I guess that makes me a author, right?
by Sam Adamson
If anyone had said to me a little over a year ago I would be a published author today, I wouldn’t have believed them for a second. I enjoyed creative writing at school, English was the only subject I was reasonably good at, but writing stories was only a means to passing my exams, and when the world of work beckoned I put aside the writing and got on with the business of earning a living.
Not until 2009 did I dip a toe in the writing waters again when I started my Future; Nostalgic blog to indulge my passion for fountain pens and notebooks, and to share snippets of my life with, well…anyone who would read it, really. Sure, over the years I’d toyed with the idea of writing a novel, something I’m sure many people have, but it never quite happened.
Then I joined Twitter. A chance conversation about the US Halloween culinary delight that is candy corn connected me with a most supportive US writer who read my blog and suggested I ought to think about writing fiction. I must confess to spending much of the next few weeks looking over my shoulder to see who the writer was really addressing that comment to, I mean, me, write? Whatever were they thinking?
Faced with a continuing barrage of encouragement, and having been pointed at Jon Strother’s excellent #FridayFlash project, I eventually bit the bullet and put pen to paper. If nothing else, I thought, this may prove to my writer friend that I can’t write. How wrong can you be?
There were comments on my story! Nice ones! Must be a fluke. I tried again. Same response. During this time I was connecting with more writers from around the globe through Twitter, all of whom were of the opinion that I should keep writing. I did, and have been a regular #FridayFlasher ever since.
The biggest problem I faced with stories at school, and one I remain afflicted with today, is worrying I’ll be able to fill the required word count. Flash fiction pieces run to a maximum of 1000 words, but even this appears as an endless arid plain of blank space when I sit down to write. It never fails to amaze me that, once I get going I am often a couple of hundreds words over the limit by the end.
Only with my vampire story First Foot did I not worry, as much. This story seemed to write itself with no apparent direction from me, I merely acted as the vampire’s secretarial support. Mostly though, I have to drag a story, kicking and screaming a few lines at a time onto the page, certainly some of the episodes of my flash fiction serial, The UCF Stories have been like this.
Ah yes, the pixies. I couldn’t not mention them, could I? The first story in the series was only supposed to be a one-shot, post-Christmas story, but the pixies managed, one way or another, to get into my brain and have never left. Tidying round after them is becoming a bit of a chore as they’re a messy pair, but their continuing adventures are great fun to write and I hope, to read.
Hang on though, what’s with the title of this post, I hear you ask? You haven’t talked about being published yet.
Once again I am indebted to #FridayFlash because my story, A Twist in the Tale, was chosen to appear in the Best of #FridayFlash, Volume 1 anthology, alongside the work of over sixty other talented writers. BOFF, as it has come to be affectionately known, will always have a special place in my heart for being the first place my work appeared in print format.
My work has also featured in a few other places online, and as part of The Great Chocolate Conspiracy Flash Fiction Blog Tour. A chance remark by my good friend and fellow writer, Monica Marier, lead to one of those wonderful Twitter moments from which great ideas emerge. Within hours, Monica and I had thirteen other writers involved in the blog tour, which ran from September to December last year. It was great fun to be involved with and we hope to publish a free e-book of the collected episodes soon, another new skill I’m attempting to master.
There’s still an incredible amount for me to learn about the writer’s craft; I feel I’ve only scratched the surface so far. I’d like to think I am reasonably adept at plotting and characterisation, largely due, I suspect, to my misspent youth playing RPGs. Beta reading, copy and structural editing, and e-book publishing on the other hand, I am still getting to grips with, though with the help of the online writing community the mists are beginning to clear.
What I’m trying to say is, if you’ve ever dreamed of writing, give it a try. Experiment a bit, find your preferred format and just go for it.
If I can do it, anyone can. Oh, and sign up for Twitter if you haven’t already, the Twitter writing community is an incredibly supportive group of people. Writing has been a steep learning curve so far and I have learned so much, chief amongst which is how little I know! I do know one thing however, writing is at times equally the most frustrating and rewarding thing I have ever done. So there you have it, from complete novice to published author in just over twelve months, who’d have thought?
I am thrilled to have been asked to guest post. Perhaps, if Write Anything! will have me back, I’ll tell you a little of how I plan and write stories, but for now, thank you for reading and to the editors at Write Anything, thank you for inviting me.
Sam Adamson is a writer, blogger and fountain pen enthusiast. He lives in England with his family and is owned by two demented cats. His work has featured at The NOT , Brain Droppings and Mari’s Randomities, and has been published in the Literary Mix Tapes: Deck The Halls e-book anthology .
Sam is a regular contributor to #FridayFlash ; one of his stories features in the Best of #FridayFlash, Volume 1. He is also one of the team behind the Great Chocolate Conspiracy Flash Fiction Blog Tour.