Monday, March 18, 2013

Pinhole


When I was a child, I wanted to be an author.

Actually, I wanted to be an astronaut first, but I had terrible vision so I knew I couldn’t pass the tests to get in.  Then I wanted to be a veterinarian, but found out I’d have to euthanize animals.  So, I landed on author.

The problem with wanting to be an author: you have to write stuff.  I never wrote.  I had tons of ideas, but none of them ever seemed to make it on to paper.  When they did…

I remember trying to write a science fiction story about a war between two worlds.  A missile went awry and people got mad at each other and used fancy weapons on each other’s planets.  That was pretty much the whole plot.  I stopped writing when I realized I was just describing special effects.

In the fifth grade, I wrote a story called “Adventure in the Land of No Return” about…  Well, let’s just say there was an adventure in a place called The Land of No Return.  I won the Young Authors Contest for my school and got to go to a conference and all.  The next year I wrote poems and came in third.  No conference.

I pretty much stopped writing after that.  It was too painful.  Every time I started a story, it fizzled out.  Sure, I took creative writing classes in college and a screenwriting class in grad school, but I wasn’t driven.  One teacher complained I didn’t produce at half the rate of her other students.

So I just kept a diary.  I learned to touch type, which helped a lot.  Ideas came out more quickly and didn’t give me time to stare at what I had already written and give up.

One day I got fired.  Sitting up at night, something clicked, and I wrote a short story until three in the morning.  It’s fan fiction, but I really liked writing it.  The floodgates opened in my head and all the story ideas I built up over the decades demanded I write them.

Still, I didn’t write often.  The problem was authors are expected to “write for themselves.”  I could never do anything just for me.  So, I started a blog to get me writing.  Although I only had a few readers, it drove me to keep going.  Then National Novel Writing Month came along, and I decided to go for it, but posting online as I wrote so I wouldn’t stop.  Three months and Pinhole was done.

Or, so I thought.  My father (a retired English professor and publisher of children’s books) pointed out what I had written was half the length of a novel.  Six months of writing, and I doubled the length.

I sent the book off to a professional editor, who suggested I use a method described in a book called The 10% Solution.  Another six months of work.  I sent it to Ursula K. LeGuin, who told me to use more pronouns.  Another pass.  At this point, I had read the novel out loud four times.  I got an artist to do the cover and inside art and put it on Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace.  (It'll be out for other e-readers in a few months.  Promise.)

And, just like that, I’m an author.  Only took forty years.

I don’t have a lot of money for a big marketing campaign, so I need your help.  Since all both of you are my special, personal friends, I ask you read and review my book.  Tell your friends to do the same.  Without you, it shall languish anonymously in cyberspace.

Also, I’m taking down my second novel A Thousand Secret Sorrows from the blog this week.  In a year or so, it’ll be published.  Promise.

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