One of my readers asked me a series of questions about writing Stupid Boy. I thought others might be interested in my responses.
Q: Do you have the entire story planned out yet?
A: No. I take each book and give it a rough outline. For example I have Junior Year's chapters figured out for the first half of the year. When I write it it's not as structured as some writers. It is more of a stream of conscious as the scene develops on the page.
Q: What method did you use / are you using to put this story together? Did you just sit down and start typing, or did you plan it all out in a spreadsheet, or did you throw the petrified ox bones at the new moon?
A: I do two things. The first is to get out a calendar and put in all the important continuity things (B-day, Holidays, Anniversaries, etc.). I then look at the dates and figure out when things have to happen. A good example is the football schedule. There are conference games and then playoffs. I look at last years calendar and see who was home and away. Then I look at when school will be in session. From there I can schedule when David could be doing photo shoots etc. I think you get the drift with the calendar.
I then write out half a year of chapter summaries based on the calendar. I only do half a year because I want to write it before I do the second half. I want to give myself the freedom to explore what comes out of the creative process.
Q: What's the most common complaint you get about the story, and do you feel those people have a valid beef?
A: Not enough sex ... too much sex ... I hate the sex and skim that part. The sex actually makes it so I can't really offer the stories to a larger market. Most won't post under aged sex stories. The other thing is writing sex scenes is harder than you think. There are only so many ways to describe it and keep it interesting.
Q: When you're envisioning the girls in the story, where do you draw your inspiration? Celebrities, acquaintances, or some other source?
A: I forgot to tell you about my Cast Document. It is completely different than what you see on the site. I'm a guy so I tend to be visual. Let me give you two examples.
For the freshman cheerleaders I did a search on Bing Images for high school cheerleaders. I found a photo of four girls. I then played the game, what would each girl be like. In my cast document I have the picture and then different things I thought would drive them as a character. Emma seemed to be serious and in charge, Kylie looked fun and outgoing ... based on that I began to get an idea of that they would be like in the book.
For the models I went to actual modeling websites and looked at the cards for each girl. You quickly find out they are all about the same ... five-ten 'A' cup etc. With their cards they have examples of their work. From that I was able to get a better idea of their personality.
Q: What's the biggest stumbling block you've encountered so far in writing the story, and how did you get around it? (Note: I'm not talking about real life getting in the way, I mean a storyline conundrum that tripped you up)
A: Hands down Tracy. The hardest part was writing the chapter where she told her story as to why she was the way she was. My personality is not that dark and I knew it had to be to make it work. The problem I had was I couldn't imagine what she would have gone through to make her so damaged. I can never understand the need to treat a woman other than the special person she is. My fear was it would come off as unbelievable.
Thankfully I have a great editor in BlackIrish who helped me through it.
Q: In your opinion, who is the most interesting character in the series aside from David, and why?
A: The easy answer would be Tami. She was who the book was originally written to be about. Tracy would also be in the mix. I'm going in a different direction. David's Mom. You'll notice I never give her or his Dad names. It is always Mom or Dad.
David's Mom is a mystery and yet she's not ... she is unpredictable and has a wicked sense of humor. She can shock you one moment and be compassionate the next. In a lot of ways she is an open book. You know where you stand with her. I love pushing the envelope and seeing what she can do and still be a real character.
Q: What was the hardest scene so far for you to write, and why?
A: Let me give you two and leave out the Tracy chapter.
Sex scenes. After you have written as many as I have it gets hard to be creative with insert part A into slot B. Luckily the internet is a wonderful place for porn ... did I just admit that? The other thing that helps is knowing your characters and trying to bring what they would do in a situation like that. My fear is it will get redundant and not add to the story. I find my self doing the lead up and then they were happy afterwards approach, especially if the couple in question has done a couple of previous sex scenes together.
The avalanche scene. I was scared how the reader would take it and I was leaving a hell of a cliff hanger. Some people absolutely hates those. The other thing is I have a real fear of being buried alive. Just thinking about it while I wrote it got me anxious.
Q: What was your starting point, that made you want to write this story? (AKA - Was reading a similar story and thought you could do it better; Had the character come together in your head and started to weave a story around him; Was bored and wanted to see what came out if you started writing; etc etc)
A: I've had a story idea in my head for years. It is actually the basis for David's movie 'Star Academy'. I knew that if I was ever going to do it justice I needed to write and learn my craft. I sat down Memorial Weekend and started writing. The original title was 'Train' as in training him to be a man. The goal was to write a short story and post it on SOL to see what people thought. By the end of the weekend I had 140 pages. I broke that down into chapters and posted it. Luckily the feedback was good and I continued.