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And that's what got me writing this novella. Originally, I just toyed with it while I was still busy on THE BIG SCI FI BOOK. That title still has a bit to go. 17,000 words in.
Lately, I've been going back to novellas because they serve a need within me to tell a good story that can be read in one sitting. I'm also expanding to make it an audiobook.
The seed of this story started as a dream.
I got this image of this guy leaving his basement apartment to join a few friends in his driveway who were tinkering with two cars. One was a Master Coach and the other was a pristine Studebaker. While they're chatting, the protagonist's friend reaches into this hidden compartment inside the Studebaker and pulls out a typewriter's carrying case. As he handed this item to the main character, the skies above were filled with thunderous clouds and a wind was picking up. As if this transaction was disturbing the natural order of things.
I woke up at around 6am, hopped out of bed, opened the laptop and just started writing as I was still waking up. It took me an hour and some change to get ten pages down. My wife and daughter woke up and joined me.
The story has changed a couple of times but the constant theme is frustration, of which I am familiar with.
I threw all the problems I had faced in life at the main character; juggling work and home life, fighting against poverty, finding your own voice as a writer, it was all right there. It kind of felt intimidating to write something that struck so close to home.
But the story continued to cook and after about two months, it was finally completed. At 52 pages long I can tell you that this has been the hardest one to write.
I labeled it a dark psychological thriller.
The next one that I'm planning to release, thankfully, is a much happier story. That one involves a writer too. That one involves a series of comical mishaps. I think I wrote it in 2010 but I just looked at it recently, polished it a bit, and think it will be ready soon.
I tell you all this because I don't want you to be afraid, as I was, to go to some dark places while you are writing. You may feel a connection to your characters. You may wish them not to come to harm. That's good. You care for them. That's relatable. But you have to let the story write itself and not try to save the characters yourself. Just sit back and see what happens. Be an observer, even when it is painful to do so. Because only then will your story hold something that rings true.
We all grapple with conflict, tough decisions, heartbreak, mania, doubt. If you completely exclude these concepts from your story, then you are holding back. And, as my wife always tells me when I'm working on a new story in progress, don't hold yourself back.
More importantly, write the book you would like to read. The one that you feel is missing on bookstore shelves.
Heck, write...the book that doesn't exist.
The Book That Doesn't Exist is being released on March 19th, 2017. It is now available for Pre-order. Just click the cover above to buy a copy.
As always, keep writing.
"Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of." ~Kurt Vonnegut