Thriller writer Ryan McGinnis shares his creative writing process for new book release, The Osiris Initiative, on The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK.”
Written by Ryan McGinnis
In the Summer of 2020 I finished my first full-length novel. It had been a long road from when it was just a pipe dream that grew into a hobby, then became a passion. Unfortunately we were in the grips of a world-wide pandemic.
Not wanting my first creation to be swallowed up by the void that was 2020, I chose to wait. I went through a pattern of reading, editing, sending out to readers, editing again, rinse and repeat.
Tears Of The Dragon
Finally September 1, 2020 I released Tears of the Dragon, my first full-length thriller. Previously I had written two short stories that were released into the world. One of which was published. The other was used as a reader magnet by me.
Tears of the Dragon was different, it was my first full-length. In a lot of ways it was like a first child. I’ve never been a parent, but this must be what it feels like. You’re so proud you want everyone to see it. But, you also worry non-stop about every little detail to the point that it drives you crazy.
The response to the novel has blown me away so far. I don’t know what I really expected. My imagination told me it would be a mind-blowing success, my doubts and fears told me it would be a complete and utter failure. In truth it has been something I never imagined. It has been organic. No, it wasn’t a record shattering success, but it’s not a failure either.
When I was an indie musician you would put out a record and hope someone you didn’t know would like it. Because, of course your friends would like it, that’s what friends do. When someone you don’t know likes it, it means something. Using that standard, I would say Tears of the Dragon is a wonderful success. About two weeks after the novel came out, I realized I needed to start working toward something I had never been able to imagine. I needed to create a sequel.
I had tons of synopsis for other novels, even the sequels to other novels, but for some reason I had never been able to move the story past the end of Tears of the Dragon. I can only imagine it was because Tears of the Dragon lived in my head for literally years before I was able to birth it into the world.
Everything about it was almost mythical in my head. Because of that, moving forward with the story seemed daunting. I struggled mightily for weeks. Throwing ideas at the wall to see what stuck. I also had another problem.
Tears of the Dragon was a Xavier Greene adventure and very much focused on him. What surprised me was that by the end of the book, reader after reader came to me clamoring to know more about the two supporting characters, particularly Stacy Martinez. So now, the sequel, which was tentatively titled “Eye of Osiris” needed to be more of an ensemble piece.
I, of course, had only written one book that was focused solely on one character. Couple that with the Imposter Syndrome that most writers struggled with at one time or another and you have a recipe for disaster. I mean, what if I couldn’t write another novel? What if it took me another six years to write it? The struggle, as they say, was real.
Getting In My Character’s Head
During the day I work building websites and doing digital marketing for clients. At that job I am constantly confronted with large, often difficult tasks. What I’ve learned from that is to take a large task and break it down into much smaller tasks. You then pick a small task and complete it.
After that you complete another. Pretty soon you’ve conquered the entire mountain, pebble by pebble. I applied this logic to the new book. Instead of laying out the entire book at once, I started plotting out three individual timelines; each based on a character from the book.
I asked myself where would they be after the events of Tears of the Dragon? How would they be feeling? Most importantly, how would they have dealt with the trauma from the events of Tears of the Dragon. I think that’s something that is a recurring theme in the new book, which ended up being called “The Osiris Initiative”. I think over the last several years, trauma has been on all of our minds.
I spent many nights getting in these characters head’s and figuring out how they would process their trauma, what path it would lead them down. To my surprise, the story almost took on a life of its own. I didn’t feel like I was struggling to come up with it any more. Now I felt like I was merely witnessing it and recording it.
A Good Antagonist Is Necessary
Although things were coming together at a good pace now, there was one more piece that I needed. I needed a main antagonist. I don’t want to give away too much about him, I want you to experience the story as I did. However, I will say when his character came together, I quickly fell in love with him. It was the final piece and the perfect foil for my protagonists.
Once he came to life, the story became a pure joy to write, but also very organic, like a living thing. I knew where I wanted the story to head, but it didn’t always go there. It, and the characters insisted on going elsewhere. They knew the way, I just had to trust them enough to let them go there. In the end, I finished the novel in just under three months.
It was a great feeling and it gave me renewed confidence in my author journey. In the time since I completed it, I’ve also written a short story in the same universe, with many more to come. I’m glad to be on this journey and can’t wait to see where it leads.
More From Ryan McGinnis:
Author Interview on The Table Read: https://thetableread.co.uk/author-interview-ryan-mcginnis-tears-of-the-dragon/
The Osiris Initiative – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QC62H8D
Tears of the Dragon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BNY2XBL
The Musician’s Daughter ( Free Xavier Greene Thriller ) – https://ryan-mcginnis.com/free-thriller-ebook/
Website – https://ryan-mcginnis.com
Goodreads Page – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17225070.Ryan_McGinnis
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ryanmcginniswriter/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/SNDDesigns
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