Friday, August 24, 2012

Do You Have a Story?

Today, I shall complete the final scene for my third adventure/suspense/speculative fiction novel. It took me about a year and a half to write Kokoweef. But the main character, Skip Jackson, had been flitting around my mind for several years before I had a plot.

How about you? Do you have a story you are longing to tell? It could be factual or fiction. It might be just for fun, and you’d never dream of sharing it with anyone except your family. Or maybe, like me, you’d want it published.

Now because of the way I am, I started by jumping in with wild enthusiasm. After I had completed a 122,000 word novel, I thought I’d read a how-to book on writing, just to confirm what a fabulous author I was. My ego deflated in about a half chapter. By the time I finished reading, I realized I had broken almost every rule there was, and I had an incoherent mess. Humbled, I spent the next couple years revising, devouring books on technique, and taking writing courses.

I found there are many classes available through colleges and universities. What fit my lifestyle were online courses where I could work at my own pace. Writers Digest offers several. A big one that is Christian is Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. I chose the Long Ridge Writers Group. It is secular, but there are many Christians in it and I didn’t find anything offensive.

In many areas across the country, guilds and writers conferences offer critique groups, workshops, and mentoring clinics for all levels of writing, novice through professional. Many specialize in non-fiction or particular genres like mystery or romance. A couple of the biggest Christian conferences are the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Fiction Writers Conference. In addition to teaching, editors, authors, and teachers are on hand to give participants advice on their works in progress.

When a manuscript is ready for publication, it is time to write a proposal and find an agent or editor. The competition is stiff, so it is best to meet them face-to-face. So this fall, I am off to a conference to “pitch” Kokoweef. Wish me luck.---Quinn

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