Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in an anthology of short stories called From the Indie Side and got to meet a bunch of authors I’d only ever seen from a distance. In this blog post, I’m interviewing one of these authors, Ernie Lindsey.
What are you working on?
I just finished up an insane writing marathon where I finished five novels in as many months, plus a couple of short stories. Reminds me of Forrest Gump where he’s out in the middle of the desert, stops running, and says, “I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.” That said, I tried to take a break, but that’s the burden of having too many stories in your head and motivation to get them all down before they disappear.
So, at the moment, I’m working on a piece for Kindle Worlds, which is set in Marcus Sakey’s world of Brilliance. I loved the novel and the vision of society that he created, and so far, it’s been a lot of fun to dabble in it. I love the fact that folks like Hugh Howey, Marcus Sakey, and all the incredible storytellers who allow us to play around in their creations. The thing is, inside their imaginations where these worlds are built, they’re only telling ONE story of many, and there’s so much room to explore. I’m excited about getting this one out there.
Interesting. (Ponders for entirely too long…) I’m not entirely sure that it does, and I’m okay with that. …I think…
Genre is genre, and we all have our own unique voices, and you do your best to tell the best story possible. I sound like a NASCAR driver trying to give the standard platitudes. I’d like to thank the Ford Chevy Diet Coke Nabisco racing team for their efforts. We put a great car on the track today…
You know, if I absolutely had to pick something that makes my work stand out from the pack, I’d say it’s the fact that for me, there’s minimal buildup to the action. I drop a reader right into the middle of the car chases, the gun fights, the kidnappings, and leave them little room to catch a breath for the next three hundred pages. I try to limit the peaks and valleys of intensity, and to continue the NASCAR theme the pedal is always to the metal.
Why do you write what you do?
As fledgling writers, we’re told to write what we know, but if I were to do that, I’d be inundating the literary world with stories about a former technical writer creating instructional guides that nobody reads. I write the types of stories that I do because it’s what I’d want to read if I randomly picked up one of my books at the library or a bookstore.
The weird thing is, I have hundreds of books on my Kindle, but now and then, I’ll catch myself reading one of my own novels (always looking for things to tweak) and instead of working on the story, I’ll find myself getting sucked into the plot. Such a strange feeling.
How does your writing process work?
Man, it’s a mish-mash of regimented discipline and haphazard fits and starts. When I’m definitely into a story I’m telling, I’ll set timers and write for twenty-five minutes and then take a five-minute break. I’ll rinse and repeat that for three or four hours at a time until my mind goes to mush, then I’ll take a longer break and start all over again. Typically, using this method, I can crank out three to five thousand words in an uninterrupted day. When it’s haphazard, I’ll be all over the house putting laundry away, cleaning up after our toddler, washing bottles and dishes, whatever, in an effort to keep the task-oriented side of my brain occupied while the creative side works on the plot. It’s not unusual to find the bed half made because an answer presented itself and I had to run back to the computer.
Other than that, I’m a total pantser. I can’t plot out my stories with outlines or mindmaps because I find it too limiting. To me, it feels like I’m square-peg-round-holing it, trying to make the characters do what they need to do in order to fit where the story is going. I’ve tried to plot like that and it ruins me every time a character starts misbehaving and derails the story by ten thousand words. It’s too hard for me to go back and fix what feels like the natural progression of the story.
So, instead, I write the story like I’m reading it. I solve the mystery with the characters—sometimes with them, sometimes a chapter or two sooner, but I figure that in the end, if a story can surprise the one guy who *should* know where everything is going, it’ll be doubly exciting for the reader.
Alright, that’s it!
You can find Ernie at www.ernielindsey.com