30 April 2017

On My Way

 Family Fortnight +  Leading up to the  International Day of Families on the 15th of May, we bring you the second in a series about mystery writers’ take on families. Settle back and enjoy!
by Dylan Davis

Hi. Dylan here. I'm an 8th Grader who does daycare for his Grandpa R.T. and Grandma Kiti five days a week, ten months a year. See, every morning, my mom drops me and my younger brother off at the grandparent's house for breakfast. I make sure they eat right and take their vitamins. Older folks need that sort of care.  After breakfast, I walk around the corner to school. Then, after school, I walk back to their house and do my homework. Sometimes, I stay for supper. On those days, I make sure they get some exercise and socializing by getting them out of the house to drive my brother and me to taekwondo a few miles away at the local academy. We have separate classes at different times. On other occasions, it's off to soccer, or basketball, or volleyball, or whatever seasonal sport my brother and I happen to be involved in at the time. I think you can see how this occupies a lot of my time.

So anyway, in what little spare time I do have, I just might be on my way to being a writer. I say that, because I recently got my first rejection. Well, actually it's half a rejection. You see, my grandpa and I wrote a short story together. Basically, here's what happened.

I was minding my own business playing a video game on my iPhone when Grandpa brought me an e-mail to read. Something about an open call for an MWA anthology with a Goosebumps theme for pre-teens and slightly older kids. He then made me an offer I couldn't refuse. So, we put our heads together and did some brainstorming. I came up with the story characters, he came up with a general story line, and we both did some of the writing.

Our first problem came when we found out that only MWA members could submit to the anthology. That took my name off the byline. However, grandpa agreed to split the check with me if we got published, plus he said he would give me credit in the author blurb in the back of the book, so we continued.

Grandpa and I both worked on the plot, shooting ideas back and forth to each other. When I was at my house and got an idea, I would sometimes face time him. This way, I wouldn't lose my thoughts. At times, grandpa's writing style and mine clashed, but we usually worked it out. At the end of all this, I really didn't mind that we didn't get selected by the MWA judges. All I really cared about was that it was a fun time working with my grandpa.

Still, it would have been nice to get published. At this point, I figure I've gotten at least as far as Step 5 in the process.

Step 1:  brainstorm
Step 2:  write & re-write
Step 3:  submit
Step 4:  wait
Step 5:  get accepted or get rejected

Now, if I can only get to Step 6: published & paid

Thanks for reading this, and good luck to all.


  1. Great...just great. Well done Dylan and R.T.

  2. I predict you'll see step 6 sooner rather than later!
    Good luck!

  3. Welcome to the club, Dylan.

    It sounds like your writing is off to a solid start. I agree with Janice, too. We'll see your name in print before long.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Dylan. Your writing is excellent. I'm sure R. T. is as proud of you as I am of my grandson. He's now seventeen, but when he was your age, he also came to my house after school. He called me "Grandma Daycare." So far as the MWA Goosebumps-themed anthology, welcome to the club! I wrote one, too. Mine was rejected, too. Again, thanks for a great column today, and I look forward to reading more from you.

  5. Smooth writing, Dylan. Nicely done. I've been told it takes about 10 years to learn how to write, although some dispute that number. You're got a great head start.

    Tip: Tell RT you need a trip to France to research his stories. But don't tell him I suggested it.

  6. Dylan, thanks for a great article. I'm sorry you started off with a rejection slip, but hey, keep working at it, and you will get published, I'm sure of it!

  7. Congrats on the rejection, Dylan! You can officially call yourself a writer now! Keep up with the writing, and you will go far, I'm sure! (The column was darn good!)

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  9. Dylan, you are further along than I am and at a much younger age. Keep up the good work. And take good care of your grandparents. They are some of my favorite relatives.

  10. I meant to mention this in my earlier comment, but forgot. It's all over Facebook and the Short Mystery Fiction site, but let me be the first one here to congratulate fellow SS blogger Art Taylor for winning the Agatha Award for best short story at Malice Domestic.

  11. Dylan, your blog is awesome! Seems like only yesterday we were eating “astronaut food” together in Maui when you were just knee high. In bygone days past your grandpa sat right seat at my side in a helicopter as we flew hundreds of hours during counterdrug missions. Now back then he was banging out biker magazine short stories on a “typewriter” (one step up from a stone tablet compared to what you have to work with) hoping to author his way into the business. In your grandpa, I know not a better mentor. Best of luck as you embark on your journey into his world.
    Major Mike

  12. On behalf of Dylan, I thank you all for welcoming him to SleuthSayers, and for your encouraging comments.

  13. Great post, Dylan!! (Sorry I'm late to the party.)

  14. Dylan, I'm late to respond, but I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I have a grandson who's a couple of years younger than you, and he also loves to write (and to read). This weekend, he showed me an essay that was far better than anything I wrote at his age. I bet you and he will both go far.


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