IndieView with Brian Fitzpatrick, author of Mechcraft

 

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in screenwriting is the vomit draft. This is the first draft we must force ourselves to finish, no matter how bad. I apply this rule to my prose, and don’t allow myself to stop and edit until the vomit draft is done.

Brian Fitzpatrick – 29 April 2017

The Back Flap

Mechcraft is the story of Jake, a teen whose ideal life is thrown into chaos when he discovers his ability to control a swarm of nanotechnology, and must use this power to turn the tables on the powerful factions that want to destroy him. It’s the visual intensity of The Matrix meets the wonder of Harry Potter.

The nanotechnology is infused in the DNA of the wielder, and summoned out through the pores by mental command to form any shape, weapon, machine the Mechcrafter has the skill to create (think Terminator 2’s liquid metal visually). The mastery of this nanotech is called Mechcraft.

What sets Jake apart, inducing fear and rage in the secret factions, is that he is the first ever born with the nanotech. All others accepted the gift as part of an experiment. To the others, there’s no telling what this teenager will be able to do with his Mechcraft.

“It’s so refreshing to see such a unique idea come to life. An excellent marriage of magic and technology, mixed with great dialog and characters. Cannot wait to get a copy in my hands!”

– J.M. VerHelst, online review

About the book

When did you start writing the book?

Mechcraft began life as a screenplay back in 2013.  Despite achieving Quarterfinals in two contests (Final Draft Big Break Contest, and PAGE International Screenplay Awards), and shopping the script all over Hollywood, I ran into a harsh reality: the story is too big and expensive for studio execs to spend money on an unknown intellectual property.  I followed the advice of a trusted friend in the business, and converted the screenplay into a fleshed out novel, starting in 2015.

How long did it take you to write it?

For the novel, it took about three months to finish the first draft, another eighteen months to work through several rewrites.

Where did you get the idea from?

Mechcraft came to me after reading an article about the advances of nanotechnology in the medical field.  The article discussed these microscopic computers being programmed to attack cancer cells.  My mind took it a leap forward to what if the person with these “nanobots” inside them could control them and manifest them outside their physical self.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The final act!  It had to be big and it had to be right.  Mechcraft reached its publishing status while I was doing my last rewrite.  So, going into the final edit of the last act, the pressure was on to deliver the absolute best for readers.  In the end, I believe the finale is what needs to happen for the story and these characters.

What came easily?

Writing the action scenes.  Coming from a background in screenwriting, I’m used to creating action scenes that are both visceral, but not bloated.  I hope it comes across in the prose.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

I think every author puts a bit of him or herself into the protagonists, and I do most of the time.  But in Mechcraft, the characters are complete fiction.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I grew up on Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice.  They taught me pacing and storytelling.  For the past decade or so, I’ve really enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), Ernest Cline (Ready Player One), and Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead).  These authors taught me how to really go for the jugular in a story, holding back nothing.

Do you have a target reader?

Mechcraft would appeal to ages 15 to 40, but any lover of sci-fi action would hopefully enjoy the book.  I believe this story can speak to both men and women, as there are strong representations of both.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

With a full time job, family life, and activities, I write when I can.  Sometimes it’s an hour long sprint.  Other times I set aside an entire day and get a twelve hour marathon.  You learn to adapt and persevere.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I am an outlining madman.  I’ve tried to go wild and free, and it just doesn’t work for me.  I outline every scene, but only add a line or two as a place marker for each scene/chapter.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in screenwriting is the vomit draft.  This is the first draft we must force ourselves to finish, no matter how bad.  I apply this rule to my prose, and don’t allow myself to stop and edit until the vomit draft is done.  Only then do I edit on the subsequent rewrites.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Mechcraft is being published through Inkshares.  They utilize Girl Friday Productions for the editing of their clients.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I don’t always listen to music when I write, but when I do it’s usually something loud, thumping, and crunchy- Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Lords Of Acid, and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

For Mechcraft I used Inkshares crowdfunding model.  Through a crazy pre-order marketing campaign of Facebook Ads, Postcards, harassment of family & friends, a podcast interview, and an avalanche of Tweets, I achieved the funding threshold to allow publication.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

The opportunities for the indie author are better than ever before.  There are so many ways to get one’s novel out to an audience.  There was never a question of whether to go indie or traditional.  I saw this as the fastest path that gave me the most control over my work.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I am grateful to have a talented graphic artist son who designed the cover for me.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I learned so much marketing for pre-orders, and I intend to apply some of that into the book launch, as well as a much broader campaign to hopefully include book signings and convention tours.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

The best piece of advice I ever received was to never give up.  It’s an old cliché, but this business is built on those who persevere.  All the talent in the world won’t matter if you give up.  Never.  Give.  Up.

About You

Where did you grow up?

Southern California

Where do you live now?

Still in Southern California, in the shadow of Disneyland’s fireworks.

What would you like readers to know about you?

Here’s some quirkiness: we own five chickens!  Best part about having chickens isn’t the delicious fresh eggs, it’s the pun-tastic names we gave them: Betty Poop, Princess Lay-a, HENmoine Granger, BellaCHICK LeStrange, and Mother Clucker.

What are you working on now?

Mechcraft is the start of a franchise, and I’m outlining book 2 now… Mechcraft: Harbinger.

I’m also working on a work place comedy screenplay, an Urban Fantasy novel outline, and present day thriller outline.

End of Interview:

For more, like Mechcraft’s Facebook page.

Get your copy of Mechcraft from Inkshares.

One response to “IndieView with Brian Fitzpatrick, author of Mechcraft

  1. The Mechcraft concept sounds really cool. The ability ofnancytes to impact actions outside the body is an enticement into a wild imagination.

    I love your advice and I’m glad you are persevering.