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.