Originally Posted in November 2011. This was my very first Post in the It Is What It Is blog. It coincided with the beginning of a class I took online with Holly Lisle that changed my life and began my career as a Professional Fabler.
I am going to be a Writer — so beware all you unsuspecting Readers. Well, at least that is the plan.
Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to be a Writer. To see my name on the cover of a book (actually several books)! Over the last mumble-mumble years I have started no less than five books. I only finished one and didn’t like that very much. I tried some short stories, but that just doesn’t seem to be my thing. I want to write NOVELS.
I really have not had hardly any formal training in how to be a Writer. Even in school I was terrible in English — where the heck do you really put a comma — I end up not putting in enough or waaaaay too many.
No one had told me how to go about writing a novel. I read a number of different books on Writing, but they didn’t seem to help too much. I would start writing and then get hung up on too many details, try to make sure every word was just right, and don’t even get me started on naming characters and places. Normally I would get anywhere from 3 to 10 chapters into the story and then give up bogged down with details trying to figure out what a house in medieval times actually looked like or how to name some character (Bob comes to mind, but since I have already used Bob three times in the story and Bob probably wasn’t even a name used a thousand years ago, that just leaves me twiddling my thumbs).
It usual starts with me getting the itch to write again while simultaneously thinking I have the world’s greatest idea for a story. Then I just jump in and start writing, and eventually quit all frustrated.
Well, I got the bug again. Got an idea for a book and getting so itchy calamine lotion wouldn’t even help. You ask? Even if you don’t, I’ll pretend you did. What makes this time different? First off, I started looking around at Writer websites and stumbled across one that really interested me — Vision: A Resource for Writers (visionforwriters.com). It has been around for over 10 years (20 at the time I’m republishing this Post) and has articles about writing by a number of different Writers. Many of the articles were really great and one in particular Holly Lisle (hollylisle.com). I really loved Holly’s style and the fact that she didn’t hold anything back. She told it pretty much as she saw it. NOTE: Holly was the original Editor of the Vision site, but it changed to someone else at some point.
Regardless, when I followed the link to Holly’s site, I saw that she was a well-established author. Over 32 books published by some major New York publishing houses. I also discovered that she took what she has learned over the last 20 years and had created a number of courses to help Writers hone their art. Her Novel-Writing School (novelwritingschool.com/about.php). I looked at a couple of her self-help books and clinics like Create a Plot Clinic.
Then I came across the big one. The one that I, Peter, needed. It was called How To Think Sideways. I know. When I first saw the title, I was like Huh? You can ask my wife and youngest daughter–I say Huh? a lot. But as I spent time going through the long description (and Holly it really is long :-)) And yes, I like using smiley faces! I discovered that the course must have been written just for me. There are 25 sessions where you receive a lot of information (and I do mean a LOT). Holly says it best in her, long, description, “Thinking Sideways is the process of clearing the deadwood out of your thinking, pulling your creativity front and center (even if you haven\’t done a creative thing in thirty years), and unlocking your unique brilliance.” Or in my case over thirty years. The idea is to help you come up with story ideas, figure out which of them are any good, create characters worth reading about, write an exciting story with conflicts that make sense and have thrilling scenes. To quote Holly again “This 25-week course teaches you a unique, systematic, repeatable method for creating not just fiction, but really good, rich, deep, meaningful fiction. Fiction better than anything you ever imagined you could write.”
I will be receiving one set of session material every two weeks for the next year. I will also start my new Novel at some point during the year.
So, all of the above is really nice, but so what? What does this all have to do with why I created a blog? So the short version is that I plan to write in this blog every week (or more often) about how I deal with the different sessions, when I find some magnificent insight about myself or about the art of writing, or when I scream because I am so frustrated, and how my book progresses, along with just about anything else that is related to me evolving into a Writer and actually writing a novel that might have a chance to be published.
Join me on my journey to become a Writer. You can register to make comments, though please keep them in such terms that you wouldn’t mind your grandmother reading them. You can also e-mail at any point if you have any questions, suggestions, or just want to say Hi!