The first thing I remember writing is a report on dinosaurs that I wrote in the third grade. I was excited when I heard about the assignment. I loved dinosaurs. The teacher went around giving every student one as the subject of their report. Would I get the fierce T-rex, or maybe the Triceratops? I always liked the Stegosaurus. When she got to me, the teacher said, “Your report will be on the Allosaurus.”
I blinked in confusion. (Maybe not really, but I needed some kind of action there.) I’d never heard of an Allosaurus. What the hell was this lady playing at? That was no dinosaur!
Back in the Dark Ages, before the internet, we had to go to the library to do our research. I remember my Dad taking me to the Public Library, and I spent what felt like about four days (I’m sure it was more like 20 minutes) researching this made up dinosaur. Turns out, Ally was the real deal after all. I wrote an inspiring (work with me here) post about a fierce hunter who preyed on the more docile and tasty herbivores.
I wish I had a copy of that report to look at now, I’m sure it would be an amusing thing to study. I know I drew some sort of cartoon of an Allosaurus eating some other dinosaur, and I remember writing the page of cursive (because back then we didn’t print!) out three or four times to make it neat enough. I’m sure it was a work of literary genius the likes of which that teacher had never read before. (Well I do remember getting an A, so she must have been impressed.)
Anyway, I thought about that report as I was falling asleep last night, who knows why. I thought it would be something interesting to hear about from my author pals. So let’s hear it. What’s the very first thing you remember writing?
Allosaurus photo found here.
PS – Ryan’s word today is demesne, another word for domain. Specifically dealing with matters of law and property.
Self-reflection has never been my strong suit. I’ve been trying to write my “About the Author” for a week now and have gotten a grand total of zero words done. That’s right, zilch. Some writer I am. Can’t even write a couple of paragraphs of mildly interesting crap to amuse people at the back of my book. Grr.
What’s the problem, you say? Well I don’t really know. I decided–perhaps optimistically–this was the next step I wanted to tackle in my path to self-publishing. I knew I needed to leave Brood alone for a while before starting the revision, and it seemed like a good use of time. I tried to write a blurb for a few days first, and failed so hard on that I thought the bio would be better. Wow, how wrong I was.
I’ve tried reading what other authors have written in order to get some idea of what I should write, but it hasn’t helped at all. I wonder why I am so bad at these things. Maybe it’s one of those things that I’ll get better at with practice. Anyway, as part of my goal to make this blog about keeping myself honest, I’m going to attempt to write one right now. And no matter how bad it turns out, I’m posting it. That’s right, you get history in the making right here, right now.
Coral M. has always been the kind of girl who makes up stories. Fortunately, she never quite grew out of that. She writes because she loves to invent characters and the desire to find out what happens to her creations drives the tales she tells.
Prompted by a general interest in how the world works, her formal schooling was in biology. She follows science news and enjoys conversations about genetics and microbiology as much as those about vampires and werewolves. Striving to always get the science right, she tries to provide logical explanations and not to rely too heavily on hand waving where magic is concerned.
She currently lives in Connecticut with the love of her life who offers both encouragement and kicks in the tail when necessary.
So, what do you think? I’m not really happy with it, but I am glad that I got the first one out of the way now. If you like, share your About the Authors with the class so that everyone can see!
With the exposure of this story on the writer forums and blogs, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Since I began writing I have been of the opinion that you should be proud of your writing–as well as your name–and that pseudonyms aren’t necessary in this era of electronic and self-publishing.
The article concerns a high-school teacher who was exposed as a writer of erotic fiction under a pseudonym. Apparently some parents believe that a person like that shouldn’t be teaching children. I’m not going to touch the issue of how wrong it is that she is judged that way; it’s been done to death on a million blogs. Instead I’m going to blather on about the other issue, pseudonyms and why we might need them.
Pseudonyms have a long history with good reason, and maybe I’ve dismissed the idea too quickly. Let’s face it; it will be a long time before I am able to quit my day job in favor of writing full time. What will happen if someone I know at work happens to see my name on Amazon? I don’t write erotica, but I do write adult fiction, with disturbing themes that would be troubling to some. It could be embarrassing.
I’m not even really that concerned about my current job. I might be embarrassed the first time someone asks me why I wrote about slavery and magic, but I would live through it and have doubts that I could be fired because of it–I don’t work with children and never speak with outside customers. What happens if I decide to change jobs or I get laid off and I have to start a job search? All employers these days do web searches on prospective employees. Will being a fiction author impact my ability to get hired in the future? Honestly, I have no idea.
My gut response is of course not. Every one of us has hobbies and things we like to do in our spare time that have nothing to do with our work lives. Why should mine be held against me? Considering the backlash against Ms. Judy May, I can no longer believe that everyone shares that opinion.
The simple answer to this issue is that once this position ends, for whatever reason, I go on to freelance or a similarly “authorly” pursuit where my fiction wouldn’t be held against me. Is that realistic though? I’ve never held a paying writing job, and I make a good living doing what I do now. It’s really a difficult question, and I don’t have an answer.
I am proud of my writing and I want to stand on my roof and tell everyone that I’m an author and here is what I’ve written, but so few of us manage to make a real living doing this. It frightens me to make that leap and never look back. I’m not the starving artist type. I like to have money to travel and do the things I want to do.
Do you have similar concerns? I’d like to hear about them.
So I spent today trying desperately not to rewrite scenes from the novel I just finished. I’m trying to give it a rest. Instead, I rewrote history! The creation story of my werewolves in Brood is something I’ve known all along, but never really wrote out, so I took the time today to scrawl a few paragraphs on how they came to be what they are. I also decided based on some research that I’m going to drop the ‘s’ from Broods. It’s not a big deal, but one translation of the Völuspá–the skaldic poem I got the idea from–uses the singular Brood, and I think I like it better.
I’ve never tried to interweave the history of a story in with actual history before and I found it an interesting exercise. The original idea for this story came from research I was doing into Norse mythology for a completely unrelated story that never went anywhere. Funny how that works. I’ve tried not to burden the actual story with too much of the language and myth, but I think it adds a nice flavor that most werewolf tales don’t have.
Anyway, here goes the little taste of history:
The Brood of Fenrir descends from a race of werewolves enslaved by the barbarians of Scandinavia prior to the Viking Age. True origins lost to the centuries of oppression they endured, they became a fixture of Norse Mythology as the children of the wolf Fenrir and a giantess. Used as disposable shock troops by their masters, they ultimately became known as berserkers.
During the tenth century, several hundred of the Brood managed to fight their way to freedom and fled to Iceland. The Viking expansion into Iceland and Greenland thereafter was prompted by their relentless pursuit of the escaped slaves. When the Brood reached the shores of North America they integrated themselves into the extant cultures there and finally managed to elude their pursuers for good. Today they hide among humans in North America, their sub-culture a brutal reflection of their dark past.
This will at some point be a part of a longer history, but I had fun writing up that teaser today. What do ya think? I’d also be interested to hear about if any other authors out there have tried to do something similar.
Ryan’s Word of the day is garrulous, which means wordy. What do you think he’s trying to imply?
Wolf Photo by sometimesong found here.
Finally, after about a week of trying to finish one scene, the first draft is DONE. I’m really proud of this one. Weighing in at a sleek and slender 60k words almost on the nose. I’m debating another title change at this point, to Fenrir’s Boon, but I’m not sure about it yet. I’m going to let it fester… I mean sit for a few days at least before I start hacking it apart. I think the plot is pretty well settled, just a few things I have to go back and tweak. I’ll work on the description , loglines and such in the meantime. I’m excited.