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Hey! Finally, an “original” article that doesn’t involve me merely adding sarcastic comments to a news story! This one’s about fiction.

Yes, friends, it’s been a little over a year since I first delved into the genre with a few discombobulated short stories. Now, we’re getting VERY CLOSE to my first novel, The Substitute. I trust you’re debit and credit cards are charged and ready.

It’s kind of funny. The book originally started out as a non-fiction work about how bad the schools are – because we just can’t have enough of those, right? But then, along came Mr. Tom Ironsides and literally hijacked my idea. It morphed into a dramatization overnight. Honestly, it has been a little more than I thought I was ready for. But, then again, it seems there is no perfect time to do these things. The reader may find the final product, while I hope entertaining, a little amateurish? Your judgment.

My saving grace was the guidance of Thomas Moore, author of A Fatal Mercy, etc. He said kind things like: “You’ve got a great voice. And, a good ear.” I said, “YEAH!” – like I knew (know) exactly what those terms mean…

I read several books on how to write a novel and I consulted some of the copious (dubious) material all over these internets. In the end, I’m amazed at how close my work is coming (unintentionally) to following the conventional format.

The outline and all the notes were originally geared towards a factual expose. A few short stories emerged, became chapters, and Ironsides took the thing and ran with it. Yet and still, it has three acts. There’s a hook in the first chapter. Those turns, challenges, and critical events magically showed up on their own. Climaxes – plural – fell into place without my realizing. Towards the end, there is a resolution of a kind. It’s not total. In fact, it can’t be, given the subject matter. Yet, I think it works and well.

So, when writing a novel, or anything really – do it. That’s about the best I can offer. My Afterword includes an appropriate quote from Clausewitz. That, and the rest will be along before long.

And, I have some more books in various states of preparation. If I discover anything worthwhile as those grow, I shall report it.

Okay, The Substitute: I’m thinking maybe $7-8 for Kindle and $16-18 for a high-grade paperback. In the event of decent interest, a hardcover isn’t out of the question ($35?).