'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
LITERARY DARE, WRITING SCARE
A few years ago a friend asked me if I had ever written a novel. I said no, and he said why not? I replied, “I dunno.” Then he said, “I dare you to write one.” So I said, “OK.”
(As you can tell, my friends and I often engage in scintillating conversation. As you also can tell, I am pretty gullible whenever people dare me to do dumb things. When I was a youngster, all the mothers in town would mention me by name in that classic mother-warning, “If Billy Dunn jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?!” or, “If Billy Dunn set his hair on fire, would you do it, too?!” Often the kid receiving the parental warning would have to suppress a giggle because he was the one who dared me to jump or who lit the match in the first place.)
So being extremely naïve, I embarked on the mission of writing a novel. How hard can it be? I thought. I mean, I write a 600-word column in the newspaper every week, and a novel is really just a hundred or so columns all in a row. Yup. A hundred or so columns that develop interesting characters, and advance a compelling plot, and make sure what is said in chapter 37 does not conflict with what was said in chapter two, and has an exciting and satisfying ending. Sure, what’s so hard about writing a novel?
I starting writing, and after a few months I was up to chapter seven. At that point I said to myself, “Hmm, I think this might work a little better if I had a particular plot in mind.” So I stepped away from my keyboard, grabbed a notebook and pencil, and started outlining a basic story and describing the main characters.
Then, rejuvenated by the novelty of an actual storyline, I did the most useful thing possible: I immediately wrote the last chapter, which included a thrilling and surprise ending. (OK fine, I agree, the words “thrilling” and “surprise” can mean many things to many people.) All the other chapters came a little easier as long as I kept the last chapter in mind.
Finally, after about 18 months, I finished the book. It’s called “Purge the Evil,” and it includes all the things I like in suspense stories: intrigue, guns, vigilantes, murder, lust, faith, and a struggle between good and evil.
To be honest, I thought it was a pretty interesting book. Of course, I’m about as objective as one of those mothers you see on the news who insists—despite surveillance video showing her son jumping over the counter, pistol-whipping a clerk, and cleaning out the cash register—that her child would NEVER commit armed robbery.
Then a very interesting thing happened: nothing. I spent a full year trying to get publishing firms and literary agents to read the manuscript. Not a single one would even give me the time of day. (No, I take that back. One editor sent me an email that said: “It’s 9 o’clock.”)
A few weeks ago I announced on my website that I finally published the novel on Amazon.com for download to Kindle e-readers. I received many notes of congratulation from friends and relatives. However, to tell you the truth, it's not that special since anyone with a computer and a text file can “publish” on Amazon. But if you’re interested in checking it out, go to Amazon.com and search for “bill dunn purge.”
And whether you enjoy it or not, please, PLEASE don’t dare me to write another novel. I’ve done enough dumb things over the years.
Bill's suspense novel "Purge the Evil" now available for Kindle download. For info, click here: http://www.boomertrek.com/PurgeTheEvil.htm
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