Friday, May 19, 2006

How I Got Started

I'm asked a lot how I got started writing books. Despite the fact that I think I was born to write, it actually took me quite a while to get started.

When I was very young, a beginning reader, my mother took me by the hand and walked me down the block to the local library. I remember the first book I checked out. It was about a dog named Val, and when I finished reading it, I thought to myself, "I can do that."

But it was a long time before I actually did.

Over the years I wrote for newspapers and magazines, and my work has appeared in many regional and national publications. I wrote some short stories, and even wrote for confession magazines (remember those?) I wrote for Vocational Biographies, a publisher of career reference materials, and was even fortunate enough to have corporate writing jobs (imagine! doing what I loved and getting a regular paycheck for it!)

But I always wanted to write novels. And I had no end of ideas to write about, it was the how that stumped me.

I thought there was only ONE WAY to do it, and my search began for THE way. That's what took me so long, and what a waste of time that was. Because there is no ONE way to write a novel. There are as many ways to write a novel as there are novelists. I just had to find the way that was right for me. Once I realized that, the story ideas began lining up in queue.

So the right way for me is to formulate most of the story in my head, and then write an outline. I always know the beginning and the end quite clearly. The middle of the story is not always fully formed in my mind, but I do make a list of things I want to happen. The items on the list are not carved in stone, I do wander off in the writing process, but I'm always amazed when I'm finished how many of those events on my list made it into the book.

I've received some interesting suggestions for my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." One is studying Yoga at an ashram in India, and though that is something I'd definitely love to do, I'm afraid I have to limit my list to things I'll actually do. Otherwise, my list would be endless.

And thanks, Bulldoglvr, but I don't think I'll be learning to fly, either, for the reason you mention. (See comments attached to my first blog called, "Welcome.")

More later.


Anonymous said...

I would love to learn to fly, but, I think I'm with you CC and Bulldoglover- I'll leave the flying to the experts! LOL

Bulldoglvr said...

Isn't it funny how we are all brothers and sisters in our love for the written word ... and knowing we can do it?

It isn't for money or fame but for the story!

After my first day of kindergarten I informed my mother that I was not going back. When she asked "why" I told her "because they didn't teach me to read!" (This was in the days when parents thought you went to school to learn and you didn't know everything before you got there!)

I quickly learned to read everything and anything(much to my mothers chagrin when she found me reading my uncle's Playboy magazines I found in the dumpster!)