I get this question every year.
Ever since I started to take my writing career seriously, I participated in the NaNoWriMo contest every November. The purpose of this contest is to challenge writers and would-be writers to complete a first draft of a novel or other book during November. The goal traditionally has been to write 50,000 words though some people are overachievers and exceed that number.
Setting writing goals has helped me immensely.
Whether you’re one of those people or just know one of those people who has been saying for years that someday they’ll write a book, this may be the path for you to take. That book I wanted to write stayed floating around in my head but never made it onto paper for decades. And I’ll be honest that the first time I tried writing a full 50,000-word novel in one month, I fizzled out early on. But like playing a sport or an instrument, you must practice your moves before you can play in the big time.
November 2020 marked another completed novel.
Having that deadline hanging over me pushes me to write just another hundred words before bedtime or squeeze in an extra chapter during my lunch hour. That self-imposed pressure to reach a specific goal has transformed my writing process. Knowing that I need to get it done by a deadline keeps me moving forward even when I don’t know what will happen next or can’t think of the right word.
November 2020 included an additional challenge.
I spent five days in the hospital, most of it in the Covid ICU unit. If you want to read about that adventure, look at Monday’s post titled At Least I didn’t die. This absence resulted in the loss of five writing days, and I struggled with being extremely tired for the rest of the month. Despite my doubts, somehow, I still managed to reach that 50,000-word goal.
Absolutely, this book is a first draft.
I’ve heard from writing coaches and repeatedly read in books on writing that you can’t edit a blank page. Almost all writers write atrocious first drafts. Mine are no exception. My goal is for my final drafts to be as good as some famous writers’ first drafts. There will be a lot of revision and rewriting needed to move this book from the first draft to a published version. Some of my first drafts never make it to the publication stage. But having that first draft, that work in progress, is a huge step in the right direction. Typically, it takes me six months or more to transform that first draft into something I want others to read.
So, what is The Olmsted Bridge about?
The Olmsted Bridge is the story of a young reporter, Walter Bush, no relation to the political family, who writes for a weekly local newspaper called the Olmsted Outlook. Late one night, Walter hears a call on the police scanner. Teenagers have been racing cars along the River Road, and one of the cars went into the water. The female passenger in that car, Lily May Olmsted, is the daughter of Sheriff Olmsted. Her body is never recovered.
Sheriff Olmsted and the town believe that the driver of that car, a young man named Samuel Heard, is responsible for Lily May’s death. The rest of the book is about Walter’s efforts to uncover the truth about what happened that night.
So what genre is it?
Readers of every genre have certain expectations. As you can see from my list of finished books below, I’ve been experimenting with several different genres.
The Olmsted Bridge is a fictionalized true crime story. I’ve drawn on several true crime stories to create this tale, which is mostly about how a reporter sticks to the trail of a story even when people don’t want him to find out the truth. There are, of course, elements of a mystery. There’s a dead girl, or is she dead? And if she is dead, why can’t they find the body?
Would you like to read this story?
Such a deal I’ve got for you. It’s going to be a while before the book is completed, but I would like to get an advanced draft into the hands of some selected alpha readers. Or is that beta readers? Either way, I’ll be putting together a mailing list and sending out advance copies, looking for feedback on my writing efforts in a new genre. The advance copies will be free. All I ask is that you read what I send out and give me feedback. Come release time; I would also appreciate readers who can leave an honest review once the book gets published on Amazon.
Would you like to read some of my previous books for free?
I’m still looking for some people who would like to read my previous books and leave a review. Several of my earlier books will be available for a certain number of free days on Amazon during January. If you read this blog, I will be announcing those free days here.
Thanks for being a reader of this blog and take really good care of yourself and those you care about during these trying times.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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