About Michael Paul Scott:
First time author Michael Paul Scott wrote his debut novel, Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable, as an introduction to his original dark fantasy setting, with several further novels, short stories, and other writing projects just across the near horizon.
The consensus among those who read early drafts of his debut novel, Michael Paul Scott establishes himself as a fantasy detective storyteller with an eye for detail and a focus on world building, character development, and high intrigue.
While seeking to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a published author, Michael amassed a strong set of skills and knowledge about the editing, proofreading, book design and publishing process, ultimately deciding to found the Michael Scott Publishing Company LLC. He works full-time as a Distribution Dispatcher for Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the local utility company.
He lives among the apple orchards and vineyards of pastoral Upstate New York with his beloved wife, Christine, caring for his mother Regina and elder sister, Debora, and their adorable dog, Scrappy.
What inspires you to write?
This is a complicated answer to what seems like a really simple question, so accept my apologies in advance.
I have been writing short-form fiction since I was about 8 or 9 years old. I have always gravitated toward creative and artistic hobbies, like drawing and writing, so it never took much to motivate me to put pen to paper.
Getting more specific, what inspired me to take writing more seriously and work on my first novel was the crushing mid-life crisis that nearly killed me (quite literally). Writing became a constructive outlet to me over the past few years, and working toward the goal of getting published was a vital element of my journey of recovery from depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
R. A. Salvatore, Timothy Zahn, Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, Lee Child, Brandon Sanderson, and Tom Clancy.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am writing the sequel to Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable, now, and I learned a lot the first time, so I am refining my process and trying to do things a bit differently.
I like to stay organized, so I begin by creating a dedicated folder and come up with a rough outline of the overarching plot, keeping it light on specific details. I then write each chapter, including the prologue and epilogue, as its own individual Word file.
The roughest draft of each chapter is usually one big block of text that describes all the major beats and plot movement, punctuated with dialog prompts here and there where appropriate.
I learned the hard way that the way you format those Word files can make a big difference later, during the editing, proofreading, and publishing process.
Since my first book is pretty hefty (a little over 700 pages in Soft- and Hardcover), and it landed at about 240,000 words with 38 chapters, I set myself a reasonable and achievable goal, created 40 preformatted chapter DOCX files, and aim for an average of 6,000 words per chapter if I can, give or take here and there.
As far as staying motivated and inspired are concerned, I believe in palate cleansing with a video game, a movie, or binging a TV show… but I try to limit what I read to things outside the genre I am working on… just to avoid being inadvertently derivative.
One fun exercise is to pretend that the film version of my novel is in the works and I have been given carte blanche to cast whoever I want in the major roles. I spend quite a bit of time on IMDB, as a result.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I absolutely have full blown arguments with my antagonist, mostly because I want him to convince me that as detestable as his methods are, his motives are worth all the damage he has done to his soul along the way.
I sometimes feel like pulling some other characters aside and asking what the heck they are thinking, too.
What advice would you give other writers?
Take care to avoid being blatantly derivative. You can be inspired by someone else's work, but when you start writing, make sure your work stands out as your own. There is so much out there in the fantasy genre, and I think I inoculated myself a bit from this issue by blending dark fantasy with a detective protagonist and some police-procedural flavor.
Secondly, a writer should be bold and take chances… but it is so easy when writing horror to stray from unsettling and creepy into gratuitous and revolting, so including such aspects in my fantasy detective story required a deft and delicate approach at times.
Finally, there is a fine line between trusting the reader to piece things together and painting with too broad a brush and leaving too much to chance when it comes to building an effective mystery. Just as important as show, don’t tell is show enough… but not so much that it all becomes too obvious or insulting to the reader’s intelligence.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Having never done anything like this before, hearing all the stories of authors getting ignored by literary agents made me fearful of rejection. I decided to self-publish, but I don't know if that was a mistake or not… yet.
It is a lot more work than I thought it would be. My strengths lie in the writing, not in the marketing and publicity. The business side of things might have been better off left to the experts, but since I self-published, I guess now I will never know.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am trying to be optimistic, since I want this to be something I do again and again over the remaining years of my life. I think the popularity of e-book readers and audiobooks will be helpful in keeping book publishing a viable future for me.
I think with A.I. advances, sometime in the next ten years or so there will be an automatically generated sound and visual element to accompany audiobook narration.
What genres do you write?: Dark Fantasy, Mystery, Detective Noir, Horror, Non-fiction Memoir & Self-Help
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.