Side Jobs is a different kind of story. The Dresden Files series encompasses more than a decade of adventures had by Harry Dresden, professional wizard. Side Jobs is a compilation of short stories interwoven into the larger plotline. They have little bearing on the series overall, but do offer insight and character development and, let’s face it, just a little bit extra for us nerds who can’t get enough.
I’m a couple of stories in, but for this post I want to focus on the first story in the book, A Restoration of Faith. In his introduction, Jim Butcher writes, “This one won’t win any awards, because it is, quite frankly, a novice effort…I had barely learned to keep my feet under me as a writer, and to some degree that shows in this piece.” This is a story that editors declined to publish, and it predates any of the full-length Dresden Files novels.
Reading it easily shows how fairly simple the story is. I’m 14 books into this series, and I feel like I have a good grasp on how Jim Butcher tells a story. A Restoration of Faith doesn’t come close to the finished works I’m used to. As well it shouldn’t. It was a long time ago, at the beginning of his career, and he was still learning. Obviously, it worked out. He made the New York Times Bestseller list.
I’m taking this story as a lesson today. Everyone starts somewhere. And the stuff at the beginning isn’t always that great. I’m still at the beginning, and anyone who’s read my posts knows I’ve been struggling. Maybe my stuff isn’t that great. That doesn’t mean I won’t write a bestseller. I just have things to learn first.