I’m having great fun! I finally get to write another story!
Let me fill in the backstory. I’ve wanted to be a writer since my teens. Always I’ve been daunted by my favorite authors and their works because I know I couldn’t write as well. Not to go into all my personal baggage, but I have spent most of my adulthood feeling inferior regarding this dream. In 1990, while my wife was pregnant with our only child, I brought out my underused Royal typewriter and actually wrote over 100,000 words in a vain attempt recreate myself in the light of impending Fatherhood. The story is called Frostfire, and is based on my previous experiences of creating D&D worlds. I told you I was a geek!
Frostfire was a healthy exercise, and I don’t regret the late nights clacking away and chain smoking (well, maybe the smoking thing). Creating a novel “on the fly” is perhaps the worst way to go about breaking into print, but I plead ignorance. What did I know? The linear limitation of a typewritten manuscript didn’t bother me much. As with most endeavors, I have to enjoy the process, or I won’t try; I am a Be-er, not a Do-er. By that I mean that I am more interested in the ride than the destination. I enjoyed the process of writing Frostfire, although the results were poor.
After a few halfhearted attempts at the old-school manuscript submission process, I and my wife turned our attention to the challenges all new parents face, and Frostfire soon defaulted to the closet. I still have a couple of copies of the 400+ pages of typewritten tripe somewhere in the basement.
Six years later - I bought a computer by then - I learn about a novel writing software called Dramatica Pro. It’s expensive, comprehensive, and it promises, through obligatory ad copy, to answer my unsung dreams. I scraped together the money (over three hundred, as I recall) and ordered it. It certainly is comprehensive; The program has a learning curve so steep it would flummox a lama. Even the freaking manual was hard to understand. Sure I could change settings in the program, create a unique “storyform” based on my vague ideas, but in the many areas where I let the program fill in the blanks, I remained stumped. It has a nice Q&A format, but without a strong understanding of the terminology, the questions might as well have been in Romulan.
The moral to this story: Don’t try to learn Photoshop without a design/photography degree, and don’t try to learn Dramatica Pro without a few literature semesters under your belt. I put the program away, only to break it out again when my muse seemed unstoppable. That is, not very often.
Fastforward to this week. I find in the local CompUSA a scaled-down version of Dramatica Pro called Writer’s Dreamkit. I guess the name tipped me off. For less that the price of Half Life 2, I can realize my dreams - again. Not being one to want to waste even my paltry
attempts at learning the first program, I paid and went home hopeful. Thankfully, I find myself sufficiently prepped for what the Dreamkit offers. This time, I set my sights a bit lower for the first run and I will attempt to write a simple story based on the archetypes. As Frostfire was intended as a young adult novel, so too is my new project - tentatively entitled A World Away. If this pans out, I’ll post it to one of my web sites and let everyone read it. Stay tuned.