When did you know that you had a story to tell? And how did this story make it to the page? I often hear people refer to themselves as aspiring writers. If you write, you are a writer. But like any craft, an artist continually strives to hone his or her skills. Imagine how many pots a potter has thrown on the wheel before achieving the elegance of form. Once under way, our art leads us eagerly to learn more.
The Solstice Conspiracy is my first novel. The story idea began as a lively sprouted seed, vigorously pushing its way to the surface. When the story became insistent, I felt compelled to write. I suspect that all writers, beginning and seasoned start their story in just such a way.
The following describes my first steps as a writer, and the journey to completing the novel. -Don’t worry, the story isn’t an epic tale. I’ve kept it short. However, it might inspire your aspiring.
Three months passed and no story arrived. I knew he had forgotten. Rather than reminding him, I decided to write a story myself. Besides, how hard can it be?
With the first paragraph, the story blossomed, unfolding in my head with a series of images. Typing the beginning pages, I understood that this would not be a children’s picture book. Ideas flew faster than I could write. Soon, I was drawn into the writing process itself, enjoying the logical progression of the story, and the intensity of my focus.
The first chapter complete, I scanned the pages for mistakes. Unfortunately the story was not a work of brilliance. So, what to do? Writing held a surprising charm that drew me in, and I didn’t want to scrap my meager efforts. I decided to teach myself to write. Besides, how hard can it be? This launched a twelve-year project of writing, learning, writing and learning some more.
I was a single mother with a daughter in high school. Poor health kept me from working that year, and a slim check from Social Assistance kept us afloat. It was an excellent time for study.
Beginning at the local library, I armed myself with a stack of ‘how to write’ books. I read through each one making notes and applying what I had learned to my story. The more I wrote the more interested I became in writing as a craft. The book progressed. The storyline was good, and the chapters mounted up in a sensible sequence.
A few months later, I received a book written by Stephen King, On Writing. He warned writers to be wary of adverbs. ‘Adverbs?’ I thought, anxiously. I read the story aloud, poised to spot any adverbs. Many surfaced and I found that my growing novel read like a turn-of-the-century melodrama. I started over… again.
Over the years, I typed out many drafts of the novel. By doing that, and not being satisfied with ‘just okay’, I now have a solid, entertaining story. As a writer, you will always want to improve your skill. We are fortunate to have access through the internet, books, and workshops to so much valuable information on every aspect of the writing process. The writing community has a generous spirit, sharing their knowledge. Take advantage of those offered skills whenever you can. Each new insight forms another building block to your writing journey.