Cursed Black Swan
A Fixer Novel
By- Ryan T. McFadden
Genre- Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Published By- Dragon Moon Press
Publication Date-October 30th
"Let's get one thing straight—I'm a fixer. You need someone murdered? Then hire an assassin. You need something stolen? Call a thief. But if there's something no one else can do, or a job that no one else wants, then you talk to me."
Nathaniel specializes in the strange, the weird, and the dangerous. But no matter how far he runs, he can't leave behind his bloody past, nor the ghosts that chase him.
Topic- Your writing process
The short answer: The Snowflake method, and it saved my writing career. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/
The long answer: My writing process has definitely adapted over the years. When I was in my 20s, I could sit down and crank out a thousand words before breakfast. They weren’t good words - but I didn’t know that then. Back then, I thought they were gold. GOLD, I tell you. All perfect.
Then a strange thing happened. I began to mature as both a writer and as a person, and my writing began to slow. In 2007, I went to a week-long master seminar with Robert J. Saywer, and he pointed out my writing was sloppy. Poorly edited and bloated. In other words, I wasn’t very good at my craft. Luckily, he directed me to several books on how to correct those problems.
Two years later, I won my first Aurora Award (Canada’s top SF&F literary award - like the Hugos but only available for Canadians). Then a really strange thing happened after I won that award - I couldn’t write anymore. I’m talking 100 words a day. A full freaking day. It was painful, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I did continue to write, continued to publish, but it was slow and unpleasant -- and all short fiction. There was no way I could write a novel (and I already had several trunk novels).
I thought I was done. I tried other methods: improve, faking it until I make it, extensive outlining. Then I stumbled on the Snowflake Method.
The method is simple: you begin with a very broad 1-line description of your novel. Then you switch over to characters. 1-line description of the character. Then you switch back to the plot, but this time, that 1-line becomes a paragraph. Then back to the characters: 1 line becomes a paragraph. You switch back and forth between them until you have PAGES of info.
It wasn’t until I did this a few times that I realized why I couldn’t write anymore: my plots and characters weren’t in sync. I had a plot, and I’d describe the setting, then it was trial and error to figure out what the characters would do in that situation. So I’d write, then erase, then write, then erase, each time trying to figure out the characters as I wrote.
The snowflake method isn’t revolutionary. It’s very simple but he’s done a great job describing it with a fairly entertaining book (using the Three Little Pigs as the parable).
Yes, it takes a while, but it works so well because you discover errors before you spend days or weeks writing. Now, I don’t need to use his (very inexpensive) software to do it, I can do it almost in my head. Once again, I’m capable of 3000 word days.
Ryan T. McFadden is a writer of fantasy and horror, with short stories and novellas published through Dragon Moon Press, Edge SF & F, and Absolute X-Press. In 2014, his novella Ghost in the Machine won the Aurora Award (Canada's most prestigious award for SF&F) for Short Fiction.
His motley past involved such dangerous work as database administration, ice cream flavouring (seriously, that's a thing), hockey league administration, screen printing, web design, furniture building, and home renovations.
He lives in London, Ontario, with his two beautiful, but sometimes diabolical daughters, who he is sure are plotting to one day overthrow him.