Everyone wants to write a book, or make a film, or tell a story. Everyone has a fleeting thought about a scenario, or event that would make a fantastic tale. A situation, or predicament. Arching it back to a beginning, bringing it to a satisfying end, those are the difficulties.
It’s within the execution of the telling that life gets in between, that we lose our way, that a great idea fizzles. I should know, because there are dozens of my own untold tales that have decayed in the assiduous assaults of everyday life. I have so many chapter ones that if they correlated with one another, I’d have enough material for another novel. But this novel, The Last Saint, was different. It was an idea that wouldn’t let go, and had to be told.
From a Christian point of view, if there was going to be a rapture, then there was definitively going to be someone who was the last person saved before it happened, the last Christian before the end; and I knew exactly what that looked like. Without the ambitions of publishing, or financial gain, or recognition, I only knew that I couldn’t dispel with the idea until it was fully discovered. The idea was strong, and haunting, and instead of waning, it grew to permeate my days, disturbed my sleep, and play out in my dreams. The need to write it was greater than my ability to dismiss it. It suddenly didn’t matter that I couldn’t write a novel, or that it wasn’t my job, or I probably wasn’t skilled enough, or that I didn’t have time. It was coming out, one way or another.
I found resolve in making a decision to write it. The trigger had been pulled, and like any other passion, be it music, or baking, or dance, I would undertake it’s challenges to make it as excellent as possible.
The first draft was done in one month. The story was out of my head, written badly, but on paper. I was in love. Now, to make it not so embarrassing.
I had written for years, mostly poetry, lyrics for rock songs, some unpublished shorts, none of which required the polished rectitude of a novel. Poetic license was often utilized as a license to remain sloppy, rather than bother to refine a chosen craft. This was true in many facets of life, not just art. But if I was to tell the tale, it would need to be told so that how it was presented didn’t detract from the power of the journey.
At this point, I didn’t even know how long to make it. There are articles on how long first time novels should be, articles on what techniques to avoid, what techniques to employ. A friend, by the handle Inkslick, was helpful in devising setting parameters, and encouraged literary horses, the drivers of common themes within the story. I read blogs from famous authors, and spent days filling my brain with information, until my momentum was stifled by fear. I had to let go of it all, shove it all away, off my desk, clear the mechanism. I chose one or two principles that seemed to resonate with me, and stopped trying to make it what it was supposed to be. I told my tale.
Getting picked up my a publishing company was a blessing, and quite unexpected. I had sent some chapters on a dare, and now a nationally distributed novel of my own will be arriving within days. All because this idea was so strong a year ago, and I didn’t let go. I learned. I learned weaknesses, but also what I am capable of. I learned that there is allowed to be more, much more, that flows from my heart, and into my life. I can add my own creations, my own thoughts, my own beliefs, to the world around me. I simply gave myself permission to do so, and in doing, to explore those little fleeting thoughts that we all have, crying out to tell a story. I just answered.
To order The Last Saint visit https://jrcooper.org/