History of Works · April 26, 2024 0

Where it all began…

1987 – Yes, that is when I started writing as a hobby. I was sixteen years old (yes, I am that old), and I had just seen the move, JAWS The Revenge. At my desk, I had advertisements, newspaper clippings, everything was Jaws, Jaws, Jaws… I was working at a video store at the time the movie was released and one of the promotional items was an inflatable JAWS shark. Yes, it does exist…

I hung this inflatable toy in my little cubby office and that is when I came up with my first story. It was about this inflatable pool floaty that sits at the bottom of the pool and “it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS!” as Hooper would say in the original film. In my story, the shark attacks everyone except a little chubby girl. It was a love story. It also was stupid as hell.

Years and years later (this story no longer exists), I told my wife about it and she suggested I try and write it again now that I am an adult and can articulate a fictional story better than at sixteen. The original prologue to the new version, Deep End of The Pool sat on my hard drive for over a decade. This version would be a supernatural element buried underneath a swimming pool and it would kill people who were morally grey. In 2023, I finally finished the first draft of the book which looks nothing like the original as there is no inflatable shark.

The story was… okay. Mediocre at best. But isn’t that all first drafts? By the time I was finished with it, I had settled on the fact that I was only writing Sapphic characters and if I wanted to publish Deep End of The Pool, I needed to rewrite the characters. Easier said than done, especially when a lot of the plot revolves around these male characters being morally grey. I was/am determined to do it. Hence a new project was born.

Keeping with the era & setting of the book, women were Donna Reed. My lesbian characters… one had to be a sleazy shyster and the other a cop, but again setting is everything and it seemed easy to keep my cop as a male, so she is hiding her identity. The characters were easy, so was the rewrites of first forth of the book. I loved the characters. I loved the messed up world they lived in. I loved the conflict between openly butch dyke and the paranoid gender-bending cop. There is only so much you can add before you get to the meat of the story. This is my stumbling block.

Me and this story are not friends. There are two plots struggling for dominance. One, we have a cursed swimming pool with someone buried under it. The other is confederate soldier that comes out of this pool for no apparent reason. The end. As I stated, the story was OKAY… Mediocre at best. I’ve retraced the entire first draft into bullet points. I have also tried to connect the dots, so to speak. On my last book, I got a basic developmental edit and my editor kept asking the same question… WHY? WHY? WHY?

I don’t know… I can’t draw a line between these two elements without starting from scratch and tossing one of them aside. Either way, it means an entire rewrite for the third time. How did I go from an inflatable shark to a confederate soldier and two lesbian enemies? Sometimes, I question if I should just go back to the original plot and have the inflated shark swim up and bite everyone in the ass. BUT… this is how I started writing.