A possible first chapter

When I first met Devin Green, dinosaur tracker, he was a 14-year-old son of a single mom who thought his paleontologist father was pretty cool. His uncle had just been killed* when the ocean-going garbage scow where he worked was sunk by what appeared to be, well, a prehistoric creature of some kind. 

The second book of the trilogy was to be set six years later during his college studies, and book 3 would come not long after he became Devin Green, Ph.D.

 I remember what derailed his story: I was 10-12 chapters into telling the first novel from his parents’ point of view when I realized it was about Devin’s journey, not theirs. And see the asterisk when his uncle was killed*? I started thinking about whether the uncle survived after all, and when and how his re-emergence would change everything.

But I was so invested in the words I’d already written that I couldn’t wouldn’t throw them away and start over. My sin was pride, which froze the story in time and left it unfinished.

I wouldn’t dare advise anyone about writing novels. Only four of my 10 books contain fiction, only two are novels, and the one I think turned out better, I wrote 30 years ago. I write about writing a lot, but to be a mentor/teacher you first must establish credibility — listen to this person because of his track record in the field — and as far as writing novels goes, my main usefulness is as a bad example. Time and again, I have run into the Pressfield Resistance and the Godin Dip and crumbled in defeat.

I am pleased content with my other six books (and three approaching a finish line), which are essentially collections from this blog I have been building for a decade and a half including daily since August 2020. And perhaps I should simply accept that I am a decent writer of short non-fiction after 47 (!) years as a community journalist.

But I so want to share Devin’s story with you before I go, and the others that I have been dabbling around the edges for so long. If I buckled down and wrote until I reached “The End” of them all, I might have a half-dozen completed novels or more by the end of the year.

So, in the matter of writing fiction and especially novels, do as I say and not as I have done: Push through the Resistance and plow past the Dip.

What if — what if — I aimed to finish all of these works in progress and kept a journal of the effort in the blog? Dean Wesley Smith, a far more productive and successful writer than I expect ever to be, has done just that in writing novels side-by-side with blog posts, and the results are a slew of books with companions like How to Write a Novel in Ten Days. I could end up with my own slew AND a book called How to Overcome Inertia in Thirty Years or some such.

I’m not ready to up and say, “Yes! I’ll do it!” but I have to admit this post would serve as a decent first chapter.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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