Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Taking Chances

I had planned this as a simultaneous post with the Lilac City Rochester Writers blog, but they didn’t send the sign-up sheet around last Saturday. So, instead, I have decided to post here, and to the LCRW the next time they pass the sheet.

Taking Chances

I’m new to writing. I don’t bring the confidence born of a college education or books and articles published for all to see. No one would consider my writing deep – with texture and nuance. Much to my chagrin, I don’t have the skill to write gorgeous text – I’ve tried. There are no layers to my prose.

I write scenes. The longest piece I’ve written is 8700 words. The two stories I’ve sold are 987 words and 1573 words. The prospect of a novel scares the bee-jeepers out of me. I can’t grasp the concept of writing 80,000 words. EIGHTY THOUSAND WORDS.

Yet, I’m now working on a novel. My friend, Phil Tomasso (Writing as Thomas Phillips), convinced me that my scenes are chapters. All I have to do is write enough scenes and I will have a novel. It’s still intimidating, but I have nine chapters of 1200 words. Only 70,000 words more.

Poetry – not a fan. Perhaps I’m shallow, but if I have to work to understand what you are saying, you aren’t doing your job. However, after hearing Pat Gore’s poems during numerous writer’s group, I discovered I don’t dislike all poetry. Her poetry moved me more than I thought was possible in 200 words.

How has that affected me? I wrote a poem. I’m the guy who hasn’t written poetry since high school, and never voluntarily. Now I have written TWO poems. Pat has shown me that, in twenty-five words, you can evoke an emotion strong enough to bring you to tears.

Generally, I only read fantasy. To date, I have written science fiction, shape shifter, humor, serial killer, romantic adventure, and alternate reality. My novel is a YA fantasy with two girls as the protagonists. (It has yet to be determined if I can pull that off.)

I’ve grown as a writer. I’m not good, yet, but I’m twenty times the writer I was three years ago, when all this started. And, I discovered that I may have a talent for critiquing. (NOT in-depth, technical, your preposition is dangling, critiquing, but forty-three pages ago you said XYZ so you can’t FGR now.)

I no longer make my friends read everything before I present to a writer’s group. I’m more confident of what I can do. More relaxed with my writing. (And, frankly, my friends hate fiction and never “got it.”)

NONE of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken chances. Hadn’t put myself out there for everyone to see. For everyone to say, “It would work better if you….”

Bottom line, it is sooooo worth it. Get out there and take a chance. Write.


  1. I agree with you. Keep at it. One Word At A Time.

  2. Your writing is encouraging to me and I imagine to others as well. Thanks for your tenacity.

  3. I am so glad you are not giving up. You make the rest of us feel a bit better. I am also trying to get over the fact of coming up with gobs and gobs of continuous story stuff and trying to convince myself that bite-sized segments can be linked together more effectively. Now I just have to do it.