Saturday, March 21, 2009

Co-Writer Douglas Perry


My name is Douglas Perry, and I am a writer. I know that sounds like the opening line you might say at an AA group meeting, but in some ways it's true. I feel like I am addicted to writing.

I always have a notebook with me, so that at the drop of the hat, I can put pen to paper. That's how I write, the old fashioned way, pen on paper. I am not OCD, but I do like specific types of pens (fine gel rollerballs) and specific types of paper (5 subject spiral bound notebooks). More on why later.

I started my career as a classically trained Electrical Engineer specializing in IC design. It's no wonder that I ended up in Silicon Valley working for companies building chips, and the software that's used to create them.

I actually published my first textbook in 1987. It was a nonfiction thriller, OK, thriller might be overstating the fact that it was a textbook, but it did sell over 60,000 copies.

I think in some ways writing has been in my blood. I have an uncle who at one point in his career was the Vice President of Marketing for the Chicago Tribune, and later owned newspapers in places like Nashville, Tennessee. Another uncle was the Dean of Journalism for Kent State. He was unlucky enough to have been on campus when a number of students were killed during race riots. He had to be escorted from his office by armed guards.

I started writing my first fiction book in 2005. The first version was, if I'm being honest, horrible. But it did allow me to learn about the writing process, come up with a style, and find my voice. I'm not sure that three versions later if I am done learning, because you never stop learning, but the current rendition is better.

My strength has always been a strong plot. For some reason I seem to have the ability to come up with the unexpected. Of course that's also what I like to read. For me, usually the more twisted, the better.

My weakness has and probably always will be, characters. I'm not an author who could write a story featuring a lesbian, hare-lipped, one-legged FBI agent, who likes to water ski. My characters are weaker than I would like, but this is an area that I am working very hard to fix.

So who do I aspire to be like? My favorite author is Michael Crichton. Even though he didn't have the most dynamic characters, or the most literary prose, his blend of technology and story fascinated me. He liked exploring the unintended consequences of technology, and so do I.

Over the past few years I have created my share of query letters, received my share of rejection letters, listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts, read tens of books, and attended writing conferences. I hope that I can share my experiences in a way that will help you become a better writer, and maybe even get published.

All things are possible to those who dream big, and focus their energy to follow that dream no matter where it takes them.

7 comments:

  1. Your writing style sounds fantastic. I really enjoy Michael Crichton, as well. I focus a lot on character and relationships, but also love plot and try to make sure that it is a large part of what drives the story.

    I have a fetish for pens and paper, too. I look forward to hearing more from you!

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  2. I don't know if I would call it a fetish, but I definitely pick a certain type of pen, and have migrated to a particular type of paper. It used to be composition books, but now it's 5 subject spiral bound notebooks.

    Thanks for the comment and look for some great content from all the writers soon.

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  3. Douglas, have you ever tried Levenger products? They are absolutely wonderful. I recently did a post about them:

    Levenger Is Evil

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  4. The comment about unintended consequences of technology was interesting. I assume that's a theme in your novel.

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  5. Michael Crichton totally rocked my boat. I haven't devoured him, book by book, but I have read various books of his, leisurely, as if I had to spread his talent out and savor it.

    Of course, learning that he waswriting novels while attending Harvard Medical School makes me feel about 2 inches tall. whoa. what a man.

    What excuses do I have, again?

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  6. Hi Dave, yes, all my novels are about the unintended consequences of technology. In the current one it is technology used in an air traffic control system.

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  7. My weakness tends to be plotting - I often find a gaping hole once I've got underway which is terribly demoralising, but I'm getting better!

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