“El Camino” and My Journey From Journalism to Fiction
I found the first novel I ever wrote a few days ago when sifting through boxes that my parents brought up from Tallahassee. It was hidden between an old college poetry chapbook and rejection slips from small literary journals. (I’ve got plenty of those.)
The book, if you can call it that, was hand-written on the pages of a forest-green Five Star notebook.
Tucked inside the notebook’s plastic cover were several hand-drawn “variant” covers — one featuring a sheriff’s badge and the other a bloody knife. (Subtle, I know.) Both bore the title The Assassins.
The story runs for about 20 chapters and ends in a cabin, high up in the mountains of Colorado. I will spare you a few hours and just give you the ending: the good guys, two brother detectives suspiciously similar to Frank and Joe Hardy, win. (Sorry, I never promised this post would be spoiler-free.)
I had never been very good at writing fictional stories (a good thing for a journalist, I suppose), but I wanted to get better.
You might think that this novel was the first of many, and that I am about to tell you that I was some sort of child writing-prodigy.
I wrote a few other stories and partial novels over the years, but it wasn’t until late last year that I finished my second complete novel — or, anyway, a draft of it.
I had been out of journalism for a few years, and I missed the challenge of building a story mosaic out of interview quotations, facts and sensory details.
I had never been very good at writing fictional stories (a good thing for a journalist, I suppose), but I wanted to get better. So I took an idea that had been brewing in my head and ran with it over the course of about five weeks — finishing in late November with about 200 pages of fiction.
I have since begun the (very long) revision process for what (I hope) will one day become a real novel. At the same time, I have been working on a series of unrelated short stories.
In May, I released “An Unfinished Song” exclusively on Amazon.com.
This week, my second story from the project comes out: “El Camino,” about a young man who returns to his hometown of Orlando, Florida to confront a pastor who abused him sexually as a child.
Thank you in advance for your support!