This is me reading aloud the new preface before How to Stop Wildfire. Once I get all the books converted Lulu, it will be in the print copy in addition to the new electronic copy version you can get from me.
You can also read it below if you hate listening to recordings like I do:
A Story Before A Story
Once upon a time, there were a few scraps of paper within a notebook that contained a story titled ‘The Creation.’ It had childish humor, a bizarre plot, and characters and ideas very dear to me. It stayed there for many years, gathering dust and the pencil marks slowing fading alway. The memory of it stayed with me, though.
The memory of it and the entire world I had constructed throughout my years. Races. Characters. History.
Stories. So many stories with ‘The Creation’ as just one of them.
One day, I had the mad idea to write out all those stories. Ideas and thoughts that only existed in the confines of my mind–to bring them into reality. To give them form like I had given ‘The Creation’ long ago.
It seemed right, it seemed so utterly correct, that I would begin this process, with the re-writing of ‘The Creation.’ That would be my start. The beginning to the sagas I had kept close. It would be the first of many.
And so began the five-year process of re-writing ‘The Creation’ into something more. Five long, maybe agonizing, maybe exhilarating years. Five years of learning, growing, and, above all, creating.
The result of it all was How to Stop Wildfire.
It still has childish humor, bizarre plot, and characters and ideas very dear to me. I have changed greatly but not that greatly. How to Stop Wildfire changed so many times, so many decisions were made, and it became so much more than I could have possibly imagined.
When I started, I wanted to just transform that silly short-story into a full-length novel, the starting point for all the stories I had in my mind.
I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I learned, slowly. I wrote the first chapter. A muddled thing with no idea of tense or consistency in tone. It was a veritable mess but it was a start. More than nothing. I had picked out a beginning. And then I kept trudging along, tripping and falling my away over a middle and then stumbling over an ending.
I rewrote it many times. Gutted prose and replaced it as my skill increased. Editing as I learned something new. Changing voice and tone as I found myself. It changed so many times in presentation but the skeleton was always the same.
Eventually, I came to a stop and said here it is.
Here it is.
It may not be perfect. There are flaws, oh, yes, there are problems with it. I know them all by heart. But I know it’s fun and it is a start. Every book comes from it is better because of it. Because of How to Stop Wildfire, I was able to have the stunning moments in all the other novels that followed.
I thought about re-editing it when I decided to make the flashy electronic copy version. About bringing it up to par with the others in the series. But the idea does not sit well with me.
How to Stop Wildfire, in all its flawed glory, is a marker of my evolution. A relic of the process that made me write the way I do now. Changing it in some grand fashion would be like erasing this period in my journey. It is wrong. How to Stop Wildfire was as much about how to write as it was about How to Stop Wildfire.
This is what it is. I couldn’t have wanted anything more. It started off as a silly short story. Now it is a silly novel that is so much more.
It is the accomplishment that defines me.
It is the pride of my being.
It is the spark that set alit the wildfire of my passion.