Many people contemplate the thought of writing “the great American novel”, and never quite get around to lining up at the starting line. Insecurity and doubt creep into the psyche. “Am I good enough to write something people would want to read?”, they often ask themselves. “What if my grammar is not up to par?”, “What if the plot is foolish or boring?”, “What if simply no one pays it any mind?”
I imagine for even our most successful authors, doubts slip into their minds at times. I think back to Stephen King’s 1987 novel, “Misery”. In it, fictional author Paul Sheldon yearns to break free of his Victorian-era romance novels featuring Misery Chastain, feeling he’d outgrown the character and wanting to write something with greater purpose and significance. It’s not until his “number one fan”, Annie Wilkes arrives in the nick of time to save him after a horrendous car accident that he realizes his nightmare is actually only just beginning.
I’m certain you know how that book ends, but the part you may have forgotten is the accolades Sheldon receives for his novel that isn’t about Misery. He took a chance and went through hell to bring that book to life.
That is an extreme fictional example of what an author might go through in the writing process, but the actual act of publishing a novel in and of itself is deeply personal, akin to showing up alone to a party of strangers. You hope you’ll fit in, but you worry you won’t.
Too many years ago, I began writing the type of book I thought I would like to read. I tend to love the short chapters of James Patterson, the scientific exactitude of Michael Crichton, the sheer exhilaration of a new Pendergast novel from Preston & Child, but also the multiple stories converging together in the end as most Dean Koontz books do. Alex Kava takes her Creed series to so many different places within the United States, while Dan Brown tends to jet set across the world.
My own “thriller” has gone through a few iterations and edit changes as times change, at one point my protagonist whistling an “old” Springsteen tune but later updated to a track by Coldplay.
As I continue to work on the story, I thought it would be a great subject for a weekend entry on the site. So, for you, my followers, readers and subscribers, enjoy a preview of the novel and let me know what you think of it so far.
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ENJOY A PREVIEW OF “RELENTLESS” BY D.S. FACTOR
RELENTLESS – D.S. FACTOR
Ominous storm clouds rolled through the skies over Orchard Mills just shortly past midnight. By twelve-fifteen, the first signs of rain began to softly drum against Abigail Spencer’s bedroom window. Still half asleep, she mumbled softly to herself and rolled over, fluffing up the feathers inside her pillow and then sinking back down into it, her breath coming and going evenly.
By the time the digital clock on the bedside table silently changed to 12:49, the storm had reached gale strength. The soft rumble of distant thunder was replaced with earsplitting thunderbolts that brought Abi quickly up out of bed. Absently moving across the room, she reached for the white plush robe that Brad had slid from her shoulders just hours ago before discarding it at her feet. She pulled it up and around her body now, at the same time trying to clear her groggy mind.
“Brad?” she whispered as she turned to face the other side of the bed. The covers had been tossed aside, and surveying the room, she found herself alone. Hmm, she thought, perhaps he decided to polish off that Italian takeout after all?
Humming an old Coldplay tune to herself, she left the room and made her way down the hall to the top of the stairs and began her descent. As she rounded the banister on the landing, something outside the window glimmered briefly and caught her eye. The boat house. What are the boat house lights doing on at one o’clock in the morning? Only she wasn’t positive the light was actually coming from the boat house. She waited patiently until the next bolt of lightning had come and gone. When the strobe-like brightness had faded, the glow coming from the boat house remained, reflected several times over in a drop of rain rolling slowly down the pane of glass.
Turning, Abi descended the remaining stairs, and entered the kitchen. She called out again for Brad just in case he was in the house, with the steady clicking of the living room clock as her only answer. Returning briefly to the bedroom, she dressed, grabbed her cell, ran back downstairs, slid into an old comfortable pair of Brooks and pulled her windbreaker down from the hook by the entryway. Just as she was about to go outside, she realized she would need an umbrella, for the kitchen windows were being pelted with a steady stream of rain. After grabbing the umbrella from the hall closet, she stepped out into the strengthening storm.
Nearly losing her grip on the umbrella’s handle due to a fierce wind, Abi made quick work of the journey to the boat house, careening to the ground only once while sloshing her way through mud puddles as thick as pancake batter. Panting as she reached the boathouse door, she took hold of the doorknob and rotated it to the right, while at the same time putting the bulk of her body weight against its wooden frame. The door did not move. “Fuck.” she muttered to herself, then proceeded to reach deep into the pocket of the windbreaker to withdraw the keys to unlock the door. The key slid easily into the lock and Abi twisted it to the left. The sound of the tumblers releasing signaled that the door was now free to open, so she tried the knob again. This time, the wooden door creaked open, thudding loudly against the wall inside.
Initially, the light from inside blinded Abi to what lay beyond the door, but soon her vision cleared and she found herself alone in the empty building. Water lapped softly against the hull of the Spencer’s Bayliner, and except for that and the sound of thunder outside, the room was silent.
To Abi’s right was a worktable covered with a number of boating necessities: an open container of Pennzoil Marine Oil; a tattered fish locating map purchased eons ago from Big Earl’s Bait & Tackle on the way to a fishing expedition on Saylorwell Lake; an open-faced reel with its guts lying on the table next to it, as if once apart, its owner couldn’t put it back together again. Well, she smiled to herself, Brad was never much of a do-it-yourselfer.
Without warning, something slapped gruffly against Abi’s ankle. The blow however wasn’t hard enough to cause her to lose her balance. Spinning around, she scanned the floor at her feet. What she discovered there momentarily left her gulping for air.
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