How I Wrote and Published My First Supernatural Thriller

It all began with a nightmare.

The seed was planted deep.

It shook me down to my very core.

I could not go back to sleep.

– my wife, a reluctant poet

I know that it’s not uncommon for children to have bad dreams, especially as they begin processing their environment and discovering their fears. But as a kid, my nightmares absolutely overwhelmed me.

It felt like my brain was either completely out of control or in perfect control. Like maybe it was doing it on purpose, just to torment me.

It was awful and unending.

It wasn’t until I was a Freshman in high school before I realized I could DO something with these free horror shows in my head. Thus began my first novel–a supernatural thriller.

In this particular nightmare, I was having surgery…while wide awake. I remember the cold sting of terror rip through my body and I felt everything as though it were real. I didn’t understand where I was or why this was happening. The surgeon was hideous: his skin was deathly pale gray and his face was streaked with thick, ugly black veins. His eyes were so dark and deep that it seemed like even light could not escape.

Despite his ugliness, however, I found that he did not frighten me. When I looked at him, I realized he brought me a sense of calm–as though he was protecting me.

MAD SUPER HERO ENERGY

I tried to bring him to life the only way I could think of: creating a basic outline and going from there. To hell with homework, this is more important! (I got thru skool just fine thankyouverymuch)

The long and short of it is that the outline showed me more of how NOT to write rather than providing creative inspiration. I tried my hardest to stick to it…and then it started to become more of a chore than a channeled artistic expression.

I just wasn’t confident enough to stray from the path.

This is when I learned that when I’m writing, it’s really the characters who run the show; I’m just the medium. And when I stepped out of the way, they came through with a force.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Which was ironic because the only tool I had was an old, second-hand computer that shit itself every time I loaded a new page. It was so slow that I had time to take out a Stephen King book (Insomnia) and read a few chapters before it was safe to type again.

I named it Mr. Dead Eyes

In 2006, I used one of those early self-publishing companies which…didn’t work out very well in the end.

Then, I tried my hand at creating an audio version of it on Podiobooks.com (which is now Scribl), and it got 50,000 downloads. This gave me a reason to put it on Audible!

All told, it took me seven years, from 2003 to 2010 before I was comfortable with releasing it into the wild. You know how they say you become a new person every seven years? That might be why. That chapter of my life was now over and I was free to finally close that door.

You know how they also say when one door closes another one opens? It’s true. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Best,

Rob

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