Frequently ask questions
Questions most often asks Darrell about his writing
When did you start writing?
In 1994, I returned from a mission’s trip to the Ukraine. In the mail was a postcard from a man named jones professing to be a literary agent. He wanted to represent the book I had written. The problem was, I had never written a book. Come to find out he was a con man. Yet the postcard awakened a dream in me that had been dormant for years. Soon after, I began writing Never Ending Spring.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
At four, my mother saw me looking at a magazine inches from my face. In this way, she knew I needed glasses. While in high school, my favorite class was study hall. Here in the school library I discovered books such as Big Red, Lad of Sunnybank and others. I thought being a writer would be the greatest profession in the world. To transport people from their everyday routine and problems to a land of make-believe which became real in their imaginations.
How long does it take to write a book?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. Some writers think about a book for several years before they write the first word. James Michener, author of South Pacific and other books, stated it was four years from the time he started until the book would be in print. Some say they can write a book in 60 days. For me, it takes at least a year. However, the book may be in the back of my mind for several years.
What do you do about writer’s block?
Write. This is the quick answer. Some authors stop in the middle of a scene, others go over what they have written the previous day. Still others write gibberish, just something to get the wheels moving. Whatever method works for you or you can develop one of your own.
Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
Ideas come from everywhere the news, our own experiences, or our thought process. One good way to find a subject to write is to ask yourself what if. What if the next person I meet is a serial killer? Possibly it is a store clerk. One good way is to set in the mall and watch people go by. Project yourself into their lives. What are they feeling today? Are they happy or sad? Why do they feel the way they do? Have they just received a fearful medical diagnosis? Are they having problems at home? There are a million stories out there and no two are alike.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Read a lot. Writers are readers. If you are not a reader, you will be lost when it comes to writing. You must be able to hear your characters when they speak. Also, don’t quit. Discouragement and rejection are a way of life for a writer. The most famous writers were rejected many times. They became discouraged, yet they are famous because they persevered.
Do you write for your audience?
It takes about a year to for me to write a book. If I write what is trending today it may be out of mode tomorrow. In such a case, it would be like a dog chasing its tail. I would always be trying to catch up. Therefore, I write what I like to read. As the first reader, the book has to interest me.
Do you outline your novels?
When starting a book, I have a general idea of how it will turn out. This can change as I write. Christian author Gilbert Morris outlined to the point of having a physical description of his characters. It worked wonderfully for him. However, if I knew how the novel was going to turnout in each chapter, it would be boring and if it is boring to me, it would be to my readers as well.
Self-publishing or traditional?
There are advantages to both. With a traditional publisher: you have an editor, promotion, cover designer, and to a certain extent marketing. However, unless you are well known, most of the marketing is left to the author. Also, the copyright belongs to the publisher. Of course, there is the possibly of an advance. The timeline is another factor. From the time they except the book until it hits, the bookstores can be a year to eighteen months.
There are advantages and disadvantages of being a self-published author. The greatest advantage is you are in control, the copyright belongs to you. The disadvantage? Everything is the author’s responsibility. Marketing, promotion, cover design and curtain other aspects of publication. Each one is up to the author. Yet you own the book 100%. Many self-published authors today are competing with the major houses.