The quality of affirmation

What a mercurial life writers lead! Last week I was down in the dumps, trying to use logic to convince myself that I had some right to the title ‘writer’. This week, I am back on top of the world.

And all because a kind lady called Liane Gentry Sky left a comment on my novel at Textnovel.com:

“A literate and historically accurate entry. Very nice, you have a strong grasp of what a regency should be!”

Wow! What a compliment! My long-suffering husband has indicated that a vow from me never to forget this comment will not go amiss.

Thanks Liane!!

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Posted in General on Aug 10th, 2009, 9:33 am by althea     

Am I a writer?

Recently, I wrote a short story for a writing course. I had a suspicion that all good writers needed to master short stories before being allowed to graduate to the long kind… So I wrote it, got an ‘A’, and assumed it was pretty good. A friend, who is an astute critic, read it. Her honest comments were much appreciated, but have left me down in the dumps, asking again: ‘Am I a writer?’

Perhaps it is a question that all writers have asked down the ages. Perhaps it is also a question asked by aspiring writers, with nothing more than their aspirations to give them any claim to that title. Let me pull off some daisy petals here. ‘Am I a writer? Am I not?’

By the age of twelve, I had written my first novel. It was a highly-plagiarized story about four children and a dog, and the adventures they had in a particular country in the northern hemisphere. My sister still has this hand-written evidence of my writerly skills, and won’t return it in case it gets filed as it deserves – in the nearest rubbish tip. After writing it, I realized it wasn’t well-plotted. I knew that it wasn’t original (heck yeah!). I decided then that I didn’t have what it took to become a writer.

Twenty years later, I am writing again. I have even taken a writing course or two. Why? Am I a writer? I confess I still don’t know… for sure. Perhaps when I am published – but would I be sure even then?

I have learned many things from my brush with the short story. I need to be objective about criticism of my babies. My friend is right: my short story reads more like a journal, my lead character is unlikeable, and too many issues are left unresolved at the end. Second, grades in a writing course are subjective. Finally, if ‘write what you like to read’ is true, I should not be writing short stories at all.

Back to the question of whether I am a writer. Perhaps the question should be changed to: Would I stop writing because I found out I was not a ‘writer’?

I might stop writing romance novels because mine are trite. But I will continue blogging. I might stop writing one of my blogs because there is no readership. But I will simply create another blog. I might stop writing poems because mine are unoriginal. But then I will work on my contemporary novel.

Perhaps I am a writer after all.

Check out http://mikeshea.net/Everything_You_Need_to_Kn.html, an article by Stephen King that reads like a summary of ‘On Writing’.

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Posted in General on Aug 2nd, 2009, 5:31 pm by althea     

A matter of beginning

Hi, and welcome to my blog! Please visit the link ‘About‘, to find out a bit about me.

This blog is all about documenting my journey as a writer – the successes (very few) and the setbacks (plenty).

I am currently writing a historical romance on Textnovel.com called ‘A Regency Adventure‘. It’s the first novel I’ve made public, so all comments are welcome! You will have to register at Textnovel to read it, but it’s well worth it as there are some very good reads to be found there. If you are a writer, this is another way of getting some exposure for your work.

Bye for now, and happy reading!

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Posted in General on Jul 26th, 2009, 1:39 am by althea     

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