And So We Begin
Posted by Tom Benedict on 01/06/2011
Nearly five years ago, I decided I wanted to learn to write fiction. I love reading aloud. I love what stories can do for the people who listen to me read. I love reading stories to myself, and love what those stories can do for me. What better way to express this than to try to write stories of my own?
Well… it was a good thought. It still is, but it’s not that simple. Writing fiction is hard work. It’s some of the hardest I’ve undertaken. During those five years I wrote, rewrote, tore up, wrote again, and continued this cycle without one story I wanted to put my name on and call my own. During those same five years I undertook all sorts of engineering projects at work, learned to do kite aerial photography, re-learned how to do photography from the ground, and succeeded in most of these endeavors. But not writing. When I say writing is hard, I mean it.
But it’s also incredibly rewarding! A while ago I figured out that I’m simply not tooled up, skill wise, to write a novel. I don’t know if I ever will be. And setting my sights on a project that large without having honed my skills on something a little more immediate probably didn’t do me any favors. So I started writing short stories. Wow! What a difference! I still think most of my writing is sheer drivel, but at least I don’t realize this fifty or a hundred pages in. I can see it by page two.
About a week ago I had a conversation with my son that sparked an idea for a story. As soon as he was in bed I wrote the first draft. I was in the middle of another story, so I put it away and went back to my first project for the next few days. Then I went back and revised it. Then I handed it to two readers who gave me some fantastic feedback. One more revision later both readers gave it the thumbs-up. It was time.
My first story is out the door. I should know some time in the next eight weeks or so whether they will publish it or not. If not, I’ve got another publisher lined up. Meanwhile it’s time to go back to that other story I was working on.