One question that I get asked more than any other is, “What is your process when writing a novel?” My answer might surprise you.
~ IE ~
Every Iron Eagle novel is plotted out on a single return envelope. That’s right! The entire novel—the characters and the key story details—is written on a plain white envelope like you receive in the mail to pay a bill. I write linearly, which means I write all of my novels from start to finish, and in that exact order. When I start a new book, I have the subject matter that the Eagle and other characters are going to deal with, but I never know who the bad people are.
“How can you write a novel if you don’t know who the characters are?”
I write out a list of my main characters, like this:
- John Swenson aka The Iron Eagle
- Sara Swenson
- Jim O’Brian
- Barbara O’Brian, and so on.
I then work from the prologue from the previous novel to start to build the next book. In most cases, the bad guys (and girls) reveal themselves through the course of the writing process. I don’t know who they are, or, in many cases, just what they are doing when I start a novel. The characters reveal themselves and their motivations as I write. And in ALL cases I am just as surprised by the content and the bad people who enter a new novel as you are. My wife always says, “No surprise for the writer no surprise for the reader.” I can’t tell you how many times through the past several years a character revealed him- or herself as I was writing and blew me away.
Why I Write Fact-based Fiction
While The Iron Eagle Series is fiction, it is reality-based fiction. I would be bored to tears if I were to try and be a true crime writer, having to stick to the facts of a case and the players and their roles. Every Iron Eagle novel is based in reality, and most of these crimes REALLY have happened. By fictionalizing my series, it allows me to weave fact with fiction, and it gives me creative license to write compelling prose. As I always state to readers, things that happen in the Iron Eagle Series can happen to any of us if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time (or have let our guard down).
Here are a few pictures of my desk during the writing process. The photo of the open black folder shows where I store each envelope after a novel has been completed. The envelopes you see on my desk are for books 18–20, and there is a stack of blank envelopes waiting for future books.
~ IE ~
I hope this gives you a little insight into my writing process and answers some questions about how the Eagle and the novels come to life. I really enjoy sharing the behind-the-scenes look at how novels come to life, and I hope you enjoyed this little trip into my world as an author.
Until next time,
Roy A. Teel Jr., Author