Sunday, May 29, 2011

Writing is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates: a Meme

My writing friend Dawn G. Sparrow tagged me and said I had to do a blog post on the topic she tagged me with. I guess she just wants to help me get this blog off to a good start. Well, what writer doesn’t like to take a topic and try their hand at it?

Green_Woman started this:

Writing is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates: a Meme

Forrest Gump’s momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” I suppose the same could be said of writing, but . . . since we’re writers, we feel compelled to come up with our own silly comparisons.
Hence the creation of the Box of Chocolates Writing Meme–in which you may compare writing to anything but a box of chocolates.
How does it work? Take the phrase “Writing is like . . .” and finish it. Post it on your blog. Tag three others to do the same. That is all. See how easy that is?
So here goes…

Writing is like sailing. (No, I am not a sailor, but I’ve always enjoyed ships, and stories about the sea.)

The boat slips from her moorings and leaves the harbor. Once out to sea, she is free to go anywhere. A course is charted, the food lockers stocked, the winds are favorable, the voyage has begun. There are so many unknowns with the voyage, will the weather hold? Is the vessel shipshape and bristol fashion or is she in need of maintenance?

The voyage may be uneventful, or plagued with malfunctions, or hindered with storms. Unexpected circumstances arise, and the crew has to overcome the challenges.

Starting a writing project is slipping from the moorings. You may have an outline, and a plan on what you are going to write, but as the characters develop, they begin to take over the story. As chapter one is begun, there is so much potential, a clear sky, wide open seas, a lot of blank pages to fill.

Will there be plot holes? Will the dialog work? How is the word count? Edit and rewrites. Find and agent or publisher. Do I e-pub? Winds, currents, storms, malfunctions can plague the voyage, and yet…

And yet it is worth it.

Starting the story is the most exciting part of all, just get out there and enjoy the voyage!

Bon voyage.

I think I’ll tag

Cate Wood
Brenda Carre

Friday, May 27, 2011

Welcome - What is this Blog all about?

So much to do and so little time… cliché, but the cliché is so, so true. Technology has made life both easier and much more stressful at the same time. The telephone connected us. We could call and talk with people miles away, just like they were right next to you. Then along comes the cell phone, you can call from anywhere! Receive calls at anytime and at anyplace. Now cell phones carry your personal favorite music. The cell phone is now your organizer, camera, and keeps you up to the minute informed about the goings on with facebook, twitter, and who has posted their latest blog entry.

Once upon a time (yes another cliché) I would climb in my car and drive. I would listen to the radio, or play a cassette tape I had recorded with my favorite music. I would be alone. Now the wonderful cell phone is with me, and work calls… I spend the drive home doing work. I spend the drive to work, doing work. Gone are the days when the drive was a time of solitude.

Life is in the way of well, my life. I just used the example of a cell phone, but there is so many things vying for my time and attention. I am sure your life is filled with more than you have time to complete.

Thus this blog. I’ll be posting hints for time management. True I’ve a writer’s twist to this, but writing is a joy, but a demanding task master. To write well demands some of this valuable time. So work/life balance has become a major focus in my life now. I’ve five children, one grandchild on the way, and three children still at home. (Okay one just graduated high school and will be leaving soon) but that still leaves one in high school and one in middle school. I’ve been married for 27 years, and yes keeping the relationship with my wife takes time. I’ve a demanding job that eats a lot of my time. So I do understand the many factors that come at us every day.

I’ll be posting time management tips. Using time wisely and how to meet your writing goals, by using some time management skills.

I also have sections of the blog for other writing sites. A bit about me and my other interests, some of my writing, and a section about what I’ve learned about publishing and writing from my own mistakes.

Glad you are reading, and I hope the time you spend on my blog will be beneficial to you.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Journey Begins...

I will be brave here and say, “I am a writer.”

I have published an article in the company paper. It was a technical promotional informational blurb about what our section did for the company. So maybe that doesn’t count.

I have four complete manuscripts. I have a half written manuscript, but it got lost in itself and I’m not sure the direction it is supposed to go.

I have a work in progress (WIP) and it has an outline and the first chapter three quarters written.

I have a query letter that is just about there.

I have a story that I cannot sell as a debut author.

I have made some huge mistakes.

I am starting at the end. Let me start at the beginning.

My best friend in the third grade was Russell. One day he brought his “book” to school and shared it with me. It was the first time I had seen a photocopy. He had made drawings of space ships and robots. He had a “book cover” with written by and his name. His book was about five pages of what we would call technical illustrations with labels. His published work was completed by his father, who had taken his work to the office and ran it through a photo copier and stapled it together. It was cool!

“Would your dad publish something I do?” I asked.

“He can, if it isn’t too long.” (Can anyone say word count here?)

So I got busy with my own drawings and came up with about five pages. I remember giving my “manuscript” to my friend Friday at school. Monday I wanted to know if my “book” was done. No, his dad had to take it to work with him.
Tuesday: No his dad hadn’t had time to work on it.
Wednesday: I got my published work, two copies of my drawings. Nothing to be too proud of now, it was just some drawings made by a third grade geek (before geeks were cool).

It was great fun though, and looking back it had all the elements of what writers go through. Getting an idea: My friend’s “book”
Getting an agent: My friend
Getting a publisher: My friend’s dad
Submitting the manuscript
Getting the published work
So by the time I got into middle school I figured out that I needed to write a story.

I got a pen, and notebook paper and hand wrote over 100 pages on notebook paper a fantasy story about three friends that ended up on another world. They fought an evil warlord, defeated his army, and returned home again.

I gave it to the librarian to read.

She told me she liked my story.

By high school I was working on a science fiction trilogy, based on Star Trek, and Magellan’s round the world voyage – set in space of course, they were sailing around the universe.

Then I put it all away and forgot about writing. I started collage, met my wife, got married.

My sister sent me a copy of Writer’s Digest. That ignited my desire to publish my book. Then I remembered my fantasy story from middle school. I read it and asked myself how could the middle school librarian like this? But there was something in that plot, and some of the characters were good…

However, I knew the pen scratched stories of my youth would not make it to print.

I had four handwritten manuscripts. A fantasy story, and my science fiction trilogy. Which one should I start with? I decided on the fantasy story.

I began writing in first person. Didn’t like it. Then I started in third person, and kept the original premise and took them into the fantasy world. That didn’t work for me. Then I decided to make the characters live in the fantasy world. New ideas came.

So I started to write seriously. I wanted to publish a book.

My journey as a writer had begun. It had begun in elementary school, and continued through high school. So far writing had been for me and my circle of friends. I made a choice to step out into the real world of writing, getting published. At this point in my journey I am where I was years ago. I need to write a story that I can publish. I’ll save that for another post.

I’ll tell you more about what I’ve learned in future posts. I just thought you’d like to hear the beginnings of my journey to being published. (No, I am not published, yet.)