Monday, April 21, 2008

So You Want to Be A Writer?

With the November digital release of Alvarado Gold and the quickly approaching print release in May, my cousin wanted me to talk with her grandson about being a writer.

I have yet to have this conversation since we live in different parts of the state and haven’t crossed paths recently, but I’ve been thinking about what I might say to him.

While, “Good luck with that,” comes to mind, it’s a little severe. To me there are three driving factors:

1. We have to be good: at plot, characterization, emotional logic and scene flow. Basically, you have to know your craft.

2. I also feel like there’s a considerable amount of luck to the process, too, but I think we make our own luck. We have to know what’s available to us, search out leads, enter contests, make websites, etc. No one’s going to find us if we don’t light our own candle a little.

3. And last but not least, perseverance. Keep plodding down that road, keep sending off submissions and don’t ever give up. If we fold at the first rejection or think our story is too good go be changed, edited or corrected, we’re definitely not going to make it.

While the writer’s life isn’t an easy one, it is definitely rewarding once that magic contract shows up in the mail. It isn’t the financial gain but the recognition that someone beyond our own tight circle of existence appreciates our hard work and it certainly doesn’t hurt the ego, either.

So my response to him would be, “Go forth, young man, and write.”




Kara Lynn Russell said...

This sums up the writing life quite nicely! #2 reminds me of a comparable statement in Phyllis Whitney's book on fiction writing. (It's in the back of my closet, can't remember the title, but I've used it often over the years.) She said that she'd had a lot of luck in her career, but if she hadn't been out there trying, she wouldn't have been in the right place at the right time to catch those lucky breaks.


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

“Go forth, young man, and write.”

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Great post.

Victoria Pitts-Caine said...

Thanks Kara and Pamela -

I appreciate your comments. If we don't try, we'll never make it!


Bethanne said...

I like this bit about perseverence. It really was the annoyingly persistent neighbor that got the food. You know? Just keep knocking.

Sarita Leone said...

I think you're all set to give him great advice. :)

Victoria Pitts-Caine said...

Bethanne -

Thanks - I'm always awed when I find out how many times great writers like Twain and Saroyan were rejected. But they kept on knocking, too. It's part of the experience.


Victoria Pitts-Caine said...

Sarita -



Susan Macatee said...

Great advice, Vicki!
It isn't easy to be a writer, as so many non-writers seem to think. It takes a lot of work and time and those who can persevere will reap the rewards. Not necessarily financial ones, but the rewards of reaching out to readers.

Judith Leger said...

Excellent post, Vicki! You've said it all! So what did you nephew say when you talked to him?

Victoria Pitts-Caine said...

Susan and Judith -

Hi thanks for the comments - I just now got in from my crit group - 11:00 p.m. I communicated through the young man's grandmother so I haven't heard back yet. But I'll let you know.


L M Gonzalez said...

Very well said.

Write, submit, persevere.

LM Gonzalez