Sunday, March 15, 2009

What I Learned from the Writer I Used to Be Part 3

Ah, college. I enjoyed college a whole lot. Especially after the intellectually vacant years of high school-- all two and a half of them. (I left high school halfway through my Junior year, got my GED and the following fall began as a college freshman rather than being a high school senior. A hard decision, but it was worth it.)

My writing time took a serious hit as I was working full time and attending college full time (about 12 credits, four classes per semester.) I still dabbled in writing, working on a historical fiction piece, then moving on to the "first" Bo Fexler novel.

In the beginning, Bo was cool, aloof, and completely unrealistic. Slowly, I began my research into the private eye field. I accumulated most of the then-current Writer's Digest Howdunnit Books. And as the internet became more filled with useful information, I began to research heavily on line. Google is my friend.

I polished 'Missing Link' and attempted to query it without success. I also worked with a professor on the story. This was useful, to have a discerning reader and English professor to help me. She really liked Bo's point of view, which only showed up sporadically because the book was written in third person.

Then, I started to dabble in two new things-- short stories and first person (snarky) narratives. I learned that I do have a particular voice that's not quite the same as everyone else's. That I can use my bitter cynicism for more than just rants to Hubby.

And most importantly, I learned that I *could* write short stories. Previously, in all my long-winded writings, I had been convinced that I could never write short stories. I had just too much to tell. Well, clearly, I was very wrong.

This is one of the few times that not only will I admit I was wrong, but I'm glad of it. I can write short stories. Sometimes, I can do them damn well.

Writing short stories, where so much is implied or left out, made me a better novel writer. No more infodumps and backstory. I learned how to weave the important details in, and to leave the reader demanding to know more about what I don't say.

Now, if I can just get Bo's first novel "Sex and Violence" into the right hands, then everyone will get to see what I can do.

Is there a defining moment in your growth as writer-- that made you the writer you are today?

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