Back in the late eighties, I wrote my first and only western novel. At that time, the only means for me to record a story was with loose leaf and a pen (or pencil). This ancient way of writing made it difficult to rearrange, delete and edit, so I ‘penciled’ in things, made notations to refer to additional pieces of loose leaf and wrote in the margins (both side and top). It was messy, but I understood my system.
Fast forward a few decades, and I went looking for that western, hoping I had saved all those scribblings. But I couldn’t find it. Over the past ten years, when I entered a new box that had come with the move to my current location, I’d look for the story. Finally, last year, I found it, read it and thought, “Wow. I’m a much better writer now than I was in my late teens.”
Not only had I matured as a writer, I also matured as a person.
When I found the manuscript last year, I didn’t have time to do anything about it. This year, I’m going to tackle it, one piece of loose leaf at a time.
As I transcribe this story, entitled Dust, Unsettled, I’ll share it here each Saturday. I’ll post the original version and the edited one, so you can compare the two. As I do, I’ll make note of major problems with the story. Of course, I won’t be able to judge the entire story until it’s done. My evaluation will be only on that particular section with relationship to what has already been posted.
When this story was being written, I was horseback riding every week at a local stable. I was big on westerns and would have given anything to live in the old west. The Young Guns (Billy the Kid) movies, along with every John Wayne and Clint Eastwood western I watched, only added fuel to the fire.
Although I knew a lot about the west, I did a lot of research when writing Dust, Unsettled. I’ll share some of this research as I go.
This novel fits into the western romance genre.
So join us next Saturday January 9th for the first installment.