Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Indie Insider - Derek Haines

What is the best way to create tension?

I must admit that I don’t intentionally go about creating nail biting tension. Especially in my recent books that have been far fetched farces. But even in saying this, pace is an easy tool to use. A chase or something similar.

In previous books though that were a little more serious and dramatic, I did use the old trick of leaving a particular part of the story hanging for a chapter or two.

Do people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

Book covers have become far less important with the advent of ebooks. Well, that’s my opinion and it may not be shared by others. Creating an image to use in promoting a book is really what it’s about now. It does have to look like a book cover, but can be so easily changed, I see them as more promotional tools than the traditional cover sitting on a bookstore shelf.

I still create the covers myself as I have a background in typography and graphic design.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Then when you feel the need to tell, go back to more dialogue. While not the standard model of writing, I have a simplistic rule I try to enforce on my writing. Dialogue let’s the characters develop their own story, while narrative gives information. Sometimes though, a bit of narrative to speed things up doesn’t hurt.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

I never set myself goals. I really have to want to write a story, and this is the reason I am a staunch indie. From a child I have been completely useless at doing as I am told, so I would hate to have a fixed schedule to produce a book. Then again, if things flow a couple of books can come together quite quickly. As was the case for me earlier this year when I published two new books and then a third, which was a complete re-write of a book I wrote nearly twenty years ago.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

As I said, I’m not goal driven. But this year I have spent most of my writing time developing my blog. This is a new discipline, and being a daily blog, I have to produce 400-500 words every day, come what may. I still have a few WIPs underway, so when I have time I get back to these.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Selling books. That’s the challenge for any author nowadays. Whether you are self-pubbed or have an agent and publisher, marketing has become the lot of authors. This is a real time eater and I’m sure many authors would agree that it is time that is being taken away from their writing.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

Yes, yes and yes. No matter how good you think you can edit and proof, no one can do it to their own writing. It needs an independent eye, and many of them, during the process of getting a manuscript ready for publication. Apart from an editor, I like to have at least 15-20 people read the MS before publishing.

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

Knowing that when I’m pushing up daisies, someone will stumble across my words. Hopefully my grandchildren.

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.)

I have three favourite blogs.
Charlie Coutland - A great book reviewer:
Debbi Mack - A great writer:
Leslie Moon - A great poet:

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Derek Haines’ Website
BlogAmazon Author Page

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