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The other day, good 'ol Brooks Benjamin, decided to pin me up against the wall and threaten my very existence if I didn't partake in doing a segment on MY WRITING PROCESS. Well, seeing how I didn't want to get sent to the depths of Hades under the wrath of Brooks mighty fists of fury, I gave in.

I'm kidding, it didn't go down like that. He asked me (very nicely), if I wanted to do it and I said "BUT OF COURSE!". Then he mentioned something that I would have never thought of. He said to me, "Tom, do it in comic form." To that I said.... good sir...

On that note, I spent the week whipping out some fairly quick web comics for MY WRITING PROCESS. While my writing process isn't explained in these strips, it's more of a gag, I had a great time doing it. No worries, I'll also explain in detail what goes on in my bonkers head.

Feel free to click on the images to get a larger version of them so you can read them better.

QUESTION #1 : Who Am I?

(I really suggest listening to this while you read this first strip - MASTERPIECE THEATRE)

So who am I? Well, I'm 30 years old with the mindset of a teenager. Seriously, I can't picture myself even when I'm 80 not wearing video game apparel, and rocking my Saturday Mornings watching some cartoons and playing some old school games.

Before I was a writer, I was a wannabe artist. I was good in high school, and was a comic book fiend. I never payed any attention in class, and all I did was draw on my brown-bagged textbooks. So what does an artist do? He attends art school. I went to the School of Visual Arts with a major in cartooning (no joke, that's a major and that's what my degree says..BACHELORS OF CARTOONING / ILLUSTRATION. It's like clown school lol).

Well, I learned something in college. My creative side wasn't really in my art. I'm not bad...but I'm not good. My creative side was actually in my writing. I was delving into writing comic scripts (which I still do), and then novels. That's when I started working on some middle grade novels, which ultimately led to me developing my first agented manuscript, COPERNICUS NERDICUS. (which you can see a description of on the link to the left).

A shout out to my awesome agent, Dawn Frederick! *waves* Be sure to follow her @RedSofaLiterary

Of course, I still draw, but I mainly write. However, in a week or so, I will be unleashing my new web comic to the world that focuses on my love for retro gaming. It's actually a side-story to my COPERNICUS NERDICUS universe which is pretty exciting for me. After all, I need to kill some time during submission.

QUESTION #2 : How does my Writing Process Work?

I'm not going to lie. That's what happens a lot with my writing process. I get all pumped up, raring to go, and then you know what happens. I get distracted. My writing binges usually happen at the oddest times.

At work, I run a lot of reports and when I'm waiting for them to finish up, I tend to do a load of editing. At home, I dabble in writing in between watching TV shows, and going on a gaming run. But that's just when I write. How do I write???

Well, let's talk about coming up with ideas. I honestly have no clue where my ideas come from. Usually it's just from day dreaming. Something will pop into my head, and I have to feverishly write it down somewhere. Usually it's on my iPhone. After the idea starts to stew a little bit, I start whipping out a quick outline that I usually follow while I prepare my first draft. In all honesty, my outline is tied directly into my query. I write a query letter to make sure my story makes sense. After all, putting your story into less than 350 words makes you think about its core.

First drafts are a blast for me. I don't think. I just write. Sometimes whatever is coming out of my head is absolute gibberish, but I'm just trying to get my story down. This is where I feel bad for my beta readers, because I pretty much come across as an absolute amateur in my original drafts, but that's how I roll, baby.

After beta readers, it's more editing. And more editing. And then more editing. And then editing. And editing. EDITING...ED..I..TI..NG.....yup. Lots of editing.

QUESTION #3 : How does my work differ from other works in my Genre?

You know, I thought about this question a lot. First of all, with COPERNICUS NERDICUS I can't find any legitimate "video game" focused middle-grade books out there. I mean there are a few futuristic based and dystopian based books (that are pretty damn good mind you), but nothing that takes place in this era of Video Games.

I tend to focus on my interests, and blow them up to a point where it can catch everyone's interest. I wrote COPERNICUS NERDICUS for the video game lovers out there, but I know I couldn't just write it for gamers. So I built an adventure-heavy, mystery diving plot into the book. It's all about figuring out who your platform is for your books that your writing.

QUESTION #4 : Why do I write what I do?

The thing is, my works are all bits and pieces of me put onto paper. It's all of my childhood dreams, and even my current dreams transformed into a middle-grade universe. I figured, hey, I'm crazy enough and act enough like a kid that other kids would enjoy my insanity! It could work, right?

I feel like I relate with kids more than I do anyone else. My wife says I'm never going to grow up. So do my parents. So does everyone else that I run into. But you know what? I don't want to grow up. What's wrong with wanting to live through the eyes of a child? I feel like I enjoy things more that way. I'm not saying I'm not mature. I whip out the maturity when I have to be. I'm like Robin Williams. Goofy most times, serious when I have to be. I'll run around my office doing impersonations.

Who else sits at their desk and talks like Smeagol while they enter reports? Me.

That brings me to why do I write middle-grade? Well, for me, it's all about being that kid at heart and pulling out that kid mentality and throwing it on paper. It's a venting system for me, and hell, it works.

QUESTION #5 : What are you working on now?

That's a bit of a secret. My beta readers know about because they just finished ripping it apart. But I'll give you a few clues because I kind of have to with this question. Picture Indiana Jones.....just cooler. Hahaha. Alright, alright. I've been working on a query for it so I'll put it here along with my final web comic on some of the things you'll see in my next book.....LUCAS PEREGRINUS and the ESCAPE FROM MANUKI ISLAND.

(please ignore the horrendous query below, it's in the alpha draft phase lol)

For thirteen-year old, Lucas Peregrinus, summer vacations were never anything to brag about. After all, being stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere surrounded by Easter Island Moai statues wasn’t exactly his idea of fun. But when Lucas uncovers a relic that could lead to the forgotten Polynesian island of Manuki, his summer vacation enters uncharted territory.

Lucas and his archaeologist father take to the skies in an attempt to discover the island and the fabled Manuki Idol. The idol, worth billions could be the break the museum was looking for and secure his dads standing as lead archaeologist for the Museum of Natural History. But the vile, millionaire relic hunter, Arthur Stanwall, is following their trail and will do anything in his power to get his filthy hands on it first. After losing him in a mysterious storm shrouding an uncharted area of the Pacific, a shadowy creature stalks Lucas and his father from above and overtakes their plane. Lucas awakes from a crash to find that they are castaways on Manuki Island. 

But Stanwall is already there waiting for them.

On the island, Lucas befriends a local masked native named Kahu, who helps him unravel the mystery hidden behind the fabled Manuki Island and its priceless idol. But ancient treasures aren’t the only thing hidden on the island. A gigantic creature is hunting them in the shadows. To make matter worse, if the idol is taken, the once dormant volcano  on which the island lies on will erupt, destroying the island and its people.

It’s up to Lucas and Kahuto rescue his dad and prevent Stanwall from stealing the idol and therefore destroying the island. But Lucas needs to beware, for the island will do anything to do protect its secrets.

I hope you enjoyed that little trip into MY WRITING PROCESS. Be sure to check out others on #MyWritingProcess hashtag on Twitter. And thanks again to 'ol Brooks for asking me to do this. I had a blast.

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