1. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    We all have a story to tell

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by alter-ego, Feb 7, 2011.

    Found this forum while wondering forlornly through the black void of the infinite www, looking for encouragement and motivation to write that book that never seems to get started.

    Like a journey that starts with the first step, it seems a book can only start with the first word. And yet I'm having so much trouble finding that first word and writing it down.

    I'm a 40 something, something. I don't ever seem to fit in to a category that is easy to describe. I grew up in England and I left school when I was 11. I left England when I was 19 with the idea to travel the world. I got as far as America and never went any further. I hadn't intended to live my life in America and over stayed my 6 month visitors visa by 27 years. 3 years ago I became restless with always wondering if there would be a knock at the door from immigration. But I think more so there was something in the back of my mind asking what happened to that dream of traveling the world. With that, I sold up everything and bought a backpack and set off to finish what I started 30 years ago.

    The last 3 years has been a great adventure. Immediately I left the US I knew this was the life I was meant to be living. Meeting people from all over the world, experiencing foods and cultures and making life long friendships.

    Strangely this isn't the story I want to write about. What I want to write about is my life in the US. An illegal alien for 27 years. Married for a year, more jobs than most people have had hot dinners. I was a repo guy, a smoothy bar operator, a dancer, sold door to door, a mechanic, sold records in a record shop when there was such things as records, and many more before finally finding I had a gift for building. I was staying in a backpackers and the owner needed help with fixing things around the hostel. The work came easy to me, and other people started asking me to come fix things in their houses. I'd take on anything, and if I didn't know how to do it I'd still say "yes" then run down to the library and try to read up on how to go about fixing the problem. Soon I went from fixing leaky faucets, to installing windows, to installing doors, to building additions and renovating entire houses.

    Oh look I'm waffling but I'm writing! See you guys have helped already!
     
  2. amateurvoice
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    amateurvoice Senior Member

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    Wow, your life sounds adventurous! I would totally read that book once you wrote it down. Welcome to the site! Your story made my day brighter just now. :)
     
  3. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    Sounds like a fantastic, fulfilling time! Good to see you joining us :)
     
  4. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    thanks! just need a million more replies like yours and I'm on my way to a successful first novel. If only I could start writing it!
     
  5. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Well there was a lot of down time in between adventures. Amazing how much time we can waste in our lives, and the internet is no help!
     
  6. midwestwife
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    midwestwife Member

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    Hello Alter-Ego,
    What an exciting back story! You have obviously lived a lot. Yet you still have this void you are compelled to fill.

    You could use your reality, to make a great work of fiction. Maybe writing first hand is the issue. You could always try starting with a fictional story of why you fled to another country and had to live off the grid… Not completing the original journey in real life does not mean your story has to face the same delay. Fiction or not you have a story to tell and you don't want to cheat the world out of it do you?
    Happy writing!!!
    Amanda
     
  7. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    It's a good point, and recently after reading Shantaram I wondered about, as you say making it more fictional. I'm not sure I'd do it in the same vein as Shantaram is written, as I felt he went so far over the top, it all started to sound like bulls@%*t. But the book seems to have worked for most people who love it. I'm just not sure I could be creative enough to write fiction. Surely writing a true account is easier.

    BTW I'd hardly call leaving England fleeing! Or is that what you meant by being fictional? I didn't even live off the grid. I was very visible if they really wanted to do anything. My friends use to joke about how I'd make such a good American since I seemed to be constantly going to court for one thing or another. I made a citizens arrest of a guy who was trying to break into my apartment. I fought countless traffic tickets with cops. Had a huge legal battle with the city over a property I owned, and my best was a jealous landlord who found out I was having an affair with his married sister in-law and then had his friend who was the deputy chief of police of the city I lived in, trump up charges of grand theft auto against me! I actually tried to sue the city over that one.
     
  8. midwestwife
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    midwestwife Member

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    That was indeed my reference to fiction. Lower the pressure to convey feelings that are so personal with the exaggerated aspects of the story. I suggest it because you are struggling to start this. However your passion to use this experience to create is obvious in your introduction. Based on your account of getting side tracked here (I am in the USA), it is clear you needed to accomplish your original goal. Almost like a calling, so you dropped everything and did it. That same passion will write your book. But maybe the intimacy of making it directly about you could be the root of your procrastination. Perhaps attempting to make it a reflection of you will help you ease in to it. It’s just an idea.

    Or you could pick one adventure at a time and write up a short story series and tie those into a novel later?

    I am writing my first novel. I tried writing an auto biographical account of a situation I was involved in when I was younger for YEARS. It never got passed an idea. No pages or chapters. I have been working on a Sci-Fi novel (about a month) and it is going very well for the most part. Either way, I do hope you find it in you to write it!
    Amanda
     
  9. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome. :)
    Sounds like you've had a very interesting and exciting life so far!
     
  10. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Definitely some truths there. Yes Ive also been playing with writing short stories of each adventure. To be honest the only reason non of it is coming together, is because I'm not really trying. I do a lot of triathlon and I always see so many parallels in life and my training. If I workout hard and often and follow a plan, I can achieve great results in the race. If I'm lazy and don't put the effort in, then I can't expect a decent result. Life and everything we do in it is the same. I just need to stop whining and get on with writing.
     
  11. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    thanks, yes I'm often surprised that I've made it to this age! I certainly never planned on it.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That first word is "Hippopotamus". It took me a while to realize that, too, but that's it. Pretty much everything proceeds from there.

    Welcome, and good luck!
     
  13. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Welcome to the forums! :D
     
  14. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Ah you're right, I'd forgot Id put that Hippo in my backpack when I set of on my travels. thanks for getting me started.
     
  15. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Thanks. your tag line intrigues me. It always seems so selfish that one person wants to live less than the other so they don't have to feel the pain of going without. Wouldn't true love be living one day after the other, so they knew that pain and protected their loved one from having to experience it?
     
  16. amateurvoice
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    amateurvoice Senior Member

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    No time like the present you know. ;)
     
  17. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Actually it looks like signing up here is working. I wrote nearly all day yesterday!
     
  18. amateurvoice
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    amateurvoice Senior Member

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    That's great! :D I hope you stay motivated to keep on writing. :)
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hello Alter Ego, Welcome to the Writing Forums.

    Please read How to Use the Review Room before you post there. Posting your own writing for people to comment on should not be among the very first things you do here. It is worth taking the time to see what other people have done to improve their writing, and see if some of it applies to your writing as well. That is part of why we require members to review other members' work before posting their own for review. On the other hand, there are no restrictions, other than content and copyright rules, on showcasing your work in your member blog.

    Also, be aware that posting a piece of writing on any public site, including this one, will greatly diminish your chances of selling it for publication. Removing the writing later does not alter that fact - once posted, it is irreversibly considered published. So do not post anything more than a small excerpt of any piece you are planning to submit for publication.

    If you haven't explored the site yet, you should probably do so soon. Newcomers often gravitate to the Lounge, the Word Games, or the Review Room, but there is much more to be discovered if you poke in the corners. Remember to check out our FAQ as well, and be sure to read through the forum rules, too, to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Respect for one another is our principal mandate.

    As for the Review Room, new joiners often wonder why we do things a bit differently on this site than on other writing sites. We emphasize constructive critique as a vital writing skill. Training your eye by reviewing other people's work helps you improve your own writing even before you present it for others to see. Therefore, we ask members to review other people's writing before posting work of their own. The Review Room forums on this site, therefore, are true workshops, not just a bulletin board for displaying your work (and on that note, please only post each item for review in one Review Room forum). Also, please use the same thread for all revisions and additional excerpts from the same piece of writing. See this post, Why Write Reviews Before Posting My Work? for more information.

    And while you're looking around, don't forget to check out the RPG forum for improvisational fiction. Also try our Weekly Short Story Contest and Weekly Poetry Contest. They actually run more than one week apiece, but any member may enter, and all members are urged to vote for their favorites.

    Enjoy your stay here, and have fun!
     

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