I had an idea in my head...
After I retired, I had an idea in my head for a book. It was loosely based on my work with the Long Beach Police Department using K9 scent detection and trailing. The story is fiction, but many of the small details of the story are based on things that happened during my career.
I had no idea how to write a book. All I had were a series of short stories. I call them scenes that were in my head. When I went to bed at night, I would think about one of these scenes: the setting, the dialogue, and the action. It relaxed me and helped me sleep, but I never considered it a book.
A few years ago, thinking about the stories was less for relaxation and more about compulsion. I like to joke that my muse had given up on less subtle means to inspire me and was now kicking my butt. But then, my wife, Barbi, went away on a girl's trip, leaving me home alone and unsupervised.
I had no idea how to write a book.
I had no idea how to write a book. When in doubt, Google it. I did, and slowly I began to put ideas to the screen. I mentioned my muse was pushing a little. Well, let's relabel that to a lot. There were a few days that I wrote from 3:00 AM to 11:00 PM that night. When Barbi returned, I had about half of Big Dogs, the first book, finished.
Finished is probably a bit presumptive. First of all, I had no idea if it was any good. Then, when my wife got home and learned I began writing, she looked distressed. What had I done while she was gone? Couldn't she leave me alone without worrying about what trouble I would get into? So, being the brave soul I am, I gave her the first ten chapters to read and asked, "What do you think?"
She said it was good, but I could tell she really meant it was OK...
She said it was good, but I could tell she really meant it was OK by the way she said it. This scared me a bit. My wife trying to protect my feelings. It must be crap. However, she hadn't said that. So, armed with this glowing review, I finished the first book.
We decided to hire a professional editor to help us with Big Dogs. She was a champ, and I am forever grateful to her for her hard work. She tried really hard to teach me things. Some of it stuck, and after a lot of rewriting, book one was finished, or so I thought.
...book one was finished, or so I thought.
One of my goals has always been to communicate clearly. That means using the correct words in the proper order and leaving out as much ambiguity as possible. To me, the book is never completely ready to go out, but at some point, you gotta let go.
I hope nothing I said above has deterred anyone from wanting to write. That is not my purpose at all. Instead, I want to give you some insight into how I write and how much work it takes to be a writer. There is so much more to this job than just writing a book. It is challenging work and can be difficult, but it is also gratifying if you can find someone to say they enjoyed your book, even if you had to slip them a couple of bucks.