Challenge,  On Writing

A Novel Happens

Not Intended, but Creative Voice Won…

As it should.

Tonight got to the writing computer around 12:30 am. Typed in a title that had caught my eye.


Started typing about a guy who met a woman outside the Titanic Exhibit at the Luxor here in Vegas. Story could have gone anywhere, but suddenly I found it solidly in the Thunder Mountain world.

And at 1,300 words or so I wrote Chapter Two and said, “Shit!”

Thankfully I didn’t wake Kris up clear off into the bedroom.

My creative voice said, “This is the best idea for a Thunder Mountain Story, set on the Titanic, about the three card sharks that were on the Titanic.”

Well, no choice at that point, so figuring it might be a year until I get to the novel, I spent 200 words taking notes from my evil creative voice about what it was thinking. Notes went like this…

— Alternating viewpoint… Four or five chapters with them doing this…

— Five or six chapters with them doing this other thing…

— Five or six chapters the first time they are on the Titanic…

— Six chapters to die and get back to the Titanic…

— And resolve the mystery in the last five or six chapters, die again, and write their books…

Great, so this one is going to be a science fiction, romance, historical, mystery. Oh, sure, no issues there. (grin)

The outline wasn’t much more than that, just me making sure I didn’t forget what the creative voice wanted me to do.

So short story for March 2nd is a novel start.

Novels happen.

They key is to learn to roll with it.



  • Cheryl

    I love this!! So cool. And perfect timing as I’m needing and wanting to mix in longer form writing again. Thanks, Dean!

  • Linda Niehoff

    Oh man. I will read that in a heartbeat when it comes out. Also here’s a question: do you still count it as a short story? Or did you set it aside and write a different one? I remember a few weeks back you talking about “wrapping up” novel starts into short stories and someone asking for a class on that. I’ve had a couple stories feel like they could be novel starts, but for the challenge, I’ve wanted to keep them as short stories. Any advice? Or would you consider doing a pop up or a blog post on it?

    It’s so fun to watch this challenge!

    • dwsmith

      Some novel starts can be wrapped, others no chance. Just depends. On this one, more than likely when I go back over everything in July as a mid-year check in, I’ll count it as a miss and work to catch up. I think I had one like it in January as well, just a novel start, nothing completed. And maybe one in February. Again, not really looking back until July, which will give me six months to write some extra. I actually don’t think, unless something really changes, that I will get to this novel this year. More than likely early next year. But unless something happens to me, it will be written.

      • Mihnea+Manduteanu

        But what about the novel part of your challenge? I am trying to understand why you won’t ge tot this novel this year. You are aiming for 365 stories and 12 novels. Why not use these novels? Or am I missing something?

        • dwsmith

          Already done two novels, one the Big Cat, the other Rescue One. This novel would require me to focus on it alone, so it will wait until next year. Nothing more.

  • JM6

    I much prefer Poker Boy over Thunder Mountain, but I might have to read that one just to compare it to “Laying the Music to Rest” – time travel Titanic stories 40 years apart by the same author.

    • Steve Lewis

      JM6 if you like stories by Dean featuring time travel and the Titanic check out Two Roads, No Choices. It features time travel, the Titanic, and SHERLOCK HOMES! It’s a great little story. I think you’ll enjoy it.

      It’s in Colliding Worlds Vol. 4.

      • dwsmith

        Thanks, Steve. First published by Tor or Baen in SHERLOCK HOLMES IN SPACE. I also reprinted it in an issue of Smith’s Monthly. Really liked how that story turned out, Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out why the Titanic didn’t sink.