Everybody wants to write a book, but most do not. Writing is hard work. What got you started, and what helps you get through a complete story?
I’ve had four science fiction novels and a book of poetry published, and a children’s chapter book accepted for publication. How did I get here? Good luck, working at my craft, a father who insisted on proper grammar, and some level of ability.
I’ve written poetry as far back as I can remember. I kept it in a series of spiral notebooks that accumulated in my attic, wrote cards for holidays birthdays, co-workers leaving the office, and the occasional small newsletter. Along about 2005 I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I scrounged around online and ended up putting them in Yahoo briefcase (online) as I had too many computers to keep them on just one.
That December I was reading an ezine I liked and discovered they had a poetry contest; I believe the theme was ‘sleep’, a subject I write about frequently. Since I had a poem handy (read online), I sent it in, and the poem was one of four runners-up., I didn’t win.
But they published all four of the finalists, and I was psyched. I joined a couple of online communities and started working on my poetry. In one of them, I ran across someone who was starting a small print poetry mag (since died, I believe). He liked and published a couple of my poems. That was early 2006. I found out about “The Muse Online Writers Conference,” a free, online virtual conference, and “attended” that October.
There I “met” Linda Barnett Johnson. Linda runs writers forum, and she insisted that her students join both fiction and poetry forums. Poetry alone was not an option.
At that point, I’d never written a word of fiction (at least, not since elementary school ), and I would have sworn I never would. However, I liked Linda, and I wanted to join the poetry forum, so I signed up. I started writing for children, as that felt less intimidating – and shorter. As a poet, I was a terse writer, and generating sufficient word count worried me. My first story ended up published online. It was a *long* time until I placed another, but thus encouraged, I continued to write fiction.
And no, writing for children is not easier than writing for adults — in fact, it’s tougher.
Many years ago, a family friend lost his wife and all four of his children in a house fire. This incident had haunted me ever since, and one weekend I wrote a 5000 word story in which the main character, a nine-year-old boy, lost his mother in a house fire. I couldn’t change my friend’s outcome, but in my fictional world, I could.
I spent the next year and a half or two years whipping it into shape. Although I have (and had) a good ear for language and a solid knowledge of grammar, I knew little about structuring a story. I set out to learn about plotting, characterization, dialogue, setting, points-of-view, and, yes, more grammar. I joined a critique group and took the ICL basic course. I hung out on Writers Village University and took their free fiction course and a couple of others that proved extremely helpful. The story was accepted for publication. It won’t be out until next year. In the mean time, I have had four science fiction novels published by MuseItUp Publishing and published a book of poems that go with the novel, Sand in the Desert.
Aleyne Desert, done by me using GIMP
I started writing science fiction in 2010. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I’d never written a sci fi story — I had kind of a phobia about it — so in September of that year, I decided I’d do Nano (National Novel Writing Month) that November, and began to plan my story.
I devoted most of my time and energy to world building, a bit to thinking about the characters, and devoted about a page to the plot. Then I started writing. I heard about an online editing workshop given through Savvy Authors. Through Savvy, I connected with a publisher and submitted the manuscript. It was rejected. They liked it, but not enough to publish it. I worked on the manuscript, including strengthening the ending. That June, I pitched to Lea Schizas and she accepted it.
Backtrack to November 2010. Robert Brewer runs a chapbook challenge on his PoeticAsides blog. I wanted to participate, so I created a poet to go with the universe of the novel and wrote 31 of his poems that November. I used eight of the poems in the novel, as I worked studying the poems into the plot.
Nope, I never intended to write sequels to my first science fiction novel either. Unfortunately, my characters didn’t agree with me, and they hounded me until I have in, took notes, and agreed to write the books.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-SK
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com