Potential Masterpiece

Potential Masterpiece Cover Image

John R York

March 11, 2024


I think most people understand what is meant when someone mentions the "dark side". The term is nothing new, but its use became widely popularized as a result of the American epic space opera, Star Wars, and Anakin Skywalker's infamous plunge into the dark side of the Force. In real life, the malevolent dark sides of human personality are comprised of pathologic traits such as egoism, Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, and spitefulness.

I hesitate to share this startling revelation with you, but I myself have turned to the dark side in publishing my newest novel, Retribution.  As Darth Vader said, "You don't know the power of the dark side!" I've held it in for so long. I suppose it is inevitable that my dark impulses would be exposed at some point.

Due to the nature of the subject matter, I'm using the word, dark, to describe the overall mood of Retribution's story . But I'm also calling this book a romance novel.  Dimitte peccata mea. I wanted to find out if publishing a romance novel might result in selling more books. Although I knew nothing about this genre when I began writing, daunting obstacles have never deterred me in the past, so I plunged into the effort.

Seriously, there are some compelling reasons for characterizing this novel as 'dark'. The back story involves child sex trafficking, rape, and murder and features some very bad characters. The hero of the story is a vigilante obsessed with capturing the pedophile who committed the central crime of the story. So, he's essentially an anti-hero, kind of like a Batman archetype.

The love story is sweet at its core, but it also has a dark side that is enigmatic, powerful, and obsessive. After meeting the hero, the heroine, a demure, self-assured librarian, discovers that he brings our some latent, very unusual powers she never knew she possessed.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure I was up to the task when I began this project. This book's plotline and back story challenged me considerably. I quit writing it in the middle of the manuscript and wrote another complete novel before deciding to come back to Retribution. I'm glad I did, though, because I consider this novel one of my best books.

Although this novel is not based on a specific case, it is the result of many tragic incidents that we hear about in the news all too often. A news story about a missing ten-year-old girl caught my attention one evening. The authorities found her a few days later in a field. She'd been sexually assaulted and brutally murdered. Just two weeks later, another story in the news described a similar nightmarish crime.

When I saw an article online about a third kidnapping and murder involving a young girl, I began to do some research. I was shocked to discover how prevalent child sex trafficking and child sex abuse is in this country. I was further dismayed that Florida, the state where I live, is third after California and Texas for the number of incidents of these crimes reported. The more I researched this topic the more appalled I became. I decided I needed to write something that might help draw attention to the problem.

At the end of my book, I include references and links to the many organizations that provide information and resources regarding child sex trafficking. I have spoken to local law enforcement about this issue who confirmed my suspicions that many people aren't aware of how widespread the problem is and how it can happen at every level of the social strata - not just in low income or at-risk homes.

I hope many of you will choose to read this novel. Although I wrote it to be entertaining, there is an important underlying message we all need to heed.

Value of Books

This morning, before I began writing this blog, I read all my previous blogs back to January 2023. I wanted to determine how much I write about my books in these epistles. I don't want to bore my blog readers with book advertisements, but I do want to keep you all up to date on what I'm doing. I did find a few musings and observations that I wanted to repeat in this month's blog. I beg your indulgence.

A book possesses a tangible monetary value based on its original price, but but it also possesses the inherent value of the human thoughts it contains—which may be priceless!

When you buy a book, it's not like buying a pair of jeans or a sack of flour. When you read that book, whether you realize it or not, you are engaging in a unique bond with the author through the story contained within. An author creates a story in an effort to connect with the reader in a manner which is more personal than you might suspect. The story and the characters are typically a reflection of the author's experiences and personality - of how they see the world. And they want to share this with you - the reader.

All the writers I know have one thing in common: more than money or fame or anything else, they want people to read their books. This is why we write. When someone reads your story, that's the 'big thing', the payoff for all the effort and expense that goes into creating the book. When somebody tells me that they read one of my books and that they enjoyed it, that's what makes me want to keep writing.

Therefore, I’m sure most of you can see that a book is an incredibly solid investment of significant value.

The Rules of Writing

When you write professionally, you have to take care to use proper grammar, good sentence structure, accurate spelling, and all the essential rules for good writing. I thought I would share some of the rules I use - rhetorically speaking.

  • Never use no double negatives.
  • Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
  • A writer must be sure to avoid using sexist pronouns in his writing.
  • Its important to use apostrophe's in the right places
  • Don't use commas, that aren't necessary.
  • When writing, never, ever use repetitive redundancies that are superfluous and not needed.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  • Avoid mispellings. 
  • Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

For your entertainment, here's some classic word play in a bar.

  • A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
  • An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
  • A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.
  • A question mark walks into a bar?
  • A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.
  • A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

Stay safe. Be nice to each other. And, beware the Ides of March.