So you want to be a Writer? Answer Nine Questions

So you want to be a Writer? Answer Nine Questions

A New Writer Must Answer Nine Questions


Millions of people have written millions of books, some good, some bad. I have paid good money to buy books and I quit reading them after twenty pages, no big deal. These books were published by big names and big publishing companies and they were lousy. Your book is just as good or better!

I will guide you through three phases: Construction of a novel, writing a novel, and marketing a novel. Have fun.

So before I begin, I would like to set some ground rules. 

How long will it take me to write my novel?

Rome wasn’t built in a day…either will your novel. It probably will take a year or more. My first novel took five years to write.

How much time will it take to write my novel?

I wrote while employed and time was as scarce as hen’s teeth. No whining about how hard your life is. Set a schedule when and where to write. In the beginning, I recommend two hours a day and build it up until you are tired or unproductive.

How do I start writing my novel?

You don’t just start writing the great American novel. That is plain stupid. You need a map, a compass, and knowledge. I will show you how to map out your novel, head you in the right direction and impart some knowledge.

What must I have to be a novel writer?

You must have a passion to learn how to write a novel. It is a learning experience…enjoy it.


What will I cover in my posts?


The First Phase. The construction of a Novel

The first phase I will cover is the Construction Phase. A novel is constructed just like a house. A writer is like an architect…you must know the rules of designing. A writer is also a builder and cannot build without blueprints. A writer has to do both. I will cover Concept and Premise, Chapter construction, Scene construction, the Stages of a fiction novel, Plotting, the Logic of construction.

The Second Phase. The Writing of a Novel.

The second phase will cover, grammar, pronoun usage, dialogue, punctuation, showing versus telling, paragraph usage, editing, and much more.

The Third Phase will cover Marketing

Should I self publish? Cover selection? Editing? Formatting? Selecting the proper aggregator for self-publishing? How to market your paperback, ebook, or audiobook. Costs associated with self-publishing. marketing services available. Cost?


Cost of self-publishing $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

It takes money to write a novel. Sorry to have to tell you that, but it is true. So if you don’t have any money work and save some up. My first novel cost about $5,000. I will go into the costs in a later post.

Ego: Say No to being a Narcissist 

Keep your ego in check. Someone asked me with an excited voice…”How does it feel to be a published author? I said it felt just like mowing my five acres…tired, but content. Just like I felt after an infamous Marine Corp forced march of twenty miles in 3.5 hours, tired but glad I didn’t fall out. Be proud for a few seconds and get back to writing.

Learn to Love Criticism

Learn to take criticism…accept criticism…thank people who criticize you…smile and beg people to criticize you. if you don’t like criticism go do something else.

Life is unfair…get used to it!

I grew up in a tough atmosphere for a kid so I just smile when I hear people carry on how unfair life is…that may be true but you just have to learn to be the referee. You make the rules to live by…you chart out your course…you work harder than anyone around you…when you get knocked down smile and get back on your feet. Keep your faith in God above all else because truly you will never be alone. Never harden your heart…live a life that revolves around helping people. We are not really happy until we achieve and overcome events in life. That is how God made us.

Why do you write?

Its a good idea to know why you write. For fun, to make a point, to make money, to write a series, for fame? Why do you write?


Let’s get started and learn all we can. I’m far from an expert but I have learned much I will share with anybody who has a dream.

Feel free to contact me I will always answer back and help you. That’s just the way I am.



The Writing Journey Begins

The Writing Journey Begins

My Goal is to Write Many Novels and Help a few Writers Along the Way

I first started writing as a young Infantry Officer sitting alone in the back of the Officer’s club while drinking a cold beer. I worked seventy hours a week. I didn’t own a TV, had no social life, and I was in the field most of the time learning my craft as a platoon leader. I published my first article in Leatherneck magazine for five dollars. The editor said I had some talent and should continue writing. Unfortunately, my military life consumed me, and writing went by the wayside. I wrote many pages throughout those years and saved them in hopes one day I would write about my experiences.

It wasn’t till I retired I started to write again and published my first novel, Gunny Mac Private Detective Trouble in Chinatown. I embarked on a second career and wrote when the urge hit me. It took me five years to finish this novel. It was five years of learning. I read twenty books on writing fiction, I read every blog on writing, listened to hundreds of hours of writing podcasts, watched interviews of famous writers, went to writing conferences, joined paid writers groups. I wrote about one million words, encompassing 55 edits and literally hundreds of changes. As a  novice writer I did it…well, let’s just say I was the best at making all the mistakes. Somethings about writing I just could not understand and it cost me time and sweat. The only way I escaped the cruel fate of my own stupidity was to continue to practice writing…read a little more…practice…study a little more…practice writing…and so on….

I found out that most of the information on the internet and airways on writing had only one purpose. That was to up-sell me on their products. They gave just enough information to hook you to buy their products. The products gave you just enough information to buy their next product. So I laughed and quit wasting my time with most of them.

My website has no up-sells and I genuinely want to help the new writer. My advice? Read what you want, take want you can, and develop a passion for writing. I hope I can help you in some small way.


I am always available to assist writers with questions. My new novel Gunny Mac Private Detective Trouble in Cleveland will be out soon.

Best regards,


Author, Coach, and Friend to all authors.

Write and Plan your Fiction Novel an Architect and Builder

Write and Plan your Fiction Novel an Architect and Builder

You Must Plan Out your Novel and Build it Step by Step!


I had a degree…I had my Masters of Science…I thought I should know how to write a novel. I certainly had read enough of them. I started to look over my favorite fiction novels and I went through them with different colored pens. Blue for narration, yellow for dialogue, green for different tags ie. he said, she said, etc., etc. I circled adverbs because they were supposed to be the evil of writing. I used purple for any information on the setting. I had the most trouble with point of view (POV). It reminded me of math….some problems I just could not grasp easily. Then after doing fifty problems and practicing I got it and then wondered what was so hard about that math problem. Then I would look at all the different colors to try and figure out what percentage each of these was in each of my genre novels. Then I would go to each scene in each chapter.
The lesson I learned is this… I took too much time trying to learn how to write by listening to gurus. I spent numerous hours reading and listening to them only to understand they never gave me the answers…just enough information to get me to their up-sell. I wasted much time chasing down worthless information.

I do want to tell you that there is a plan all fiction stories must follow according to the genre you are writing in. No this will not impinge on your creativity, but enhance it. You must understand that you are:

The Architect and the Builder of Your Novel 

What does that mean? Let me explain it this way. Let’s say you are constructing a new home. (A writer constructs a novel). An architect designs the building to adhere to zoning, building codes, material specifications, types of material, and placement. He also designs sets of plans so the builder can construct the building as the owner wants, yet follow all the rules to avoid having to tear down code violations at great cost and waste of time. Once the plans are complete the builder can build the home to the satisfaction of the owner. (The novel will have to please the reader of that genre).

So… the Architect designs the building and makes plans.

So…the Writer as an Architect uses Concept and Premise to design his book in a genre.

So… the Builder takes the Plans and Builds the home.

So…the writer then uses the same plans that every Successful Author used to write his book.

What plans are these you might ask? Now I didn’t think up these beautiful parts of a novel that must be included in your successful novel. In fact, they have been around since people started writing, but one man put it all together in such a beautiful way, yet I still had problems following his plans because it is not easy to learn how to write fiction unless you are Larry Brooks at Story

My next blog we will start to write the great American novel.


Interview for Red Headed Book Lover

1.Thank you for joining us at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself.


I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio in a Slovak family. My mother never finished the eighth grade to help support her family and my dad did not finish high school because he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942. I won’t go into detail, just say I didn’t have much of a child’s life between G 7 and graduation from high school.

I grew up shy and introverted. I made a vow to myself to live a happy life after I was emancipated.

I joined the Marine Corps and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was nice to be around real men who guided me and helped me flourish and grow into a young man.

I served for two decades and later went on to become a high school teacher, guidance counselor, and teacher evaluator, and head baseball coach. Along the way, I married my college sweetheart and the rest is history as they say.


2. Could you please tell us, readers, about your book and what inspired you to write your book.


Firstly, I would say there are not enough books out there about the 1940s and 1950s Private Eyes, so I decided to write a series about one. I guess it’s considered old school.

My father worked in a factory on Coit Rd. in Cleveland, Ohio. He would come home at midnight from his shift smelling of the factory floor grease and we would fry balcony sandwiches together, smeared with yellow mustard. We would turn on channel eight and he would introduce me to the gangster and detective movies of the 1940s and 1950s.

The likes of Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorrie, and Richard Widmark. Movies like “Casablanca”, “Where the Side Walk Ends”, the “Maltese Falcon”, “Double Indemnity”, and “To have and have Not”.

Tough, Private Eyes like Sam Spade, Michael Shayne, Charlie Chan, Mickey Spillane, and the Continental Ops.

I loved those beautiful movies and characters. I miss my time with my dad.

I simply got tired of reading about the same detectives in modern writing about some guy cutting out eyes and hearts and leaving them as calling cards. Far too much violence and not enough humor and character development.


3. What would your advice be to aspiring authors?


Wow, this is a tough one! I’m far from an expert but I have learned much in the last five years and I don’t want people to think I’m a know it all but here goes nothing.

Novel writing is like learning to play a musical instrument…it takes time and practice to play somewhat well and simply hundreds of hours practicing to become an expert. Writing is no different.

Grammarly kept a record of my words I wrote and rewrote and it was well over one million, actually 1.2 million to achieve an 89,465-word novel. It amazes me when I hear writers say they have a best seller in them but have not taken the time to learn their craft and just start writing.

Would you have a person build your house without the knowledge to pound a nail or an architect who didn’t understand building codes and how to write up house plans?

How did I do it?

I read over 400 books in my lifetime in just my genre. You must read what you want to write!

  • I took my favorite authors and copied my favorite chapters word for word to get a feel on how to write a scene and chapter. Tough and boring to do that, but I was a Marine grunt. LOL.
  • I went to writer’s conferences, read twenty books on novel construction, dialogue, and plot construction.
  • I joined professional groups in my genre.
  • I searched the internet for writing gurus.
  • I found them worthless because they gave you just enough information to buy their product which I didn’t do, same with writing podcasts which consisted of them talking about everything except serious writing.
  • I searched for friends who would criticize my writing and I said thank you for making me a better writer. If you can’t accept criticism, you are in the wrong business.
  • I edited my book 55 times,
  • rewrote whole chapters, and changed scenes.
  • I would look at a scene and say gosh I love it but it is wrong and I would smile and rip it out!

For a novice like me…it costs money to self-publish.

  • Maybe some people can do everything themselves and are extremely talented not me. I hear indie writers ask how can I do this for free or at little cost?
  • Good luck! Budget at least $5,000.00 to self-publish.
  • My cover cost $450.00
  • editing $1,000.00
  • formatting $150.00
  • ISBN’s (ten) $445.00
  • Professional organizations $150.00
  • professional books $300.00
  • developmental editing (this saved me) $1,800.00
  • and audiobook…$450.00
  • Book trailer $40.00

. This does not include money to market your book.

Aspiring writers must understand this…you do not need college degrees to write a book…but you must have a passion to learn.

If you lack the money to self-publish… write and learn your craft while you save money from one job…two jobs or three jobs.

Anybody can write a novel but you have to have the guts to finish one.

I laugh when I tell new writers with dreams… it’s not that hard to write a book! There are millions of books by millions of authors!

The world is full of wishers and not enough doer’s Most of all have fun writing and learning!


4. In your opinion what is the most important thing about a book?


Interesting question…I’ll answer it from my heart.


I like character-driven plots! Characters that I relate to who are searching for redemption because we are all fallen creatures in some capacity. Characters that possess no superman qualities or abilities, but struggle like me in life.

No magic bullets, that suddenly make their life sweet and nice.

Characters who know they are human above all else yet struggle with everything they possess to be good and not to spiral out of control and destroy everything in their path.

I like characters who chart their course in life based on not being popular but content in the knowledge they are living a good life.

Like a priest told me once… it’s not our job as Christians to leave the world a better place but leave the world a better Christian.

Being a good person entails making tough decisions in life that often leave you standing alone against the crowd.


5. What is your writing process like?


I write about fifteen hours a week…some days one- hour other days much more. No rhyme or reason. What fits my busy schedule.

I develop my concept and premise first. I then use logical progression.

In Catholic school, Sister Rose taught us logic which didn’t make logical sense to me. LOL. Since my novels are character-driven I use their human traits to dictate how they react to events. This can only happen if you know and love your characters.

(look up logic formulas if interested) Without going into logic formulas; it goes like this. (A) happens…logically several things may happen? Pick one… after that happens several things could happen pick one that makes sense. Keep doing that and that will fill in your plot.

I edit each page as I go along and then continue to edit because the direction of my story changes as my characters react to various events they put themselves in. This helps me develop my plot continuously.

I don’t know the ending. My characters develop my story within my concept and premise.

I don’t believe in writer’s block which gets a lot of writers mad at me. My opinion is if you know yourself… your story and characters will react in a way that makes you sad or happy!

6. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before writing a book?


A writer friend of mine said, “Write what you know about and have a passion for.” I know the Marine Corp inside and out because I was a Marine and I l loved the history of WW ll and their exploits. My dad fought in the toughest battles of WW ll and he told me about his time in service.

I researched early WW ll history and found a gem I thought would lead to a great book. Roosevelt deciding to burn all the money in Hawaii so the Japanese could not get our money to finance their fight against us if Guadalcanal fell and replace it with money with Hawaii written across the back of each bill. Worthless to the Japanese if they invaded the islands.

I spent about two more hours researching the Cosa Nostra in the 1930s and 1940s.

My new novel…Gunny Mac Private Detective Trouble in Cleveland was a lot of fun. Once again, I used the information I knew. I grew up in Cleveland, I know the Catholic Church…I know the Polish and Slovenian cultures. I’m having a blast

Also, don’t forget my love of the hard-boiled noir private eye genre of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, and Dashiell Hammett!


7. Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you write when you feel inspired?

Good question. Being inspired is like getting motivated. I don’t believe in those two words

Inspiration and motivation are temporary, to say the least.

That is why you must have a passion to be a writer! Because I have a passion to write I’m inspired and motivated every day. I can’t wait to get up and write. If I had to wait to get inspired or motivated it would be a cold day in hell before I wrote anything!

Writing is so much a part of me I feel lost without working at my craft. Like I’m not doing what God intended me to do. It’s similar as I felt when I was a Marine on active duty…I couldn’t wait to wear my uniform with pride and do my job.


8.Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?

Yes, I read about four books a month. Reading is one of the most pleasurable pastimes I have in my life.

Some of my favorite authors: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, Stephen Hunter, Lee Child, Nelson Demille, Preston & Child, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Leon Uris, Michael Connelly just to name a few.


9. Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?


“Gunny Mac Private Detective Trouble in Cleveland”, will in out in three months. I have half-finished a novel, “Between Heaven and Hell”, about the drug war and my time in an intelligence agency. I’m also working on a novel about the baseball legend Ty Cobb.