorful characters from his previous medical career. He now enjoys his second career as a winemaker and vineyard manager for a small boutique winery. He lives with his wife in the mountains of western North Carolina. The first book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler series is Cut to the Chase (White Bird Publications).