"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Monday, October 18, 2010

Putting pen to paper, metaphorically speaking.

So far I’ve talked about creating a hook for your story, which you’ll find here, writing a premise, click here, and finding your passion; look no further than here.  But I haven’t talked about what it’s actually like to put pen to paper, metaphorically speaking, and write that first manuscript.

For me it wasn’t an unconscious decision, it came after decisively knowing writing was a passion I had to pursue in life.  As discussed in my passion post, in case you missed it above click here, I never obtained the many accolades you associate with being a writer.  So instead, I sought out reputable writing courses taught by published authors.  It changed my world and it can change yours too. 

My first goal in starting out on the road to reinvent myself as an author was to immerse myself into the writing world.  For me it meant finding a writing course that tailored around the genres which interested me the most (mystery, thrillers, sci-fi and horror) so finding a course in fiction writing was ideal.  The first author I studied under was Steven Alcorn, author of A Matter of Justice, Everything in Its Path and Building a Better Mouse:  The Story of The Electronic Imagineers Who Designed Epcot.  In addition to being a published author/teacher, Steve Alcorn designs theme park rides.  

I feel at this point in my story to make it very clear my intent is not to teach Steve Alcorn’s courses.  If you are interested, please find them here (which I highly recommend) to discover his informative and creative teachings.  It is my intent, however, to share with other beginning want to be writers what helped someone in their shoes.

Steve Alcorn’s courses teach the elements of the three act structure and break down the meaning of scene and sequel. (Maybe they taught this in my high school English Lit class or my Drama class, but perhaps I should leave that for another blog!)  So for all you aspiring authors out there who may already know all this you’ll probably want to tune in to a rerun of Dancing with the Stars, but for the rest of you, if you wish, follow along on a journey that turned one want to be writer into The Unknown Author.

It was during one of his courses a light bulb turned on inside my head.  I was taking his Advanced Fiction Writing course and halfway through I suddenly realized I didn’t have to be a major league college graduate to write a book. (Hey I had an epiphany!)  I already had everything I needed . . . a great story to tell and the passion to tell it!  What I was lacking were the techniques writers use to structure their stories.  Once I understood them I finally found my "one day I’m going to write a book about that."  (See my post on passion here)  Soon after completing the course I started drafting my first middle grade mystery, Summertime Chills. 
From that point on I haven’t looked back because you see I already had the passion to write and something to write about, all I needed were the tools!  Sure I spend many hours, days and even months polishing that baby, but isn’t that what writers do? 

I want to challenge all my unpublished blog friends out there to sit down and write a passion statement.  In other words, what inside you drives you to write?  Then draw a road map of what it will take to get you out of your crossroad of dreaming of being an author and actually becoming one.  When finished fire up your most valuable author tool, besides your imagination, your computer, and seek a writing course which meets all your needs, desires and of course budget.  Then read your passion statement again and never look back.  It can change your world . . . trust me, I know.

Next week, I'll talk about the beginning and the end; does it really matter where you start?  Knowing what's in Act One can help answer that question!

Until next time,

Keep on striving, keep on thriving and keep on writing!

T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author

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