Why the Sureshot?

As I continue to work through rewriting and republishing my first ever full story, I thought it would be prudent to take a moment to remind myself, and any interested, why and how I wrote the story.

As most know, I joined the Army directly out of high school. It was one of the best decisions I made. I met some fantastic people, learned a variety of awesome things and grew up a bit. All good things. Among the people I met, Matt, my roommate at DLI (Defense Language Institute) remains a close friend. He had an affinity for fiction and fantasy and even introduced me in a way to Dungeons and Dragons and role playing games in general. But it wasn’t he who I first played with.

I had a group of Navy friends who invited me to play with them. I had no idea what playing a role playing game entailed but they were willing to be patient with me. In any of these games, you create a character and play that character through a story. Essentially, role playing games are stories that are played out as individual players control a character that makes decisions that effect the outcomes and results of the game. Sounds fun right? I thought so.

I had played a number of such games on my computer at the time: Baulder’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Diablo, so I knew a little about role playing. First things first, you must create a character for you to play throughout the game. I created a character called a “ranger” that is a warrior who prefers woods and the wild to civilization making him somewhat different from a typical fighter or warrior. My GM (game master) named him “Durbar,” for whatever reason, and told me it was supposedly Old High German for “hill.” I still have no idea whether this is true or not and since it is far too late to go back and change it, I don’t worry about it.

The game was quite fun though I didn’t play with them for many weeks. I had a taste for the story telling and role playing part of the game and loved it. I ended up playing a bit with my roommate Matt, and others in our barracks and even began to try my hand at the “Game Master” part of it controlling the story for others to enjoy.

A few years later, my unit in San Antonio sent to to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs on a temporary assignment. This was a wonderful opportunity to see a new part of the country, work a different mission from my own and reunite with some of my friends, including Matt! Problem was, I worked nearly all the time.

10th Special Forces group was on deployment to Kosovo and I was supporting their efforts there. I worked 12 hour shifts translating two languages for 30 straight days at one point, by far the most intense stretch of work during my five years in the army. To make matters worse, I was in the 10th’s barracks but without any of my personal property since I was on temporary assignment. I had some clothes and that was about it.

I ended up going to the PX (Post Exchange) and purchased a bunch of lined paper and pens. In my spare time, of which there was little, I wrote. I started by writing the story of my first ever character, Durbar. It seemed to me as though my writing was amazing. It was slightly less than amazing, but I enjoyed myself all the same. My friend, and Matt’s wife, Samantha even read some of it and gave me some notes. Sadly, I didn’t finish it that summer but wrote a large amount, all by hand.

In May of 2004 my first daughter was born. I was home caring for her and since infants are not engaging to talk to, in my time between feedings, playing and caring for my daughter, I picked up “The Sureshot” and finished the story. This time, by the end of summer, I had a completed manuscript.

It went through a few edits and rewrites over the next year, but I was thrilled to have an actual manuscript and something publishable. It ultimately was published to my great pride, though there were some issues with that.

So Durbar lives. I’ve written two more complete manuscripts with him and look forward to publishing all of them in the next year or so.

If you have read about him already, I hope you enjoyed his adventures and look forward to his further deeds. If you haven’t then you’re in luck! He’ll be returning soon, better than ever.

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