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Duncan MacMaster: Writing is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done

Today is the second of my interviews with Fahrenheit Press authors today. Duncan MacMaster steps up and answers my standard questions on productivity, routine and writing. As ever, if you’d like to be featured on the blog, send me an email or contact me here.

What’s your track record – what have you written?

I’ve written A MINT CONDITION CORPSE, a mystery set at a comic book convention starring a geeky amateur sleuth named Kirby Baxter, HACK, which is about a ghostwriter in the middle of a murder case, and the upcoming sequel to Mint Condition Corpse called VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR. Baxter returns to solve a murder on the set of celebrity reality show being made in his normally quiet hometown.  All books are, or will soon be, available from the good people at Fahrenheit Press, or can be ordered through your local bookstore. (Something that’s very helpful for independent publishers).

Why do you write?

Short answer: I have no other marketable skills. Long answer, it’s the most satisfying thing I’ve done. I’ve always made up stories, ever since I was a child, and it feels good to get those stories out and have others enjoy them.

What makes a successful days writing?

Duncan Macmaster Hack book cover I’m impatient by nature, and I’d love to be able to drop an entire novel in a day, but in the real world, writing a book takes time, and I have other responsibilities. So I have to settle for any output over 1000 words as a good day.

When do you feel most productive?

When I type the ending. Partially because while I enjoy writing, I absolutely LOVE to have written, but mostly because having completed that first draft. That ugly, lumpy, clumsy first draft is an achievement. It feels great to have it completed. Then begins the work of editing and polishing, but even that has a certain satisfaction to it.

Do you have a writing routine? What is it?

When it comes to preparing a project I do have a bit of a routine. Doing whodunnits, you have to plan things out, like characters, which one’s the victim, who are the suspects, motives, means, opportunities, what are the clues. Then I do a rough outline of the chapters distributing major clues, but I don’t go into too much detail at this point, because sometimes I surprise myself while writing it with twists & turns I didn’t think of during the outline. Then I start on that first draft.

As for writing day to day, it’s a matter of just getting the time to write, and grinding it out.

What stops you from writing?

Reality.

Say you’ve hit a slump. What do you do to get going again?

I start something new. I kind of need momentum to get something done. If I lose that momentum the project is in danger of dying on the vine. If the project is meant to be I can go back, or even restart the whole thing from the beginning fresh.

Mint condition corpse coverWhat advice would you give someone who can’t get their writing going?

Just do it. If it’s bad, rewrite it later, but the important thing is to always be writing at every possible opportunity.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever had?

Read a lot and write a lot.

 

Where can people find out more about you?

My Twitter account is my main online presence, I used to blog about the movie business but writing books, and other responsibilities kind of drained away the time I had used to blog. So I stick to Twitter. It’s where I met my publisher Fahrenheit Press and it’s where I pester my followers with book plugs, painful puns, other nonsense I do for fun. It’s at twitter.com/FuriousDShow.

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