I’ve been asked numerous times how I got started as a writer and you know what??? I have no idea. It just sort of happened. I’ve always “written” things. I wrote stories when I was little. I had no problem in school whipping out an essay. Got a great mark on a university essay for a book I didn’t read. Writing is entrenched in my DNA.
To a new writer, that’s not a lot of help, but it does give me a starting point. To become a writer, you have to write. BIC HOK – no I didn’t swear at you – Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard. Write. Write whatever. Just write. Make a short story out of your grocery list. Write a 500 words on how an alien comes down and takes your boss back to the mother ship. Write. Write. Write. Yes, at first it may not be Pulitzer prize winning quality, but everyone started somewhere.
What’s the best writing advice I’ve ever received? I don’t know that I was ever given any, but I was inspired by a quote.
“If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.”
– W. Somerset Maugham (British novelist – 1874-1965)
Many years ago, I wrote with total abandon. It was a joy. Stories flowed out of my fingertips. Then the work began. I had to learn “how to write”, which made no sense because I knew how to do it. But what I didn’t know were the rules of writing which are way different than the rules of English we learned in school. Trying to fit my stories within the confines of those rules was a soul crushing experience and it drove me away from my laptop. When I read my edited stories, my voice was gone. I thought if that was how I was supposed to sound then I couldn’t write and I wouldn’t write.
Then I bumped into Maugham’s quote and a ray of sunshine filled my heart. Okay, a bit overly dramatic, but it was a writing-life changing moment.
Since then I have developed my own personal philosophy of my writing style – Picasso wasn’t always Picasso. He used to be just a guy called Pablo who painted strange pictures.
No, I’m not saying I’m as good at writing as Picasso was at art. All I’m saying is, he stepped out of the box and did it his way, which is what I do. Yes, it’s scary out here. Many writers vehemently disagree with me. I often get scolded. Yes, there are moments when I feel I’m wrong. At those times, my spirit shatters. But I go back to Maugham’s quote, regain my confidence, take a deep breath and keep on writing. Because I am me and that is who I write like.
Victoria’s First Book
The story of my first book is a fun one. I taught high school. One of my students complained that there was nothing for her generation to read. Dating myself here, but this is pre Harry Potter and pre Twilight. So I wrote a book for her. She was sixteen and I thought about all the things girls that age like. First, he had to be a bad boy. Next, there had to be horses. And lastly, she had to be a dancer. (My student was a dancer.)
The book was not received with critical acclaim from adults, but the students loved it. I had students from other high schools dropping over to meet me, which was embarrassing but ego boosting. They wanted to talk about my book – MY BOOK! And it all happened because of BIC HOK.
One born into privilege and a charmed life surrounded by love and family. The other born to a life of violence on the streets as the solemn gang leader of the notorious Shoresmen. A young, idealistic co-ed, Julie, meets a jaded, cold gang member, Robert, and cracks his icy shell, allowing the warmth of her love to awaken his soul.
But, is the love of a girl from wealthy Westland and a street punk from the slums of the Shore strong enough to surpass all that life will throw at them and forge a life together? Is Julie willing to sacrifice her childhood dream of becoming a professional dancer for the man she loves? Is Robert willing to lay down his ties to the gang in order to hold onto his new found love?
Sacrifices must be made, but will they be enough?