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.)


1 comment:

Wist said...

I love the freedom that has been given to writers with the indie rise and what-not. I had my own trilogy shoved in a box for years, part because I was busy with my two young boys, part because I couldn't imagine an agent or publisher waiting on me to take a bit longer to give them what they want. It seemed unrealistic that any would wait for anything with what their desk looks like. But it is a ton of work to go solo and often grey hairs appear to match. The reward though is that you can say you did it by yourself, and exactly as you intended it to be. Where it goes from there is all about who you entice to pick your book up.

If you need an editing sweep over any of your work, I'll be over at It's currently starved of science fiction (crazy vampires are everywhere). Keep working at it! There aren't anymore excuses like there was ten years ago to not share it with others.

S.J. Wist