When I was born my parents put one T on the end of my first name, instead of the traditional two. They also made my middle name the same as my fathers, though they spelled that differently as well. Thus began my career of horrible spelling. Early on in school my poor spelling got me labeled with a learning disability. My constant daydreaming and active imagination did little to convince the teachers otherwise. They stuck me into special education classes for English, where I would spend the remainder of my high school career. I can still recall a few times being backed into a corner by other students and being forced to spell words out loud. It was a lovely game where they would then laugh at me as I spelled the word horribly wrong. I despised English after that, choosing to barely skate by and make little to no improvement. In a way I think I became known for my bad spelling, it was almost like a trademark. As long as the word sounded right to me, I stopped caring what others thought. Things wouldn’t change until after high school.
When I graduated, I had probably the worst job I could imagine. I worked on the road, usually ten to twenty hours away from home, doing construction. It was long hard hours, in the blistering sun and icy snow. I made decent money there, more than I could imagine getting with my education. It made me feel trapped. I didn’t think I could survive off the pay anywhere else. So, desperate times called for desperate measures and I hatched a plan to get myself free. I was going to use my wild imagination and write a novel. That’s right ladies in gentlemen, me, Bret Wellman, the worst speller in the world, was going to use my greatest weakness to dig myself out of a hole.
I spent the next four years writing what would eventually become The Sword and the Staff. It was over a hundred thousand words and I wrote the entire thing on word pad, without using spellcheck. I then handed the rough draft to one of my cousins who said she would spell check it for me. Two or three months later, I got it back with less than five chapters fixed (God bless you for even attempting that project Kim haha). I then spent the next year revising, polishing, and giving my left arm to a professional editor. In the end, I self published it and sales were minimal.
Determined to succeed, I spent the next two years writing the novella and novel, Murder Man, and Sapience. Between the two, they sold a little better, but not significantly.
One more year and I had written Hurricane Dan. I’m not sure why, perhaps people just love zombies, but this book began to sell. I was so excited that I wrote my next novel, Takedown, in three months. It seemed like every book I wrote did a little better than the last. Finally having proof that I could make it as an author, I felt like doing a double backflip (not literally).
Something else weird happened shortly after the release of Hurricane Dan. I enrolled myself into a few college classes, one of which was an English class. The assignments in that class felt childish. I remember turning in assignments that I had only worked on for short periods of time, and getting high marks. It seemed like every paper around me was covered in red ink and mine was left as is. A couple of people came to me asking for advice, so I did my best to help them with their papers. Looking back on where I started, that seems crazy to me, CRAZY! At some point when I was writing all those novels, I had taught myself what I failed to learn in school. I could write and I could spell.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nowhere near perfect. I still make my fair share of mistakes, but they are nowhere near what they used to be. Besides, that’s what the editing process is for.
In the future, I look forward to keep writing stories, and seeing how much farther I can improve. But the real reason I’m going to keep doing this, the thing that keeps my fingers typing, is that I love entertaining people.
As long as there is somebody out there willing to pick up one of my books and get lost in its world, then I am going to keep writing.
Tracy Night had her life stolen in a single moment. Now she has a decision to make: 1. float into the warm and welcoming light above her, or 2. step into the light emanating from the robot she has been working on for the past four years....