As a new fiction writer, I’m here to share my latest journey, whether it ends in success or failure, in hopes that it might help someone else. I’m not pretending to offer expert advice on writing here because I’m not an expert. In fact, there are brilliant sites out there to guide us along and I will probably put those links up as time goes by. What I’m hoping to do is offer little nuggets of info that might be useful and share my experiences. That’s the teacher in me, I guess. Of course, I invite any who really are experts to add advice should they feel so inclined.
So when and why did I start writing? What made me decide to join the ranks of those trying to get their work published?
First off, I’ve always loved to read. I honestly don’t remember when I didn’t have some book nearby, no matter where I was. And it’s almost always fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, horror – you get the picture.
In theatre, I wrote a lot of character bios during my character creation process. Backstories about the characters before they made their entrance onto the stage. That training has proved invaluable in creating Thulu, La Fi and company.
In actuality, I’ve been writing for ages. In addition to character bios, I’ve done a lot of communication in letters, speeches, emails and forums.
In 2000, I tried my hand at a musical play. The story was an atrocious failure as a play. So five years later, I put it in screenplay form. Shock! It practically wrote itself. Characters I didn’t know existed joined the story. I went through my rewrite process many times, but once I was done, I had something I felt could actually be made into a decent film. Of course, we all think our work is good, which is why we are doing this, right? Anyway, The Hourglass sits patiently waiting for the right time to emerge from it’s written shell into the butterfly film I think it could be. One of these days…
Another five years and here I am, not only with a completed novel, but a blog! No, no, Thulu & La Fi didn’t take five years. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I only started writing it June, 2010. I had the first draft done in about five weeks and my last draft has been done for three weeks. It went smooth as glass. The characters would jump out and say, “Hi, bet you didn’t know I was waiting in the wings!” and make their entrance into the book. The story took turns I hadn’t originally planned. Certainly, I didn’t expect it to evolve into a series, but it has. And worst confession of all – I had an absolute blast writing it. I adore it and I’m usually working the story or a character in my head while I do other things.
That scares me to be honest. Aren’t writers supposed to suffer for their art? Am I getting a pass for those years as an actor, when I had to work three jobs? I tell myself that’s why it went so smoothly. I insist to myself that I’ve been creating art all my life and I’ve always had a good imagination and that this is just another medium. Sometimes I even almost believe me, but always underneath is the fear that I’m pretending to be something I’m not.
The best advice I heard someone say (the writer, Tim Powers) was that if you want to write, then read. Well, I’ve done that – read and read and read. In fact, I’ve read several thousand books by now. I know what makes a good story. I don’t pretend to be in the ranks of my favorite authors. I’m not that brilliant a storyteller or craftsman. However, I think I captured something that will find a niche and find an audience. My characters were forming themselves and demanding to be let out and I’ve let their voices be heard.
Now I’ve started down the road to publication, but let’s leave that for another day.