Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How I became a writer

The beginning - poetry

It started back in 1991.  I was 21 and decided to see if I could write.  I had no clue, honestly.  It seemed the best way to find out was to write something.  I decided to write some poetry for a start, just to see what would happen.

I knew it was pretty bad and that the technical merits were nonexistent.  However, the one thing that did come out well was the image of what I was writing.  The blank page became my canvas and the words my paint.  I wrote quite a few terrible poems that I occasionally torture the readers of this blog with. (insert evil cackle here)

The poems came off and on for a while as I lived my life, picking back up when I met my wife. :)  But other than that, I didn't write much for a long time and nothing serious.  You might be interested to know that those first poems were written on a computer using Wordstar.

First attempt at a book

I started writing the first book, called "Liquid Wyvern" in 2002.  It wasn't very good, but I learned a lot in the attempt.  The first chapter of that book was used as the fabric for "Dralin", my fourth novel.  The second chapter will be my ninth book.  The original chapters work better as outlines for novels rather than as chapters.

I made it 40,000 words into the book before setting it aside.  After that, I wrote a couple of short stories, "Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend" and "Test Pilot".  I submitted them to sci-fi magazines where they were rejected.  After publishing "Rojuun", I took a look at them again and realized that they needed massive work, so I fixed them and now give them away for free. :)  They're both fun little sci-fi stories that I enjoyed writing.

Neverwinter Nights

I like playing D&D and computer rpg games.  Baldur's Gate was the first computer game that I played and I loved it.  Then in 2006 I discovered Neverwinter Nights, which has a toolset that can be used to create your own game.  People were making modules, which are separate games.  The cool thing was that they didn't have to fit into established story lines or rules.  There were some true gems out there and I decided to try my hand at it.

Over the next few years, I built two humorous adventure modules, "Resurrection Gone Wrong" and "Resurrection Gone Wronger", both of which made the hall of fame.  Between the two, there is over 350,000 words of dialogue, which is longer than my trilogy!

I learned a lot in the process of building these modules.  It gave me the opportunity to look at writing in different ways.  The biggest thing I learned is writing dialogue.  I've become very good at that aspect of writing.

I also created a character named "Zombie Bob" that has become a bit of a legend in the community.  He added a lot of humor to the module and even a strong story line.

Discovering eBooks

I started thinking about writing again and I did some research.  One of my biggest issues with trying to become an author is that you have to go through an insane process of getting an agent who gets you a publisher, a process that can take years or even decades.  It was something that always discouraged me.

While researching, I discovered Smashwords and Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.  It would probably mean never getting a traditional publishing contract, but I decided that would be alright.  At that point I decided it was time to get serious about writing and publishing my books.  It was a decision I do not regret.

Becoming a self published author

In February of 2010, I started writing.  My original story was lost at that point (I've since found it)  It took four months to write it, not counting a month where I performed in a play with my wife.  It took another four months to edit it numerous times before finally publishing it to Smashwords on November 24th 2010.  Since then, I've learned even more about writing and have become better, but I'm still extremely happy with the book.

In the year following, I've added 3 more novels, a novella, 8 short stories and a children's story that can be customized, called "A New Pet in the Family".

I'm getting ready to start the fifth novel and look forward to making a career out of this before long.  There is an unlimited potential for authors right now and it's exciting!

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