The Story Behind Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss

I didn’t intend for Fid’s Crusade to be the first book in an ongoing series. I didn’t even intend for it to be a novel!

I’d been working on another (still unfinished) novel and had written myself into a corner; at that point, I hadn’t yet found a tool or method to effectively organize my thoughts for longer projects. At an impasse, I was becoming increasingly frustrated…and thus decided to work on something else for a while: a short story to act as a mental palate cleanser.

I’d been a comic-book geek in my youth, and it has been thrilling to see some of my favorite childhood heroes successfully make the transition to the big (and small) screen.  A bit of superheroic prose seemed as though it would make for a fun diversion.

But I didn’t start with a hero. I started with a villain.

Generally speaking, heroes are reactive. They struggle and sacrifice to stop the villain’s plan…but the true origin for all of that conflict is the villain’s choice. It would be interesting, I thought, to explore the thought processes and motivations behind a supervillain’s actions.

The project was coming along well and I was having fun…but then I made the ‘mistake’ of approaching a new-to-me writers’ group. One member asked what I was currently working on so I explained my project…and was gently told that perhaps I would be more comfortable if I found a different group.

“We’re trying to be REAL authors here,” I was informed in a gentle and earnest voice. “We don’t write comic books.”

Since I’m far too passive-aggressive for my own health, I immediately raced home to re-write my story with the intent to prove that capital-L-Literature wasn’t limited to any one genre. Instead of a relatively light-hearted character piece, I constructed a deep-dive into the mind and heart of the superhero story’s traditional antagonist: a non-linear stream-of consciousness with a style informed by the works of Faulkner and Vonnegut. What I ended up with was chewy and technically well-written…but, unfortunately, squeezed dry of any of the original concept’s joy.

So I tore it apart and re-wrote it. And then I tore the next draft apart and re-wrote it again.

All of this poking and prodding led to the gestation of a larger story.  My passive-aggressive stubbornness slowly faded and subsequent drafts were looser. And while all of this was occurring, I’d stumbled across a piece of software that helped me to orchestrate larger works and to maintain a birds-eye view of my overall plotlines.

Before I knew it, I had finished my debut novel.

About the Author

While growing up, David H. Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer.

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

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