If you’re wondering what exactly it is I do, let me break it down:

First, I experience something that has happened, without bidding, for my entire life. I see sequences: movies, almost, playing in my head. Slowly, the characters acquire names, and the names become people, and those become real though I am the only person to know of them.

Once that goes on long enough, a one-line description emerges, and that is the core concept of a novel. It evolves through one paragraph, then one to four pages of outline. Then it becomes a full-blown detailed synopsis, which is where the blinding plot development headaches occur. You must steer true to your characters and your message, and each successive title in a series becomes more difficult in that way.

The characters are real enough that I know everything about them: when and where they were born, where they went to school, where and how they served. I know their quirks, their personality types, whether they are strong or weak, good or bad, smart or stupid. I feel every bit of their pain.

When their story starts to flow, I sit at a keyboard for hours at a stretch, being dragged along behind the story that it’s my task to write, come what may. Characters, at times, do completely unexpected things. In many ways, I truly feel I am the conduit of something completely beyond my control. When it’s over, and again when it publishes, there is a crash … a postpartum depression that one does not expect from an event one loves so much.

My work is torn apart in editing and reassembled until everything is as it should be. The four hundred hours of writing that produce a novel are matched in editing until the work reaches final form. The next in line and Boone’s second, The Bonus Pool, is undergoing that process now. It was written two years ago. The long process of perfecting each novel that came before is the reason for this nearly intolerable delay.

I endure the sideways looks and the expressions of contempt from people who tell others that “he only writes” and “he publishes them himself.” My titles go out into a world of undervalued fiction and readers who are happy to read them for free or pay as much as 99¢ for a bundle of ten novels. They ask when the sequel will be available free as well. They rate your best work three stars for profanity you warned them about in the description. Three hundred others will read the same work before another review—one you request in the end matter—appears.

Writing is a labor of love, a craft, a mission, and a privilege. I would never tell someone to undertake the effort, but rather to spend the time it would consume enjoying perishable moments with the ones they love. We are all moving quickly through a fleeting life, and each of our fires will burn down to embers, and then to ash. Write if you must. If it is so, nothing will stop it. Writers know this very well already.

So, friends, if you download one of my novels, please read it. If you read it, please tell me, and do the same for any other author you know. We need to hear most of all that someone set our story free by the turning of a page.

Choose to love. -DA


2 responses to “Writing

  1. Dale, you have such a gift with words. I am glad you must write, as hard as it can be sometimes. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

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