So, you want to write a best selling novel.

6-18-17: EPISODE 3: I guess I need to do some research.

jake & friend 1959

St. Edward Seminary.

I wasn’t feeling good about continuing the book, but I wasn’t a quitter. Elizabeth was right, I needed some help, but I wasn’t about to hire a ghostwriter, and I didn’t know any writers that could give me a hand. I bought some books on writing a novel and I googled the net for tips and ideas. I subscribed to a writer’s magazine and read it cover to cover every month. I googled the St. Edward Seminary web page. The essays, comments, photos, and lists of familiar classmates brought me back in time to those hallowed halls. I reread my brother’s book, which did well. I read a spiritual book, written by a friend, here in Hawaii, which was also doing well, and I found a book on the net about another kid’s journey through a ghastly Seminary in California. It was so similar in many ways to my journey but so very different at the same time. I was fascinated and read it three times. I still pick it up and read portions of it, occasionally.

By chance, a friend introduced me to Karen, a successful local writer, at a breakfast celebration. We talked about writing and getting published. I told her about my book, and she encouraged me to keep writing. One evening in February 2016, Elizabeth hosted a dinner party for several old friends. When she mentioned I was writing a book, two of her guests, who were voracious readers, wanted to know all about it. I told them the book was about me as a teenager, it was a good story, but I was having trouble with grammar and I badly needed a coach, a reader, or an editor. They got excited, and wanted to read my first draft. They called me the next day and critiqued the draft, and offered to serve as my reader/editors for free if I intended to continue writing the book. I was warming up to the idea of finishing the book, but there was one more stone I needed to turn over before I made my decision. I contacted the author of the book about the California Seminary. I told him it took a lot of guts to write that book, and I admired him for both his courage and writing skills. We corresponded back and forth, discussing our Seminary experiences, writing and publishing. His parting words in regards to my book were “Get it out there, man!” His encouragement put me over the top. After all, he was an experienced journalist and had several well-received novels out there.

I decided that I was going to do this, come hell or high water. I would salvage the best of the many scenes and vignettes and abandon the rest of my dismal first effort. I was a lot more knowable and astute at this point, and I decided to start by developing an outline of the story I wanted to tell. This time it would have a captivating beginning and an interesting story line that would hold the reader’s attention and a feel-good conclusion.