Maksim Malik was born in Pennsylvania and has lived in Texas and North Carolina. Currently he resides in North Carolina with his mother and his cat. He writes science fiction and fantasy.
Not So Brief
I was born in Pennsylvania then grew up in both Texas and North Carolina. I still reside in North Carolina. A year after high school, when I was 19, I became afflicted with a neurological disorder which I still have today. I mention that here because it is a huge part of my life, for it is something I deal with more than anything else.
My father was from Pakistan and my mother from Pennsylvania with European ancestry. I started writing at a young age—super young. My first “book” was a laminated story about something called the “feet foots” which honestly makes no sense to me now. The book is six pages long, and I still have it somewhere. I think it was made before first grade.
In sixth grade, the first fantasy story I read was Mercedes Lackey’s “By the Sword,” featuring an exciting story about a girl and a magic sword. I was hooked, especially hooked on the world Lackey created. Thankfully she wrote other stories in the same world and I could read more about it. It’s from there that I read classic Tolkien and eventually dipped my toes into science fiction to find I enjoyed the genre as well. I remember the time I attempted to write a book. I was in sixth grade and wrote about a half-man, half-tiger character named Garbanis. I forget the actual story of the book, but I know I typed it in all caps.
Now when I write, I start with world-building. I cannot write a story without knowing the state of the universe/world. This could include history, making up languages, and coming up with cultures that might end up being barely mentioned in the actual book. Next I come up with a basic plot; I figure out something very bare bones for the main plot. This is also when I start making character sheets and fleshing out my characters. Then I add ideas in Scapple, which is software for taking notes and connecting them with lines and putting nice bubbles around them. After that I organize the ideas into chapters and sections, and expand on any important details I’d like to include.
After all that I start organizing plot information into Scrivener and fleshing out sections of the story even further. Once I have everything from beginning to end I start writing. The reason I like Scrivener is because when I’m writing it’s easy to add extra sections or move chapters around if I need to plus my research is all in one place.
When the rough draft is finished it’s time to step away from the book for a week or so to get some distance from it. This helps me spot errors more easily when I get back to it and start editing. And editing. And edit some more.
When I’m finally satisfied with the edited version I export the finished product to Microsoft Word, set up styles (which is a little bit of a pain), and review and revise again if necessary one last time.
When I’m not writing, I spend my time playing video games, reading, or 3D modeling. Sometimes I simply sit and enjoy music without doing anything in particular.