Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Chat About Writing with Author Martin Felando

Today, My Book Tour welcomes Martin Felando. Martin is a screenwriter and author of the award-winning SciFi Adventure Star Racers. Martin shares some writing advice and talks about his book with My Book Tour readers. 

Martin Felando Author
I recently completed Star Racers, my first novel, and it won the IPPY’s Silver 2016 National Book Award for Best Science Fiction. I’d like to share with you some of the things I did while writing Star Racers and some things I’ve learned after writing over thirty feature-length screenplays.

I like focusing on interesting titles and I often come up with the title first, to see what story ideas come from it. With Star Racers, I focused on Science Fiction and all the movies and novels I loved. The title popped up like toast. That was in 2003 and since then I've written three feature-length screenplays based on that title.

I began the screenplays with certain ideas: I wanted to know why they raced, but also what stakes could be higher than a trophy and money. So I focused on saving lives – "win the race and save your planet" became the concept of the story.

I then focused on who would race and thought it best for young adults to race, and that they should be trained at a school, then go on and try to win to save their family, friends, neighbors, country and planet.

Then I worked on step outlines that changed hundreds of times. My outlines adapt and grow as the characters adapt and grow. I then turned my attention to characters and created detailed case studies on nearly all the characters. I recommend the case study information found in The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. 

Other aspects of finishing the novel involved trying to make each chapter the best in the book, getting hundreds of people to read and provide feedback, paying for beta-readers, selecting an experienced editor, and hiring the book designer and illustrators.

The process of starting and finishing the book took about five years. I rewrote or reedited the entire book over 50 times. Do not underestimate good feedback and a good editor. You'll find beta-readers at FictionPress and Scribophile. 

Six days a week, I imagined myself writing a great novel and concentrated on ideas that involved character development and pivotal, emotional experiences. On the seventh day, I did whatever I wanted to do and I often found myself creating some great ideas.

The big change in my life since starting the novel was that I read and reread a lot more novels than ever before. The best guidance I can give writers is that the better you read the better you’ll write. So make sure you’re actively reading, taking notes as you read, and reread books in the genre you’re writing in.

Do not underestimate the power of your belief, conviction, and imagination. Find the time and energy to read and write. Tell yourself: Focus all your energy on building the new change. 

I hope you take a look at some of the 120 pages of art in Star Racers on Instagram, because there’s a lot of book art and videos, including videos of people in Times Square reacting to the first chapter. 


Martin Felando is the author of the award-winning novel Star Racers and thirty feature-length screenplays including Full Throttle, Return to Love, The Black Knight, Devastating Forest, Sorcerer, Plastic Army, The Curse, Husband and Wife, and The Hangman Trilogy. 

His play True, based on two years of working on skid row, was performed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute and the Wine Cellar Theater in Los Angeles.

He lives in NYC where he reads, bikes, and brews an unusually potent cup of coffee. He is currently writing the second novel in the Star Racers saga.


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