J. Allen Wolfrum is a fiction author and former Marine based in San Diego, California.


Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead


Full steam ahead. I'm finally on a roll and making solid progress. By next week I should be done with the first quarter of the book, fourteen'ish chapters.

The Story Grid podcast this week was great. Shawn gave some fantastic insights on the foundations of story structure and the movements between order and chaos.


While we were in Paris, I picked up a copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus. Camus is a famous French philosopher and author, so I thought why not read his book while in France.

It was interesting and I think there was a deeper meaning to it, but it didn't resonate with me. The book is about a young man who commits a murder that may or may not have been in self defense. During the trial, the prosecuting attorney harps on the fact that the young man was not disturbed by his mother's death and was not close to his family. And in the end, he gets convicted and sentenced to death. The book is a lot deeper than my two sentence description, but still not my favorite.

I started reading Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn, which is the first book in a series about CIA Agent Mitch Rapp. The action scenes are great and it hits all the marks for a political thriller. What I don't like is that the main character, Mitch Rapp, doesn't go on a hero's journey. What I mean by hero's journey is this, the hero needs to leave the tribe, take his walking stick and go into the woods. While he (or she) is in the woods, fight some dragons, and eventually bring back to the tribe either an elixir or a piece of knowledge.  The hero comes back a changed person, and the tribe benefits.

In Transfer of Power the main character moves through a series of challenging missions and eventually defeats the bad guy. Which is totally entertaining but it's missing the element of change. I could be way off the mark and a bit cynical but I think part of reason why these characters don't change is because if they do change, you can't write 15 books in a series because one person can't change that many times. In order to write a 15 book series, the main character needs to essentially stay the same, the scenarios may change but the main character is very well defined and reacts as the reader has grown to expect.


Rich and Pam are doing great. Pam is getting her teeth cleaned today. Apparently it's not possible to communicate to a cat that they need to keep their mouth open and stay still, so they have to go under anesthesia for dental cleanings. La Doctora has it under control, no worries. I'm keeping my head down and full steam ahead on writing.



Update on my 'to-do' to find a theme for this blog. I made a small amount of progress. The realization I came to is that no matter what, I need to put more effort into writing the blog. There is no free lunch, for the blog to be better, I have to put in more effort. I have a crazy notion in my head about writing a Western. Maybe I can work that in somehow. We'll see.

Muddy Footprints ... A Short Story

Muddy Footprints ... A Short Story

Lessons from Paris

Lessons from Paris