Why do I never take on a beginner’s project? Always I must dive in with complicated instead of easy! Crazy, isn’t it? I have no one but myself to blame. What was true with counted cross stitch is just as true with writing.
My debut fiction project was not a simple story, but a mammoth series based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Susan Kaye (the friend I mentioned in yesterday’s post) and I were co-writers, and we decided to post a chapter every week. What were we thinking? We wrote like fiends, and I learned by doing. And doing. And doing!
To survive on a fiction board, one must keep writing or be overlooked. We had far too much time invested to be ignored! If you are familiar with the Austen genre, you know that Pride and Prejudice-based stories are the only truly popular ones, both then and now. Our chapters kept rolling out and eventually readers would drop in for a look. The quality of our work kept them coming back for more. We finished with five volumes, and I began work on a solo series: Mercy’s Embrace.
Not long after this I was hired as a teaching assistant at the Christian school where I now work. Lo and behold, our principal needed someone to help with the journalism class. He tagged me! The year following I was asked to teach a creative writing class for high school freshmen. And then I stepped up as head teacher for the 7th grade. Talk about a full plate!
Writing became relegated to school vacations as I struggled to keep up. I renamed the high school class Fiction Writing and began more actively sharing what I was learning as a writer–articles from Writer’s Digest, quotations from well-known authors, and tips culled from how-to books. James Scott Bell bailed me out many a time!
Students were intrigued, especially after the Mercy’s Embrace books were published. I now wore the long cape of the professional, not the short cape of the apprentice. As I helped them improve their stories I learned, oh I did. About how to keep dialog crisp and the action moving forward. How to craft a story structure (with an ending that delivers) and how to capture ideas for later use. This experience has been invaluable. I now teach a second year class for seniors.
A year ago I stepped up from hobbyist to part-time professional. Yes, I am still teaching, but I’ve returned to producing weekly story segments. Easy? Not always. But I have an about-to-be-released novel to prove to myself that the time has been well spent.
Hey, thanks for stopping by. If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here.