If you’ve read the About The Site header, you know this blog is going to be mostly about my attempt at becoming a professional fiction writer. Now, I’ve been contemplating for while where to start off with the blog, and the conclusion I’ve reached was pretty much: just start at the beginning.
Whether you, like me, didn’t want to go near anything with bound paper pages in it until you reached the end of your teens, or you’ve been an avid reader ever since you were a kid, it starts with a love for stories and the written word.
I’ve only met a handful of aspiring writers who weren’t also avid readers. Some of them wanted to write screenplay, and some of them felt like they had knowledge they wanted to share through non-fiction books. I get why people who fall into these groups don’t necessarily share the same love for written fiction, but I still think they will benefit immensely from reading good books, fiction or non-fiction. The last group, of course, are people who turn to writing thinking it’ll be a quick and easy way to earn money.
That last group of people couldn’t be more wrong. Writing, like any other craft, takes years of practice to excel at and that’s why that initial love for stories (or just the written word if you’re a poet) is so important. Yes, as you become better at a craft you’ll usually grow into liking it more and more, but this your hobby we’re talking about not a job you’re forced to do to make a living. You won’t spend enough time on it to improve your skills if you don’t have that initial love.
So where do writers start? We start by writing crappy stories because we want to create great one like in the books that made us fall in love with the craft to begin with.
Me personally, I had, as mentioned, little love for books until I was about seventeen years old. I loved watching movies, but books never said me anything, I think, mostly because of the books I was forced to read in school.
So what changed back then? Well, I’d watched Steve Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (or the first movie at any rate. I can’t remember how many of them were out at the time) and realized I loved fantasy stories, especially Tolkien’s world. So I dived into every documentary about Lord of the Rings and every fantasy and science fiction movie I could find. And once I’d put even the crappiest movies the speculative genres had to offer behind me, I, reluctantly, turned to the only medium left I could think off. Books.
I started by reading Lord of the Rings, of course, and I loved it. This turned me towards other fantastic writers such George R. R. Marting, the late Sir Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman. And somewhere in my mid-twenties, when I should’ve been working on my master thesis, I started writing stories of my own.