Let's give a warm welcome to Mark O'Bannon, author of The Dream Crystal. Please check out his links in this post, and let me know what you think of them when you are done.
1. Please tell readers about your current book.
The Dream Crystal is a fantasy tale about a faerie changeling who decides to rescue the human child she was exchanged for.
2. Who or what inspires your writing?
The best inspiration for me comes from reading or seeing a great story. Also, I enjoy taking historical settings and making them magical. So in my first series of books (which are about fairies), I’ve taken traditional Irish mythology and mixed it with a modern fantasy tale. If you look up some of the names of the characters in my books, you may find them! But there are some spoilers, so do so with caution.
3. When did you know you would be a writer?
I’m a computer technician. One day I asked another tech a question and he looked at me and said, “Mark, you should know the answer to these things. If you don’t have passion for your work, you’ll never go as far as you want to go.” I went home depressed, wondering what I would do with my life. Then I looked up at my bookshelf and started counting the number of books I’ve read (and re-read) on writing. I have nearly 200 books! I had also written 3 or 4 million words worth of stories for fun. That was the moment I realized that I was a writer.
4. How long did it take you to write your first novel?
Many people think that a writer just sits down and turns out a story. This isn’t how it works. Like learning the piano or art or anything, writing takes passion, practice and study. Even Mozart had to learn how to play the piano. I spent over 30 years telling stories, 15 years learning how to write, and 10 years writing for fun before I set out to write my first novel.
Once I started, it took me about a year to design the story, another year to write it and another six months or so before I learned how to market it. Today, I’m much faster. My next book, “The Dark Mirrors of Heaven” took me a month to design, and it should take me one or two months to write. Future books should take less and less time as I get better. My goal is to write a novel every month or two.
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I have a t-shirt that has an image of a “Distractasaurus” – Distractions kill my writing. Also, life stress kills my creativity and saps my ability to write. I do the most work when I’m on vacation, sitting on the beach in Thailand. I need to go on vacation more often so I can get more work done! Maybe I’ll just move there!
6. Do you have any writing rituals?
I like to feed my muse with a steady diet of books, movies and poetry. I listen to music while writing (nothing with lyrics though). I also make sure I get the story structure figured out in advance so I won’t have to spend hours and hours and hours of rewriting. I like to get it right the first time. I still do rewrites but once I get the structure figured out, there isn’t too much to fix in later drafts.
7. Have you written anything else?
I have a ton of unpublished short stories. Perhaps 3 or 4 million words worth.
I wrote an Interactive Storytelling Game (a “Pen and Paper” Role-Playing Game), called, “Fantasy Imperium.” It sold out in two years (5000 copies). I plan on republishing it in the future as I have the time.
8. Any advice to aspiring writers?
Here are the three most important things you need to know:
99% of writers fail at the premise – the story idea. Either the idea has been done before (cliché), or it’s a bad idea (is it fundamentally stupid?), or it’s a good idea which hasn’t been developed properly.
So make certain your story concept is unique, and that it can build into something interesting. Is your idea only good for a few scenes? The genre you choose for your story will to a large extent determine how well it can be developed. Every genre explores something different. Fantasy explores how to live a good life. Mystery is about the search for truth. Horror deals with what is human and what is inhuman, etc. If you use the wrong genre to develop your story, you could kill it (though it’s perfectly fine to try it).
Write a Thousand Words a Day.
Here’s what Ray Bradbury told me: “Write a thousand words a day and in three years you’ll be a writer… because nobody can write that many bad stories in a row.” If you want to be a great musician, if you want to be a great artist, if you want to be a great ball player, if you want to be a great writer, you need to practice, practice, practice! Nobody can play a fantastic piece of music the first time they touch an instrument.
Most people refuse to study writing. But can you imagine sitting down at a piano and composing a masterpiece at the first try? This is impossible. You must study writing. Most writing books (I’ve read everything it seems) are good, but you should definitely learn story structure.
Stay away from the obsolete Three Act Structure system. Using this outdated system is like giving crayons to Michelangelo.
Use the Seven Steps of Classical Story Structure taught by John Truby.
Here are the top three books on writing:
“The Anatomy of Story” by John Truby.
“Zen and the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury.
“Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass.
Get everything by Writer’s Digest Books. “Conflict Action and Suspense” is one of the best.
You can also read my blog on writing: http://www.BetterStorytelling.Net/Blog
I wrote a free e-book called, “How to Tell a Story” (you can find it on my blog) and this will give you a basic idea of how storytelling works.
9. Who is your favorite Authors?
Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien.
10. What is your favorite book?
All the Harry Potter books. (J.K.Rowling really needs to write more books, don’t you think?)
11. What are you currently reading?
I’m always on the lookout for new books on writing. Donald Maass wrote a new one: “The Fire in Fiction,” which I’ll get next. I always keep “The Anatomy of Story” nearby, and I’m rereading Harry Potter again! I also want to read Amanda Hocking’s book, “Switched.”
12. How do readers find out more about you?
Here are a few links:
Thanks for the interest in my books.
If you want to learn writing, I’ll be happy to help you (just go to my blog).
I plan on writing six fairy novels and 24 novellas (about fairies – aren’t you sick of reading zombie/vampire/werewolf books?). Then I may get into Science Fiction.
All of the world’s dreams are about to die. The Shadow People have come. Always near, they linger in the darkness, ready to devour dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. . .
Aisling, having lost her dream of becoming a fashion designer, learns that she’s a Faerie changeling. Disquieted by the fact that her faerie parents are kidnappers, she has decided to rescue the human child she was exchanged for, but her “sister” is no longer among the faeries, having been taken by the Shadow People. Ith, the Lord of Shadows, is trying to control the dreams of mankind, which are under the protection of the faeries, so they’re at war.
Aisling, who doesn’t believe in dreams any longer, is falling in love with a handsome, mysterious stranger – one of the Shadow People.
Kindle Edition: 1131 KB
Publisher: MEOw Publishing
Purchase at Amazon