My Lost Novel

Sully Novel

Four years ago I was vacationing in San Diego. One night while enjoying a warm evening an idea came to mind. I remember taking notes, jotting down clues and enjoying the moment that something good was in the works.

I came home and wrote the first draft. It didn’t feel right but all was forgiven. Only the rare ones get it right the first time around. The rest of us are left to suffer the first draft woes.

So I went on to draft two but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was off. Something was missing. A key ingredient if you may. But no matter how hard I tried my taste buds remained dull.

 

Stepping Away

I decided to take a step back and try a different angle. I tried casting a different light and rewrote the protagonist. 

I was positive things would work out. They always do, or at least I thought. Eventually the wrinkles disappear, the story opens up and in no time at all I’m Dorothy opening the black and white door to the colorful world of Oz.

Nothing happened.

The black and white door remained locked. I felt like I missed it by inches. At times I swore I touched it. My fingertips brushing the ends.

 

A difficult decision

So I put the story away, positive I’d see it again. Time does have a way of revealing things, doesn’t it?

There are moments when I can see the characters. A little redheaded girl with blue eyes and a toothless grin. I can see her mom and her grandpa but the moment they stand clear I feel them fading away.

After three failed attempts I decided to put them away. I had to be realistic. I couldn’t wing it. The story had to be told right or not at all. 

 

I will figure you out

I am positive that one day I will see it. I keep listening for the little girl to talk to me. I have a feeling she’s the one that has something to say. 

I’ve never had a story do this to me. All of my stories are chatterboxes. Sure, some are hesitant at first but in time they break out of their shell.

But not this one.

Someday it will come to me. The dull taste will be replaced with amazing spices. But most of all the little redheaded girl will hand me the key to her colorful adventure.  

Sully Novel 2

Fozzie climbs a tree

Fozzie had a bright idea to climb a tree today. Unfortunately he forgot how to climb down. 

While he’s figuring this out he asked me to wish all of you a fantastic week.

Bundle up if you’re cold, jump in the pool if your hot but most of all, please wish him well as he tries his best to climb down. 

Good luck, Fozzie!!!! 

Fozzie tree

Feeling What the Characters Feel

Emotional

When I wrote Dempsey’s Grill I was surprised with the emotional rollercoaster I experienced. I never thought I would actually feel what the characters felt. 

I just thought I’d write the thing and move on.

 

I probably need help

Whenever I wrote a happy chapter I was happy all day. The same goes for a sad or nervous one. Let’s give a moment of thanks that I didn’t write about a trigger happy assassin.

Yes, to much. 

The biggest challenge I had was keeping my emotions in check. For example: If I spent the day writing an angry scene I had to remind myself not to snap at the kids the moment they walked through the door. 

 

Anger is a good thing

For the longest time I had to convince myself this wasn’t normal. How could something I created affect my emotions so much? There’s probably a word for it. Whatever it is it’s probably not a good one.

No matter how hard I fought, the emotions continued. Finally I realized, and accepted that it was all part of what I do.

Looking back I realize now it was a good thing. It meant I was doing something right. There was a connection and connections are a good thing if we’re trying to entertain.

 

Here I go again

Emotion 1

So now I’m back at it again and to no surprise the emotional rollercoaster is all fired up and ready to go. Some days I’m bummed out while other days I’m on top of the world.

Is it exhausting? You be it is, but if my goal is to entertain someone then I have to see this as a good sign. 

Most of all it is the only way I know how.

So here I go. Ready to tackle another chapter. If I appear a little grumpy to those of you I contact, please forgive me and be patient. A happy Bryan is sure to be found in a coming chapter.  

 

 

 

My Morning Breakfast – My How Times Have Changed

A long time ago when I was young

Carb

I am a carb guy.

There was a time where I was convinced if you tapped into the center of the universe you’d find yourself surrounded by a heapful of yummy carbs.

Yes, I was a little different.

Forget the fruits and veggies, I’d shout – Loading up on a bowl full of carb-anything is the only way to live.

But something happened as I traveled along the lonely trail of carb-anything. I got a little older, the mid section a little wider and the blood pressure a little higher.

vector illustration of a overweight man on bathroom scale

One day I decided to try something new. I had fruit for breakfast. As my writing took off and the fruit consumption increased the words flew out of my head.

Sure, an orange will never be as tasty as a plate full of hashbrowns but my work excelled. No longer did I feel like taking a nap two hours after I got up.

 

A little older and just maybe a little wiser

Now things are different. Sure, I still find time to reward myself. On Saturdays I’ll reunite with a bowl of my favorite cereal and on Sundays the kid and I travel across town to our favorite restaurant.  

But when it comes to the writing week that’s when things take a serious turn.

I opened my day with two oranges and end the morning with one banana. Sure, I toss down a pot of coffee but no longer do I toss down the carbs. I am surprised how clear my head is. Maybe a writer is kind of like an athlete. 

A mental athlete, that is. 

Looking at it now, I’ve slowly created a habit of healthy eating. So if this writing gig never pays off at least the healthy gig did.

No bad if I say so myself. 

A side note: Yes, that’s saran wrap covering the oranges. Damn fruit flies!!!!

Carb 2

The Random Way a Story Comes to Me

Yellow House

Years ago when the kids were little I’d sit in the school parking lot waiting for the final bell. Across the street sat an old house. I remember it was nothing special. An old VW Bug sat out front. The house a faded yellow with a sort of 1950’s vibe to it.

One day I saw a person walk inside. Seconds later I saw the same person walk out wearing something completely different. Immediately an idea struck: Did the house have something to do with that? If so, what else can it do?

Looking back it was probably a different person that I saw, or maybe the house was a little weird. Regardless of which a story was born.

 

A Second Glance 

It’s easy for stories to come alive when observing normal things. Sometimes all it takes is being in the right place at the right time, a curious mind and an interesting setting.

On the other hand, I’ve discovered it helps to be in a certain mood. That’s when things can really change. 

Whatever it is, the key is to recognize when it’s happening and pounce on it the moment it does. I use to make the fatal mistake of promising myself I would write about it later. Never again. The writing part of all this has to be now while the story is fresh and real.

 

A familiar feeling

Every now and then while I’m stumbling around carrying on with my day it will happen. I’ve been at this long enough where I can trust my instincts and recognize those feelings.

As for you, if a certain emotion causes you to stare at something a little longer then you should, put on the breaks and investigate. Something might have happened that may never happen again. If so, grab a notebook, a receipt or the back of your hand and write it down.

You may be on the verge of something amazing and if it is, the last thing you want is to lose it.

Haunted Yellow House

 

I use to fear the first draft

First Draft 1

There was a time when I had this grand illusion of creating the perfect novel. Come to think of it, it wasn’t exactly an illusion or particularly grand.

Perfection was a stone cold fact.

But something happened in those early days. It became known as the introduction to the first draft. 

 

Cue scary music

The more I thought about the first draft the scarier it became. In fact it was so scary I didn’t want to do anything. It became clear that the first draft would show the world my weakness. A sloppy sentence, a dreary paragraph and lets not forget the laughable (not funny laughable) dialog. I won’t be able to carry a tune in this town.

Who the hell wants that?

But something changed when I wrote Dempsey’s Grill. The story won me over. The characters felt like friends and before I knew it, this fear thing I kept running away from seemed kind of silly.

The turning point came when I asked myself if I was willing to put in the work to create the story I was trying to find. There was a time when the answer was no but something changed. Who knows, maybe I was growing up.

 

Pockets of Gold

I am a third of the way in the first draft of book two. Saving Iris is the name and I hope the title sticks. I’m already finding pieces of gold here and there. Unfortunately some of it is fools gold.

There are places where I cringe and other places where I nod and smile. I’m slowly peeling away the layers to the people and places I’m trying to see.

Instead of dreading the first draft I find myself looking forward to it. The characters are changing direction asking me to follow. The story is growing, but most of all, I don’t mind the stumbles and face plants.

A little comedy is good for the soul.

The first draft is a time where the writer and the story get to know each other. The hits and misses are all forgiven while the home runs are always embraced.

So push away that fear. Enjoy the first draft and embrace all the good things you’re about to explore.

First Draft