A Novel by Jeff Vrolyks
Copyright 2013 Jeff Vrolyks
Of the several novels I’ve written, none have included a foreword. I consider that a service to my readers, because who really cares about the author? What matters is the story. The story, it’s always about the story. It isn’t about technique, vocabulary, or even word selection (though it helps), it’s about the story. When a daddy tells his daughter and her twelve brownie friends a story by a campfire, do they give two shits about anything other than the story?
The Story. I wanted to write a foreword on how stories come to be, at least in my own experience, and if you’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing, you’ll know that he shares the same method of story creating, one that preceded my own by roughly forty years. I’d guess that most writers share this method. Those who have never written a novel will assume that stories are outlined, plots considered in advance and written down, with arrows pointing this way and that, notes scrawled on the margin, stuff crossed out and some stuff with several underscores—the butler did it, perhaps. The truth is, most stories are written one word and one idea at a time. I don’t know why stories are better written on the fly, but they are. There is always an exception to the rule, but generally speaking this is the case.
I write prolifically. Once I get a vague idea of a story, I set aside some time where I won’t be disturbed and I pour out copious amounts of text in no-time-flat. I’ve written a novel in less than a week. I don’t say that proudly, or as a badge of honor. Stories are like demons needing to be exorcised, the faster the better. Behind The Horned mask was such a long novel that I split it in two, each of them being roughly novel-length. I wrote that like a maniac, it had become an obsession. I was working 12 hour shifts at the time I wrote it, so when I wasn’t at work I was cranking out words on an abused laptop in my car with a can of Monster at the ready. Just over two weeks that long-assed novel took for me to write. That demon was exorcised and I was pacified for a good while, until I ventured to write Fiddleback 2.