Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Listen to Me?

When I started this blog, I had no idea what I would write about. Seems I've chosen at this point to focus on my journey toward publication. I tell you what I'm doing, feeling and learning in the hopes you find it of interest and perhaps value.

I've noticed some of my blogs have a lecturing tone. That wasn't my intention, but my training is in education and general know-it-all bossiness, so it doesn't surprise me that I would tend to write this way.

However, I like to know the credentials of anyone attempting to convey information (part of my Judgmental character). It helps me gauge how much weight to give to his words. Great speakers don't always have a mastery of their subject, after all. I'm thinking our current government proves that.

I have never written professionally, by which I mean I have never received a paycheck for something I have written. I am, what is called in the trade, an unpublished author.

This is not to say I have never written for an audience before. I wrote scripts for youth groups in my teens and puppets shows in my 30's. I wrote dozens of papers in college, some of them requirements for my degree. I had to write a Masters' Thesis (although I honestly can't tell you what the topic was). I have been writing a lot for a State Sovereignty committee in the last few months, and those fliers and brochures are making their way across the state.

In my late teens, I attended six or seven Christian writer's conferences. I wasn't ready to pursue publication at that time, but I listened to Loma Davies, Sally Stuart, Ruby Lewis, and many others about how to improve my craft (this was 20 years ago). I have a dozen books on professional writing in my library. I have read them all and done my best to apply them. Two of my absolute favorites are Fiction is Folks (which I loaned out so I can't remember who wrote it) and Make Every Word Count (which I can't find so I'll have to buy a new copy). If you own no other books about writing, but you want to write, buy these two. You will not regret it. They surpass genre issues and give solid advice on how to write well. Most of what I know and do I learned from these books.

So here I am, 20 years later, ready to publish. I know this because I attended a writer's conference this year and actually applied the lessons I learned 20 years ago about how to make the most of a writer's conference. I think I just needed the time to grow up.

I'm kind of glad I waited, though. I wouldn't have written Star of Justice 20 years ago. Elementals would have been a completely different story, probably OK but I like it better now. Timing is everything, in life and in stories. I'm hoping I finally got my life synchronized.

Anyway, that's me. Now you may decide how much weight to give my lectures.

Oh, one other thing I've meant to address for a while now. The general rule about numbers is those that can be expressed as one or two words are written out and anything bigger is expressed as numerals. I break that rule in this blog because I like the way the numbers look in this font, and it breaks up the page in an interesting way. In any other writing, I follow the rule.

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