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This weekend, I hit the largest wall that I’ve encountered while writing my novel, The Beast of Rose Valley. The plot had culminated in a single scene that just didn’t make sense the way I had it planned. There was no escaping it. I had written myself into a corner.

If I wrote what I had intended, readers would have surely thrown up their hands in disgust. It would have made no sense. It would have been illogical. It wouldn’t have been in keeping with the actions of one of the primary characters. All of the goodwill I might have garnered with my readers may well have been lost in a single chapter.

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My first novel, The Beast of Rose Valley, has a lot of autobiographical elements. Not directly, of course. But my experiences in life all lend themselves to every character and situation.

Some of it comes from pop culture. The cantankerous small town sheriff. The questionable ethics of a shady organization. The spitfire journalist. These are all common tropes that are easy to pull from when I need the bird’s eye view of my novel.

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I’ve started a lot of novels over the years. Some of them are about a person. Some of them are about an idea. Some of them are about a relationship. Some of them are about a place. Every novel has characters, ideas, relationships, and a setting. But one of them must rise above to become the primary “character” of the story.

For The Beast of Rose Valley, that question is answered right in the title. For all of the wonderful characters and situations that I have devised, the core element of it all is where the entire thing takes place.

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She had heard it before.

I could have been a novelist. I love writing. I wish I had time to write a novel.

Through over a decade of marriage, this was a recurring theme. Writing had been his dream. His passion. When he was younger and had more time, he had written endlessly. There was a closet full of his work, some of it going back to elementary school. There were countless short stories, some poetry, and more than a handful of half-written novels.

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