JOHN WENDELL ADAMS has a master’s degree in management development and is currently president of AMS Strategic Solutions. He is the creator of a motivational series for men called “A Man’s Story.” This is his first novel. He and his wife, Grace, have five children and live in Skokie, Illinois. Visit him online or Twitter.
There are a few approaches that I have used associated with my writing. I’m not certain it will work for anyone else but it seems to work for me.
1) If I writing about people from a different era or place, I try to amass as much information about that time or place as possible. If it’s a place that I know well or not, my approach is still the same. I will get as much information as possible, how it began, who the founding father were, what it is famous for, key land marks, troubles that the place might have had, famous people, etc. Once all of the data has been collected, then I try and locate someone who can tell me some important or special facts that might not be common knowledge. When I am writing about that particular place, it’s as if I have been there. I can write in a manner that allows me to combine both fact and fiction.
2) If my story has some legal aspect to it, I will research what the legal descriptions are, what the legal ramifications are of a criminal act, and the view of an action through the eyes of an officer of the law. I have contacted the FBI associated with research having to do with crimes against the government. I was pleasantly surprised by how willing the agency was to give me information that helped me better understand the legal implications of a criminal act.
3) If I am writing about a person in a particular setting, business, marriage, love relationship, a gang, or a resident of a foreign country, I will try and interview people who can give me their opinions on life in that environment. My questions are a combination of predetermined ones and ones that I make up on the spot. Generally, I ask open ended questions, interrogatives because they require respondents to provide real feedback instead of yes or no answers. As a result, when I am involved in character development, I have a better grasp on the character’s thoughts and actions.
Jack couldn’t wait until church was over on Sunday. It was a train and a bus ride for Jack and his sisters. His mother was comfortable with letting the four of them go alone since his oldest sister was very responsible. They talked as they went but Jack was consumed with his thoughts about spending the day with his dad. Janice, his big sister told them,
“Mama said that we have to stay together. So hold hands and make sure we don’t get separated.” As they walked the two blocks from the bus to the address Jack’s dad gave them, he almost couldn’t contain himself.
“Are we almost there?” He asked his sister.
“We’ll be there in a few minutes. Just stay together,” she reminded them.
When they got to the address his father gave them it turned out to be a parking lot. Janice looked at the addresses on both sides of the parking lot to determine if maybe he’d written down the wrong number. They then walked to a corner store; found a pay phone, and Janice called the phone number they had. She tried it three times. Each time the recording was the same…
“I’m sorry, the number you’ve dialed has been disconnected. Please check the number and try your call again.” She then called their mother, explained the situation, and asked her what to do. Their mother’s answer was clear,
“Just get back on the bus and the train and come home.”
When Janice told her siblings that they were going back home Jack started talking and crying at the same time.
“Wait, why are we leaving? We haven’t seen Daddy yet. Maybe he’s out looking for us. If we leave, he won’t find us. We can’t leave.” But Janice was direct.
“Mama said we need to go back home. So, let’s get going.” Jack couldn’t stop crying. He couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t see his dad. It was as if all hope was gone. Jack was sad all the way back home. He never saw his dad again until he was grown, married, and had two children.
It was clear that Jack’s dad didn’t really care about his son or helping Jack through life. Jack developed a hard inner shell, trusting no one, not wanting to be hurt like that ever again. And while he didn’t trust Art completely, he did appreciate Art’s care and concern for him from a business perspective.
John will be giving away one $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to one commentor during the tour.