Am I a Writer Yet?

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr / Creative Commons


There’s this weird thing with writers where we’re afraid to lay claim to the title of “Writer.”

There’s this invisible threshold we need to cross, either put there by ourselves or by what others define “a writer” as.

And a lot of times that threshold is ever-changing:

  • “You’re not a writer until you finish a book.”
  • “You’re not a writer until you’ve sold your first piece of writing.”
  • “You’re not a writer until you make a living at it.”

I’ve believed all of those at one time or another.

mid 1980s

I’m in high school, writing feverishly in my notebook during classes, attempting to give meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. I’m writing my heart out, attempting to build worlds and hoping someday someone will give a damn about them. Am I a writer yet?

The 90s

I’m working the graveyard shift at a gas station. A job so mind-numbingly boring, I could do it in my sleep. I’m writing. A lot. I’m anonymous, though. People look at me and treat me like I’m an idiot in an idiot’s job. I’m so much more than I seem. But am I a writer yet?

Early 2000s

I’m a bookkeeper and eventually a credit manager, a job which actually requires some skills and is quite stressful. The pay isn’t great, but it’s the best I’ve made. The only writing I’m doing is in a comic strip, which is seeing some small success on the web. I’m not writing fiction, though. And it hurts. I’ve traded the dream of writing fiction for the immediacy of accolades from a growing audience of my comics. Am I a writer yet?

Mid 2000s

I’m finally making a living writing! I’m working at a newspaper. I’m writing. A lot. Thousands of words per week, and I’m actually making a difference in my community in some small way. People compliment me, people insult me, and some even say they were moved. But I’m still not writing the fiction I yearn to write. Who has time when you’re working on a staff that is dwindling by the day? Am I a writer yet?

Late 2000s

The paper closed down. I’m blogging now, doing some freelance stuff, and ghostwriting for others. I dream of writing books again, yet I don’t have the time. Am I a writer yet?

2011

Together with my writing partner, Sean Platt, I co-wrote the vampire thriller Available Darkness, the post-apocalyptic serialized thriller Yesterday’s Gone, and just released a book of dark fiction short stories called Dark Crossings. We had the Number One Free Horror novel on Amazon for the first week of November. And in the past three months, we’ve sold a lot of books and received rave reviews. For the first time ever, my writing dreams seem like a reality.

Am I a writer yet?

The truth is, I’ve always been a writer. As long as I’ve kept moving the pen (and striking the keys), whether for myself or for an audience, I’ve been a writer.

Even after all this, I’m sure there some who would say I’m not yet a writer. I’ve not been signed to a book deal. I’ve not had a bestseller. I’m not a household name. Some people still view self-publishing as a “vanity thing” and demean it and take shots whenever they can, even though some of the biggest success stories in writing last year came from indie writers who are re-shaping publishing.

But I don’t write so someone else will consider me a writer.

I write for me. I write for my family. I write for you.

I am a writer. It’s what I do, whether I have an audience or not.

Am I a writer yet?

I knew I was a writer the minute I was too busy writing to consider the question.

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(Note: I’d like to thank all of you who have followed BloggerDad, despite my horrible attendance last year. I wrote more words in 2011 than ever. And yet, somehow I only wrote 26 posts here. Truth is, I had to take some time away to focus on my fiction. And I’m thrilled with where it’s at and where it’s going, as I mentioned in the post. Which means now I can come back here and write more often. I’ll be updating BloggerDad TWICE A WEEK in 2012. Thank you for your patience.)

* * * *

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Zooey

Last night, my son, E, walked by the TV during the World Series when actress Zooey Deschanel was singing “The National Anthem.” He immediately stopped in his tracks, stared, eyes glued to the TV, watching as she sang.

E, entranced, watching Zooey sing The National Anthem.

“She’s pretty,” he said, staring at her as if she were glowing or something.

“She’s a princess,” a minute later, perhaps because of her dress.

Then he asked, “Do you love her?”

I laughed, and said, no, I love mommy.

“You don’t love anyone on TV? You can love people on TV.”

When she was done singing, he had to watch it again. And again. And still wanted to watch it again.

While girls seem to love E, he doesn’t usually seem quite so entranced as he was by Zooey. He’s far more likely to flirt, or turn away, shy.

He loves to watch people sing. He also seems to notice whenever girls wear red on TV.

So last night, Zooey had it going on as far as my four year old is concerned.

Here’s the video of Zooey’s performance that someone posted, as long as youtube leaves it up. Hit the red box to get rid of the obnoxious text boxes.

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My Own TV Show And An Embarrassing Confession

When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was writing a TV show. Depending what age you asked me, I’d have a different sorta show ranging from a Star Wars-inspired show, a super hero show, a horror show, or, after spending one too many days home sick from school, a soap opera.

Yes, I used to watch soap operas.

There, I admitted it. All the guys in the room can point and laugh. The ladies, well, given the state of soaps today, you might be laughing, too.

I didn’t like soaps for the romance, the sleeping around, or betrayals. No, I watched for the adventure. Shows like Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and my favorite, Santa Barbara, had some thrilling storylines. Murder, intrigue, mystery, and sometimes even supernatural (which was awesome when done well) stuff.

I’d always loved the serialized format — shows, comic books, or fiction with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending. But not many TV shows were doing that sorta thing back then. Except soaps.

MY OWN “SOAPS”

So, from 7th grade through high school, I used to fill spiral notebooks full of ongoing serials of my adventurous soap. It was awesome. It had an undercover cop, a billionaire evil dude, and all sorts of labyrinthine plot twists. It was awesome, even if I only showed a couple of of close friends.

These ongoing stories in my head were pretty much my only escape from a miserable, almost friendless existence. I loved thinking of cool new twists to throw into my heroes’ journeys. The only thing more exciting would’ve been if I was entertaining actual readers.

I wanted to show my stories to some more people, expand my readership if you will. But at the same time, I didn’t want to pass around some story that seemed like a soap opera on paper. I was already not the most masculine of guys. This would’ve put an even bigger target on my back.

Since I was also writing horror stories, I decided to try something new — add a serial element to my scary stuff.

And it was my first taste of having readers, even if it was just a few people digging the stuff I was writing. For a kid who tried to fly under the radar, and NOT stick out, this was a huge leap of faith to show other people (beyond my best friends) my writing.

And when they responded well, it was the most awesome feeling ever.

There was nothing more cooler than having people ask, “What’s gonna happen next?” or “Why did you end it like that?!”

For someone with few friends, little athletic ability, and no discernible talents that impressed anyone, this was nothing less than life changing. I was finally accepted (and appreciated) for something I did.

RESURRECTING THE SERIAL

After school, I kept writing, but I kept most of it to myself. I no longer had, or sought, an audience. And until 2005, when I get a job writing at a small newspaper, I thought I might not ever realize my dream of writing fiction.

Then, in 2008, I met my writing and business partner, Sean Platt, and we decided to try co-writing an old story idea I had in serial form (Available Darkness). Time constraints, the scope of the book, and the format (we tried blogging it) made serialization difficult and unnatural, though. So we scrapped the serial idea and just wrote the book (which came out in August.)

A few months ago, we got to talking about wanting to do something new for the Kindle audience. We knew we wanted to do a series, and had a few story seeds we’d been watering over the years. But then we had another idea.

What if we did a whole new series, from scratch, and in serial form?

Sean and I are huge fans of serialized drama. Our two favorite shows are LOST and The Wire, the gold standards by which all serialized drama should be judged.

What if we wrote our own serialized show? But in book form?

We’d write 100 page books (or “episodes” as we’re calling them), each of them with a killer cliffhanger ending. We’d start with a cool premise — what would happen if everyone else on the planet vanished all at once? Not a rapture “Left Behind” sort of book (which I’d never read), but something altogether different.

The format seemed PERFECTLY built for Amazon, and as far as I know, nobody else is doing this sort of thing on this sort of release schedule (though I could be wrong.)

Sean and I began to plan, plot, and hatch our schemes of six-episode seasons. Episodes would be published every three weeks at Amazon.

We kicked off with the first episode of Yesterday’s Gone a few weeks ago. And now, we’re thrilled to announce Episode Two.

If you like serialized shows, serialized books like Stephen King’s The Green Mile, or ever stayed home sick from school just to catch an episode of your favorite soap, I’d love you to check out Yesterday’s Gone. It is a character-driven series with tons of thrills, chills, and mysteries to unravel. And we’re aiming to make each ending a cliffhanger worthy of our favorite shows.

You can buy current season episodes for .99 cents at Amazon or at Smashwords (where you can download it in just about any format for any type of reader you have.) We’ll have versions available at other retailers such as Barnes and Noble and Apple soon.

So please download a sample today, and if you like it, buy it. If you love it, please leave a review where you bought it, review it on your blog, mention it on Facebook or Twitter, or tell a friend. Just like TV shows need viewers to survive, we need readers to check us out.

The more people we can get reading, the more time we can invest in bringing this series to life. With a bit of luck and support, maybe we’ll last several seasons! Or who knows, perhaps it will become a proper TV show?

Click any of the links below:

Yesterday’s Gone Episode 1 at Amazon

Yesterday’s Gone Episode 2 at Amazon

Yesterday’s Gone Episode 1 at Smashwords  (2 is coming to Smashwords later this week)

 

 

 

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The Available Darkness Book Is Here

Today is my birthday. While this is normally a day where I’m depressed that I’m another year older and think about all the things I didn’t do last year, this year is different.

I finally finished my first novel Available Darkness, which is now available at Amazon in print and for the Kindle device and app.

I’d like to thank my co-author and friend Sean Platt for helping see this book through to completion and kicking my ass when needed. And thank you to the readers who kept emailing us asking when we’d finish (we ran the first half of Available Darkness as  a serialized book on Collective Inkwell more than a year ago before putting it on hiatus).

And of course, thank you to my awesome wife, for taking so much of the brunt of the household and parenting workload while I holed away in my dungeon finishing the book.

For those who have read the first part online, you’ll likely want to re-read from the beginning. We edited, re-edited, and repeated the process many times, changing a few things here and there, and tweaking the story to as close as perfect as we could get without holding onto it forever.

Here’s the back of the book jacket info:

The Darkness Has Awoken.

FBI Special Agent Caleb Baldwin is on the hunt for a serial killer who has left a trail of burned bodies. One of those victims – his wife. As he gets closer to finding the killer, he falls deeper into an elaborate conspiracy.

A man wakes buried alive with no memory of who or what he is. In his pocket, a note: “Avoid the sunlight and don’t touch anybody.” Now he is being hunted by the FBI while trying to remember his monstrous past. He must control the darkness within before it consumes him and the child whose life he must protect.

11-year-old Abigail was dying slowly each day as the prisoner of a sick man. Until she is saved by the most unlikely of heroes – a vampire with a deadly touch. He is her only hope, and she may hold the key to unlocking the memories of his hidden past.

Past, present, fate, and future are on a collision course as the hours of AVAILABLE DARKNESS are ticking away and a force greater than anything the world has ever seen threatens humanity.

Available Darkness is the first book in an epic journey that reinvents vampire mythology with a fast paced, character-driven thriller that blends action, mystery, fantasy, and horror in an addictive, tragically romantic story.

I hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed writing it.

Available Darkness is available at Amazon in paperback or eBook version for your Kindle device at a very low price.

If you read the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. When you’re a new writer, reviews really help you get word out about your books.

Thank you for reading,

David

 

Posted in memorable moments, my books | 4 Comments

When Death Comes For Your Child

Want to cry your eyes out? Read about this family who may lose their 5 yr old daughter, Leah, over at Daddy Files.

Want to help? Well, when you’re done crying check out this post.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment