Fair warning: This article is all about me.
As I’ve expressed publicly to only a few, I’m working on becoming a fiction writer.
Being a novice writer is something you do in the dark, by yourself, making sure to wash your hands afterward, so talking about it in public is faintly embarrassing. There’s a fear of “coming out.” People who thought you were ordinary will cross the street to avoid you. Your friends and family will develop a panicky, glassy-eyed look when you show up, manuscript pages clutched in your sweaty hands.
“Well, what do you think?” you’ll ask them. “Did you like it? Huh?”
A nervous twitch takes the place of a smile and they say something like, “Oh, gosh, this is really good. I like the way you use punctuation to define your sentences.”
However, my virtual writer-friend, Katie Stephens, convinced me to Embrace the Light. She tagged me for a blog-hop (which sounds like something you do to avoid getting your shoes mucky), where we writers and wannabe writers (me) speak of our addiction in public.
“Hello, my name is Scott, and I’m a writer.”
“It began for me when I wrote a school fiction assignment. I wrote a story of the apocalypse with guns and death and marauding bands of unhinged rioters…My teacher loved it, thus creating a Writing Monster that lay dormant, gibbering in the basement of my mind, rattling the cage door and testing the lock with torn fingernails.”
Q: What am I working on?
Writing. Every day is a writing day for me, whether I’m in front of a computer with a blinking cursor causing me to be a blinking curser, or just thinking about plot, story arc, scenes, dialogue, conflict and tension as I shower, eat, or drive a motor vehicle. (Never operate heavy machinery under the influence of writing.) Current WIP (that’s Work in Progress for you non-writer types) is the third in my modern-day Texas Ranger novels featuring Sam Cable. Sam’s a cross between Mike Hammer and Spenser, with a Southwestern flair.
Q: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Too much published writing these days is poor quality crap. Exposition…telling versus showing…poor use of POV (Point of View)…cardboard characters…weak prose propped up with adverbs and stiff dialogue. I try to reach for an immersion experience, where the reader forgets they are reading. I want to carry a story with dialogue and active, snappy prose. I’m working on honing my skills to approach those of Leonard, Parker and Stephen Hunter.
Q: Why do I write what I do?
Because it’s fun. I like blowing shit up, and this way I can do it without incurring criminal charges.
Q: Who will we meet next week?
First up, Pete Barber. I ran across Pete while still learning the ropes in an online critique group, called Scribophile. Pretty quickly I figured out Pete’s a smart guy, so I stuck to him like a limpet. His first novel, Allah’s Revenge, is a cool, hi-tech thriller that reads a lot like Michael Crichton. He’s working on another, soon-to-be-released novel in which his characters use some very interesting mushrooms and get more than they bargained for. No spoilers, but you’ll want to keep your eyes on Amazon.
Next, I’d like to introduce you to Kathryn McClatchy. You meet some interesting characters at writer’s groups. Everything from mole-like creatures blinking at the bright light to airy souls seeking their muse. (W-everTF that means.) I met Kathryn through her companion and service dog, Gizmo, whose brown eyes and sweet nature will make even a curmudgeon like me smile and do baby-talk. When learn what a special lady Kathryn is despite, or because of, all the things she’s endured, you’ll be amazed. Kathryn’s working on the craft of fiction and I expect to see some publication credits rolling soon.
So that’s my coming out party. You know my secret.
Be sure to run next time you see me clutching a handful of paper with a desperate look in my eye. If I catch you, I’ll make you read it.