In late 2016, I decided that my next writing exercise would be a work of fiction – my first. I began toying with various ideas, but none really clicked for me. So I browsed through my collection of books, trying to identify the kind of story-telling that resonated with me. Finally, I settled on Tom Clancy’s style. Bingo!
I’ve always enjoyed military action stories – and between my military background and an almost anal obsession for detail, I decided I’d found my genre. I told myself I was ready to wear out a keyboard.
The problem, of course, was that I was no closer to deciding what sort of story to write. That process took me another 7 or 8 months, as I considered and discarded a dozen ideas. Some took just an hour or so, while for others, I had to write 2 or 3 chapters before deciding I was on the wrong track. Finally, I came up with Jake McCluskey… an erstwhile US naval officer, suddenly plunged into the navy of the Russian Federation by circumstance.
I enjoyed writing Dedushka – researching minute details of vessels, weapons, specific buildings and the web of details to tie them together was a huge part of that enjoyment. Exploring the potential geopolitical impacts of the tale were equally satisfying. The part I struggled most with was finding the right amount of character development. I read somewhere that that is supposed to be the easy part. Nope! Not for me, at least – I had to do a lot of re-write to get that to a point where I was satisfied with it.
Now I’m about halfway through the second book, Legacy. I haven’t touched it in several months – I have the rest of the story’s outline roughed out, but that’s a far cry from where I should be by now. Time to get back to that.