Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Anatomy of a Novel: 1


Something different… at least it is for me. I’m going to attempt a serious of blog posts about my novel, Gifted Trust – originally released in 2002 as a self-published novel and was picked up by Biting Dog Publications in 2003. The purpose – to share some of the inside info… all the little secrets behind how it came to be. Hopefully you’ll find this interesting.

In the beginning… the last thing on my mind was to write a novel. Hell, I wasn’t even a writer. It was in the mid-eighties and I was a journalist student at Central Michigan University. I was also a single dad, living with my three-year-old son in family housing on campus. While there I took an elective course: Creative Writing: Poetry, because it seemed like an easy A – very little studying needed.

OK – I wrote poems (one a week) and made the instructor happy enough to give me several A’s. Do I remember any of them? No… except one. Then night before our final assignment, while my son slept on the couch in our apartment I watched a made-for-tv movie called Adam. It was the true story about the son of Adam Walsh (America’s Most Wanted fame), who was kidnapped and murdered. When the movie finished I sat at my typewriter and typed:

Gifted Trust

The best time for me

is just before he screaming stopped

and their voices hit that pitch.

Twisted little limbs bending

back and forth

back and forth

and all the blood

and the blue lips

and the begging

for me to stop.

I love little children

so very very much.

Creepy? Yes, but he loved it and after getting the grade I forgot about it for years.

Humble, TX 2001… different school and class – this time it was Creative Writing: Fiction and I still wasn’t a writer. It was the third assignment for a Monday night course and I drove to the school about two hours before the story was due. I sat at a blank computer screen for almost an hour and decided to take a break, hoping a walk down to the student lounge would lead to inspiration. Right place and time – on the television was America’s Most Wanted and I recalled the poem. I hurried back to the computer room, sat and in less than an hour wrote a short story about a guy who picked up children at elementary schools – again creepy… again called it, Gifted Trust. I printed it out, ran to class, read it to the class and they loved it.

The title… Gifted Trust referred to the character in the poem and story. He has a gift to get kids to trust him.

After class… I went home and woke up my wife so I could read my story to her. She said, “If I didn’t know you, I’d suggest therapy” and went back to sleep. Next I got on the net and sent it to several writers (didn’t ask – just sent it) thinking they were writers and had plenty of time to read it. One actually wrote back and convinced me to expand it into a longer piece.

For the record… I’ve shared the above before with people in the old version of this blog. Sorry for the rerun, but I thought it was needed. As I continue sharing the Gifted Trust posts I’ll be adding new exciting (no really) material.

J

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