August 29, 2018

Lessons Learned From #6

By Steve Bradshaw, Author of Terminal Breach

How many authors can open one of their published novels and see the story they had in mind back when they pounded out their first sentence? If you can say your novel is as you had planned from day one, then I am truly impressed with your ability to grasp and commit to an abstract notion. I laud your outlining and organizational skills and admire your control of settings, scenes, and characters. As my sixth international thriller TERMINAL BREACH released on August 28th, I can say I do not possess that astounding level of discipline. As a matter of fact I am just beginning to understand where my stories come from and who is really in control of key parts of the process.

“The President of the United States is awakened by the two words he prayed he would never hear—terminal breach.” This abstract notion floated around in my head for several years before I sat down to write TERMINAL BREACH. The concept competed with many others that did not make the cut—this time. For me, selecting the right thing to write about is the most important hurdle to clear, and it is totally in my control. The story concept must be strong enough to hold my interest, and to keep my creative juices flowing for months of alone time. It must carry me through hundreds of hours of research, rewrites, and the weaving together of 100,000+ perfect words. If the story concept I select can do all these things, I know the finished product will matter, and it will earn an audience.
Because we come into writing with different skills, knowledge bases, life experiences, and interests, we each find the genre (or two or three) that best stages our creations—the place where we want to live. Because I live in the suspense/thriller genre, before I type my first word I know I will be writing a heart-pounding page turner. I knew TERMINAL BREACH would be a chilling international forensic story based on an abundance of mesmerizing facts and a plausible mega-dilemma (or two). I knew my reader’s ride would be tumultuous, spellbinding, edgy, and real with a touch of the surreal. And I knew the climax would be unexpected and resolution thought provoking. These defining parts of my story creation process are in my being. It is the skeleton I breathe life into. It decides what stays and what goes!

One of my most profound discoveries as a writer has been to find many of the best parts of my stories are written by my characters. Once I create and position them in an environment with a set of situations and dilemmas, they always rise to the occasion to take my story places I never planned nor could have predicted. The dialogue and behavior of characters opens a new dimension in my writing process. For me this creative stream is not a conscious operation. When I write I look for that moment when my characters start talking and doing on their own. When I get there, I close the doors to my study, turn down the lights, and hold on tight. My best writing flows naturally.

When an unknown entity—code name GRAY WOLF—commandeers a nuclear missile silo in North Dakota and threatens to launch a Minuteman III ICBM into the world, the President of the United States is faced with a mega-dilemma. Containment options would decimate a third of the country and kill millions. Can the macabre forensic pieces of an insane international puzzle provide the POTUS with more options? Can a nuclear Armageddon triggered by a rogue U.S. missile be averted, or is World War III the only outcome for a TERMINAL BREACH?   
Steve Bradshaw draws upon his experiences as the youngest forensic investigator in Texas history, an innovative biotech entrepreneur, and a founder-president/CEO. Now dedicated to writing his unique brand of mystery/thrillers, Steve takes readers into fascinating worlds of fringe science, chilling forensics, and captivating mysteries. His book TITLES: TERMINAL BREACHSERIAL INTENTEVIL LIKE MEBLUFF CITY BUTCHER, free today on Amazon • THE SKIES ROAREDBLOOD LIONS Social Media links:,,, Twitter,


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