Okay, so I had begun writing, working on bits of stories, piecing ideas together, but never really coming up with much. I was reading more, and trying to pick up books on writing. I kept an idea journal on my computer, and even started carrying a Story Journal with me in case an idea were to strike me.
Up to that point, I was in and out of school because of financial restrictions, but I finally made my way back to going full-time. I was about 23.
During that time, I took my first Creative Writing class as an elective. The class was great, and it gave me a good understanding of some basic story mechanics, and some practice in other types of creative writing. I wrote my first, and only, stage play, which I think turned our reasonably well. I will also post this in the story section if I can get the format right.
The textbook I had during that class was a great reference for all things fiction. I still use it today for a refresher.
At this point I was focusing on trying to go from a general idea for a story to the fully formed piece. This was exremely difficult for me because I was not yet at a point where I could work out the best possible ending. So, many of my stories began with an interesting enough “What If?” scenario, or an image, but as I made my way to the middle of the story everything bogged down. Those few that I did complete were nowhere near the quality I desired.
Even though I had read some books on writing, I wasn’t assimilating the information because my writing output was so low. Had I been writing as much as I was reading, the results may have been better. As I’ve said, my creativty is more of a slow burn.
The next five to seven years, my writing meandered and my output remained low. To my recollection, I only completed three to five stories during that time. My friend had a vivid dream, and I wrote a story based on it. It was the first piece I had ever submitted for publication.
I sent my story to “Realms of Fantasy.” The magazine publishes some good stories, and covers all things fantasy in our culture. The stories they publish are really varied and of great quality. My story, however, was more of a horror tale, so my grasp of the type of material they publish was inadequate. I chose that magazine mostly because I didn’t know where else to try, and I hadn’t purchased a Writer’s Market book yet.
The story, called “The Tide Behind the Door,” was about the beginnings of a zombie epidemic. I chose to focus on only three characters to limit the scope and emphasize the characterization. Unfortunately, the literary voice I was going for fell completely flat, and it instead came across as boring pastiche.
My goal with the story was to achieve a lofty voice for a subject that is all to often fodder for cliches. I didn’t have the chops to succeed with that goal yet, and honestly I feel that I still don’t. Not yet.
I will post, to my horror, that story in the story section. Feel free to laugh and point when I do…