I’ve wanted to become a writer from as long as I could remember. It somewhat pains me to say that I can’t exactly say what every other writer says. For example, “I’ve been writing stories since the 1st grade.” I honestly can’t say that. I wish I could. Honestly, I wasn’t even that big a reader, I don’t think. I mean sure I read books in elementary. I LOVED books in elementary.
Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary were my fav authors of all time! As I write this, do you guys know that Beverly Cleary is 100 years old!!! What a blessing!!!
Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school. ~ Beverly Clearly
My most fav book of all time; however was We Hate Everything But Boys, by Linda Lewis.
My next fav book was, Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.
I’m sure there may be some others here and there Like Charlotte’s Web and all of the Disney stories like Cinderella and what not. But after elementary I think puberty and life got in the way and reading just wasn’t for pleasure anymore.
After I became a young adult, (early 20’s) and I would go through some type of tragedy of a broken heart or whatever, my mother’s famous antidote would be to read a book and take a bath. After much kicking and screaming about it, I found a book sitting around my mother’s house because unlike me at the time, she was an avid reader. But we had totally different genre’s of reading. She was into Stephen King and Dean Koontz, where as if I had to pick a genre at the time it would have been romance. So anyway, the book I found was Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown. Loved it! It was such a long book and kept me engrossed for a while! I had some how magically forgotten all of my problems because I was too busy reading about someone else’s. After that, I started reading The Witness by Sandra Brown. And from then on I got into a habit of collected and reading anything by Sandra Brown.
Again a new found love of becoming a writer was something I wanted to do and become. Now mind you, at this time there was really no such thing as the internet. Sounds weird to say that. I’m not really that old… I don’t think. 😀 Anyway you have to realize that at the time the only people that had cell phones at the time were mostly doctors and people who had them in their cars were rich! We were doing good if we had a pager! lol
So one day, I got out my handy dandy typewriter and began to type away. There were no e-books so I lived in the library, I began to type out some pages and tried my best to emulate what I thought a writer would write. I tried to identify with the books I’ve read. The name of the book was Venturousness Enterprise. I have no idea why or even what that means right now. I still have the printout of it from my dot matrix printer around here somewhere. Maybe one day I’ll post an excerpt of it.
Anyway, I’ve said all that to say this. With that book, it wasn’t really me. I was trying to make it me without making it me. If that makes any sense. I was trying to write the way I thought people wanted to read. The books that I saw at the library and was used to reading. The movies and TV shows that aired on TV. They were all written and about Caucasian people.
After a decade, the internet, cell phones later, and many more heartbreaks again, mother’s antidote was read a book and take a bath. I was at Walmart one day and this book caught my eye. Cheaters, by Eric Jerome Dickey. I turned the book over to read the back side and low and behold… the author wasn’t just black but male. At this point in my life I had never read a book by an African American, I was all too excited to read what was inside the book. I wanted to know so bad if these characters were like me. Did they look like me? Did they deal with the things I’ve dealt with? So on and so on.
Low and behold all those things were true! I read that 500 page book in a matter of a few days and was upset when it was over. I went to the library looking for more books by EJD and found them. I couldn’t believe there were African American authors! I know you might be thinking what freakin’ rock were you living under! That’s a long story…. Anyway, that’s how I discovered African American fiction. I’ve been in love ever since and have gone back to writing because finally I can tell my story the way I want. I can be free to be me! My whole way of thinking is that I can teach and entertain at the same time!
For years I would do research because we no longer have dial-up… we have lightening speed DSL and the world is at my fingertips! But that’s not all! There are e-books and super, quick, easy, and free ways to self-publish. I don’t have to go through sending my manuscript off, finding a literary agent, being rejected over and over again because for once, I can be my own boss! I can write what I want, when I want, and how ever much I want!
I sit down and research, outline, plot, plan and get stuck. Writer’s block? NOPE! I’m paralyzed! I can’t move! I can’t even complete that thought in my head because of the crippling fear that, “What if” someone thinks this is true or about me or this has really happened to me! I can’t take that chance. OMG! what if my family reads this! I can’t say that or deal with those issues! What will the “Church folk” think of me! Ok… STOP! I put that book on hold and place it on the back burner, lets deal with something else… another issue. Got it! Young Adult!
Yeah that’s the ticket! I’m going to deal with issues that all teenagers deal with and from this book, there are going to identify with themselves and have revelations the same way I did when I read Cheaters by EJD. I had it all planned.
Then I started dealing with what POV to use? I wrote a few chapters in 1st person and then decided to change it to 3rd person, only to go back and change it back to 1st person again. I’m pretty sure that it’s possible that most writers go through that from time to time. Then another issue arose.
To curse or not to curse. I researched it the best I could and came to the realization that you have to do what’s best and believable for the character. SO that’s what I did. It took months to come to that realization. I made sure it wasn’t excessive cursing but more like primetime words. If they can say it on regular television shows then it should be okay for my book. But what ended up happening after I published that book is because of the curse words, I didn’t advertise or tell any of the “church folk” about that book so definitely no book sales from there.
Before publishing the book, I printed it out and gave a copy to my family so they could look over it and tell me what they thought of it so far. It wasn’t the whole book just about 100 pages of it.