The Story Behind the Story – Living the Dream
The Story Behind the Story
I’ve always enjoyed reading, and as far back as high school I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book. It wasn’t until 1988 that I actually begin writing one. Unfortunately, that attempt was short lived (you can read about that here).
Throughout the 80s, 90s, and into the early years of the twenty-first century my life was pretty jam-packed, so the book I began in 1988 was lost in the shuffle. In October, 2006 I moved from Rhode Island to Florida and writing a book was the furthest thing from my mind.
Until April, 2007 – when I had a dream.
It wasn’t anything deep and metaphysical. The ghost of Mark Twain didn’t visit to tell me to start writing…it was just a dream. It involved two old friends from Rhode Island and a sunken boat with a box of gold bars on it.
It was like any dream…weird and pointless, but when I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking about it. For some reason I spent the entire day trying to come up with a story (in my mind) that could reconcile the odd events of the dream.
At some point during the day I took out a notebook and began writing a story to reconcile the strange story line of the dream. By the time I got home from work that evening I had several pages written and the foundation of, what I thought was, a pretty cool story.
So I fired up my computer and started writing.
The first words I wrote were “The whole thing started with a dream…”
From there the story just flowed.
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. In six or seven months, with absolutely no idea of what I was doing, I had cranked out the first draft.
Since I had never planned on writing it, and since I had no idea what to do next I didn’t do anything. The manuscript sat in my computer for two to three months, destined to be forgotten.
At some point I mentioned it to my oldest brother, a reporter and a pretty good writer himself. He said he’d like to read it – probably out of morbid curiosity. I printed out a copy and gave it to him. A month later he sent it back to me with encouragement to clean it up and take it to the next level.
I had no idea what the next level was, but I began cleaning it up.
After a couple of months the manuscript was polished into a fairly decent first draft.
I joined a few on-line writers groups and picked up lots of valuable tips, tricks and techniques which I used to refine my story even more. I also began investigating the upstart world of independent publishing.
In early August, 2009 what had begun as a meaningless dream was released as my first novel…
…and that’s the story behind that story.