How I Became a Writer
I've heard stories of writers starting to write stories as young as three, taking this barely-out-of-diapers time to begin to hone their craft in between naps and juice-box breaks.
I, was not one of those.
What I was, and am, is a voracious reader. I pretty much skipped the bottle-fed comic book stage and went straight for the solid food. Jules Verne's 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea was a catapult that set me up for a stage I willingly stepped onto with zero stage fright. Anything the school English teacher assigned the class for required reading I devoured, which always confused them as my grade average in the class was either average or below average. I just wasn't one to study English in the practical sense.
Man, how times have changed.
I started my first 'real' attempt at writing at the age of seventeen. I wrote ten pages on an old Royal typewriter, the beginning of a story called Mind's Eye that was much like the movie 'Lucy' that came out in 2014. I gave these pages to my brother to read and when he laughed in the right place, I was hooked. I knew right then I wanted to become a writer. Unfortunately, I had zero discipline and if possible, even less writing chops. Oh, I could tell a story, but the mechanics weren't there at all. I had the equivalent of a car chassis with no engine to make it run. I took those ten pages to a local writers group and proudly handed them to these seasoned (whose youngest member was ten years older than me) and aspiring authors who read them, patted me on the head, and informed me I could stay if I kept my mouth shut and learned... also, make the coffee. Eye-opening, to say the least.
It was many years later before I even attempted to write again. Life happened, jobs happened, relationships came and went, but all the while, I still knew in the back of my mind I wanted to write. I still read as much as I did as a kid, and my library had grown to prove it. I came from a different time. There wasn't any such thing as Kindle, or Nook books, or downloadable PDF's. There was paper. If I wanted a book, I didn't go to Amazon, I went to the bookstore or the library. As much reading as I did, I gained a base experience that told me I was out of my league when it came to writing stories. I began to understand that I needed to learn HOW to write a story, not just write it down and plod my characters from scene to scene. At forty-five years old, my first book printed was a novella called 'One for the Road,' a happy little tale of two drunks smashing their cars into each other at three A.M. in the morning. I at first sent this around to be published, but as expected, I got no takers. Frustrated after only a month, I went to a Vanity Press and paid them to publish this little book. At fifteen thousand words, it looked more like a pamphlet than a book. However, I lucked out, as the editor who worked on it really knew his stuff. As you would expect, I got back a literal SEA of red in edits and corrections. Another eye-opener.
It was at this point I really started to study English. And not just study, but threw myself completely into it. I found the happy realization that the mechanics of grammar rules, the parts of speech, the rules of punctuation, all came fairly easy to me. I was like a fish in water. What had eluded me in school (probably because I wasn't paying attention) seemed to graft on to me like a healthy plant in fresh soil. Oh, I still had a hell of a lot to learn, in fact I still do, but it was FUN, if you catch my drift. I was enjoying myself immensely, and started to share what I was learning on Facebook in what would eventually become the book, 'Practical Tips for Every Author.'
After my novel 'Farm House' was traditionally published, I continued to write and learn. It was shortly after this while thinking of perhaps a follow-up for that novel, that I met Laura Ranger in a writers group online. We began trading idea's, and it was soon after I asked her if she would like to collaborate on a novel. I had a very loose idea for a book and was certainly open to this extremely intelligent woman to co-write with me. This turned into the novel 'Rogue' and while the road wasn't always easy, it is something we're both very proud of. We also developed a relationship while writing it and I don't mind telling you, if you can co-write a book and still be together as man and woman, you KNOW you got something that's going to last forever. 😀
I have since come out with another novel, Seeds, which is a science fiction book, and even a children's book. As the director of operations and acquisitions editor for my fiance's publishing company, I have continued to grow and will continue to write, edit, format, as well as teach writing seminars and webinars. My door is always open to any who have questions, or even just to chat about the business!
God bless and talk soon.
March 6, 2018