Origin Story

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List

Before we proceed any further on our climb to the top, in the tradition of comic book heroes and movie sequels I would like to take a moment to explain the origins of The Guardian of Detritus. I’m hoping this will be interesting to curious readers and useful to aspiring writers.

I first began thinking about the ideas that would lead to GoD in 2010. The thought that got things going was actually a science fiction premise: what if, some time in the future, the city of Detroit was evacuated and turned into a forest to help reduce global warming by pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere? The protagonist would be a sort of sheriff/park ranger – a guardian – who kept people out of the ruins of the old city so that it remained a forest and wasn’t reinhabited. I quickly decided I didn’t have the interest or skills to write sci fi, but I didn’t want to give up the idea. I really wanted to write a novel set in Detroit because I think it’s the coolest place on the planet. So I started thinking about a crime novel set in Detroit and two ideas popped into my head right away – someone driving in a car gets “punched” by the Joe Louis fist, and someone tells a horribly inappropriate dirty joke in a public setting, loosely based on an incident I was familiar with from many years ago. Why those two thoughts came to me I have no idea, but I decided to blend them with the sci fi premise in the form of a movie being filmed in Detroit, and the book took off from there.

If that sounds easy, I can assure you it wasn’t. Since the turn of the century I had already written two novels – the second one included an extensive rewrite – that weren’t very good. I knew from experience that I was looking at years of hard work, and there was no reason to think this one would be any better. Fortunately, it turns out writing fiction is like anything else: you have to keep doing it to get better. When I took the plunge and finally started writing GoD (yes, that is my immodest abbreviation for the novel) I felt much more in command of what I was doing, and the writing was much better. It still took nearly two years of incredibly hard work to finish it, but the result this time was something I felt was worth publishing, and not just stashing away in a drawer where no one would ever see it.

For those of you who are very detail oriented, the timeline went like this:
2010 and 2011 – I get the ideas and work out the basic plot for the book.
January 14, 2012 – Start writing GoD.
October 16, 2014 – Finish writing GoD.
February-April 2015 – Contact agents using Writer’s Relief. (www.writersrelief.com)
May 1, 2015 – Self-publish using Aventine Press. (www.aventinepress.com)
May 11, 2015 – Build web site using Web Design Relief. (www.webdesignrelief.com)
July 2015 — ebook conversion (www.eBookit.com)
July 31, 2015 – GoD goes on sale on Amazon and other book selling web sites.*

In short, it took five years of hard work to produce my novel, and the work has just begun – now I have to try to get people to read it. Either way, bestseller or non-starter, it was worth it. I’m proud of what I have accomplished and eager to keep spreading the word and testifying on GoD’s behalf.

Chuck Snearly

*Note to aspiring writers: all the service providers mentioned above did an outstanding job helping me move forward.

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