How’s this for a story beginning?


How's this for a story beginning?

The rusty safe sat in a little used corner of a demolished building, at an angle that forced a viewer to wonder how it had come to be there. A faded, white letter “A”, only slightly visible in the ackground of chalky, dusty orange gave any inclination of what haunting memories might ooze out of the dark interior.


110,000 words? Are you crazy?

110,000 words? Are you crazy?

Teaching a class at our local school the other day I had to try not to smile when a student groaned about the fact that they had to write a five page report. It helped to remember being in that position. At that age I felt much the same way. Boy how things have changed.

I learned quickly in college that I was a bit odd; a twenty page paper became pretty normal. The reason for that was, for a “lefty” the opportunity to use a keyboard and portable computer changed everything. I’m not old – but – my first college computer was a portable Commodore 64. It changed my college life! I found out that I really do love to write. Once the joy of jotting a story overcame the frustration of “making a mess” when I tried to write those things out with pencil and paper, an amazing door was opened.

Now I write a 110,000 word book and have to go back and cut things out.

What’s the key to that many words?

For me, breaking the book down into smaller sections was a fairly natural thing. I never really thought of the total number of words until I had the basic concept all thought out and the rough manuscript largely complete.

Once I got to that point it was much easier to go back and “fill in the blanks”. I could begin expanding on areas that needed help, exploring the narrative sections much more fully, and looking at descriptions, point of view, setting, etc.

Sure, I would sit and type out particular scenes, dialogue, and so forth as they came to mind – I jotted down the first lines for a new story just the other morning – but I didn’t try to have the final draft figured out in my head.

Would some people refer to that as being a “seat of the pants” writer?

I suppose that might be true, it’s definitely the way I like to write. But more than that it keeps me from becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work a full-length book entails.

Oh, and, being a guy who likes to talk more and more as I get older doesn’t seem to hurt either!