A First Draft 27 Years in the Making #amwriting

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

I finished the first draft of my latest novel.

Full Circle has, if you’ll pardon my turn-of-phrase, quite a storied history.

Cue the flashback music…


It all began in the summer of 1988.

Being a single parent with an eight-year-old son, I had very little in the way of a social life.

I also had very little in the way of money…so, I was on a constant quest to find new and creative ways to kill time.

One night, I don’t remember the exact moment, or what spurred the thought in me, I decided to write a book. It would be about Karma, more specifically, the old adage what goes around comes around. I actually had the title picked before I put pen to paper.

I’ve always been interested in the unexplained forces of the universe, probably as a result of watching The Twilight Zone during my formative years, so it seemed like a good theme for a book.

Twilight Zone

I dug out a spiral-bound five-subject notebook and a ball-point pen and started writing.

I had, what I thought, was a good concept, so I wrote about five chapters and gave them to my best friend’s wife ( an avid reader) and asked her to read it and tell me if I should keep going. She told me to continue, so I did.

Along around the fifteenth chapter I switched jobs and had to move, so the notebook went into a box and didn’t see the light of day for many, many months.

When I finally dug it out and decided to get back to it, my life was as hectic as a beehive in a tornado, so, needless to say, the notebook went back into the box.

You know how “life happens”?

Well, it kept happening to me for about eighteen years, at which time I found myself moving again…this time from Rhode Island to Florida…and the notebook was all but forgotten.

Six months after landing in the Sunshine State I had a dream which turned into my first novel, Living the Dream. Shortly after it was released, while writing Water Hazard, I remembered the book I had begun all those years ago and decided to make it my next project.

It was a good plan, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.


After Water Hazard came Pump It Up, then No Good Deed, then Backseat to Justice and so on…

Last August, when Eyewitness Blues was released I decided it was time to finish what I had started.

I was in the process of getting Path of a Bullet ready for December release, so January 1, 2015 seemed like a good day to start the project.

I say start rather than finish for a few reasons:

  • My writing skills left a lot – A LOT – to be desired in 1988
  • The story was more than 20 years old, so it needed to be modernized
  • After reviewing what I had written I realized I had tried a little too hard to write an epic novel
  • While writing the original I had been afraid to think outside the box

So, as the new year began, so did my new incarnation of Full Circle (the title is the only thing that has remained from the original, aside from the central theme). By the end of January I had written a paltry 3,000 words and when Febrauary ended I had only doubled my output. March was a particularly bad month for me so when April began my word count hadn’t moved.

I began to wonder if somebody up there was trying to tell me something…

It would have been ironic, don’t you think, if some unknown force was trying to stop me from writing a novel about some unknown force that causes things to happen?

Perhaps, but I wasn’t going to accept that, so I imposed a moratorium on non-essential extra-curricular activities and spent every spare minute I had at the keyboard with the goal of finishing the first draft by June 1.

If I could do that, I could get it to my beta readers and hopefully get it back from them before July, which would allow me to get it to the editor before August so it could be released (hopefully) before November.

I’ll be honest…there were times when I thought I was asking a bit too much of myself.

Would I be able to, essentially, write an entire novel in two months?

Well…I missed my target date by one day.

writer's clock

I finished the first draft of Full Circle on June 2.

By the end of the day on June 3 it will be in the hands of my beta readers and the book I began writing in 1988 will be that much closer to completion.

I guess there are two ways to look at it…

You could say that, for all intents and purposes, I wrote Full Circle in two months—or—you could say it took me twenty-seven years.


Either way – I’m extremely happy with the finished product and I hope you will be too!

Look for Full Circle in the late fall of 2015!


As always – thank you for reading


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22 responses to “A First Draft 27 Years in the Making #amwriting

  1. Helen Pollard

    Good on you for persevering, TIm, and congratulations on finally finishing it! I’m currently halfway through reading Living the Dream, by the way, and loving it 🙂

  2. Hurray for you Tim Baker. Quite an accomplishment. Can’t wait to get reading!

  3. Congratulations. I’m excited for you and look forward to seeing a different aspect of your writing. I love your crime fiction/adventures. I’m certain I’ll enjoy this one.

  4. Hi there. I am looking forward to it. I am just finishing up another of your books. I believe I am becoming a big fan. No worries though, I will never try to hack off your foot. LOL.
    I heard you were hard at work from Mike at Inspired Mic. Miss seeing you. He says anyone can write a book in 30 days. Gee, you took too long.
    Good luck with publication. I’m looking forward to reading it.
    Hugs Heidi

  5. Peg

    Gee Mr. Baker, I’m glad you’re NOT a slacker and kept to the task although I’m a bit of a new “groupie!” I have read the first four of your books recently and am enamored with your writing ability, the local characters who seem like friends (not the ones you dispose of), and I give you such kudos at your innate ability to spin a tale and they just be so darn enjoyable! I’m a big fan, can’t wait to read the rest. Guess I have to get my wallet out, no more freebies:) In relation to Karma, “Even chance meetings are the result of karma. Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.” Haruki Murakami

  6. becky dahldorf

    Congrats Tim(my).. I am never surprised by your tenacity and strength to pursue your passion! ❤

    • Thank you Beck(y)!!! (^^^)

      • PW

        I agree with the above and you sure do you have tenacity to have worked so hard, raised your son, put “Full Circle” on the back burner and finished it in record time. “Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have excellence thrust upon them….They achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don’t stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.” John William Gardner…And Mr. Baker, I do believe you are a disciplined writer to have achieved what you have in such a short amount of time. Those plots, those characters, they’re pretty endearing!

        And your blog about winning the pool (no swimming with the Sharks), pretty funny actually and pretty memorable for a young man. You’re right about times in history that are memorable….I WAS watching tv the day after JFK’s assassination when Jack Ruby shot Leo Harvey Oswald at the jail. Imagine sitting in your living room and you’re 12 and seeing those images.

        So two more quotes for the writer, and then the wannabee writer is signing off–“My books are water; those of the geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.” Mark Twain

        “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth
        And yes, you do.

        • Thank you very much for those kind words and for the inspirational quotes…I will definitely remember, . and use, the Mark Twain one!!!

  7. hsampson

    Wow congratulations for “Full cycle” and good luck with this new cycle!

  8. Reblogged this on sherriemiranda1 and commented:
    I totally relate to this! My first draft took about the same amount of time IF you count ALL the thinking I did about it.
    My hubby made a video about my novel. He wrote the music too.

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