Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How I got here

The reminder that just hit my mailbox says it's my turn to post to the blog. Oh dear. I suppose I should start with some background.

I've always had quite an active imagination. In grade school, back in the '70s, I started this game out on the playground that began with two of us pretending that the fallen tree was part of a wagon train. Within a week or so we had a complex story line and about thirty kids playing. Then the school got worried that we would get hurt and had our wagon hauled off.

Our next game, which lasted all year involved a bunch of small toys and a little city we created using the roots and hollows of another tree. I always played pretend. I guess that means I've always been a storyteller.

When I got into high school I learned about creative writing. I loved it. I read and wrote all the time. My teachers were encouraging. Then I grew up and life kind of pushed all that to the side. I joined the US Air Force and didn't have time for much of anything. After I got out my then husband didn't think I should waste my time on something as frivolous as writing, so I gave up on that dream. Notice he is my "ex" husband.

Then a few years ago something amazing happened. (How many tales of success start out that way?) I came home from overseas and a good friend told me I should read the Harry Potter books. I told her I had no interest in reading a "children's book" and laughed. She held out the first book -- there were three published at the time -- and told me to just read the first chapter. If I didn't like it I could bring it back to her the next day. The next morning at 8am I was knocking on her door begging for the second book.

After finishing all three, I was hungry for more. Someone told me about this weird thing called Harry Potter fanfiction. I looked it up. I read some. I said to myself, "This is very cool. You could do this." So, I did. After a couple of years doing that, someone in the fanfiction community said, "Hey, there's this publisher looking for some original fiction if any of you want to try your hand at it." I thought about it and cranked out a little story. They accepted it and a couple
months later accepted a more complex one from me.

With that I was hooked on getting paid to write out what my imagination produces. I had to take a break when I went to work overseas again, but now I'm back and trying hard.

Writing isn't easy for me. I come up with ideas all the time, but sitting down and putting them on paper is a lot of work and I have trouble remembering grammar rules. I'm proud of what I write, but have gotten pretty thick skinned after having stuff edited and critiqued for the past several years. I've learned that my first draft is never going to be as good as I think it will be and will change dramatically by the time I'm ready to submit it to a publisher. But, I love it!
I joined this writing group in the hopes that they would be able to help me discipline myself to writing. So far, so good.

I'm also finding that when I'm stuck on a story all I have to do is shout out and half a dozen people will pop up and offer ideas and alternatives.

I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo this year along with several other members of this group. I have an idea for a little werewolf story. It came out of a fanfic that I started but never finished. As I was writing it I realized that, with significant changes, it had enough potential to be a "real" novel. I can't wait to begin.

As for the Dichotomy Story, I'm writing Above/Below. I wasn't going to write one at all because I thought there wasn't enough time. (Remember that discipline problem I have?) When I got home from the group meeting I was hit by an idea and just had to give it a try. I was a little worried about it fitting in the book because it is set in the 13th Century. But the group thinks it's a good idea and has found ways to tie other stories into it.

Speaking of that story... I really should be finishing the first draft instead of posting.


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