My newsletter list, the people who help me with many things (thank you!), was giving me suggestions for overcoming writer's block. Which I was suffering massively from. Amongst the many great suggestions was 'write whatever you want.'
So I started writing this insane story about two Navy SEALs in Hawaii. And I started sharing it with my newsletter. Some hated it. (One guy told me I knew nothing about Hawaii. Which wasn't true, I knew about Don Ho music.) But a lot of people enjoyed the loony humor and I was enjoying writing it, so I just kept going, figuring it wouldn't amount to much.
Oh, some of it had to go. I got rid of the first scene where the protagonists latch onto a shark that swims 15 miles out to sea and then they're saved by a Navy SEAL helicopter that 'just didn't happen to be doing anything at the time.' But a story started taking shape. Yeah, the new SEALs were loopy, but they were given a big mission--to find a US Senator who disappeared in Cuba playing golf.
One thing led to another and before long I realized I was writing a novel.
Like my buddy Plato said:
The beginning is the most important part of the work.
Old Plato knew what he was talking about. ;)