Journalism teacher writing young adult novel using ‘novel’ process

Image: Cover for Once Upon a Fjord by Marty Reeder

Cover for Once Upon a Fjord by Marty Reeder

Marty Reeder has been teaching his students the art of writing for years. Reading and writing is his passion day in and day out. He is always encouraging all Sky View students to read and find their passion for literature, and he is consistently showing them by example. Mr. Reeder is infamous for always having a book just an arm’s length away.

Reeder says, “There is no better job in the world. There has not been a day I have woken up and not wanted to go to work.”

Although he loves his job, in just two months time the students will be out for 12 weeks. This break gives Reeder the perfect opportunity to fulfill the dream that has been hovering over him for years—to write a book. “I’ve had the idea for a long long time, at least a decade. In creative writing class this fall I wrote a brief version of it and decided I wanted to write the whole thing,” he says.

Marty’s unique story called Once Upon a Fjord can be summarized with the following blurb: Alfred, an 11 year old Norwegian boy living on a picturesque island in a fjord, loved to hear his mom tell him fairy tales laced with magic and legend. Still, at the turn of the 20th century with steamships replacing sailing ships and telegraphs replacing letters, Alfred never thought that those tales had any bearing on truth. But when tragedy strikes as a landslide devastates a nearby town just as Alfred’s mom is visiting, and Alfred’s dad falls into an emotional and mental shock, Alfred is desperate to believe in anything. That is when he meets the old, Finnish sailor, and something truly remarkable sets even Alfred’s wildest imaginations flying.

To get an idea of the type of writing that can be expected, Marty has also written a Prologue to the story, which is available for viewing on the internet.

Mr. Reeder plans to write this story in ten weeks of the summer, with a chapter per week. His project will start on June 5th. As soon as the date hits he will advance on his book, setting aside time each day away from his family to work. “My wife is a big fan; she has gotten really excited about it.”

Being an author requires Marty to be his own time keeper. “I’ll write a chapter and that will take 2-3 days and a full 2 more days editing and then post it at the end of the week.” Unlike paperbacks Reeder’s book is all on the internet, though it will be converted to several e-book formats for convenience to the reading audience.

While reading an article, Reeder heard about different projects being done through a site called Kickstarter, according to its website, is the largest funding platform for creative projects. “Yeah, it’s a big thing; a lot of people are doing it with movies, music, albums, comics…” Reeder says.

He started with the goal of making $1,100 to fund his project and with less then 34 days left he has currently received 90% of his goal, and he is hoping to exceed his targeted mark. With this site you can read the book by pledging anywhere from a dollar to being a sponsor for the project, with certain rewards thrown in for different amounts. As soon as Marty found out about the site he decided it would be perfect for him, instead of going through the long process with a publisher lasting several months if not years. Each week the members that pledged for his project will be sent the chapter he has written and are able to be on the journey alongside Reeder and Alfred.

Reeder describes his book as, “Young adult, family friendly. I’m very excited for it.” Many locals, including some businesses, are thrilled to be supporting him in his endeavors and are looking forward to the adventures Alfred will embark on, and Marty hopes that plenty more will jump into the fun as well.

Related Link