Eric Garrison is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and a cabal of cats. He also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.
Eric’s novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.
Eric’s supernatural fantasy novels include the Road Ghosts trilogy, released through Seventh Star Press. The first in this series, Four ’til Late, was released in July 2013. His novels are dark supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession and even sinister fairy folk.
Eric’s short story, “Drag Show” appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine. His flash piece, “Dark Reflection”, appeared in the Indiana Horror 2011 anthology.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by a little bit of everything in my life. The people I meet, times spent with friends, unexpected adventures and mishaps, and of course all the speculative fiction I read and see in movies and on TV. All that stuff goes into the blender in my brain to ferment and produce ideas that turn into stories, and characters who refuse to do as they’re told. I like to daydream and imagine, and telling stories lets me take others along for that ride.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have a minimalistic planning method that I call laying down rails for my story to run on. Not a detailed outline, it’s a sketchy series of events laid out so that I have a guide for what happens next as I go. Beyond that, it’s a lot like pantsing, since I love organic development of the story, and if it happens to jump the rails I laid down, I’m happy to lay down new rails based on the direction the story’s taking. It might end up at the same final destination, or something better might present itself.
One way I do this is to brainstorm, writing down plot points, scenes, events, and whatever else occurs to me, on 3×5 index cards. I’ll do 20-30 of these for a novel. Once I’m out of ideas, I’ll try to arrange them in a deck of cards in chronological order. If something doesn’t really fit with the trend that emerges from this deck, they get put aside as maybes. Then, if I see a pattern, I may create cards to go between others to link them together.
Character and locale cards often start out with very little, but get added to as important details come up, for reference.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
While I may hold conversations with my characters in blog entries as a fun exercise, I more often just listen to them as I write. Characters give hints as to what direction they’d like to take, will make decisions I hadn’t planned, follow paths that seem more natural than the rails I had laid down.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write it, don’t worry about details, you can fix it later. I find creativity flows best unfettered, so banish your internal editor while you write. Once the story is done, you will have a more complete picture of it to work with. Once you’re there, you can go back and tinker with the plot and dialogue.
When you reach that stage, it’s important to get some beta readers to give you feedback. What works for one person might not work for another. Listen more for trends in opinions, rather than trying to please everyone.
Finally, go back and polish it up, let that internal editor fidget and fuss over commas and typos and spelling. Only now is it time to go on a hunt for repeated words, passive voice, and -ly adverbs.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve taken an incremental approach to publishing. At first, I self-published to get my stories out there. It’s the easiest path in that there’s no gatekeeper to prevent an author from being seen. It’s also the hardest path for a new author, since you start out on your own as writer, editor, publisher, cover artist, typeographer, publicist, and sales staff. Many of these things can be solved by paying others, but it’s a steep learning curve.
This set me on the path to network with other writers in my critique group and some professional writer organizations, where I found that I had ambition to work with publishers and take my novels to another level. I’m with two small press publishers currently, and I find that having their experience and the experience of their other authors helps me quite a lot.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing is turning upside down and inside out. Much is migrating from paper to electronic format, for convenience, though I don’t see print ever going away. People love having a tangible book to hold and keep far too much for paper books to go extinct. The big publishers are struggling, but I think this is good for authors and good for readers. More authors can reach people, rather than a smaller pool of “brand name” authors, giving new talent a better chance, and giving readers wider choice.
My prediction is that the role of publishers will become one of nurturing talent they find in the wilds of self publishing, and that self-published authors will increasingly form co-operatives that resemble publishing houses in many ways, helping each other with editing and promoting and pooling resources.
All I am certain of is that this is a time of flux for publishing, and no one knows for sure what model will emerge from the chaos just yet.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
science fiction, fantasy, supernatural fantasy, paranormal fantasy, speculative fiction, dark fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print