Author Interview – Dan Harris : Part 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithin the Indie Author Hub, you can learn about other authors, their thoughts and opinions, what makes them tick and how their writing process works for them.

All this week I will be releasing segments of an interview I conducted with fellow author, Dan Harris, an inspirational Sci-Fi writer. Have a look at his profile and books here.

Part 1 : Dan’s Writing Process

What inspired you to become an author? I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been devouring books since I was about four years old, and writing stories on and off since I was twelve. But it was another fifteen years before I said to myself ‘look, you’ve got no excuse for just talking about writing a novel, instead of actually writing one’. Which did the trick, as I sat myself down and, over the course of a year, banged out Ascension Point. If I wasn’t an author I would probably be a professional basketball player. I could have made it, if I were only five inches taller, much, much fitter, and at all talented.

How do you fit writing into your daily routine? Sadly, I don’t write full time. I’m a customer support manager for a software company that services the telecoms industry. I find an hour a day to write, wherever I can. In the morning before work, after work before my wife gets home, late at night before I go to bed. It’s not hard to find that hour, once you set your mind to it. Six hours sleep and ten hours of work leaves eight hours free, after all! I’m pretty consistent, writing an hour gets me somewhere between 750 and 1250 words. Averages out at about 1000 words / hour, which means I can bang out the first draft of an 80K novel in 80 hours, or 16 weeks at one hour a day, five days a week.

Where do you write? Standing up at our breakfast bar, oddly enough. It’s close to the coffee, which is crucial. I stopped sitting at a desk earlier this year after reading lots of horror stories about the associated health risks. I really want a proper standing desk, though, and a flat treadmill to go under it so I can walk while I work.

Do you belong to writers groups? A few. I’m in the Indie Writers Unite group on Facebook, and I pop into the Writers Cafe on the Kindle boards forum now and again. I used to be quite active in the Writers Workshop community (http://writing-community.writersworkshop.co.uk/) but less since I shifted towards self-publishing. They’re quite geared towards finding an agent.

Do you plan your books down to the last detail? Not the last detail, but I do prepare a detailed outline. I write the high level plot in a single document first, then split that into chapters in Scrivener, then pencil in rough outlines of the scenes in each chapter. It means I always know what scene I need to write next when I’m drafting, which means I never get stuck or have to get over the fear of a blank page.

How do you decide on your characters and what they will be like? They need to fit and serve the story, first and foremost, which typically determines a job / career / role. Then I flesh them out with some typical characteristics of that profession, then personal details: cocky, introverted, verbose, quick to anger, etc. All that good stuff. Physical attributes are generally secondary, unless the character’s physicality is key. But I always at least decide what they’re going to be so I can mention it in the book and give the readers something to imagine!

In Part 2, Dan reveals his thoughts on publishing.

3 thoughts on “Author Interview – Dan Harris : Part 1

  1. Reblogged this on dan-harris.net and commented:
    Last week I was interviewed by Tim Flanagan, a fellow SF author and an indie publishing enthusiast. Tim likes to share the stories of other indie authors on his very popular blog, and I was delighted to be featured.
    Check out this installment for my thoughts on the writing process–parts two and three will be out later this week.

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