Creating Characters, and a world…
In 2002, during a particularly long and bleak period of unemployment, I reacted to my frustration and lack of control with a familiar and comfortable escape into fiction. However this time, instead of reading spy stories or graphic novels, I decided to make my first attempt at writing fiction.
Through manic scribbling sessions on the edge of my bed during late nights and early morning hours, I sketched out a cast of characters and a world through which I could tell stories that spoke about the events and values of my personal life. I created a mythical family and friends – composites based upon real people. A young man named Jack Owen, his family, his motel home, and his fictionalized Vancouver-Kingsway neighbourhood all resulted from this.
September through October of 2002 turned out to be an incredibly productive time for me. Not only then did I begin writing the first scenes of what would become the novel Owe Nothing, but I also developed basic outlines for many of the characters who appear in the novel, and a few who didn’t. This burst of activity, seemingly automatic in nature, spurred further ideas for related stories, all of which could occur at different times within the same world as Owe Nothing. I was sketching out a new world inside my dog-eared, spiral-bound notebook.
After seven years, countless Starbucks runs, and seemingly endless paragraph-by-paragraph writing and editing sessions, my first novel, Owe Nothing, finally came into being in April 2009. I’ve been quite pleased with the responses and reviews from readers.Owe Nothing also advanced to the second round in the 2010 ABNA Amazon fiction contest. I’m proud of that accomplishment for what was a first-ever long form work of fiction. Reviews of Owe Nothing from the three ABNA judges were useful and worth reflection.
Check out Owe Nothing and decide for yourself if it resonates with you.
My current work in progress is The Two Sisters which follows Jack Owen and his family a couple of years after the events of Owe Nothing. Learn more about this project at Work in Progress: The Two Sisters.