I always enjoy introducing new authors to readers and today I have the pleasure of hosting Ron Scheer, debut author of the YA dystopian The Forager. Like many of us writers, Ron works another job in addition to writing and he offered to share the unique perspective a carpet installer can bring to the writing process. Welcome, Ron!
Let’s face it, I’m a carpet installer first and writer second. Someday I hope to reverse those roles, but until that happens I still have a family who thinks they need things like food, clothing, shelter, and iphones. While at first glance the two occupations may seem drastically different there are more similarities than you might think. To be good at any profession a worker must have the specific tools, skills, and knowledge required to make a customer happy.
First, a note on quality:
Whether that customer is looking to buy a book or hire the services of a tradesman, they want the highest quality workmanship. No customer is going to be happy if I leave their home with wrinkles in their brand new carpet. A manuscript with holes in the plot, typos, changing points of view, (switching between first and third person) or submitted in any manner other than what the publisher stipulates is the same kind of unacceptable, shoddy workmanship.
Once the customer and I have established that installing carpet is hard work and deserves its fair amount of compensation the job begins. Much like the preliminary work that goes into a book, I have to do my homework. Measuring the job, figuring the square footage, and telling the customer how much carpet they’ll need. Then telling the customer that no I can’t do the job correctly with less, quit asking.
The outline of the story is the writer’s guide. If it’s done correctly the story follows in a natural flow. This is the stories tack-strip (if you’re not familiar, these are the strips with the small, really sharp nails that go next to the wall and hold the carpet tight after its stretched.) If the outline is done wrong, the story doesn’t stay tight and you’ve just wasted your time. It’s important to note while hammering in the tack-strip that at all costs avoid hitting your thumb. If you hit it hard enough, it will explode just like a smashed grape. (Believe me, I’ve done it.)
Next comes the carpet padding, or cushion if you like being precise. This is the first draft of your story. You’ve got the idea down. Its base is firm, yet there’s room for it to give a little. And let’s face it, all first drafts need to give a little (or in my case a lot).
You might think the final step is stretching in the carpet, you’d be wrong. Stretching the carpet can be compared to your second draft. Now we’re getting somewhere. The story is definitely readable, and to an unpracticed eye it might even seem presentable. But the work is not done.
The last and final step to installing a carpet, the one that makes customers stand up and take notice. The one that insures that the next time they need an install they’ll call me, is the final attention to detail. Just like carefully going over your manuscript and removing all those loose words that simply do not need to be there, a good installer will always vacuum the new carpet, removing any stray fibers and use this opportunity to give his work a final look to make sure that everything is the way it’s supposed to be. (Yes, I’m a guy, and I vacuum.)
My favorite part of the job is when the customer/publisher looks at the final product, holds their hand to their mouth and and says, “Oh Wow, I love it!”
The Forager Blurb:
It’s been thirty years since the economy collapsed, and all Dillon has ever known is a world without electricity or medicine, living in a community constantly under the threat of starvation as they struggle to feed the rest of the country.
Orphaned and alone, unsure of his future, Dillon serves as a lookout, watching for the bands of Scavengers that prey on towns like his—while also watching for the mayor’s twin sons, who are bent on terrorizing him.
When a Forager rides into town, he opens Dillon’s eyes to the possibility of a different life. And when a Scavenger attack leaves the Forager injured, he sends Dillon out on a mission that may mean the difference between life and death for the mayor’s missing daughter. Dillon is about to find more than a way to help his community—he’s about to find himself.
The Forager can be purchased at the MuseItUp bookstore.
Ron Scheer lives in the heart of the heartland with his wonderful wife, a daughter, and a son. He spends his days selling and installing carpet. His nights, however, are devoted to books. Whether reading or writing, there are always words at his fingertips. The Forager is his first novel.