North Texas Daily

UNT alumni publish online novel series

UNT alumni publish online novel series

UNT alumni publish online novel series
November 07
09:04 2013

Mollie Jamison / Staff Writer

Two UNT alumni published the second book of their four-part series on Tuesday. The “future fiction adventure” began during National Novel Writing Month last Novemeber.

Tanar Dial and Chris Traister spent the first two weeks of last November taking turns writing 2,000 words each to finish the e-book. “Scattered Ashes” was published online in March. Six months later, their second book “Scattered Ashes: Dread Repose” continued the story.

“[‘Scattered Ashes’] takes place in the wastelands of Texas, and it’s about these two diggers that are salvaging what’s left of Texas, and really what’s left of America, in order to buy passage out of the country,” said Traister, a 2010 alumnus.

Dial, who graduated in 2008, said the hardest part about co-writing was making sure they weren’t overwriting each other.

“We were both pretty excited about writing the first one,” Dial said. “The hard part would be making sure we are hitting our goals and sending it off to the other guy. Sometimes I’d forget to send it off to him until the next morning, and he’d be sitting around waiting for it.”

Traister said for him, writing the novel in a few weeks wasn’t that hard.

“We spent almost the entire month of October planning it,” Traister said. “We knew exactly where we wanted to go with it. [Dial] has been my best friend for almost 20 years, so we already had a lot of the same styles.”

Dial said they have known each other since fourth grade.

“We went to elementary school, junior high, high school and college together,” Dial said. “We’ve been in plays together. We both recognized each other’s talents. We had been talking about writing a book forever.”

Assistant English professor Miroslav Penkov said he has had at least three students this semester voice an interest in participating in this November’s National Novel Writing Month.

“What is really nice with the whole initiative of November novel writing is that it gives people the initial spark,” Penkov said. “It can be a great kick-starter for a project. Even if you don’t publish a whole novel in a month, you can write two chapters or two pages. It it may be the beginning of something great.”

Penkov said people often compare novel writing to running a marathon.

“It’s not only like running a marathon, but it’s like preparing to run a marathon,” Penkov said. “It’s like if you tell me in four days I have to run 42 kilometers, that’s insane. I doubt I’ll do it.”

Penkov said because of advances in technology a book can be written very quickly, but that it increases the likelihood that the quality of writing will be lower.

“Perhaps you don’t care about character and style,” Penkov said. “You like to do it for fun and then put it out there electronically and people pick it up, read it and love it. Some big novels are having massive commercial success like ‘50 Shades of Grey.’ It was a fan fiction written just for fun. In terms of quality it’s really poor, but people don’t care, they buy it.”

Penkov said he is a firm believer that writing is all about rewriting and that it takes time for a novel to be written well.

“It’s so unusual that a work of art created in haste would actually be endearing,” Penkov said. “Michelangelo didn’t carve ‘David’ in a month – he spent two years.”

Dial and Traister are working on the third book of their series now and hope to finish it this month.  Dial currently lives in Seattle doing security for Boeing and Traister does freelance copywriting in Dallas.

Feature photo:

Tanar Dial and Chris Traister’s first e-book titled Scattered Ashes: Dread Repose was published online Nov. 4. This is their first book about a post apocalyptic United States and follows two characters, Abe and Nate. Photo courtesy of Tanar Dial and Chris Traister. 

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