The Rush to Fiction

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, March 18, 2017, 10:25 a.m.

It’s been a lovely cruise, this week. Other than a couple cold nights at athletic fields, it was mainly noteworthy for what I am doing now, which is typing in various directions.

This wasn’t nose-to-the-grindstone typing, in part because I own no grindstones, but also because the writing was interspersed by reading, watching, and playing (guitar). I must catch up on my thinking before I rashly advance. Lord knows, as my grandmother used to say, you can’t rush it.

By Monte Dutton

This one — this manuscript of fiction I just shipped electronically to my trusty proofreader, editor, font of wisdom, and onetime running mate – was a rush. It gave me a rush. I awakened one morning with the story in my head, and it had to get out!

I was a little panicky that 6 a.m., because there are times when nighttime dreams and visions do not linger much longer than my need to use the facilities. Allowing only for this bodily need, I pressed the power button on the electronic collector, and wrote 1,118 words – then the “Introduction,” now the “Prologue,” on account of I called the one at the end the “Epilogue” – because I feared losing them if they were not promptly recorded.

That was this year. I couldn’t sleep because I was down in a half-dozen different ways. Trump was about to become president. Okay. A dozen different ways.

I wrote a novel in two months. This is the first time I did it in two, not three, drafts. I think it’s ready. I felt it was progressing nicely all along the way. Maybe it’s because it’s shorter. Maybe that makes it simpler. Maybe it was that I had that sleepless night tucked away.

Writing fiction requires a certain force of will. Write what you mean. Don’t worry what people think. Have your characters talk like people talk. Be brave enough to depict the truth as you see it. Damn the torpedos! Full steam ahead! It’s coming off the coffee.

By the way, I set nearly 90,000 words aside to feed this Lightning in a Bottle (its title). Once this leapfrog has been tucked away in its shoebox – in the literal form of a finished manuscript, a cover, and publication – I’ll return to those nearly 90,000 words and revisit the concoction of an ending.

Writing becomes increasingly exciting as I age. I can experience untold adventures as I sit on my ass with an old movie on.


If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at (

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.


(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).






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