I stayed with the theme and explained I never really gave the title much thought. I remembered years ago, at the beginning. I knew two things for sure: I desired to write and I had a good story to tell. So it began with trying to write the very best, “first line.” I wrote a thousand first lines until I finally settled with “Kyle Sanders fidgeted and his ankle shackles clinked.” The next goal was to write the best paragraph I could dream up. Soon after, paragraphs became pages and a chapter was born. I set goals to write the next scene and to capture the right voice of each character. As I moved along, the characters “talked to me” and they became real people. I created a roster listing every character. I identified everything about that character: Name, age, appearance, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, likes, dislikes, ambitions, goals, jobs, history, favorite food and favorite drink. The list goes on forever, right? And every time I wrote about that character, I tried to include something about them. Mostly, it’s done through something they’re doing or saying. Or how they speak and what words they use. Adjective use in a character’s dialogue says a lot about who they are and what they think. Here’s a great rule of thumb: A reader should be able to identify the character by their dialogue alone, sans tags.
As I got further into the manuscript, I found my goals and objectives grew more complex and challenging. I believe it’s a natural occurrence during the writing process because our skills improve as we write. Writing is truly a craft and we have to continue to write in order to hone our craft.
Then one day it happened. I finished the story and realized I’d written a book. What I didn’t realize was, now the work really begins! The stars aligned and I found a great editor who said to me “if you want to write, you have to love to rewrite.” He wasn’t kidding. Interestingly enough, I found my goals had changed. And today, it’s been a long time since trying to write the very best “first line” and I’ve grown as a writer. Hey! … I just called myself a writer! Not a new writer, but a writer that’s grown and developed!
Someday, my 11 year old son will be old enough to read Blood Over Badge. He’s too young now because the book is “R-Rated.” My son will be able to go into a bookstore or library and see a book with his last name on the cover and binding. He can open it and read the dedication to him and his mom. If I didn’t mention it, that was my final goal for writing a book. The way I see it, I hit the grand slam! It’s been a long journey and I’ve truly been a writer for a long time … Ever since I typed the very first, “very best - first line.”