I think of writing as a deep search for connections. I spend the next 80,000 words exploring the threads and revealing them to the reader. Sometimes, I let them piece some of it together. The threads lead me on. The story shows the colours. Out of an inky dark nothingness.
I have a big whiteboard 4 feet by 4 feet and whiteboard markers sitting on my painting easel. The idea from the story could come from anything. But just like a good painting, be it abstract or realism, *uliism or postmodernist surrealism, there must be a perspective, a colour scheme, and the lead character(s), who must quickly get into trouble! And of course, the threads.
This is broadly on two planes: the visual and the thematic.
(i.) The Visual:
Is the writer standing behind people afraid to be discovered as he narrates? Or is he in an unseen omnipresent drone taking deep shots through the atmosphere into the earth, then into the soul of a character to narrate what the eyes of the characters see? Or are there multiple views? One must choose works for the story.
(ii.) The Thematic:
The concept of good over evil is one that would never go away. This enables one to square off all resources and personae into their respective teams, including all the rats and Judases, heroes and heroines, the tragic and the comic…everyone gets his shirt on the team.
Words can signify speed and mood. Short sentences to connote speed while alliteration draws attention to sound and bring action to life in the imagination of the reader. The strong powers of observation enable the writer to determine how much to be passed on in text and how much is left to the readers to figure out.
So where do the threads and the whiteboard come in?
Lead Character/Main Character
Because I love thrillers, the storyline often is a network of relationships and wildcards. Here is where my board becomes a canvas of opportunities, fatalities, and daring survival resources. I create a map of relationships around the lead character(s) and his protagonist(s). Support structures and destruct structures would exist in this relationships to be unearthed as the story develops.
I take pictures of the board with my phone if I’m making many more maps: micro relationships in the chapters and for the sub-plots.
It can be quite intense as this happens side by side research work and validation by experts in the different fields: military, engineering, maritime, oil and gas and other fields where my story may choose to cut a swathe through.
My favourite font for writing is the Baskerville font. I use the font size 20 with headlines at font size 72 and title pages and breakers at font size 220. Not bold.
I also drink ginger tea which my daughter makes and Gorilla brand of coffee from Rwanda and some other great stuff from Argentina. I hoping to explore some Canadian brands to see if their brew will change the fate of the protagonist in my next titles, “Operation Colossus,” and “The Wrath Of The Madame”.
*uliism: An art form of symbology, championed by the University of Nigeria Nsukka Art School, popular among the Igbo traditions of Nigeria. Uliism is a deep ritual pictography of customs of peoples inhabiting the South Eastern parts of Nigeria into Cameroun, West Africa.
Jack Oswald (pen name) is a trained artist and a communications strategist. He is married with kids and still struggling to paint amid zoom meetings and presentations. Connect with Jack on Twitter @JackOSWALD14.