And this is how all novels begin.


I SAT ON A BEACH this morning and watched a novel take form and shape.

He was four.

She was two.


And sister.

Just two kids playing in the surf.

There was sand in front of them.

Sand behind them.

Sand in either direction for as far as the eye could see.

He had a single bucket of sand.

She wanted it.

No other sand would do.

And tempers began to flare.

They grew hot, then spilled over into a verbal battle.

A screaming match is really what it was.

Then came a tug of war.

She fought for the bucket of sand.

He refused to give it up.

In the end, both lost.

Mama poured the sand out and kept the bucket.

That’s the way it is in life.

That’s the way it is in most stories.

Somebody has something.

Somebody wants it.

The ranchers wants the syndicate’s water rights.

The burglar wants the banker’s vault.

The honky tonk blonde wants the debutante’s husband.

The soldier wants his best friend’s girl.

The prosecutor wants the bad guy’s life.

The lawyer wants the bad guy’s freedom.

The Salvation Army lady wants the bad guy for herself.

Thus begins conflict.

And tension.

Somebody is willing to fight for what he or she wants.

Somebody is willing to kill for it.

Someone is willing to die for it.

Someone is willing to fall in love for it.

But there is always someone willing to take it.

It’s just another day at the beach.

It’s just another day in the life around us.

It’s just another day on the pages of a novel.

Art doesn’t imitate life.

Art is life.

So is fiction.

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