I’ve always wanted to write a novel. As a young man, I remember telling my friends that I was going to spend my life raising kids and writing books. Well, I raised the kids, and now it’s time to write the books!
Looking for Dei started as many novels do, with a smattering of hair-brained ideas bouncing around my head over the years that occasionally made their way to a digital notepad on my phone.
The first of my themes was that all human beings, despite their talents, ambitions, peccadillos and idiosyncrasies, have great inherent value, made in the image of God. This precept became the core of the fantasy magic system.
A second theme is that many people endure physical disabilities. Such challenges present a hindrance to their advancement in our world, but in Looking for Dei, these flaws are the seeds of their greatness. By bringing physical impediments to light as a central part of the plot, I hope to show that that victory comes only after hardship and overcoming adversity is a key element of human experience.
Actual writing of the novel started in earnest during a family vacation in May, 2016, on an old 13″ Macbook Pro belonging to my son, Daniel. I’ve always been a computer aficionado, and found the poor, aging device abandoned in a decrepit state on Danny’s bedroom floor. Eager to upgrade the RAM and replace the hard drive with a fast solid-state drive (SSD), I couldn’t find an appropriate justification. I then did what all reasonable adults do, I invented one. I would write a book!
So there I am on vacation, my beautiful wife is eager to hold my hand and walk around the deck of the cruise ship, yet I have locked myself in the cabin, rat-a-tatting on the keyboard, quite proud of how Danny’s little computer is doing with its new upgrades. Little did I expect that this story would flow out of me like a river, and I would crank out thirty pages of world-building and back-story during those few days. The first version of the prologue was more than twenty-five pages long- yikes!
In February, 2017, I finished the first draft of the novel, and was quite proud of myself until I got back my first early reader review (thank you, Mike)! What I had thought would be world-shattering prose of the highest caliber seemed instead to be a, “solid book” with a, “hero-pair who start out as innocents but must find strength inside themselves to cope with the history-changing forces that circumstances array against them.” Then came the criticisms, including point-of-view issues, motivation issues, and extensive back-story that interrupts the pace. In creative writing speak, I had flat characters, rather than round ones, and had allowed the plot to dominate my beloved characters like puppets (thank you, Professor Hynes).
After Mike burst the bubble that gently carried my delusions of grandeur, the editing grind began. If you’ve never edited your own novel before, let me share with you that I’ve encountered pain in my life; I’ve broken multiple bones, and had a frequent-flyer plan at the local emergency room. I’ve even endured shoulder surgery. But editing what you once thought to be perfection, only to discover that your pristine creation has critical flaws is a grueling, masochistic effort that will break your back with frustration and surpass all prior experiences of agony. It would be fair to say that editing is to writing as running a marathon is to eating ice cream. Perhaps I’m not qualified to employ that metaphor, since I’ve never run a marathon. But my daughter has, and I experienced it vicariously. And I have indeed eaten plenty of ice cream.
As of this writing, the novel has been through four complete, gut-wrenching edits, and is enduring a fifth, with the help of some very smart people. Once that is complete, there will be a professional copy/line editing effort before publishing efforts commence in earnest.
Looking for Dei will be on sale in 2018!