How I got started in this crazy business

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…okay, it only seems that way, but I’m geeky enough to enjoy Star Wars references. Writing came to me reasonably early, at least as far as the desire to write novels goes. I was fortunate to have one of the coolest grandmothers who has ever lived, a very artistic woman, who was a painter as well as a writer. She wrote mysteries and published three novels (one posthumously). Each summer when I visited, I would get to see her stack of typed pages (yes, tyepwritten manuscripts, can you imagine!) and I saw her name on the cover of a book, which was very impressive and cool to a 13 year old. I also got to play with her painting and drawing stuff, so she always cultivated my artistic interests.

About that time, I discovered epic fantasy. I became completely enthralled with Stephen Donaldson’s Covenant series (yes, some folks hate this series because of the anti-hero mc). I wanted to write a story like that. I came up with my totally, fabulously awesome rip-off and began writing ( I got a typewriter as a gift from my grandparents, a snazzy electronic one with correcting ribbon built in!) and began to write. I took my typewriter down to my grandparents that summer and worked on it some more. Now, at that time, my grandmother was involved with a critique group in Los Angeles. One of the writers in that group was a well-known children’s author by the name of Eve Bunting (she’s won awards, and is still publishing books I believe). My grandmother took the first ten or so pages down and Eve agreed to critique them for me.

I don’t remember exactly what she said in the critique (really wish I’d kept it), but the one thing I do recall was that she said I had the talent to do this and should keep writing. Inspiration! I wrote over 400 pages that summer. The book never got finished, but that experience cemented my desire to some day be a published author. It took years of on again, off again writing, many false starts and partials, but 30 years later I finally made it. It has also helped to have married another writer who is now published too (romance author, Tracy Madison). It has been a long, winding road. It takes patience and perseverence. A writer must have tenacity to succeed in this business, and the willingness to fail over and over again without giving up. It can be done, so don’t give up. If this is a dream of yours, you have to be willing to keep pursuing it no matter the odds, and understand that pursuing dreams is worth it all by itself. Happy writing everyone!

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3 responses to “How I got started in this crazy business

  1. Wow! Your story just took me down memory lane and back to my own electronic typewriter I’d bought with the money my Grandpa had given me for Christmas. And yes, I was equally impressed with the correction ribbon! Perhaps if more kids used those these days, they would learn how to spell.
    Thanks for sharing, Jim! 😀