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    An idea isn’t a story. An idea is the spark that ignites a story--that thing with the beginning, middle, and end. With me, most of the time something external--a person, a remark, a setting, a situation, a problem, a real-life story--prompts the idea. Once in a while I’ll go cruising through my own experiences and imagination and come up with something that works on its own or with some outside spark to get me started.

    But I’ve never had the good fortune to find a fully developed story idea waiting outside my door like a stretch limo, ready to whisk me away, bypassing the long bumpy winding but ultimately satisfying and rewarding journey called the writing process. Outside my door I might find one rusted wheel, a dented hubcap, a puddle of oil.

    So I won’t get far on that journey unless I see the promise in the puddle of oil or whatever and begin asking myself that magic question--WHAT IF? And then a hundred more What ifs, big and small, before I start writing, while I’m writing, when I foolishly think I’m done writing, and after my editor makes it clear I’m not.

    The most rewarding part of the whole thing is the What then? questions. I know I’ve done my job as a writer of fiction if a reader who has finished one of my stories asks me a What then? question. What happened to Bud and Clover? Who is Peter living with now? Did the ghost ever come back to Phantom Limb Park? Did the bullies try to get even with Josh? What happened to Joe after he left the internment camp? Did Rex have to go to jail? Did anyone ever find the meteorite again?

    I don’t tell them it’s “just” fiction. The stories and characters are as real to me as they are to the reader. Maybe more real. I’ve lived with them for years, after all, seen them go through tough times, grow and change. And I still often wonder to myself what they’re up to now. I still hope to find out.


a commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument about the person buried at that site (Webster)

A middle grade urban fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest--FORTUITOUS

And still more (I’ve been busy!):

A work in progress--the sequel to THIN WOOD WALLS


David Patneaude


Another WIP, a novel in verse--


Published 3/23/2010

See the book trailer!

And Another!

(Thanks, Naomi)

And another, a sci-fi novel for every reader--SOMETHING’S COMING

A collection of spooky short stories--UNEASY PICKINGS

A young adult novel of mystery and suspense--WAITING ON THE THUNDER

A sci-fi novel filled with adventure and choices--WHAT YOU YEARN FOR