This is all about me.

Writing ads is writing ads. And one cannot do that for umpty-ump years and not wonder: Could I write fiction of the non-advertising kind?

Along came National Novel Writing Month, and I did.

The voice of the comic main character, Scott Ruggles, had something going for it. But at that 50,000-word NaNoWriMo length, what he didn’t have was enough story around him. I rewrote and made his story twice as long.

At a James River Writers Conference in Richmond, Virginia, an actor read the opening paragraphs to an audience of 300. People laughed. People clapped. The critique panel of agents smiled. Two of them asked to see it as soon as it was finished. Keynote speaker Adriana Trigiani added a hint of motivation in her final words to me: “Finish the damn book.” (Technically, she was addressing an auditorium of would-be authors at the time.)

Please don’t be mad, Adriana, but it’s not finished. Twice as long wasn’t twice as good, you see. But don’t worry. My James River Writers friends, other friends, people I barely know – they all say, “When’s the book going to be finished?” I think they’re channeling you, I really do.