Oh my, doesn’t such a heading sound deep and meaningful?
I suppose it is.
As I have mentioned, in December 2015 I decided to write a book. “After all, how hard could it be,” I said to my wife and myself. Now after eighteen months I understand those words were fuelled by naïve misunderstanding.
Did I have a premise for the story? Kind of. Did I have a clue who, what, where or when the story would be? Yes, but in the vaguest sense. This lack of substance and vague ideas came from the simple fact I didn’t have a single clue how to plot or what the hell a character arc was.
However, what I did have was a burning desire to fill a page with words. So that is exactly what I did. At the end of two months, I had written over 50,000 words. Man, I was proud of myself. I had set up how my hero went from one universe to another. I created his mentors, and the beginnings of bad guys, friends, and even a subplot.
Through the Good Reads forum, I found an author, Brooks Kohler, who was willing to review my efforts to date. His response was thoughtful, honest and invaluable.
Soon after I signed up for an online creative writing course through the Australian Writers Centre.
Why online? It’s a simple case of maths. I work a full time forty hour plus job which leaves me ‘X’ amount of hours to relax, spend with my wife, family, and friends.
From those two things alone I realized things need to change in my story. “No big deal,” I said. Then I fell into a swinging door cycle of writing a page and then edit the page. This turned my world of writing into pea soup. My time became stodgy and trapped with no visibility in any direction.
The desire to complete the manuscript waned under my own misconceived understandings and self-induced burdens. At one stage, I missed an online manuscript and editing course run by the Queensland Writing Centre. By then my pea soup became a storm enraged ocean. I was drowning and clutching at small pieces of flotsam just to reach the shores of a completed manuscript. Then the QWC released the schedule for the second half of 2016. At last a lifeline. I signed up for a six-month manuscript editing course.
WhooWhoo… Except there was a catch… I needed a completed manuscript to enter the course. Bugger… This meant I needed to break my habit of micro editing to complete the last third of the manuscript.
So, How good did it feel to type those words ‘the end’. Bloody fantastic. Now I had something whole to work with. My vision saw a goal.
Hang on, why do an editing course? Well, at that point, I wasn’t sure if I would go traditional publishing or self-publish.
If I did go along the path of traditional publication, I wanted a manuscript which the publisher or agent wouldn’t toss out from the first page. Also, if I chose the self-publish road then I wanted a manuscript the reader could see worth investing their valuable time and money on.
I completed the course and from that, I produced two new drafts with better flow, more pace, and a tighter plot. Since completing the editing course I have now become part of a writing group, who I consider as friends with advice, input, and support. All things I feel as a necessity to grow as an emerging author.
They say writing is a solitary occupation, and across the web, you can find author quotes attesting to the solitary state of writing, and much of those sentiments are true. When we are writing we do need to be by ourselves. I personally can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for a lot of authors before the digital age. Let’s be honest, those exceptional storytellers really did do it alone. Until they felt ready to hand the work over to their agent and or publisher. Now as authors, we have access to a myriad of support beginning with those found in the digital world in its many forms. Beta readers, training, forums, publishing agents, editors etc. These should make us feel less alone and help to achieve a better place in which to complete our dream of writing.
Now as authors in our 21st century, we have access to a myriad of support beginning with those found in the digital world in its many forms. Beta readers, training, forums, publishing agents, editors etc. These should make us feel less alone and help to achieve a better place in which to complete our dream of writing.
If you read this and are thinking about writing a novel, short story or a novella in whatever genre you like or for whatever reason you want. Good on you. Or, if you started and have reached what you think is an overwhelming impasse and want to abandon your dream. Please don’t! You are not alone because there is so much support out there to help and guide you through the journey.