Have you ever wondered how your favorite author comes up with ideas or their approach to the process of creating a story? We are always interested in the writing process and want to invite you to join us as we launch a new blog series with one of our guest authors, Rich Erixon. Follow along as we learn about Rich’s experience as a writer. Each post will contain a question and answer session with Rich and occasionally an excerpt of his work as it progresses.
Who is Rich Erixon?
Rich is a fifth and sixth grade Social Studies/Language Arts teacher in the Denver area. He recently began working on his first book, a Young Adult (YA) novel, and agreed to let us follow him through the process. While teaching takes up most of his day, Rich finds himself writing in the evenings and provides great insight into how the process works for a first-time author.
Kari: Where are you right now in the process?
Rich: I am working on the fourth draft of my YA fiction novel. This being my first novel, I loosely followed Stephen King's advice: write what you know (being a teacher and a father), create some good characters and an event and write like the pages are on fire, and then sit on the story for a while before reworking it. After my second draft, the basic reworking, I gave a copy to a student of mine who would be honest with me, and a couple of other trusted people. Based on their sometimes painfully honest recommendations, I reworked much of the storyline and added a very evil antagonist.
My fourth draft comes after getting a few pages of my work in front of some agents at a writing conference and getting their take on how it would sell: make the young protagonist stronger and have her dive headlong into the fray instead of being pulled along; and make the setting a near future version of the United States instead of creating an entire new world. These are very exciting changes that will only make my story stronger, and I am chomping at the bit to implement them.
Kari: What are your current challenges?
Rich: My two biggest challenges at this point are completely changing my setting (the creative part) and working on getting my book out to the public (the business part). I will tell you right now that I struggle mightily with the business part. I am a creative soul and all of the different aspects of getting a book published get jumbled and mashed around in my brain, and I find it almost painful to sort out. But sort it out I must, because I desperately want to share my stories with everyone.
Kari: What is the most recent hurdle that you feel good about overcoming?
Rich: I was able to trump my ego and get my story in front of people. I chose a small writing conference in Crested Butte, Colorado that allowed me unprecedented access to some agents and editors. I allowed my work to be throttled in a critique group with an agent who was more worried about a good story than my feelings. One has to have a positive mindset going into those things, and I set my mind to come away having learned something about my story and my writing. I came away with a wealth of helpful information that I piled back into my book.
Kari: What is your next step?
Rich: The next step of my process is to get published. Not yet by a major publishing company, or even by self-publishing (close, but not yet). I need to get some of my short stories into magazines. Everyone needs a strong resume and getting into literary magazines can only strengthen a writer's profile. I am now going back to revise some of my older stories and I am also writing some newer ones.
Below you will find a News Feed from one of Rich’s blogs. Stay tuned for more from Rich Erixon.
News Feed! Ex-IIF Agent Kidnaps Daughter, Goes on the Run
Patrick Cosgrove, a criminal and traitor to the United States, has been located but not yet captured. Cosgrove disappeared on October 24, the same night that the Independence Corps positively identified him. Reports state that Cosgrove kidnapped his daughter and forced her to flee with him. Their land-loving 4X4 was spotted heading south on I47. The Independence Corps has put out an all points and has scrambled every agent in the area to help in the hunt.
Cosgrove, a onetime IIF agent, went into hiding after escaping from an Independence Corps minimum security prison fifteen years ago, killing two men in the process. He has been living in Boulder, in the state of Colorado, as a teacher named Gabriel Turley. His daughter Carson Turley is his only child. His wife, another ex-IIF agent, does not reside with Turley. She has not been seen in 15 years.
Cosgrove was initially jailed for attempting to sabotage and destroy the Sons of Liberty immediately after the citizens of the US voted them into power. His actions were seen as a threat to the stability of the US, and an attack on its citizens. The Independence Corps has displayed pictures of Cosgrove and his daughter across the Big Sky. Please do not try to apprehend the fugitives yourself, as Cosgrove is assumed to be armed and dangerous. Please contact the Independence Corps immediately if you see them.