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The Accidental Novelist

The story is often told about how Colin Dexter, Oxford professor and author of the world renowned INSPECTOR MORSE series, was on vacation reading a paperback novel. He remarked that the book was horrid, that even he could write a better one; so he did.

A similar thing happened to Art Frank. He and his wife were watching a TV movie, and his wife had incorrectly identified the killer, and Art said she was wrong. She asked how he knew; he replied he knew because the story was written from an outline, and once he had the outline, he knew the entire story, and he could have done a much better job at it himself. His wife challenged him that if he could have done it, he would have done it. The next day, Art started with a WHAT IF to build a story.

What if two guys from an ancient steel sailboat were in Fort Lauderdale late at night, fishing under a drawbridge for Snook when a black Cadillac screeches to a halt, two thugs run to the trunk, grab a pretty blonde girl who has a cement block tied to her feet and throw her into the waterway to drown. She screams on the way to a watery grave. . The guys pull her out, do CPR and take her back to their converted ancient steel whaling vessel moored at the docks at Bahia Mar. Now what are they going to do? This became Harlequin Murders followed by another 10 manuscripts and a lot of agony trying to get the stories to the public. If anybody tells you that you should write fiction, do yourself a favor and run the other way. You really have to love it, or be moderately insane.