The Confession of a Dyslexic Novelist

W. James Dickinson at work at his desk.
W. James Dickinson at work at his desk.

Being dyslexic would not be considered an asset it you aspire to write serious fiction. Add some adult attention deficit disorder to the mix and finishing a novel would be nearly impossible. On the other hand, if you are a lover of science fiction and fantasy, you would expect the hero to overcome great obstacles in the course of his fantastic journey.

The completion of my novel, Night of the Raptors, is testimony that a modern day hero can indeed overcome great obstacles to achieve the impossible but it took a group of very special friends to help along the way.

I was afraid to blog about my writing because I spell abysmally and spontaneous chats terrify me because I cannot proof my own work very well. It was my daughter Chelsey, who encouraged me to use my handicaps as a tool to break out into the public. After all if I am being asked to say something new and I am a self-declared dyslexic novelist, then you are just getting the full truth of what it is like to live with a writing handicap every day.

Dianna Wilson read the entire Lord of the Rings series aloud to a friend and me one winter in the front of a fire place. Unlike a movie, the full tale read by a live human was very special. It moved me to try reading on my own. I was 26 at the time and I had passed many of my university courses but reading and writing were not my strong points. I had published cartoons since I was 19, but that was using pictures to tell a story, not words.

After a decade of reading novels, and re-attending the University of Alberta, I was far more confident. Roberta Hursey became one of my contract writers, and as I struggled to put together proposals and storyline development for a fledgling exhibition design company, she would proof each copy before it went out. In essence, I had hired my own masters level English teacher. After twenty years of this teacher-student relationship she said, I have nothing more to teach you. You are my best student ever!

And that is how I became a novelist, bad spelling and all.

Note: My wife, Judy, proofed this first post.

6 thoughts on “The Confession of a Dyslexic Novelist

    1. I am sorry it took so long to respond to you. I pulled my book off the market while I was writing a new one and re-editing the first.
      One of book proofing friends recommended that I read ‘The Gift of Dyslexia’. Well worth the read.
      Jim

    1. I am sorry it took so long to respond to you. I pulled my book off the market while I was writing a new one and re-editing the first.
      I think I am a procrastinator at heart, but I really wanted to finish a story and put it in print. It you want something badly enough, there is a way.
      Jim

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