About Michael G. Munz:
An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz enjoys writing tales that combine the futuristic or fantastic with the modern world and human themes. His driving desire is to craft entertaining stories that give to others the same pleasure that other writers have given to him. Among his sci-fi influences are the writings of Dan Simmons, Frank Herbert, and Douglas Adams. Michael dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.
What inspires you to write?
Some writers write to give voice to their deepest yearnings, strongest opinions, or universal truths they feel cannot be expressed in any other form. While such things do find their way into my writing, my primary motivation is simply to tell a good story. I write to entertain, both myself and my readers. I love to grab a reader’s emotions, pull them to the edge of their seat with excitement, laughter, or intrigue, and keep them there for as long as I can.
I confess I also take a special delight in making a reader curse me at the end of a chapter because they just can’t help but turn the page. (If a beta-reader wants to beat me over the head because they just finished a chapter and I haven’t yet written the next one, I consider it a success.)
Tell us about your writing process.
Heh. “Writing process.” Like it’s so organized. …Well, okay, so it kind of is. I tend to front-load the work in the sense that I prefer to plan things out ahead of time:
1) I get my premise, which can often take a long while as I search for an idea that excites me enough to keep me interested the entire time it will take me to write a novel.
2) Sketch the main characters, create a “step sheet”/outline that shows the flow of both character arcs and plot progression, and a general bunch of notes about the setting itself to help inform the writing.
3) Actually write, using the step sheet and character sketches as a guide. This does NOT mean such things are inviolate. On multiple occasions I might come up with new ideas as I go (and certain parts of my outline might simply say “whatever seems to make sense for the characters at this point”), change directions, or even discover that the characters themselves have tapped me on the shoulder (or punched me in the face) to say they’d do things differently.
4)Edit, revise, agonize, improvise, and probably eat some pizza.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
While I don’t usually talk to my characters, I do listen to them–or at least, for them. If I’m writing them and I get a little non-verbal whisper in the back of my mind that makes it seem like they disagree with what I’m having them do, I listen. It makes things fare more interesting, and keeps me on my toes.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be patient. I mean that both with regard to the writing itself and the submission process. For the former, I know (believe me) you’re excited to get your story out there, but you wouldn’t send your child out on a winter day without a coat, would you? Be sure you don’t send your story out before it’s as polished as you can get it, even if it means a rewrite.
For the latter, querying agents and publishers takes time. It’s a gauntlet of frustration that you have to run, and sometimes it seems like the only progress you’re managing to make involves collecting rejections. Don’t give up. Learn how to query, how to pitch (there are some great resources online for this—and I’m suddenly thinking I should put some up on my own site soon), and remember, it will take time, unless you get lucky right off the bat.
Or your dad owns a publishing empire. (Be sure to ask your dad if he does. Dads can keep these things secret!)
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published my first two novels, but now I’m working with Seattle independent publisher Booktrope. The experience of working with a publisher is far more rewarding to me. There’s a feeling of legitimacy in that another entity has thrown its financial stake in with my writing, and that gives me greater confidence. It’s also helped so much in marketing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s changing so much lately, it’s hard to be sure where it will end up. Ease of ebook publishing is allowing far more books into the world, but that also makes it more difficult to get noticed.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Science Fiction, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print