My name is David M.
Fitzpatrick. I’m from Bangor, Maine--far removed from most of
civilization, but a decent place with everything one needs, even if it
isn't a 24-hour town. I like to hike and climb mountains, and there are
plenty of great hikes nearby: the many mountains of Acadia National Park
on the coast, Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Tumbledown Mountain and
other peaks in Mt. Blue State Park, my very favorite Gulf Hagas, and many
For several years, until late 2001, I ran a computer services shop in
downtown Bangor. My business was my life 12-18 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I closed it down to focus more on my writing. Today, I do that sort of
work solely with selected business clients, as I now write full-time for
the Bangor Daily News, and there’s more time to write.
Since I was a kid, writing has been my passion. I’ve been writing, and
loving it, since I was about seven. Possessed of a runaway imagination, I
always lost myself in books filled with wonderful fiction. Whether it was
a journey to a faraway world, exploring magicks others said didn’t exist,
or loving to be scared to death reading some ghost story, a book was
always in my hands.
As well was a pen. Before I understood the concepts of structuring a
story, I was writing them down. Many people told me to not waste my time
and focus on a real career—but I didn’t listen. Good thing, that.
Life got in the way a lot, and I was busy with a family and “a real
career,” so I got sidetracked… but eventually, I started selling short
stories. It hasn’t stopped yet, and I look forward to the “waste” others
thought it might be.
While I’ve written in various modes of fiction and non-fiction, my true
passion has always been what is called “speculative fiction”—primarily
fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. In 2000, I sold my first short
fiction piece, and many more have followed. Along the way, I’ve had the
opportunity to write in other areas, such as technical pieces, humor, and
even an interview... but fiction has always been my focus.
Working for a
2005, I began freelancing for the Bangor Daily News for their
Special Sections. I did a fair amount all year long and they must have
liked me, because in November 2005 they hired me on full-time. But why
write advertiser editorial for a newspaper when fiction is my focus? Like
Dean Koontz said in How To Write Best-Selling Fiction, until you
can make a living writing fiction, you have to make a living doing
something else... so why not get paid to write? It doesn't matter what you
write, so long as you write. A writer shouldn't spend his days running a
cash register or serving meals in a restaurant, or selling vacuum cleaners
or fixing computers; a writer should get paid to write.
And writing for the NEWS is a great accompaniment to my other writing. If
nothing else, I've gotten even better at trimming my prose! When I'm told
to do an extensive interview and write up a 600-word story, and my first
draft comes in at 1,000, it's a challenge to trim down the piece to fit!
Trimming word counts has always been something I've focused on after
completing the first draft of a story, but the NEWS has helped hone that
At the same time, writing newspaper stories is vastly different than
writing fiction. For the NEWS, we adhere to Associated Press Style, which
is NOT necessarily ideal for writing fiction. There are a lot of head-scratchers
in AP Style, to be sure--I would NOT recommend anyone who wants to write
fiction use the AP Stylebook as their writing bible.
The old saying goes that those who write, do; those who don't, teach. I
don't always agree with that, because not only do I write every day at the
NEWS, and publish fiction regularly and steadily, but now I'm also
In November 2006, on assignment for the
NEWS, I had the pleasure of meeting with Pat Gillis, the continuing
education coordinator at United Technologies Center in Bangor. In
discussing how UTC gets ideas for courses to offer, Pat and I thought that
a course teaching the ins and outs of writing, editing, polishing,
marketing, submitting, and publishing short fiction would be a great
idea--and as such, "Creative Writing: The Short Story" was born. This
15-week course would cover all those aspects, and when it's over, the
students will have produced polished works of short fiction--which I will
then independently publish in an anthology. I'm very excited about this
But teaching this course is strange in
a couple of ways. First, UTC focuses on technical courses, so writing is
not what one might expect to find there. At the same time, we both agreed
the school and the students would benefit from such a course. Second, 20
years ago, I attended UTC when it was called Southern Penobscot Vocational
School, completing a two-year course in Computer Information Services. I
certainly never expected to be back there, two decades later, teaching.
The first run of the class was only
four people. We had hoped for seven, but were not surprised to have a
small turnout for the first round. This is a great experiment that we hope
will become a regular course. For updates on how the course is going,
visit the course page.
About My Fiction