1. Bruce James
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    Bruce James Member

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    How did you get into writing, and where are you now?

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Bruce James, Jul 14, 2016.

    It's disappointing when I think about it. The first indication that I was good at writing was when I was in the fourth grade.

    I'm 52 now. That was more than four decades ago, people!!!

    I went to Catholic elementary school, and next to the school was a non-Catholic Church. (my church was across the street-catty-corner from the school and on the same side of the main road as the convent. Where the scary penguins lived. Sister Alfreda still haunts me to this day.)

    One day, a dead body was found behind the non-Catholic church, next door to the school. At the time, we were given a writing assignment. I forget the details, but I decided to write a news-type article about the dead body, as if it was a report in the local paper. I think it creeped out my teacher because of the subject, but I got an A+ for the assignment. In hindsight, I wish I was encouraged to develop my writing skills. Maybe I would have gone on to college to be a journalist and eventually an author. I'd be a lot better at it, and would probably have had a much more enjoyable career so far.

    Now, I'm hoping to develop a full time occupation-or should I say, a self-sustaining vocation by writing. It's an uphill battle.

    What's your story?
     
  2. Gazzola
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    Gazzola Member

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    Last year I got angry when I read a story with phenomenal idea and terrible execution. Felt like a waste. So I took that idea and decided to write my own story. After that every time I read about something interesting a write a little about it.

    It's just a hobby, not something I really want to make into a job. but since I stopped reading a book a day because I spend so much time writing I've been saving some money, so you could say that my writing is already paying me back? Haha
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always got lots of encouragement to write, but I didn't have the discipline to actually do it. A while ago - damn, seven or eight years? I was reading a story I'd found randomly online and by the end I realized it was fanfiction. I started writing in the same fandom, just to mess around, got more encouragement (it's great to get feedback and praise after every chapter!) and got hooked.

    For a while there I was thinking about working toward making it my job, but for the last couple months I've been waffling. A couple of the publishers I've written for have started falling apart, and I'm struggling with a current series of edits, and it's making me aware of how uncertain the field is and how much nicer it is to be able to write for fun and treat the money as a bonus. It's not like I hate my day job, and it pays well, with good benefits, pension, and lots of job security. So... I'm backing away from wanting to commit too much to being a full time writer.
     
  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's so much...

    Quiet kid, small town, divorced parents, dick-head stepfather, moved to the city with my dad, hated it, ran away (and when I came back, they wouldn't let me in), lived on the street, taken in by Christian Scientists (not the same as Scientologists), underage waiter in a strip bar, wangled my way into the band, found out the band leader was ripping everyone off, went west (young man,) went west, tons of crappy jobs making good money, saved none, toured Alberta with a few bands, moved to the coast, became a working actor, went broke, went to art college, met and married my wife (across a crowded room), changed my major from filmmaking to animation and then to artistic computer science (yeah, like that was a thing; it's what happens when a college says you can create your own major), realized if I was going to be an independent 3D animator I'd have to know how to write...

    Read every book on writing in the Vancouver Public Library, co-wrote a screenplay that got produced (starring Mark Hamill, but because the production company were slime-buckets, this production credit actually counted against me), switched to novels, went broke (big time) and declared bankruptcy, more crappy jobs, hired as an artist/programmer by the company that first created online banking (so that create your own major thing actually paid off!), company went bust (who'd have seen that coming?), moved east (young man) moved east to Ontario, started an IT company, went broke, wrote two novels that got picked up by ActionTales (but made zero money), more crappy jobs, did post-grad work in screenwriting, burned out from too much writing in school (in effect, the well ran dry because I was all over the place trying to write what the market wanted... like anyone knows that!), more crappy jobs (with great money), forcibly retired from the public service, back to 3D animation (by now, I hated it), tried writing again and...

    Here we are. Oeuvre found, novel in 8th draft (almost done, I can smell the finish line) and lots and lots of ideas for more novels to come. Over the last year, I also found (at least I think I did) my voice as an author. That was a bit startling.

    Like I said, there's so much. And most people, when they hear this, don't believe me, but (to quote anon) you can't make this shit up!
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  5. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    @Sack-a-Doo! An autobiography has to be in the pipeline :)
     
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  6. Vrushali
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    Vrushali New Member

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    My late grandfather and my teachers at school all encouraged me to be a writer. But my parents didn't think much of it and just didn't think that I could make a living out of writing. So, I went and graduated in engineering. All the while I knew something was amiss. I then decided that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I studied fashion designing too, but I realized too late that fashion designing was more of a PR game than anything else. Being the introvert that I am, I gave up on it. And, now, at 27, I am back to writing. I am a sub editor and writer for a local webmag! I hope to make it big in writing someday :)
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's a quirk of my personality. I'm a lousy audience member. I can't listen to music I like without grabbing my guitar and playing along. I also can't read a story I like without desperately wanting to write a story of my own. I've been like this for as long as I can remember (well, at least since first grade).

    I read hundreds of science fiction books as a preteen kid, and I wrote dozens of sci-fi short stories back then - all blatant ripoffs of the books I'd been reading. I was bored in school, so I was filling all my notebooks with sci-fi stories rather than math or geography or French homework. I remember my stomach falling through the floor when my fifth grade teacher collected our notebooks to make sure we were doing our homework. She saw what I was doing in my notebooks, took them to the front of the class, and proceeded to humiliate me in front of everyone by reading my stories aloud to the class. I finally couldn't stand it any more and I ran to her and snatched my books out of her hands, yelling "Give me those!"

    She hated me, I think.

    But I didn't stop writing. I submitted a lousy short story to Analog Science Fiction magazine when I was fourteen and collected my first rejection slip. That took the wind out of my sails for a while, but I got back into writing and have been doing it more or less ever since. (My field has expanded beyond sci-fi, though I still sometimes write it.)

    I'm now almost 55 years old, and have hardly done any submitting: four stories to three magazines, all rejected. One of the rejections was a nice handwritten thing from the editor who said, "Sorry we can't use this one, but I like your style. Please try us again!" I haven't, though.

    I'm working on two novels at the moment, one a kind of alternate-history historical thing, and the other a science fiction story. I have hopes for both. :)
     
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  8. bonijean2
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    bonijean2 Senior Member Supporter

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    Even from the time I was a kid I always loved to write. Seems about the same time most of the students in my class had little meltdowns knowing they had to write another report, I was happily planning new strategies for mine.
     
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  9. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    I was pretty much raised by stories. When I randomly started getting bullied in middle school - losing effectively all my friends - I pretty much had nothing to entertain myself with other than movies and video games. My parents weren't used to having a kid that was bullied because all my siblings were super popular among their classmates, so when I came along they had no idea what to do with me. Since my siblings had sort of just been raised by other people, they hadn't really had to be "real" parents. Their kids just sort of turned out fine automatically. So when a kid came along who wasn't being raised by other people, and who actually needed real support, they just sort of didn't raise me. Admittedly, that left me with a lot of weird problems, but I survived. So with that, my escape was always stories, and I wound up learning almost everything I know from them.

    So, since my entire life at this point was about stories, I started getting really good grades whenever we were given assignments where we were supposed to write one ourselves. It got to the point where one of my teachers - who was a published author - told me to pursue it. Didn't actually think about it for several years, until I was fifteen and I decided I was gonna try "fixing" a franchise that I loved. Not gonna say what it was, but let's just say it was a crappy video game franchise that had been dead for years. I always loved the characters, so I decided I was gonna change the story to something that was actually good. Ended up creating new characters and building an entirely new lore from scratch.

    I'd already had ideas for stories in the past, maybe since I was nine or so, but it wasn't until after I did the thing with the crappy franchise that I started considering writing them, and even then it would never have happened if my teacher hadn't encouraged me. I barely had any self-esteem, so to go into such a risky business without anyone believing in me would have been impossible, and my teacher really was the only one (I'm still not being supported by most of my family).

    So thanks, teach! Hope I make ya proud!
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're not the first to say this, but to be honest, my life seems so boring and mundane from my POV.

    And if ever I do get around to it, I'll have to wait until most of my family are dead. Don't want any law suits for exposing family secrets. ;)
     
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  11. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thru the back door.

     
  12. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    And I totally understand the family secrets bit.
     
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  13. Bruce James
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    Bruce James Member

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    Poms are awesome pooches. Just sayin'.
     
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  14. Vrushali
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    Vrushali New Member

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    I can totally relate! I used to jump right in every time there was a writing test at school and score while the others used to groan.
     
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  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was already writing little short stories and illustrating them myself from a young age. Often the people and animals in my pictures would have little speech bubbles. Like @minstrel , I was also humiliated in school once for it. I had one of my illustrated stories in my notebook, which I'd done at home, actually. But a friend asked me for a piece of paper and I ripped one out of my notebook to give it to her. Teacher saw, asked me to bring what I had in my tray to the front of the class. Stupid, overly honest me really did take the notebook up to him. I was only 7. He proceeded to show the entire class, saying to them, "Look at this useless rubbish!" He then turned to me and said, "I'm going to give you the chance to throw it into the bin yourself."

    The chance. I was livid. I stood there in front of the whole class and refused.

    So he kept my notebook - I presume he threw it into the bin himself at a later date. Later I thought to myself that I had been very, very stupid - I should have swallowed my pride, thrown it into the bin, and picked it up again later once the teacher left! But at the time, I hadn't thought that far. I only knew I absolutely refused to throw it into the bin - it was not rubbish and there was nothing he could do or say that would make it otherwise, or make me believe otherwise.

    Anyway, later I emigrated to England. There when I was 9, I met an excellent learning support teacher. She was assigned to me and a Japanese girl in the same class to help us with our English - I'd only been in the country for a year then. I'd never heard of Humpty Dumpty, had never been taught what a rhyme was. My teacher introduced me to poetry, and she sent me to go write a story with two other English boys, the result of which was a 3-page story about the red fox :D Later I told my mum I wanted to write but I didn't want to write because my English grammar was terrible. Mum said, "Who cares? As long as you enjoy it, go ahead." So I did - I wrote a one page story about someone who found a cave man. Then it was fairies, and then a rip off of the Borrowers, and I just kept going on and on and on - to this day :)
     
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  16. NeeNee
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    NeeNee Member

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    I am tad late finding this forum but I think my story is similar to yours Bruce. As a kid I was an avid reader and whenever we were given writing assignments, usually the teacher was happy if everyone turned in one full page, I usually turned in three or four pages, single space, hand written. (Back in the stone age before anyone new anything about computers).
    My teachers encouraged me to enter writing contests but my own self doubt and being teased by my siblings and classmates always made me feel like I wasn't good enough to win anything so why even bother.

    I wrote all the time throughout school. After high school I didn't go to college right away - instead I started working a series of dead end jobs and didn't go to college until I was 30 - at that time I had a two year old son at home, a dead beat ex husband and all I wanted to do was get a bachelor's in whatever was the easiest road to go down because I wanted to get a job working with people and hopefully have some sort of sustainability in that job. I majored in Sociology (dumb choice but it was the path of least resistance, looking back I think teaching would have been a little better path for me.) I really enjoyed the subject matter and there was a lot of flexibility with the general education requirements so I took English every chance I got.

    I've always loved to read and I really enjoyed my anthology literature courses - for all of you students on here, I highly recommend you take at least one or two anthology lit courses before you graduate. The anthologies exposed me to many classic stories that I never would have read on my own. I discovered Dorothy Parker, Shirley Jackson, Hemingway, Hawthorne, and so many more that if it hadn't been for those classes I never would have read them.

    Anyway I was in a big old hurry to get out of college and took classes year round and graduated in three years. Since then I've worked a series of jobs, Dept of Children's Services, Substitute Teacher, Marketing Research Assistant (my most recent job) and currently in addition to the MRA job I answer phones for a DTV call center.

    Last summer I had an inspiring idea that I think would be a fantastic novel. I've talked to a few people and everyone seems to think I have a solid premise. I started but got hung up on chapter three so I put it away after deciding it needed time to "marinate".

    Back in March I had a phone call at the call center from a Hollywood screenplay writer, he was calling about his DTV account obviously but the computer was taking its good old time so we had a little time to talk and during our conversation I gave him the very bare bones idea that I had been working on and he told me to keep at it and when the book gets written if he isn't retired yet (he said probably in the next five years so get a move on), he might consider writing the screenplay for it.

    So I came home and looked at what I had written so far and thought "I can do so much better than this, I am just out of practice."

    I am so set on writing this novel that I have decided at age 51 that it's time to go back to school. I am going to take some post bac English writing classes this fall and then in Jan, hopefully I will be ready to start Grad school and pursue the English - Creative Writing Master's Degree that I never thought would be attainable. The Master's program has a novel writing path which is the path I want to go down.

    I have been advised to keep my novel off the internet and so I may talk about many other things and story ideas on here that is one that won't be shared.

    I usually have at least five or six short story ideas in my head at any one time so I've got plenty that I can contribute without talking about my ongoing novel.
     
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  17. Constance Cole
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    Constance Cole Member

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    I've always been fond of reading stories since I was around 4-5 years old.

    When I was 14 years old, one of our teachers asked us to create a short story. The best one would be presented in front of the whole level in a form of a role play. Mine unexpectedly got picked, and so we roleplayed it.

    While the act didn't really go the way I wanted to, I realized that I enjoyed creating stories.

    I'm already in my mid-20's and I'm still creating short stories, and occasionally, poems.
     
  18. 6th.
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    6th. New Member

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    I kept journals when I was younger, but I never had the urge to write stories or anything. But in the past year or so I've tried my hand at writing stories, poems etc. I'm pretty terrible. So I joined here to learn and that's about it. :)
     
  19. OzymandiasX
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    OzymandiasX New Member

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    I discovered as a somewhat isolated and troubled child that art is an extremely effective instrument of escape from reality...both for the artist and the audience experiencing that art. The only limiting factor being the imagination of the artist and his/her capacity to convey those ideas effectively. Unfortunately I've spent most of my life escaping through other mediums -- mediums which offered more immediate results, but with greater risk and with less enduring rewards.
     
  20. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    Pretty much began when I could write and formulate sentences. Right now I'm trying to write multiple short stories, a few of which I was thinking of getting published.
     

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