The Joy of Collaboration

Last February or March, I returned to an idea that had been rummaging about in my brain for a dozen years or so, ever since trips to Arizona and Whistler. The first two chapters exploded onto my keyboard without even trying. Now, as I start writing the climax, I’ve been thinking back about those who’ve helped me and want to thank them.

My wife has long been my primary critic and cheerleader, and she encouraged me as always. She continues to do so, but on this journey, she’s been more engaged than ever, for the same reason that I feel I’m producing my best work ever: I have some true collaborators.

Abbott had become a good friend I met at Starbucks who is also a professor, artist, and published writer. Through the first few chapters, before he moved out of town, he not only taught me a great deal about my craft, he forced me to rewrite and rewrite the opening chapter until it suddenly sparkled. It was hard, sometimes frustrating work, but he taught me invaluable writing lessons that I’ve incorporated in the rest of my book.

Amelia is one of my swim team friends who has become my primary story editor, forcing me to rethink plot structure and sitting down with me or sifting through dozens of emails to help me think through what needs to come next or catching inconsistencies. Without her help, I think I’d have gone down a dozen rabbit trails.

Michael is one of my other swim team friends who has become my primary technical editor, catching grammatical errors and pointing out plot discrepancies. His and Amelia’s willingness to spend their free time to read and edit I will never be able to repay.

Finally, my mother, who has been a wonderful cheerleader for me, encouraging me with each chapter, yet unafraid to ask questions when something doesn’t make sense or make a few edits here and there.

My goal is to finish by the end of September and then begin the game of trying to sell my book to an agent. I just want to say to Abbott, Amelia, Michael, my mother, and especially my wife Shelly, a huge thank you. Blood of the Dragon would never have happened without all of you and your willingness to collaborate with me. 🙂

 

The Ocean Effect

For the past few months, I have been writing furiously on a new book. Not the easiest thing to do when you’re also trying to work a full-time job, preparing to swim at nationals, and play your favorite video game.

One of my favorite ways to refresh my mind is returning to the Pacific Ocean. Sitting on our cabin deck in the calm of morning or an early stroll along the beach before the crowds arrive always stirs my imagination.

This morning was especially lovely, as I had the beach to myself. Well, except for a couple thousand seagulls! They left me alone, for the most part. The sand is entirely grey: not many sand dollars, crab shells, or even pretty rocks, except for one odd leather-like half dollar. The grassy dunes are even more lonely. I could stand at the bottom of the path and stare out, seeing nothing but yellows and greens in every direction, with just a hint of beach house rooftops in the distance. A perfect cathedral for a Sunday morning.

The ducks on the canal outside our cabin are rather noisy, swooping down as one into the water without any regard as to how much wake they create, honking loudly as if to tease the local cats, then snapping their wings as they soar out of the way of the lone blue heron. Then the stillness returns, with the roar of the waves in the distance, a fat cup of hot joe at my side, and my lovely wife reading her book. I’m ready to write.

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