Steve Wrote a Book!!

Well, it finally happened.

My best friend in high school is a published author. I, alas, am not. Yet. And only if you don't count blog publishing.

Steve Martin was, in short, the funniest guy in high school. It probably helped that that OTHER Steve Martin was at the peak of his Saturday NIght Live appearences at that time, but Steve was funny. Still is.

We were originally introduced by a mutual friend through the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, I had a D&D stage. We ate Doritos and Dr. Pepper and fought with our imaginary characters of Elves and Dwarves. OK, I had a kind of geeky stage. Possibly still in it.

Anyway, little did I know that Steve was honing his fantasy imagination skills as we were playing. Since graduating from Pepperdine in Malibu, he became a minister involved with young people. Apparently, as a counsellor and swim coach, he learned a lot about kids. The jacket of his book, The Brand Medallion says that he and his wife have 3 sons, and are "living the adventure..." I am sure his sons, the oldest which has graduated high school, have taught him a thing or two, too, as does my 2 year old.

Well, aside from the "High school reunion" aspects of this story, there are two more relevant points.

1. The book itself is great! Although Steve says he wrote about Christian themes, never once does he sound "preachy." It is the story of a teenaged adventurer who learns about himself, and the power of words, in a new land that he discovers. This is a book that I wish was translated in Japanese for my students. The issues are self-confidence, self-esteem and self-mastery, with sub themes of honesty, trust and companionship. Geez (hope I can write that, Steve), these are exactly the same things we work on at I CAN, the free school I work at. As important as the themes, though, is that the story is just a good read, exciting at the right times, moving, full of good teenage dialogue, well-described and also fun. Though I started the book because it was my buddy's first book, I finished it because I really wanted to find out what happened to Cael and his crew.

2. The second learning point is how Steve told me he wrote the manuscript. How? With discipline. A schedule that he stuck to without fail. I hope it will be OK with Steve if I quote from his email:

"I began in June, 2004 by reading extensively in that genre, taking notes on various fiction styles, and developing characters. I would say I spent about three months on that part. Then in September I began going to the library a couple of times a week to design a story outline. It was probably a sermon writing hazard, but I wanted to know where the story was going before I jumped in. The original layout was 22 chapters with 10-12 "key idea" bullet points for each.

"The key for my writing was just consistency. Along the way I added a couple of chapters, bringing the final book to 25 chapters. And although I took a couple of weeks off from writing fatigue, I managed to finish the rough draft at the end of June -- a little over a year from when I started."

See what you can do in a year?
Steve did not "manifest" his book, or dream about writing it someday (that's my department). What he did and what makes him successful in this project is that he DID THE WORK.

What a novel idea.

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