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  • Writer's pictureDavid L. Thompson

Why Make It Complicated...

Updated: Feb 17, 2023


When I was in my last year of high school, my grade 13 math teacher asked me to go to the blackboard (yes… the boards were black back in the day) and write the solution to an equation. My solution filled three of those blackboards and took most of that math class. When she looked at my solution she could only shake her head. “Why would you want to make it easy when you could make it hard?” she joked.


So it has been with my writing. Dark Harvest started out as a short story. That short story has now morphed into a full-blown trilogy. Here’s the problem. Since many of the characters show up in all three books, and many of the plot elements are linked, I have to keep all of the details straight across all three of the books. The combined word count across the books comes in around 300,000 and the page count comes in around 1,200 pages. As you could imagine, this can create some challenges. For example, in the third book (first draft almost complete), I had Bradley Parsons turn his nose up at a cup of tea. I wrote that Bradley thought of himself as more a coffee/beer kinda guy. Well… I guess I don’t ‘know’ him as well as I thought. I reread the first two books to make sure that the details in the third book were consistent with the first two, and guess what? In the first book (Dark Harvest), Bradley was drinking a cup of tea while on a conference call with POTUS. Since he wasn’t forced to drink the tea, one can only assume that he must have liked it. So... I had to fix the offending section in book 3.


Another challenge - promises made. As Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, has said, authors make promises to their readers that they must keep. For example, let’s say that an author writes about a room where there are signs of a struggle. A carpet on the floor has been shifted and when the main protagonist moves the carpet, she finds a trap door. When she opens the trap door, she finds an empty safe. Looking at the safe, she sees that someone has struggled very hard to open it. I’m betting that most readers expect the author to tell them, at some point in the story, what was in that safe and why it was important to the story. The author has made a promise to the reader that if they stick with the story, they will find out all about the safe and its contents. If the author doesn’t deal with that story element, then they will have broken that ‘promise’ and the reader will likely be disappointed, maybe even annoyed. So, in finishing the third book in the trilogy, I must make sure that every promise I have made in the three books has been adequately addressed - no loose ends. Hmmm. So… what do I do with ex-Lieutenant Christopher ‘Mojave’ Hayden? For those of you who have read both Dark Harvest and Smoke Over Baghdad, you will understand...

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