Half way to a brand-new world
Publishers often encourage writers to stick to one genre. Stephen King is not about to start writing romance novels any more than J.K. Rowling is going to take us on a spaceship to explore the galaxy next door. And, if you want to jump from fiction to nonfiction, then you are in for similar challenges.
As a reporter I wrote nonfiction, but I have always thought my book-length projects would grow out of the realm of fiction. I was a storyteller and there was no way I could write about cold, hard facts for that long in a way that would interest me, much less anyone else. I have since come up with some ideas, but those are collaborative products where I would be partnering with others to channel their brilliance. Doing it on my own seemed impossible. Coming away from my last writers’ conference, I brainstormed ideas with my wife about how to turn my first novel into a trilogy. I was set to write book two in the series this summer and the third one next summer.
Then one day an idea popped in my head: why don’t I take some of my experiences as a teacher and use them to help parents help their kids? Ruminating over this concept for a few days, I christened the project High School Declassified and decided to launch a new blog, and write the first draft of a book while I design parent workshops to create a platform for the project when, and if, it does get off the ground.
The Monday after I started summer vacation I began to write. Instead of having to force ideas out, they came naturally. With a little bit of planning and structure, the words flowed from mind to fingers to computer screen like a rushing river. Now, to be sure, this is a rough draft and may require radical revision, but I was excited by the progress.
This may be my one significant work of nonfiction for a very long time, but if so, it is a delight to be well on my way to a brand-new world of writing. I am looking forward to what I discover in this enchanting land.
While I may be a Southern California native, I am not, nor have I ever been, the stereotypical surfer dude. Some experiments at boogie boarding in my adolescent years is as close as I came to riding the waves. I would like to blame my flawed eyesight for this, but I suspect I also was never good at reading the signs.
Now I am trying to ride the waves again, metaphorically speaking. As a writer, I enjoyed some early success with my first book, but then there was a lull in the waves, as it were. Sales dropped off and I was left with the question of how to make them rise again. But one thing I have come to learn about the world of publishing is that it is more like a water park or swimming pool—you have to make your own waves.
So here I go with my latest attempt at boosting interest, and sales. I am distributing copies of the book strategically and the next big wave is coming: a bargain basement sale on the electronic version of Chasing Deception. While I don’t expect sales in the tens of thousands, I am learning this is a step-by-step process. We’ll see how far this wave carries me before I plan my next move. I also have two other writing projects in the works, giving me a chance to get better at making, and riding, those waves.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.