Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I Am Working - Honest!

As my blog does state I'm a writer (just not published yet), I thought maybe I should cover a little on this subject.

I got into writing about four years ago. I wouldn't say I was one of those people who state, 'I've always wanted to be a writer' or anything like that. But as a child I did used to write lots of letters to cousins, pen pals and even my grandma. And sometimes, I'd have this itchy finger kind of feeling where I knew I wanted to pick up a pen and physically write, but I was never sure what of - so usually doodled, or practised my signature lots!

On our honeymoon, we met a wonderful American lady, and I think I came out with something bizarre, like I usually do, and she commented that I had such a wonderful imagination I should be a writer.  I'd never even thought about it back then.

I used to have (out of pure boredom at work) some stories buzzing around in my head.  It was more a daydream than anything and I'd get this story further and further, and replay it over, fine tweaking it to make it better inside my head.  I've now made notes on it, because you never know, some of it might come in handy now, after all.  I didn't realise this is what writer's do.  But you do, laying in bed first thing in the morning, or last thing at night is a good way to brainstorm characters, plots, predicaments and stories.  I currently have a tall, skinny vampire woman with long, black hair walking around in my head, and I haven't thought what to do with her yet!

So how did I get into writing four years ago?  Well, at first I'd joined some forums of interest, and spent my evenings chatting away to people with similar interests as me and mad about the same thing - a certain television programme.  In fact it was great to talk about this programme with people as fanatical as me.  I wasn't weird, or I'd found equally weird people, depending on how you look at it.

Then I was introduced to fan fiction through this forum.  One of my 'cyber' friends on there wrote fan fiction, I started reading it and loved it.  There is so much fan fiction on the internet for practical every television programme or film that's been aired.  Some has more fans than others.  I'll warn you, there are some really terrible writing out there with it, but also there is some great stuff.  Great writers!  Fan fiction uses the character provided from the show/film and if the writer has done her job well, you'll be able to 'see' these characters in her writing.  Sometimes stories expand on something that was in the programme or it will send them on a whole new adventure.

So I got reading, and bunnies (what we call in the trade) started bouncing around in my own head.  My cyber friend (and she knows who she is!  She's to blame!) convinced me to post it on a forum/board that was designed to help enhance your writing and story telling.

I'd only started posting my first story in June/July 2006 - she had me enrolled in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) by November.  The aim is to write a story or at least 50,000 words of it in a month (November).  Luckily, I was pregnant with Kieran and had the excuse of putting my feet up (well, my bottom was sitting) and Ben was young enough he still took naps in the afternoon.  So I did do it.  I wrote 50,000 words in one month!  It needed a lot of editing afterwards, but that's the whole point.  It actually taught me that I am best at bashing out the story, then going back and editing it through and adjusting it to make me look clever.  It set me up for good writing habits.

From this whole process of writing fan fiction, four years on, my writing has improved considerably and I know roughly what genre I like to write.  I've received fantastic advice and help, and have two exceptional 'Betas' (who I hope aren't bored with me).  Last summer, after constantly thinking what I work I could do around my children and life, and enjoy it (these get rich quick schemes weren't revealing themselves), I decided to follow this writing path more seriously.  I knew that I still needed some help with improving my writing skill, and how to go about the whole process of getting published etc. and so I enrolled in the online Writer's Bureau writing course because I knew it would help me with all of that.

Writing Fan Fiction doesn't pay.  It would be illegal for a start, as they're not your characters.  This course is currently taking me through non-fiction, which is the quickest way as a writer to earn money.  But my goal is to write a novel, and hopefully (fingers crossed) get it published.  But even through the non-fiction channel it's teaching me to research etc.  It's all good practise.

I'm 37 this year and I want to have finished this course by the time I'm 40 and have my first novel written - not necessarily published.  I don't see myself being the next J K Rowling, I'm realistic, but I would love to have a book published.  In the mean time, I intend to enter short story competitions, and send off articles and letters as my assignments provide.

I love writing.  I sit at my desk in my study (which really needs a good tidy and organisation so it's more my zone) and type away all night.  I definitely prefer writing fiction compared to non-fiction but I want to stick with the course as it's designed because I feel the end result will be better.  I'm not actually sure I have time to properly work on a novel until Kieran starts school either.

It's a busy month, this month, with assignment 5 finished and I've even sent the outline to the magazine, I  currently have a short story competition I want to enter through Writing Magazine.  That closes 15th September, and my (same) cyber-friend has convinced me to enter the Mills and Boon New Voice competition.  I just so happen to have a fan fiction story that I can convert to an original story.  Plus, I still have some stories to write for my fan fiction fans - yes, I have at least two!

And you need to write, let it rest, then go back and read through and edit.  It's a long process.  So trick is to have a few things on the go - which I have!

I found with my fan fiction, even if it's just one person who reads my stories and leaves me positive feedback, I get a real buzz!  Even if I never get published, I'll never be bored.  I've found a hobby for life.