It wasn't until 2006 that my interest in writing resurfaced, as three different people talked to me about creative writing in the same week.
While attending a workshop my church offered, I gave a little start when the moderator shared her dream to some day write a book. She reminded me about my own dream, which I had forgotten about.
"Don't wait for ideal circumstances to start working on your dreams," she said to the group. "Why not start right now?"
That same week, someone else I knew announced he was starting a writer's group. A writer's group! Interesting.
A few days later, I had to call several people with a phone tree message. One of them was a writer by profession. We had such a great conversation about writing, I almost forgot to give her the phone tree message.
My fingers were now itching to get started again. I dusted off my first book and read it again. Hmmm... Maybe I could revise it and bring it to publishing standards.
When I talked to my husband about joining the writer's group, his response was spontaneous. "Writer's group? You're not a writer! Have you ever taken a class about writing? Do you feel like writing all the time? I know writers. I had friends in college who were writers. You're not a writer."
He was right about one thing; I didn't know anything about writing. It didn't mean I couldn't learn, though. And it certainly didn't mean I couldn't become a writer if I set my mind to it. I never mentioned writing again in his presence. I went about my business learning all I could and practicing my newly acquired skills. I couldn't afford a class or a workshop, so I had to find ways to learn on my own.
I took out three library books about creative writing, read each chapter, and did some of the exercises. I discovered the concepts of plot, characters, dialogue, POV, and other things a fiction writer should know.
I showed my chapter book to my writer friend. To my dismay, she gave it back to me without reading it. Too complicated! I had to agree with her. These interactive stories are a real headache to revise. It certainly wasn't the best format for beginners like me.
I decided to start all over with a YA novel. Generation Peace was born, a story of a teenage girl who wakes up from a coma after a hundred years.
After writing several chapters, I realized I didn't have a plot and my characters were kind of flat, which triggered me to buy two new books:
- Fiction Writer's Workshop (Josip Novakovich)
- Plot and Structure (James Scott Bell)
There was only one problem. These two books constantly referred to classic novels I had never read. I had no clue who Scarlett O'Hara was and what happened to Huckleberry Finn. Frustrating! Learning from the experts by reading novels that have endured the test of time seemed like an excellent idea.
By the end of 2007, I had read four classics:
- Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
- The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
- Animal Farm (George Orwell)
- The Call of the Wild (Jack London)
(To be continued...)