Did I put the cart before the horse?
Most fiction writers start out by writing short stories, gradually building up to the point that they consider writing a novel.
I was the opposite.
I wrote two novels before I ever considered writing a short story.
My first novel, If You Could Read My Mind, was written during a period in which an idea had been rattling around in my head for some time. I found that I had the time to spend writing the novel, so I went to work! It wasn’t a long novel – it is just a bit longer than Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea – but it was lots of fun to write. It went in directions that I never expected, and turned out to be a defining moment for me.
I spent years working in radio. In high school, I enjoyed making people laugh during talent shows and drama class plays. I always expected my life to be spent entertaining people in some way.
I never expected it to be writing.
That was my defining moment. I had always enjoyed reading, and I found that I enjoyed writing.
When I finished my second novel, the Justice Security debut Mama Told Me Not To Come, I found that I had just enough energy and “oomph” to write a bit more. I needed a way to introduce the uniformed members of Justice Security, since some of them played such a prominent role in Jackie Blue…and that led to Someone Saved My Life Tonight. That was my first short story.
Two novels later, I decided that I needed to branch out a bit, and I wrote another short story, The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. I’ve written five more since then, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing all of those within the next few months.
So, did I put the cart before the horse?
It depends on what you consider to be the “cart” and what you consider to be the “horse”.
Writing isn’t a science. It’s an art. And how you do it is totally up to you, as long as you’re satisfied with the result.
And it helps if you…
Michael (T. M.)