California-based crime novelist Seth Harwood is another podcasting success story. Having introduced his high-octane detective thriller stylee to the podsphere in 2006, in May 2009, the first volume of the Jack Palms series, Jack Wakes Up, was released by Three Rivers Press. Good crime fiction is hard to write, but Seth is on top of the game. I can’t really beat Scott Sigler’s summary of the book, when he said: “Jack Wakes Up is like a Tarantino film pulled off the screen, rolled in a John Woo zig-zag wrapper and sparked up with a vintage Miami Vice lighter. Buy it now and thank me later.”
Wise words. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Seth Harwood.
Seth Harwood, aka the Palms Father of Soul, The James Brown of Podcasting
California, USA – the Berkeley Hills
What do you write?
I write crime novels in the Jack Palms series and literary short stories… so far. Who knows what I’ll get into next? More crime, definitely more crime!
What are your writing habits?
I write first thing or as close to first thing in the morning as possible. The sooner I can get from bed to keys, the better it seems to flow. I’ll go through periods where, honestly, all I do is work on promotion of my work. That can take the form of podcasting, blogging, interacting with fans online, and building in new media. Fortunately there are times I get excited about this so it’s not a grind.
Then there are the writing drafting times. When I’m in this mode, I’ll avoid the internet altogether until I’ve done my word count for the day. I usually set a goal of however many words (1,000 when I’m starting out and then 1,500 and 2,000 or above when I’m really into a project.) But I try not to overdo it. I’m a big believer in feeling out your limits and not going beyond. That’s how I think people get “blocked.” I’ll try to write as many days a week as I can, but usually not more than 6. Every day I make sure to stop at a point where I know what’s going to happen next; this makes starting up the next day a lot easier.
I don’t write with an outline. I like getting to know the characters and their situations as I go. If I’m getting surprised, it usually amounts to good writing, exciting for the reader. I believe in writing each sentence as best I can, and letting that one lead me on to the next. Then in revision I try to find out what I learned about the story along the way, then try to build that in from the start.
What software or tools do you use?
I use Scrivener for writing my novels and a MacBook. I used to use Word, but literally I can’t imagine how I’d write a novel without Scrivener now. I guess that’d make me do outlines – outline as I go. There’s nothing that can match Scrivener’s chapter view for seeing where the book has gone and is going. I title my chapters so I know a bit about what happens in each one and just look back at that list as my outline. I can also jump right to the parts I need to see with it, instead of massive scrolling and reading movements like I had to do in Word. Blech!
If you’ve got a Mac and want to write a novel, you’ve got to get Scrivener!
I also use 3″ x 5″ notecards. I jot stuff down on them all the time, like crazy. Stick them wherever I can.
Seth Harwood, thank-you very much! Seth can be found online at his website, sethharwood.com, and also on Facebook at facebook.com/sethharwood and twitter as @sethharwood. The Jack Palms series of podcast novels can be downloaded for free from Seth’s website, and the original podcast novel version of Jack Wakes Up is also available for free from iTunes, while the print version can be found at Amazon.com and your local bookstore.
Take Scott’s advice and buy several copies today.