Posts by reudaly:
For a short work week with a vacation (that kinda wasn’t), it was a busy week last week that made me remember some reasons why I do what I do. I won’t even begin to touch on Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! this week. Because a promise I made a few weeks ago appeared. I told my friend, Crystal, I’d help a 5th Grader she knew with a school “passion project”. Apparently the kids were assigned to interview someone who does what they think they want to do when they grow up, this 5th Grader, we’ll call her K, wants to be a writer. So she came up with SIX good questions that her dad emailed me. After trying to do good answers – they solid, open-ended questions – I asked her if I could post the interview on the blog. She agreed (and I hope she gets a good grade). She did tell me in her thank you note that her dad typoed question #5 – it was supposed to be “did” not “do” – but answer is the same…
1. Who was your role model as a writer and why?
This is a harder question than you might know. I didn’t have just one role model as a writer, there were many who influenced me over the years. But, here we go… one of my biggest role models as a writer actually wrote and created television. His name was Gene Roddenberry and he created Star Trek way back in the day. I learned a lot about story structure and pacing from episodes of Star Trek. The show also had novels called media tie in books that kept the universe alive in book form.
As for books, some of my first memorable reading was Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni books. They led me into fantasy – as well as the Elfquest graphic novels by Richard and Wendy Pini. But some of the things I really loved from a young age were mystery series that were older than I was – Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. These were books written by SEVERAL women over the decades under one name – but it introduced me more to ensembles and how to keep characters consistent.
2. Did anyone tell you couldn’t be a writer? What did they say and what did you do?
No one told me flat out that I couldn’t be a writer, but they weren’t overly supportive about it – but let me clarify that none of those people were my parents. My mom and dad have always supported me and my writing. In fact, my mom’s a writer now that she’s retired. It was other family members and friends. They all had that “Oh, that’s nice…what’s your backup plan.” Or after I started published, they said, “Oh, you’re actually like GOOD at this.” Like they’d just been humoring me.
I even had a woman in college say (when I told her I wanted to write professionally), “Oh I hope you marry well.” Implying I would need someone to financially support me. That was uncool.
3. What first got you interested in writing?
I am an only child, and for a while we didn’t have a lot of neighbors. So I read a lot. Made up stories and scenarios for dolls and toys to act out because I didn’t have a lot of other people to play with. And one day I was a reading a book and thought to myself, “I can do this. I want to do this.”
4. Do you have any tips for a new writer?
The essential tip is to keep at it. Don’t stop. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. The other is a reminder that you don’t have to be perfect. In fact, most of what you write will be garbage, and that’s okay. In fact, if you don’t write the garbage? You never get to the good stuff, because the good stuff is what happens when you start revising and editing. Gemstones start out as dirty, ragged rocks that don’t shine until they’re cut and polished – writing is the same way. Also? Don’t think you have write epic tomes right away. Start small – short fiction or small amount of words every day just to get the muscle memory and habit going. Just go.
5. Do you ever think writing was not for you and what changed your mind?
Only about every six months. I’ll go through a dry spell where it’s just painful get a handful of words written in a day or I’ll haven’t had anything sell for a while and I think, “Yep, this is it. I’m done. They’ve all figured out that I have no talent or no story to tell. It’s over.”
Then you know what happens? A story sells, or a person at a convention – or another writer or artist – asks what I’m working on or when the next piece of a project is coming out. Or even a lovely student asks me to talk about what it’s like to be a writer. Then it all comes back.
6. What are some of the pros about being a writer?
Wow, another good question. Pros to being a writer:
The creative jolt of hanging out with other writers. We get each other – and it’s so important to not feel alone with the struggles.
Seeing a person holding your book and reading it when they don’t know you’re there – they do know you’re there and don’t care.
Tangible ones – selling books to complete strangers at conventions. You kind of know your friends and family will support you, but having people you never met buy a book is awesome. Both because it’s money, but also because you have the opportunity to change a person’s perspective for just a little while.
Seeing your name on a cover – book or magazine – is the biggest rush because it proves that you can do this thing you’ve loved for so long – and other people also see the value in it.
The money for selling a story or a book is nice – but it’s never going to be a lot unless you’re in the top 1%. But this is not something anyone does to get rich – no matter what TV and Movies say.
Her dad read the interview and has been trying to get K to read Dragonriders of Pern for years, maybe now she will. And only a couple of days after I wrote this up, I met Wendy and Richard Pini at Spectrum, which is another part of the “interesting” week. Maybe I added them because I was thinking about Spectrum, but I did read the first graphic novels in either 8th or 9th grade when I was firming up what genre I wanted to write (I decided to be a writer when I was 10 – so about the same age as K.) Full circles, man. Full circles.
Serious, K? If you don’t get a good grade, it’s me not you. 😎
No pen blog today. Heading home from a wonderful weekend with artists. Will try to post something tomorrow.
This week’s strory…live from Spectrum Art Live! Words: Halloween, refrigerator, pier, strength, voices, surprise, contribute, bird, iron, requirements Story: The last moment of childhood was right there, staring me down as I held open the refrigerator door. The voices in my head whispered that I’d been so good with my iron will. But now…but now […]
I’m in the process of getting my mind back in the game after my hiatus week. Well…HAH. Last week was “hiatus” solely because all brain power was focused on the Day Job. We had an issue where I finally got to put some of my new Public Information Officer training into practice while putting the […]
It’s a recovery week from a super busy week at the Day Job last week and prep for going to Spectrum Art Live on Thursday. So it seems like a good time for a novelty pen that I picked up…somewhere. I don’t even remember – maybe World Market. Maybe Party City. I think I found […]
I am getting to this today. Everything that piled up to cause a hiatus week was done yesterday. Huzzah! You’ll notice a note at the bottom. This was my judgement on the story when I wrote it. Not all stories are going to be good or strong – and for anyone starting out, just know […]
I’m just going to call this a hiatus week on the blogs. I might get a story up on Friday, but yeah. Not happening. I’ve been planning an event for work that’s in 48 hours. Eek. And other stuff has happened that makes the day job even more…adventurous at the moment. So… see y’all next […]
Prompt: A Day in the Life Words: identical, pot roast, decorate, sign, abuse, library, amnesia, butcher, submit, sensation Story: “Have you had this experience before?” Kayla blinked twice, slowly at the councilor. Did she really have to submit to such a stupid question? “Um, no. I’ve never before found myself in a butcher shop holding […]
It’s been tough week so far. Really tough. I’ve got a major stressor at work that will be over one way or another next week – and went beyond what I thought the stresses of that were going to be. Compounded with that there were about 24 hours of super crappy (because according to Michael […]
This is going to be a completely ridiculous post because it’s been a rough weekend and challenging day thus far. We lost a good friend unexpectedly on Saturday. The world seems a bit dimmer without Casey Sledge in it. So, to try to return a bit of a smile and light – I give you […]