All Things Writing

Welcome to The Annual Introduction Show, 2022, and Season 3!

January 11, 2022 Bryan the Writer Season 3 Episode 1
All Things Writing
Welcome to The Annual Introduction Show, 2022, and Season 3!
Show Notes Transcript

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the show all things writing. This is our 3rd season and we are happy to reintroduce ourselves to you. 

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Bryan Nowak, the author of The Dramatic Dead, The Reverent Dead, Crimson Tassels, Riapoke, The Bagorian Chronicles, the Dean Cordaine books, the soon to be released second book in the Bagorian Chronicles series, as well as another horror novel which I am putting the finishing touches on now.

What is all things writing? We are talking about writing, books, fans, editing, publishing, and all things in between. In reality, as long as it is book related, we are going to chat about it. 

I got my start writing in 2013. Funny story that I think I have told loads of times, but not really on the show, so I will share it here. I was in a meeting and for the most part, the meeting had nothing to do with me. So, I pulled out a pen and paper and started writing a little story in the back of my notebook. I still have that original manuscript and I sometimes pull it out and look at it.

People ask me about my style of writing, and I love to point out that in reality I am 100% committed to the idea that I am first and foremost an entertainer. That is the one thing actors, musicians, singers, and other artists have in common, we entertain people. 

To be an effective writer, you have to get that idea firmly entrenched in your head or there is no reason to write in the first place. That book you are writing must entertain at least one person, that is you.

I also want to be a writer who lifts you out of your place and time and transports you to a world more entertaining than our own regular lives. 

When I was in high school we read the book The Great Gadsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the book Gentlehands by M.E. Kerr. Those books painted pictures for me that I could never get out of my hands. In the book Gentlehands there is a chapter where the kids are sitting around playing a game where each of them has to throw in an article of clothing. Each of the others tries to figure out which of the other kids has what. Buddy, the main character, has a polyester sweater he throws in when the other kids, rich kids, throw in expensive articles of clothing.

The way Kerr writes this is so amazing to me that it sticks with me all these years later. That is truly great writing. The dialogue, the world, everything is just so perfect. 

But isn’t that what amazing writing needs to do? 

Give me fun prose and some amazing dialogue. Give me characters that I will weep for when something goes wrong. That is good writing.

Welcome to the show and enjoy. Remember to hit the like button so you can keep up on everything we have going on and remember to tun in next week when we will have Mr. Aaron Reynolds on as our guest. He is the author of the fantastic book, Effn' Birds


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S3E1

 

Welcome everyone to the next season of all things writing. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Bryan Nowak, the author of The Dramatic Dead, The Reverent Dead, Crimson Tassels, Riapoke, The Bagorian Chronicles, the Dean Cordaine books, the soon to be released second book in the Bagorian Chronicles series, as well as another horror novel which I am putting the finishing touches on now.

If you are new to the show, let me welcome you. This is what I like to call the introduction show. I did one last year and so I decided to do it again as we have a ton of new listeners. As a matter of fact, in December the show it the 2500 download mark. I need to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to hang out with me and make this hsop possible. I especially need to thank those who have supported me on Patreon. If you love what you hear then please hit that like button and head over to patreon to show your support.

Well, for a show that I was reasonably sure would only get one download, I am always amazed at how well the show is doing overall. No, we are not as downloaded as some shows, but we are doing way better than others. It turns out there are plenty of people from around the globe interested in all things writing. Which brings me to why any of us are here anyway. Not as much of an existential question as it might seem.

Well, dear listener, when I was first starting out in my writing career, I was constantly searching for anything and everything which could help keep me sustained and inform me of what this wacky crazy writing world was all about.

I decided early on that I was going to try a bunch of different formats to sort of chronicle my journey. I tried a bunch of different things, but what really resonated with me was this idea of podcasting. Our lovely COVID quarantine really was a huge boon for Amazon as I was constantly ordering things like sound proof panels and other items. Finally, I was ready to go and I started talking into a microphone. That was two seasons ago.

What is all things writing? We are talking about writing, books, fans, editing, publishing, and all things in between. In reality, as long as it is book related, we are going to chat about it. 

I got my start writing in 2013. Funny story that I think I have told loads of times, but not really on the show, so I will share it here. I was in a meeting and for the most part, the meeting had nothing to do with me. So, I pulled out a pen and paper and started writing a little story in the back of my notebook. I still have that original manuscript and I sometimes pull it out and look at it.

That book was what would be called No Name. I don’t even sell that book anymore since it was really not that good. Now I want to point out that the book was not good from a structural perspective, but it was a pretty great story. Someday I really want to sit down and rewrite the novel and release it again, but that is something which will have to wait.

So the meeting went on and on for days and I found myself writing more and more. Pretty soon I found myself becoming almost obsessed with the idea of completing the story. About 70,000 words later, I had a pretty serviceable story. To be fair, I did not sell a ton of these books, but the reviews were mostly pretty good.

Next I went on to write The Dramatic Dead and for the most part, you can say it was history. I had written a second novel which meant that I had established a repeatable process. And that, my friends is what is critical to your writing life. You need to commit to a repeatable process. If you don’t, then there is no way you will ever finish your novel, short story, poem, screen play, or whatever you happen to be working on.

No matter if you are learning to swim, make a hamburger, fix a car, balance a ball on your head, you have to look at process and determine how you are going to skin that cat. I apologize to all cat owners listening.

Enough of my lecture.

People ask me about my style of writing, and I love to point out that in reality I am 100% committed to the idea that I am first and foremost an entertainer. That is the one thing actors, musicians, singers, and other artists have in common, we entertain people. 

To be an effective writer, you have to get that idea firmly entrenched in your head or there is no reason to write in the first place. That book you are writing must entertain at least one person, that is you.

Write for yourself first because if you can’t do that, then you cannot write for others and in my humble opinion you should not.

You are going to say to yourself, but Bryan why is it that you don’t want us to live the glamorous life of a writer?

Nothing can be further from the truth. I want you to hit all of your writing goals, but understand that in order to do such a thing, you need to really focus on the important things. And what are those? Well, first, let me tell you a story.

I grew up in the small village of Steger, Illinois. It is south of Chicago. I lived a mere two or three blocks away from South Chicago Heights, if you are familiar with the area.

This was the seventies and the eighties which were interesting times to live there. The industrial revolution had come and gone and the WWII boost to the economy to help drive the wartime engine of the united states was really a thing of the past. That was not a reality that missed the area that I grew up in.

I mean, it was an amazing place to grow up in during the times. Still pretty safe when we lived there, we could go out at night. But thing change, as time goes on and the south suburbs of Chicago are not like they used to. But in that poser WWII world, there were these wonderful old buildings filled with wonder. Tool companies which had massive lathes which were essentially the same type of machine they had used for a hundred years or so.

My best friend’s father would take us to the steel mills with him on the weekend where they actually cut rolled steel into sizes which could be shipped. In those places where razor sharp piece of steel over these huge puts designed to catch the material which would be waste. They would then send the waste back to the steel mills to be made into more steel. Call it an earlier form of recycling.

The abandoned buildings held wonderful shadows which looked like monsters lurking in the dark. My friend and I spend countless hours playing in a construction dump where all the unused materials would go. There was even an old water tower which we used as a headquarters for our adventures.

If you couple that with the kind of kid I was, always imaginative and always seeing the world in a different way is where my head was at, you have the makings of a writer.

Reality is that I have always had a bit of a love affair with the written word. I can’t help it. I love to see authors spinning the kinds of webs which entrap us.

When I was in high school we read the book The Great Gadsby and the book Gentlehands by M.E. Kerr. Those books painted pictures for me that I could never get out of my hands. In the book Gentlehands there is a chapter where the kids are sitting around playing a game where each of them has to throw in an article of clothing. Each of the others tries to figure out which of the other kids has what. Buddy, the main character, has a polyester sweater he throws in when the other kids, rich kids, throw in expensive articles of clothing.

The way Kerr writes this is so amazing to me that it sticks with me all these years later. That is truly great writing. The dialogue, the world, everything is just so perfect. 

But isn’t that what amazing writing needs to do? 

Look, if you want to read a fiction novel with tons of descriptions on how a space ship or a submarine operates, there are those books out there. But in reality those kinds of books will kill me. I am not interested. Nope. I need beauty and style. Give me fun prose and some amazing dialogue. Damn it, give me characters that I will weep for when something goes wrong. That is good writing.

Recently, in the December shows, I read you all A Christmas Carol. And you know what, there were whole parts I had to edit out because I got emotional while I was reading it. The parts where we talk about Tiny Tim dying. That just about killed me. But I read it. That is good writing. It drug the tears out of me. 

I stood at the very desk where Dickens wrote those words. I touched the wood that he touched. If you don’t thing that wasn’t a religious experience for me, you would be very wrong. To know Dickens wrote on the same surfaces that I was touching. Uuuufdah as we would say in Minnesota.

Look, I don’t care if you are not a sentimental person at heart, but I would argue that if you want to be successful at writing, you need to let you your heartstrings get plucked. You have to search those deep parts of yourself you really don’t want to talk about. It makes you a better writer.

Okay, whew, I need a break. So let me tell you about the best way to start your very own podcast.

 

INSERT HERE

 

Okay, so now that we have done that, I want to talk to you about something that happened to me recently which is completely appropriate to the discussion of the sentimentality of writing. I was involved in one of those epic facebook battles you only read about on television. No, I should have never engaged in the topic, but I could not help it. So, I got involved and flew into the fray.

The issue at hand was about how one person views a particular political part of another. Those of you who have listened to the show for a while know I lean right and the person I was arguing with leaned to the left. But it led to me a thought that I did not share with the other person. I may because I consider them to be a friend. He is a good guy and although I disagree with him, he is a good person.

That thought was this. We are writers. Writers should, by their very nature write from both sides of an idea. After all, the villain is the hero of his won story. In order to be genuine to that cause, you have to do everything you can do to know the character and understand who they are. I am personally a big advocate for getting to know the other side of my bad guys.

After all, and I know this is not a palatable thing to think about, but at one point someone loved Hitler, Stalin, Hussain, did they not?

No, I am not saying you let the villain off the hook. But understand they have motivations for what they have done. No, kill them, torture them. I don’t mean in the story line, but give them mental anguish. In my book Crimson Tassels there is a whole scene dedicated to showing you the pain and anguish of the antagonist.

That anguish is real and it is the primary reason she does what she does. No matter how misguided what she does is. But consider that at one point she was a loving mother and wife.

That is what I try to do while I am writing I want to make sure and get the feels together.

My goal is to ensure that all of my readers feel something when they read. I want you to understand the characters are more than just two dimensional characters. They have thoughts and ideas, loves and hates.

I know it is not really a palatable part of the writing process, but you have to dive deep into the still waters of your own psyche. Look down into your own fears and pull to the surface those feelings you are uncomfortable with. In those uncomfortable feelings, you will find new resolve and ways of looking at your characters.

It isn’t easy. Often, it is not fun. But in order to make it happn’ there is a place we need to go to, my fellow writers.

But, there is good news. That is why we are here. That’s right. Together we are far stronger as at team than alone. So,