Tag Archives: why write

Did Writing This Book Change Your Life? By Pat Bertram

I wish I could say writing this book (Daughter Am I) changed my life since would make a good story, but the fact is, it made little difference. It was the third novel I wrote. I’d already experienced the joy and sense of accomplishment completing a novel gives one, and I’d already experienced the disappointment that comes from having a novel rejected. I’d already experience the joys of being published and the disappointment that comes from not having the book take off immediately. Now, if Daughter Am I would go viral, that would change my life!

Here are some challenges other authors faced as they wrote their books. The comments are taken from interviews posted on this blog.

From an Interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

Writing my first book a few years ago gave me confidence. I believe it was an exercise to prepare me for the challenges I would shortly face in my personal life.

From an Interview with Noah Baird, Author of Donations to Clarity

I think people thought I was pretty weird before the book. They still think I’m weird, but I think I get a pass now because I’m a writer.

From an Interview with Calvin Davis, Author of The Phantom Lady of Paris

After penning the Phantom Lady, I was not the same person. The actual writing of the novel took about five and a half years. During that period, I wrote and rewrote again and again, etc. That said, the truth is, it took me all my life to write the Phantom Lady. The penning of my two other novels was preparing me to write TPLOP. The production of my countless short stories was also tutoring me on how to create the Phantom Lady. And during all this time of schooling, “the lady” was inside me clamoring to be liberated, as I was clamoring to liberate her. “Free me…free me,” she screamed. When I completed the last sentence of the novel, the lady was finally liberated. “Thank you, Calvin,” she said. “Thank you.” Finally, she was free…and so was I.

From an Interview with Sherrie Hansen, Author of Merry Go Round

I think each book that I’ve written has changed my life. I remember an episode of Star Trek, Next Generation, when Jean Luc Picard was swept away to live out his life on another planet. He eventually fell in love, married, had children, and learned to play a musical instrument. When his new world came to an end, he learned that he had never left the Enterprise, and that the whole alternate life experience had occurred only in his mind, in a few days time. I feel like that every time I finish a book. It’s like I’ve visited some alternate reality and lived the life of my character from start to finish, feeling what they feel and experiencing what they experience, when in reality, I’ve just been sitting at my desk, typing away. In a very real way, I think each book makes me a richer, more multi-faceted, more understanding person because when I’ve walked a mile (or a hundred) in my character’s shoes.

Click here for more interviews by Second Wind Authors.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Everything Happens For the Best — Oh, Yeah?

Twice today I was told, “Everything happens for the best.” Everything? Is it best when a child dies? When an earthquake hits? When one loses their home and ends ups on the street? In books, everything does happen for the best. That is the point of writing — to make sense of senseless happenings. There has to be a lesson to be gleaned from the story events — perhaps character growth, definitely a satisfying resolution. If the story events happened without reason, the way things happen in life, readers would throw the book across the room and never pick up another one.

Oddly enough, our brains do that same work for us. When a tragedy has passed and we have come to terms with it, when we have found a way to live despite the pain life dishes out, we look back and think, “Everything did happen for the best.” But was it really for the best or was it our brains doing what they could to make sense of it all? Would we have ended up in the same place even if the tragedy hadn’t occurred? It’s impossible to tell, but I do know not everything happens for the best. We make the best of what happens. It’s called life.

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Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fire,  and Daughter Am I.

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The Best Thing About Being a Fiction Writer Is . . .

When the conference was over, Laz gathered the handouts and picked up his notebook and walked out of the assembly hall into the brilliant Carolina midday sun.  Everett emerged from the darkness at the same moment and the two old friends found themselves walking together.

“So what did you think of the conference, Laz?”

He shrugged.  “You first.”

Everett laughed.  “That pretty much answered my question.  I’m about the most idealistic person I know, but I have to tell you I got a little tired of the ‘high-and-mighty’ tone of the speakers.”

“All of them,” Laz agreed, nodding.

“I guess there’s something wrong with me,” Everett continued.  “They were saying all the right things and I know I was supposed to agree.  Intellectually I’m pretty much right with them.  Only . . . well, it’s hard to put into words.  Somehow all that righteous indignation put me off.”

“They were self-conscious,” Laz said.

 “Self-conscious?  How can you say that?  They did nothing but brag about themselves and drop names for the whole two days.”

“I mean they were self-conscious not in the ‘shy and embarrassed’ sense, but in the ‘I’m going to put myself in the limelight so you all will admire me’ sense.”

“Ah.  Yes, everything they said showed they were mostly conscious of themselves.  I think that’s it, Laz.  Despite the fact that I agreed with them almost completely in principle, their constant ingratiating attitude just sapped all my enthusiasm.  Listening to all those speakers pat themselves on the back, I got to where I thought this was a bragging contest.”

“You know what I kept thinking, Everett?”

“What?”

“I kept thinking, ‘This is why I’m a writer.  This is why I write fiction.’”

“. . . What do you mean?”

“Well, I feel just as strongly as all those speakers did—and pretty much in the same way.  And maybe I want to express some of my strong ideas.  Only, when a person gets up and makes a speech about a controversial issue, half the potential listeners have already tuned him or her out.  And two thirds of those who are on the same side as the speaker are only listening to hear things they agree with.

“On the other hand, when you write a story—if you do it right—you can draw in any reader.  You can express your ideas either in what your characters say or in what happens to your characters and how they respond.  As a writer you have the ability to show a realistic grasp of both sides of any controversial issue.  Most public speakers forget there are two sides to any issue because they’re so busy trying to prove their side is the valid, important one.

“When you write about a controversial issue, you don’t have to make it the center of your story to express it fully.  You just work it in.  For instance, when I wrote The Medicine People, I deal a lot with the quiet underlying bigotry Native Americans and Western European descendants still harbor for one another but never express out loud.  And while it was essential to the story, it didn’t overwhelm the novel.  Stories have the power to make an issue live in the mind of the reader the way a speech never can.

“And the best thing about being a fiction writer is, you don’t have to brag to get your point across.  The best writer is one whose reader gets absolutely lost in the narrative and—oops!  Watch out for the curb, Everett!  Are you okay?”

“Yeah.  Just clumsy.  What were you saying?”

“I don’t remember.  Let’s go get lunch.”

Lazarus Barnhill is the author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday, both published by Second Wind Publishing Co.

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Answering the question: “Why did you write a novel?”

While I can’t speak for the other authors at Second Wind, this question comes up with alarming frequency and always gives me a moment of pause as to the proper reply. I have a tendency to express my somewhat quirky sense of humor at the wrong times and any number of responses come to mind but though they might be entertaining, it doesn’t address the question. Writing has always been a part of my life whether it is poetry, grocery lists, or correspondence. I have a file cabinet with several folders marked simply “writing” where I have stored pieces of paper, journals, legal pads and diskettes filled with my ideas. To me, the answer is obvious – “why wouldn’t I write a novel?”

 

My current novel (second one written, first to be published) was actually one of those scraps of paper in a file cabinet. During my pregnancy with my second child I had a series of very strange dreams and captured the impressions and concepts on paper only to toss them in the “writing” file for me to flesh out some day. And there the notes sat until a year later when my sister-in-law and I were having a sort of snark-fest about following one’s dreams versus the reality of needing a steady income and benefits. The particulars are not that interesting, and hardly flattering to either of us, but the end result was her tossing down the gauntlet for me to do something about my writing rather than dream about it. To further toss kerosene on the flames of our snit, she send me information about a writing contest on Gather.com and essentially dared me to (1) write the novel, and (2) enter it.

 

I am a Taurus on the cusp of Aries with Leo overhead at the moment of my birth. If you know anything about astrology, you can imagine what my response was. The end result was the first draft of “A Love Out of Time.” The story had some technical issues, POV shifts that gave a number of readers whiplash, way too much back-story, and not nearly enough dialogue but for a first novel written in 30 days it finished in the top third of the first round. (At the bottom of the top third to be precise, but still a respectable finish in my humble opinion given the speed under which it was written.)

 

The hard work began after the first round of the contest was over. It was at this point that “A Love Out of Time” became something more than a “so there” to my sister-in-law. The feedback I received made me realize that I might have something worth working on and so began a year of critical review and edits. I edited my novel because I found a voice within that would not be silenced. The characters became as familiar to me as my family. I wrote because I could not imagine going back to the place where I jotted down my thoughts and filed them away for a “some day” that might never happen.

Since “A Love Out of Time” was born, I have gone back to my file cabinet and taken out a number of my old ideas to see what else is speaking to me. I found a legal thriller that I wrote under a different name that I am knocking the dust off of. Sandwiched between some really awful poetry, I found the outline and first scene of what is going to be the second novel in a series I am tentatively calling “The Time Walkers” with “A Love Out of Time” being the first book in the series.

 

Now when people ask, “Why did you write a novel?” I say, because it is what I do.

 

Mairead Walpole is the pen name for a somewhat introverted project manager who has 20+ years of business and technical writing under her belt. Mairead holds a BA in English with a writing concentration, an MBA and her Master’s Certificate in Project Management. She has authored or co-authored a number of training courses for the companies she has worked for as well as free-lance articles for publication. Her novel, “A Love Out of Time” will be available by Christmas through Second Wind Publishing or Amazon.com

 

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