2. My first three novels

Poor Traits of an Artist as a Young Man: My first three novels.

For a table of contents of the entire series, click here. 

I never wanted to write “normal” books. I wasn’t interested in writing what I would call “simple” thrillers, or fantasy, or sci-fi. Books that fall directly into a genre category and bring little else to the table – for instance, a sci-fi book that plans to attract an audience by including space ships, laser guns, and little else.

My goal has always been to give my readers that same sense of the rug being pulled from under me that I got when I first read Catch-22. And it had to be uniquely mine.


I made my own covers. Can you tell? Haha. Give me a break, I was fifteen.

And it was uniquely bad, because a fifteen year old wrote it. However, from the plot hook you can already see where my mind was going in terms of literary goals. Kid is basically the story of a modern day Jesus and his apostles, except the Jesus figure in this allegory steals the girlfriend of the main character. My envisioned tagline: What would be it be like if Jesus stole your lady? It was around 50,000 words, and I did wind up writing it three different times. A lot of this was spent just figuring out the basics.

After a few re-writes, I moved on to this:


The novel I wrote at sixteen.

Also pretty bad. About a clandestine organization that travels the world faking miracles and otherwise creating false evidence for religious phenomena in the country.

And then, Steam. Here, I was starting to mature a bit. I actually may revisit this theme at some point.


I thoroughly wrecked it, because I still hadn’t quite hit my stride, but the premise was this: Steam was a woman who has seen everyone’s last breath. She knew how everyone would die, and when, but nothing else about them. She was the only supernatural element in the story, and a trio of men sought her for their own purposes.

I wrote and rewrote these three books up until I was about 18 years old. And then, while mowing a lawn one day, an idea struck me that would wind up escalating my career to new heights.

For the next entries in the Poor Traits series, click here.

One Comment on “2. My first three novels”

  1. Kris Heinen says:

    Interesting. I would love to write. Don’t know how to start.

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