Another guest post by another talented indie writer. Please welcome Erik Lynd!
Thanks for having me over at your blog John.
Let me start with a quick description of my novel, Asylum.
“I am going to tell you the story of how and why I killed my brother. You can think what you want about me afterward, but I want to tell you the whole thing. Even the things I didn’t tell the police, the things I didn’t tell my own family. I am going to tell you what really happened, the truth. But then maybe it is a fiction . . . perhaps a truth existing merely in my head. Truth or fiction, I don’t know, but I do know it’s a horror story, and I will only tell it this once.”
Andrew Harland has been a loner since being diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is shuffled around from juvenile detention centers to outpatient clinics with expensive doctors. Nothing seems to help. His parents, desperate to have him out of the house, decide to send him off to a revolutionary new psychiatric hospital in the Pacific Northwest.
Andrew is different, and he knows it. He always has. So he doesn’t hesitate when the voices in his head tell him to climb out on a window ledge . . .
Haunted by his own son’s suicide, Dr. David Styles rescues Andrew from the ledge and takes a personal interest in his case. After getting to know him, Dr. Styles becomes suspicious of the boy’s diagnosis. What he uncovers sends him on a desperate journey to rescue Andrew.
Because something is terribly wrong at the hospital.
Treatments are conducted at odd hours. Patients disappear into the bowels of the massive, aged building, sometimes never to be seen again, and Andrew is plagued by visions stranger than any he’s ever known.
About writing this novel…
This novel had a strange beginning for me. I am not a big outliner, but I tend to have some sort of basic path mapped out. Maybe it is a series of bullet points, maybe a more detailed outline of specific scenes. When I sat down to write Asylum, however, I only knew two things; it started with a boy on a ledge and ended in a mental hospital.
I set up both the main characters, Andrew Harland and David Styles, at the beginning and then just followed what they did. It’s a great way to write a novel. In some ways it is like reading the book for the first time while writing it, even as the author I wasn’t sure what would happen next. My wife thought it was creepy when I would come from the office after a day of writing and “Wow, I didn’t see that coming.” She would look at me and ask how I could not know what was going to happen. The closer I came to the end the more exciting it became. By this time I knew the ending, but getting there was still a surprise.
There is a downside to writing this way. Frequently the characters would get off path and I would need to give them a nudge in the right direction. For me this type of writing also means I have to do a lot more editing after I finish the first draft to tighten it up.
I also have a lot more important characters popping up throughout the book who wanted their own stories and had their own motives. This is great, but I spent a lot of time keeping the book focused on the core story.
I can only hope readers have as much fun with this novel as I had writing it.
Erik Lynd is the author of horror and dark fantasy novels including ASYLUM and THE COLLECTION. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two kids. More information about him and his work can be found at www.eriklynd.com.
Barnes and noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/asylum-erik-lynd/1103017088?ean=2940011908651&itm=3&usri=erik%2blynd