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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Writing is a Journey

This is a guest post by LD Beyer. 
Writing is a journey. Not only for you the reader but, in many ways, for me, the writer, and, believe it or not, for the characters in the book as well. The first one is obvious. If I’ve done my job right, you’ll escape, for a short while anyway, into the lives of my characters, vicariously sharing their thoughts, their challenges, their struggles, their dark moments, as well as their triumphs. You’ll root for the good guys and you’ll fear the bad guys. You’ll stay up late into the night, caught in the suspense, anxiously waiting to see what happens next. At the end, hopefully, you’ll close the book with a satisfied smile.
A lot of thriller and suspense fiction is about the classic struggle of good versus evil. The good guy, or gal, is suddenly thrust into a situation they are often ill-equipped to handle and they face that one defining moment in their lives. While the odds seemed stacked against them, due to an innate sense of right vs. wrong or perhaps some deep-rooted need, they rise to the occasion. Often times, they face some internal demons as well, some struggle in their personal lives that not only leaves them unfulfilled, but makes their mission all the more challenging. Then there are the forces of darkness, the bad guy, who won’t stop until he’s achieved whatever evil he’s pursuing.  I know this sounds a lot like the plot line for Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, but political thrillers, legal thrillers, medical thrillers, spy and espionage novels—in fact, many genres of fiction—all follow this formula. The climax of the story is the showdown between good and evil, and the ultimate triumph of one over the other.  
How I get from this generic big picture to the actual words on the page is my journey. Usually, thoughts and ideas seem to find their way to the paper and I write until I hit a point where I realize that I am woefully uneducated. What type of gun does the Secret Service use? How does Air Traffic Control work? What does the inside of the White House look like? Research fills in the blanks and, along the way, I get to meet some wonderful people. Inspired, new ideas will pop into my head and I can’t wait to start writing again.
Then there are questions that only my characters can answer. What does the protagonist look like? What is her struggle? How does she react under stress? Will she stand up for herself? What seems loose and fuzzy in the beginning will hopefully become clear as the journey progresses and the words make their way to the page.
In a sense, writing is a journey for the characters. It may sound odd for a writer to say this, but characters, and the plot itself, seem to develop and evolve over time and in ways that I never imagined when I first sat down and started typing. More than once, I’ve found myself reflecting on something a character just did and thinking that I hadn’t envisioned that this particular character would do something like that when I first created him or her a dozen chapters earlier. Sometimes, a minor character created for one scene and one purpose comes back to play a much more prominent role later on. The characters and the plot seem to go in directions that only they can choose and often I’m left following along.
My first book, In Sheep’s Clothing, follows this classic good-versus-evil plot line:
Caught in a game of chess he didn’t know he was playing until it was too late, the President makes the only move he can, plunging Washington and the nation into chaos. Stunned and reeling, Vice President David Kendall takes the oath of office and tries to heal a nation in mourning. But what the new president doesn’t realize is that things in the White House aren’t always what they appear to be, and sometimes what looks like the best option may turn out to be the worst. When one fatal decision triggers consequences he never envisioned, President Kendall finds himself caught up in the same game that cost his predecessor his life.
Although there was nothing he could have done, Secret Service Agent Matthew Richter is haunted by the death of the man he had vowed to protect. When his girlfriend dumps him and his boss tells him that his job is on the line, he thinks his life cannot get any worse. He soon realizes how wrong he is when he finds himself fighting to save another president from the deadly forces that he has unwittingly unleashed.
One man holds the reins of power.  One man vows to protect him.  One man vows to destroy him.  
I hope that you enjoy your journey reading In Sheep’s Clothing as much as I’ve enjoyed my journey writing it. As for the characters, I’ll let them speak for themselves.

LD Beyer spent over twenty-five years in the corporate world, climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. This meant a lot of time away from his family, extensive travel, a half-dozen relocations, and the opportunity to live and work in Mexico for several years.  In 2011 he decided it was time for a change—he was tired of moving every few years, he wanted to spend more time with my family and he wanted to chase my dream of being a writer.  LD Beyer is an avid reader and although he primarily reads Thrillers, his reading list is somewhat eclectic.  He believes a few hours with a good book beats a few hours in front of the TV any day. LD Beyer lives in Michigan with his wife, three children and a dog named Tope (pronounced Toe-Pay), which he adopted in Mexico.  He enjoys cooking, hiking, biking, working out and fixing just about anything that breaks in the house.  With 3 kids, a dog and an aging house, he always seems to be fixing something!