Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Guest Post with Gerald Brandt

Photo Content from Gerald Brandt

Gerald Brandt is an International Bestselling Author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. His current novel is The Operative – A San Angles Novel, published by DAW and his short story Storm appeared in the 2013 Prix Aurora Award winning anthology Blood & Water. His first novel, The Courier, also in the San Angeles series was list by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as one of the 10 Canadian science fiction books you need to read. By day, he’s an IT professional specialising in virtualisation. In his limited spare time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, rock climbing, camping, and spending time with his family. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife Marnie, and their two sons Jared and Ryan. You can find Gerald online at, on Facebook as Gerald Brandt – Author, and on Twitter @geraldbrandt.


I often get asked about my writing process: am I a panster (one who just sits down to write without any plan) or a plotter (one who plans everything in advance). The answer is a bit of both. Well, okay, maybe more of a plotter than a panster. I usually have the entire novel I'm working on plotted out scene-by-scene before I start writing the first page, but that doesn't mean it's written in stone. Every scene has the opportunity to take off on its own and change the outline in some way. At some point, usually halfway through the novel, I'll stop writing and redo the last half of the outline to match all the new stuff that has crept in.

My process for outlining starts with a giant 4 by 8 whiteboard and a stack of post-it notes. I'll have a different color post-it for every point of view character in the novel. Starting with my main character, I'll write something on the post-it; it could be a single sentence summary of what I want the scene to be, an emotion the character needs to feel, or a setting. The point is to make it brief. This individual post-it will become a scene in the novel.

I'll work with a single character at first. If I have four points of view, the main character will get roughly thirty-five post-its. Once I have a general arc for that character, I move on to the next. By the time I'm done, I'll have a little over eighty post-its on the whiteboard.

Then I start merging each character's story line to create a cohesive whole. While I'm doing this, I look at overall story arc and pacing. This is where I'll remove some post-its and add new ones. I'll also look at the color distribution. Do I have too many scenes from the same point of view back-to-back? If so, rearrange and rewrite as necessary. It's not until I have a nice color distribution and the pacing right before I move onto the next step.

This is where I fire up my computer and run the spreadsheet. I move the post-it notes into the spreadsheet, keeping the color coding for point of view character. As I'm doing this, I take the single sentence or word and expand it into a small paragraph. As the detail goes in, I may find some scenes are out of order, and I'll do more rearranging.

When the spreadsheet is complete, then and only then do I open up the word processor and start writing. Every time I sit down to write, I know what I'll be doing, and the day starts out strong. And just for the record, I keep my word processor simple and old school. I use Wordstar 7.0.

I also keep track of daily word count in another spreadsheet, but that's for a different article.

The third and final installment in the San Angeles trilogy, a thrilling near-future cyberpunk sci-fi series 

Kris Merrill has lost everything. Her family when she was thirteen, her identity when she joined the anti-corporate movement, and now the man she loved. Living in a small room the resistance gave her, she feels alone. Abandoned.
A year ago, Kris's life was torn apart when a delivery went wrong. The last year spent training with the anti-corporate movement had been the closest she'd ever gotten to normal.
Now, war has broken out between the corporations, and the lower levels of San Angeles are paying the price. Water and food are rationed. People are being ripped from their families in massive sweeps, drafted to fight. Those remaining live in a wasteland. The insurgents are trying to help, but Kris is being left out, given menial tasks instead of doing what she was trained for.
She is torn between working with the insurgents as they become more like the corporations they are fighting, and helping the people of the lower levels.
Caught in one of SoCal's draft sweeps and being hunted by an enemy who will stop at nothing to have revenge are just the tip of the iceberg. Kris is pregnant, and she might have to choose between bringing down the corporations that destroyed her family or saving the life of her unborn son.

Praise for the SAN ANGELES Series

"The Courier is lean and mean as Kris’s rugged ride, ripping through plot and world-building at a relentless pace... Brandt has created a darkly gripping vision of the future," ―B&N Sci-fi Fantasy Blog

“Brandt’s supercharged sequel to The Courier continues the cyberpunk fun of the San Angeles series.... Brandt fleshes out an all-too-possible future of crushing poverty and corporate control, and the complex heroine who will lead us through to a better future.” —

“Brandt has created a fully-fleshed universe, filled with high tension, memorable villains, and plot twists by the dozen.” ―Barnes & Noble

“It felt a lot like the Bourne Identity movie except with a sci-fi setting and a relatable young girl as the protagonist. The Courier is a fast paced science fiction thriller, with a heroine you can really root for and a world you can’t wait to learn more about.” ―The Heroine Bookstore

“Gerald Brandt tells an impossible-to-put-down tale and introduces us to an exciting heroine I’d love to see more of.” ―University City Review
You can purchase The Rebel at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you GERALD BRANDT for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Rebel by Gerald Brandt.

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