Thursday, February 24, 2005

Who Am I And Why Am I Here?

When I started this blog a few weeks ago, I jumped right in without telling you much about myself. I figure it’s time to step back for a few days and tell you of my writing journey. Promise not to make it too boring. Who knows, you writers might even pick up some hints for your own journey along the way. And you readers will see just how hard the fiction road can be.

I was born into a writing family. Mom, Dad, Uncle, sisters—all writers. So I suppose I was fated from the start. Whatever you do—don’t get in the middle of our family Scrabble games. You’ll die.

In college I majored in drama and completed the major before switching to journalism. Drama taught me a great deal about characterization, and using drama techniques in my writing would eventually lead me to write Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors.

Before I finished college I started my business that became Vantage Point, through which I wrote marketing materials for companies—annual reports, brochures, articles, etc. This grew to a full-time business for me from home—well, full-time around raising my two children. Later, my experience in this business would become key to marketing myself as an author.

But I really had a heart to write fiction.

Meanwhile my husband, Mark, was busy running his company. He’d use my intuition skills when he wanted to hire a new person in upper management. Mark and I would take said person out to dinner. I’d look him/her over, get a sense of trustworthy levels, things like that. So one night we took this guy to dinner. Mark and his board (full of mucho smart venture capital people) had agreed this was the next V.P. of Sales for the company, based on his experience and interviews, etc. Now it was the intuitive wife's turn. We took him to a great restaurant overlooking the San Francisco Bay—a restaurant known for its soufflé desserts. And it hit me—my first major What If? What if I felt something slimy about this guy—after everyone else had said he’s the greatest, and my husband was ready to hire him? Would Mark listen to me? I mean, what if I even sensed the guy had done something really bad? . . .

And so the idea for my first novel, Eyes of Elisha, was born.

I wrote whenever I could, around kids and my Vantage Point projects. Mind you, I didn’t know what I was doing. I learned how to write fiction on that book. Well, began to learn. I wrote the thing, and rewrote the thing, and rewrote the thing. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and read and read and read. I found that my learning came 50% from writing and 50% from reading/studying. I read how-to-write-fiction books. I read novels, pen in hand, marking passages. In this way I learned how to deal with symbolism, foreshadow, POV, description, characterization, and on and on. I studied like crazy and walked around, talking to myself.

During the process of writing Eyes of Elisha, I realized I needed to do something called research. My research would lead me to the most unexpected of places—all the way from a dad standing next to me at a soccer game to appearances on national TV. Ya just never know.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Part 2-10
Part 11-20
Part 21-30
Part 31-40
Part 41-50
Part 51-60
Part 61-end


C.J. Darlington said...

Yes, and apparently you also learned about that sneaky "don't-give-the readers-what-they-want" advice. :-) Eagerly awaiting part II of the story ...

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Just so you know--not boring at all. I love to hear how other writers learn and what brought them into writing.

Anonymous said...

I find learning about the backgrounds of various writers quite interesting. Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to the next installment.

Also, I'm curious to know how you started up Vantage Point. A friend of mine is finishing up her MFA in Creative Writing and has been considering pursuing tech writing. How were you able to get your name out there?

Anonymous said...

I have only read one of your books. Eyes of Elisha - just finished it yesterday. I look forward to digging into your others.

Did your husband hire "Gavil" for the position? And did you get to eat the souffle? I was a little concerned that Chelsea had her vision before the souffle - however, that did bring home the seriousness of her conditon :)!!!!