With the push for release of my first published novel, Knights of the Shield, I started thinking about this road I’ve been on since I first started telling stories many moons ago. Figured I’d give you all some insight on how this process got rolling for me.
After getting into the military, I found myself with free time after work was done. I read. I read some more. I read even more than that. My off time was spent either, computer gaming, reading, or experiencing an overindulgence in adult beverages. Somewhere along in there, the games got a little boring, the reading didn’t provide enough relaxation or interest because I felt I would have written what I was reading a little differently. The adult beverages, well, we’ll leave that up to imagination.
One of my favorite genres to read has always been fantasy, especially after reading The Lord of the Rings at a very young age. The Forgotten Realms book series was always good too. I started tinkering with writing. I dove into my favorite genre to see what I could do. Being a gamer, I’ve played quite a few adventures in Dungeons & Dragons type games, with some really talented story tellers. Those games with a good story were so much better then the standard hack & slash mayhem some games were, but those had their place too. Anyway, I took those adventures and pressed them together until a plot began to squeeze out.
What followed was a twelve week writing blitz that culminated in my first novel-length work. I let my brother read it, since his personal library of books would make some medium-sized cities blush, and one of his favorite genres is fantasy too. Well, most family will tell you anything you write is great…MOST family. My brother, not so much.
“It’ll work, but its really raw.”
Then started the editing process where he sent email after email with snarky comments about what I needed to fix. I found some of his arguments flat and realized a lot of substantive editing is subjective. Still, with the wide variety his reading has covered, I felt he was an expert. He did a good job and soon after, the second book was done. Then the third was started and made almost three chapters when I just stopped. I went back and read through everything. It was bad, not horrible, but bad and bad enough that I couldn’t (read didn’t) want to take the effort to fix it.
On a vacation to visit my parentals in Florida, I started a new project, NOT based in fantasy, though it had a good, healthy dose of paranormal. It even had a title: Visionary. This project featured my military occupation, Air Traffic Control, as a major component to the story. This came out of me surprisingly easy and the story was much better than those first efforts.
Not sure what happened to it, but even though it was better, it still fell short of my best.
The next time I took up the pen, a few months later, I enrolled in an online writing course with an author of Mystery novels. The course was to show how that genre is put together and what makes it work, with the final exam being the first chapter of a new mystery novel, thus was born Knights of the Shield. Something happened here too, surprising me. The writing had changed from my earlier efforts. I felt the characters were telling me the story and I was recording it. Wow, talk about writing becoming easy. I didn’t have to tell the story anymore, someone would do it for me.
The instructor was impressed, liked the mood and direction of the chapter I turned in. Before continuing, I started another project, based on fan fiction for my favorite show at the time, Highlander: The Series.
Knights kind of back-burnered for a bit, as well as any other writing as I got out of the military, got married and had kids. Somewhere along the line, I built a new career in the IT industry and borrowed an excessed laptop from work. I started putting together the rest of Knights and the Highlander novel at the same time.
Fast forward to 2013, I made contact with Pandamoon Publishing, and what their business model is. I just say, wow. So, Knights is being published and I’m just tickled. All the other authors in Pandamoon’s stable are wonderful people and that is something I had never really encountered in the writing world; other authors. My learning has really just begun.
Oh yeah, that Highlander novel…completed it too. There’s something about having an idea so close to your heart that makes the outcome of an endeavor even better. I feel this novel is tremendous, though the publication process is a maze of ridiculousness from what I’ve found. Perhaps with the reboot of the movie franchise, things may loosen up a bit, or I might find another outlet for it.
Knights of the Shield is coming soon folks!