The local writer’s club short story contest sounded like fun. Anonymous. Unintimidating. The story went to a post office box, no one would know, even the non-member entry fee was reasonable. If only I had known ...
So you’re writing a novel, congratulations. You’ve embarked on an exciting journey that promises rich rewards. A writing career is one of the best ways to achieve success and ensure your financial future. And it's easy, provided you know the shortcuts.
There is a language that passes between a writer and a reader when they are speaking of shared words. It can be silent, it can be rowdy, it can be effusive, it can, occasionally, be wondrous.
But every time it happens, I am reminded of the famous epigraph to E.M Forster’s novel, Howard’s End: “Only connect!’’
I agonize over revisions—and not because I dread them. Instead, I crave the opportunity to wallow in the words, tossing any that don’t add to the story line and replacing them with new connections and symbols. Months after publication, I dread studying the set of 85,000 words too closely, ever expecting to discover more ways to update, polish, and repair.
Remember the old saying "Life Begins At Forty?" Well, to promote my baseball novel, The Closer, I am using a variation on that theme --"Life Begins At Seventy." After celebrating the start of my eighth decade on earth, the novel was published (Sunbury Press), and I won four gold medals as a sprinter in the 2012 San Diego Senior Olympics.
What does that really mean when you’re a fiction writer who writes romantic suspense? I mean, I don’t know any psychopaths, stalkers, or serial killers. Research helps. Discovering the characteristics of those personality types. What makes them tick? What motivates them to do the things they do?
When embarking upon a novel, most writers – myself included – have some idea of where we are headed. In varying degrees, we map out our plots and mould our characters, devise inciting incidents, and plan our endings. Yet just as we cannot know at the outset how life will affect us, the novelist takes a leap into the unknown, hoping that through the very act of writing, disarray will be tidied and madness given meaning.
If you do mention you’re a writer before you’re published, you’ll invariably be met with a number of unwelcome responses, all resembling the same patronizing quip: What a great hobby! Or even more annoying, you’ll be cornered by some enthusiastic self-proclaimed “kindred spirit” who, wouldn’t you know it, is a writer too!