About David R. Beshears:
David is an award-winning screenwriter and author of science fiction, fantasy and adventure. His work has been praised by literary professors and by PhDs in science, by fans and by book reviewers around the world.
His miniseries screenplay adaptation of his popular novel “The Shylmahn Migration” won the Pacific Northwest Screenwriting Competition in 2007.
David lives in Washington State with his wife Sylvia. When not writing, he can usually be found on any one of a dozen northwest mountains.
What inspires you to write?
Anything and everything….
I’ll be hiking a mountain trail, come around a bend and see a ridge line silhouetted against the sunset… and I’ll suddenly find myself on an alien world.
I’ll be driving a county highway before dawn, not another car in sight… and suddenly I’m all alone on Earth; sometime during the night everyone else vanished.
Oh, I gotta to get this on paper…
Tell us about your writing process.
I usually start with a simple logline born from some random idea that popped into my head.
From there I’ll write up an initial outline. This gives me a basic framework for the project. I’ll create a set of working documents, including a detailed outline, the characters document, the locations doc (okay, sometimes just called “notes”), and the support document, which is kind of a catch-all and really depends on the project. These documents usually develop parallel to one another, filling in as one feeds the other.
These are usually Word documents, although for some of my more complex or multi-title projects I will use Excel and set up a series of worksheets.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to them, but I do listen.
Though they most definitely grow and gain depth as I go, my characters are usually already fairly well developed before I write that first page, with background and my initial understanding of their personalities. However, their independent voices grow much stronger as the book develops, and I find that if I’m having trouble with a scene, it is often due to my trying to have them say something they wouldn’t say, do something they wouldn’t do.
What advice would you give other writers?
I would never give advice on how someone should write. Everyone will eventually settle into what is best for them. If it works for a writer to set a goal as to a number of words per day or to write in a certain room, to have music in the background or to write in absolute silence… that’s cool. Whether you know the ending ahead of time or want to surprise yourself, whether you map out your entire book before you start page one, or sit down and write blind… if it works, go for it.
But I would say this…
If you self-publish, you aren’t just a writer, you’re a marketer. I hate that, but I’ve come to accept it. I knew it all along, but it nonetheless took a long time for me to really accept it.
What I had to do was set a schedule of 50% author, 50% sales person. It wasn’t until then that I went from an unknown writer to a writer.
Just don’t forget that 50% writer part. More writing makes a better writer, and more (quality!) titles on the market make a more credible author.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
A few years ago I was looking for ways to fund a community center for people with disabilities and their families (our son suffered severe TBI in Afghanistan). My book royalties alone weren’t going to do it, and that led me to the idea of establishing a publishing company and directing 100% of the proceeds to the fund.
So I pulled my titles together and created Greybeard Publishing (www.greybeardpublishing.com).
For me, it has definitely been the way to go. If a writer chooses this path, I would strongly suggest taking each title to all media: print, ebook (all formats!) and audiobook. I wish we had done that from the start.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Small press and self-publishing is becoming more mainstream and accepted. Hey, most of my own purchases are from the independents.
And from that personal experience, I see ebook and audiobook market as much as print editions, with ebooks dominating and audiobooks coming on strong.
A few years ago, I myself would never have considered reading an ebook (shudder). As someone who needed the smell and feel of “real” book, I came into it kicking and screaming. Now… I probably buy ten ebooks to every print edition.
And we see the same thing at Greybeard Publishing. When we entered the ebook market several years ago, it very quickly became our primary market. Now, last year, we entered the world of audiobooks. Slow at first, but audiobook sales are quickly closing in on our print sales.
We take our inventory of print editions to craft fairs and Christmas bazaars, and we really enjoy signing books and talking to people about their personal experiences with reading paper, but even here more and more folks are looking over our titles and then going online and downloading a digital.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: science fiction, fantasy, dark satire, adventure
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print