Last summer, after several decades of side-stepping one of my life’s biggest desires, I finally began to follow my life-long dream of writing. It was something I had wanted to do, and even attempted to do since I was in the 8th grade. I would get lost every summer writing novels as I drowned myself in the fictitious realm of the worlds I created. I enjoyed it. No, I loved it. Although even as a teenager, I knew my work was never going to be published, I wrote for myself. It was my creative outlet.
Through the years as my career engulfed my time and focus, my writing changed from getting lost in the make believe world of fiction to things more central to my career. As a basketball coach, I wrote about basketball coaching and team building. When I was a youth pastor, I wrote devotionals and sermons. They were each rewarding in their own way, some of which I would eventually publish. But at the time, making it available to a worldwide audience was nothing more than an occasional fleeting thought.
But last summer, while reading my own book I had originally written as a sermon series, Pursuing Your God-given Dreams, God clearly told me that it was time to recall the dream He had put into my heart when I was a young teenager and pursue it with the same passion that I had when I coached basketball. Taking my own advice I had written about in that book and chased after my dream, I set up my Kindle Direct Publishing Account and published Pursuing Your God-Given Dreams and Coaching From the HEART.
Following the publication of my first two books, I had the desire to return to my roots of writing fiction. Even though I have found a great niche market in the coaching books and to a lesser degree in my Christian Living and Devotional Books, my greatest joy has always been to write fiction. As I began to completely write a major reboot to a series I had written in high school (there is very little of this book that resembles the older version of it), I realized again why I loved to write fiction.
- I want to fall in love with the characters. As an English teacher, I would teach that there were two ways to drive a book. Either a great plot drives the book or great characters drive it. Either can be successful. Both in one novel can be a masterpiece.
- I want to tell a story. I am a reader. I love to read. To me, one of the single greatest inventions in our century is the kindle (along with the other ereaders). I now have with me at all times, hundreds of books at my disposal. I especially love to read fiction because I like a good story. I love to get lost in another time or another place. That love for reading stories has translated into my wanting to tell stories.
- I love to let the story take over. In writing my first “real” novel, the reboot of The Center Circle, I quite often found both the characters and the plot taking control over my writing. As a result, the story would often deviate from its original outline and the characters would take on a life of their own. I am really not sure how many really understand what was happening. But I know other writers know exactly what I am talking about. Those moments when your own characters talk to you and quite literally take the story out of your hands and into their hands. As strange as that might sound to a non-writer, I do believe most authors live for those moments. We then become watchers more than writers as the story begins to write itself.
- I love the satisfaction of working through a project to completion. There is always a great sense of accomplishment when I finish a book. I am excited and post it all over facebook and twitter. I want others to know how excited I am for working through a project like writing a book and actually finishing it. You see, somewhere in boxes in the attic, I have several unfinished manuscripts that I gave up on. But now, I have learned to complete it.
A strange thing happened a few days ago. I finished writing my novel, The Center Circle, earlier than I had anticipated. It was so exciting that I had to post it a couple of times on facebook. The great part about it that the book actually told me that it was finished. I still thought I had another scene to write. In fact, I even argued with my book and the characters for a while because it couldn’t be over. There was still something left open. But my main character very emphatically told me that it was best to leave it open. How could I argue with my main character? After all, he is the hero of the story. So once I realized I had found the perfect spot to finish Book 1 of The Center Circle Chronicles, I felt a great satisfaction in completing the project. It ends where it is supposed to end.
Well, I am not exactly finished. I am in the revising and editing process of the story. And of course, I have to make sure that the story itself didn’t leave too many questions unanswered. Just enough to hopefully get the readers to want to read Book 2.