I Guess I’m an Author Now

What makes an author? Writing blogs? I’m not sure. Writing a novel? Well, that at least falls into the realm of authoring.

I’ve always had a story, in my head. Sometimes, it would try to get out and, occasionally, I would attempt to capture it on paper, or virtual paper, as the case might be. Then, it would hide again and I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a while.

Last year, while working on the code for my small business–quietly, in my living room, minding my own business–the story reared its head. I think it was my brain’s way of pulling me away after hours spent on coding. It distracted me and I had to stop coding. It was getting in the way of my work.

And so, I let it out. I dumped it into the safety of a word processor, so it wouldn’t get lost. So I could stop thinking about it.

Well, that didn’t work as planned. As soon as I started writing, more words followed. Then, more words. Pretty soon, I was spending about half my waking hours writing the story. Very soon, I found it unmanageable, locked in a word processor that wasn’t set up for a beast so large.

After about forty thousand words, a friend convinced me I needed an authoring tool. There’s that word, author, again. I decided on Scrivener. My life changed. With the proper toolset, I was able to tame the story.

Millions of keystrokes and hundreds of thousands of words later, I winnowed out a complete book, with a second one nearly complete, as well. A third and fourth are already started, and I’ve written lots of back and forward stories as well.

“Now what?” I asked myself.

As I worked, I read the stories out loud and was soon recording it so I could listen as well. I’m now working on the third recording of the first book and have started recording the second one.

I needed an audience.

Reading groups were a new thing to me, but an author friend of mine went with me to a Read Out Loud group, where I read for a group of strangers for the first time. It was very cool to hear the audience react to my story as I read it! I was hooked, so I also joined a writing group where we write for 45 minutes, then read our rough material to a few of the others. This is fun! And it gives me an opportunity to write about other things than the story.

Now that the first book is actually in a readable (and hearable) form, I decided to start sharing in online. I created a blog just for The Wolf Dream Books, and also Twitter, Facebook and SoundCloud accounts. It’s been a lot of work, but now I have small followings on these.

I decided to publish a few scenes from Tishta the Crystal Orb each day. When I finish a chapter, I publish the audio on SoundCloud. As of this writing, about a third of the book is out there. I hope to have it all out there by late May.

An interesting thing happened when I started writing the story down. It’s a fantasy story with wizards and demons and magic. I thought, at first, it would follow three children as they were discovered and their various talents emerged. And it does. But I wasn’t satisfied. I needed something to provide friction to the story, so I added a vampire.

My vampire, Coltan, offered more than just conflict. He became the story. Everything else I had written or planned just seemed to fall into place around him. I found that Tishta really began when Coltan arrived, and that’s what happens in Part 1 – Coming Together, Chapter 1 – Coltan Arrives, Scene 1 – A Phantom in the Dark.

Here are my first words:

Malcan took the first watch, carefully circling the camp, getting a feel for the landscape and looking for places a person could hide. Finishing the circuit, he felt a tingle go up his spine, then warily headed down the animal trail on which they had arrived.

Suddenly, near the edge of the fire’s glow, a dark figure appeared, looking like a phantom in the flickering light! Stopping long enough to slip the wooden stake from its sheath on his boot, Malcan rushed toward the mysterious intruder.

Give it read, if you have some time. I would love feedback. It would let me know that I really am an author.

Copyright ©2014-16 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

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