Sharing my writing makes it real

This morning at breakfast, I was unreasonably pleased to see a thin stack of stapled paper across the table from me. The top sheet was titled “Vaetra Untrained, Part 1.” My wife’s thin scribbles decorated the margin down the page with her reactions and comments. You see, my wife is my “alpha” reader. Not even my beta readers get to see my work until after she has gone over it.

My flush of pleasure came from the fact that seeing my wife’s notes on printed copy meant Vaetra Untrained was finally real. As with most events in my life, they somehow don’t feel real until I share them with her. Now, with months of writing behind me, I was getting the first reader reactions to the second installment of the Vaetra Chronicles.

Last night while I was making dinner, she sat at the table bent over the manuscript, reading with pen in hand. I snuck glances her way while I cooked, wondering about the occasional pen scratching and amused by the tip of tongue that often protrudes from her mouth when she works. My heart soared every time a passage made her giggle, wanting desperately to interrupt and ask what had merited her mirth. But mostly I left her alone so she could concentrate.

This morning I pondered the thought that writing I don’t share might as well not exist. Whether it is stored on a hard disk in a computer file or a hidden bundle of papers in a filing cabinet, until I share what I’ve written, the words are just a private memory. A dream.

I’m not saying that unshared writing has no value. I’ve written many journal entries that helped me work out issues I was going through, and I’ve written more than one experimental story. No one else will ever see that material, but it served its purpose in my life. I’m perfectly happy to let those words fade away.

But my novels are another matter. I write them for the purpose of sharing them. A story is like a piece of photographic film that has been slid into a tub of developing solution. From a blank piece of paper, an outline fades into being and shapes start to emerge. My wife helps me add color, and my beta readers sharpen the contrast. After publishing, the public helps me step back from the details and see the full picture; the reality of what the book has become for them and for me.

I did not anticipate having this experience. Writing is intensely personal. I knew that sharing my writing would expose me to the reactions of others, and that those reactions would be both positive and negative. What I didn’t know was that writing a novel would become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Once I started, I couldn’t stop until I held a book in my hands with my name on the cover.

I had to make it real. You, dear readers, have helped me do that, and I thank you sincerely. I hope that my reality has helped you enjoy a moment of fantasy.


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  1. Momma Marvello says

    Son, I am so proud of your writing accomplishments. Your foray into fiction and fantasy prove your great versatility as an author. Vaetra Unveiled is a most entertaining read and I can’t wait to read Vaetra Untrained!

  2. Thanks, Mom. That means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy Vaetra Untrained as much or more than the first book. Maybe I can sit in on a reading session with you and Charley once it’s published.

  3. Be sure to thank your wife for the wonderful job she does on your books. It is spectacular to not only have a voice but to have someone that listens to that voice. It is a true sign of respect, admiration, and love.

  4. Oh, believe me, I do thank her. And I do my best to return the respect, admiration, and love that she gives me. We make a great team. 🙂

  5. Daniel, I couldn’t agree more. From the satisfaction of private journaling to the unique pleasure of knowing someone is visiting the world you’ve created in a novel. I found myself nodding along with every paragraph.You really put your finger on it.

  6. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, Becca. I appreciate your support. I like this: "the unique pleasure of knowing someone is visiting the world you’ve created in a novel." That unique pleasure is what makes the sales numbers more than just numbers. I can’t help but imagine a reader behind every one of those sales, curled up with my book. The image is both humbling and wonderful.

  7. Wow, congrats! Glad to hear that you are right on schedule for the release of the second book and I’m sure it’ll be just as awesome as the first one!

  8. Thanks, Vanna. I was actually hoping to be in beta by now, but I think I can still release the book by the end of the year.