Eye strain tends to bring writing to an abrupt halt

Oh no, eye strain again

Several times a year, I end up with eye strain. This time it happened because I’ve been staring at the doc file for Dark Arrows, my novel in progress, for days as I work my way through it again and again.

When this happens, my eyes feel the way they would if I were riding a motorcycle with no helmet or goggles and had wind blowing into them for days; in other ways, it’s a bit like being on the verge of snowblindness. I find that some eye drops named Soothe really help with this.

Hunting arrow from the Bear Archery catalogue of 1954. The novel has an archer who never misses a shot.

Dark Arrows

Like all of my novels, Dark Arrows (set in early 1955) didn’t turn out like I thought it would. For one thing, I never know how my novels will turn out because I don’t outline or plan ahead. The first surprise was that Eulalie, Willie, Lena, and others from my Florida Folk Magic Series of three novels showed up in the story. (Saying “shoo, shoo”) didn’t work. And, the story turned out to be more of a mystery because there are not only bad guys and good guys, but the major characters all have secrets.

For months, I had problems getting the plot, style, and point of view to work properly. But now that I think I have all that ironed out, I’m excited about finishing the novel and sending it to Thomas-Jacob Publishing–as soon as the eye strain clears up and I can see it on the screen.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the Florida Folk Magic trilogy that includes Conjure Woman’s Cat, Eulalie and Washerwoman, and Lena. You can save money on the Kindle version with the three-in-one set shown here.

The usual Sunday potpourri

  • We had a bit of Northwest Georgia snow for a while yesterday, thick enough to cover the yards and mess up your hair if you walked out into it with a camera. It all melted away by mid-afternoon.
  • My novel Conjure Woman’s Cat will be among those listed on TaleFlick this coming week. According to their web site, “TaleFlick Discovery is a weekly contest that allows the public to vote on which stories they want to see adapted to the screen. Fans can now be involved earlier in the filmmaking process than ever before.” Personally, if Conjure Woman’s Cat became a movie, I’d like to see Viola Davis in the lead role of Eulalie–not that anyone would ask me for casting advice.
  • In spite of my criticism about the amount of backstory in Cemetery Road, I enjoyed reading the novel. The small-town alliances and secrets make for a very complex story that’s even hard for a man returning to his old hometown to figure out. Suffice it to say, there is great depth in the characters and enough lies to cover almost everything that happens.
  • I’m actually writing again, at work on a novel that might be considered a sequel of sorts to the three Florida Folk Magic novels set in the Florida Panhandle in the 1950s. It’s fun while I’m writing and frustrating while I’m researching the specifics from hospital care and to dishwashing soap promotions of the era.
  • My website will expire on the 20th of this month. I’m sad to see it go, but it’s no longer financially viable. I’ve deleted most of the information on it, leaving a home page with links to my writing. I’m happy to say that a fair number of people visited this site every month. Thank you.
  • My eyes are starting to glaze over about the American Dirt controversy. I see most of the complaints about the novel as a spurious tempest in a teapot.