Tag Archives: creative writing

Blogging Versus Writing Books

I blog. I write books. I haven’t finished a book. I don’t think I know what finishing a blog is like. Finishing a blog post, yes. But a blog? I don’t think they really have a conclusion.

There are differences, but there are some similarities. Of course, the biggest differences are that blogs tend to be informal, lack editors, don’t require any publishers, and can be updated at any time. Books are more permanent, are sold through vendors, have a story, and actually have a conclusion.

But there are similarities, too. They can both be non-fiction or fiction. They can both have pictures. They both allow writers to express themselves. And they can both make you money.

These are just some similarities and differences. There are many. And sometimes they complement each other. You can use a blog to sell books. You can publish excerpts on your blog. You can advertise your blog or website in your books, which can allow readers to see what else you write.

How do you think writing books and blogging are different or similar? Let’s talk about it in the comments (on this blog about books)!

Authors Answer 63 – We All Started Somewhere

Authors were once children. There was a time when they didn’t write books. Some authors didn’t start writing until they were much older, others started when they were in elementary school. But they all start somewhere. Let’s find out how we all started.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 63 – When did you start writing fiction, and what did you write?

S. R. Carrillo

I’ve been writing fiction since I’ve been able to hold a pen, put it to paper and formulate ideas. I started out writing the wild and dramatic adventures of my household pets, my favorite TV show characters, my parents’ cars, anything at all!

Gregory S. Close

When I was 7 or 8 years old I began writing stories about a 13 year-old space shuttle pilot that was thrust into the future after a crazy space accident, likely involving cosmic rays and atom bombs, but the details are fuzzy.   (In my defense, these sorts of accidents would probably be a lot more common if space shuttle pilots were 13).  At the time, I thought “aging up” the protagonist from my age to 13 was the responsible, realistic thing to do.

Jean Davis

I started writing way back in elementary school with stories about cars that had lives of their own. Sadly (because who knew cars would turn out to be a huge thing thirty years later?) I moved on to mystery and scif-fi shortly thereafter.

Elizabeth Rhodes

That’s really hard to pin down.  As long as I can remember I’ve had an interest in writing.  My first real attempt at a novel was when I was 13 for a school project.  We had to write the story, draw illustrations, and do our own bookbinding.  By my standards now the story was terrible, but I think lots of authors can say that about their first stories.

I started National Novel Writing Month in my senior year of high school, also to get some school credits.  That story was never finished and it’s also terrible, but a lesser degree of terrible.

Eric Wood

I started writing fiction way back in elementary school. At most, third grade, possibly sooner. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I do remember sitting at my desk in my room writing stories. I think they often involved my friends and I and some adventure. Since then, I’ve started writing more for children than adults when I write fiction stories.

H. Anthe Davis

I don’t have anything to give me an exact date, even a year, but I do remember writing stories in the little blue-covered test books we were given in elementary school.  The earliest one I can recall was a story something like The Ordinary Princess, but from the perspective of her maid/companion — even then, I was completely uninterested in princesses or other royalty.  I don’t remember the plot, but that feeling has continued to this day; I’d rather follow the exploits of peasants and soldiers and just comment on the nobility from afar.

Paul B. Spence

I’ve always been a storyteller. I wrote sci-fi as far back as junior high.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

The first time I can really remember writing fiction was in the third grade when we were assigned a creative writing assignment. I can’t remember the exact story, but I remember that my title was “The Mystery of the Emerald-Eyed Cat“, and it featured – wait for it – a cat with green eyes. From there I started writing for fun, and what I wrote for the longest time was a series of stories called “The Game Masters“, in which my friends and I would enter in the worlds of video games. Reading that stuff now is like killing myself slowly and painfully, but it was so much fun at the time. I loved incorporating my favorite parts from video games into the story, and I’d write for hours on end. And sometimes, just for fun, I still enjoy writing complete schlock like that. You’ve gotta play sometimes!

D. T. Nova

When I was 13 or so. Science fiction short stories, both original ones and fanfiction. But I got sidetracked and didn’t start writing with intent to publish until much later.

Allen Tiffany

As I recall, the first complete story was of a sword fight between a powerful man and a god. I don’t really remember why they were fighting other than that the man had failed whatever mission he was on, and he believed the god had betrayed him. The battle took place in the clouds over the North Pole (don’t ask me why), and after the man was cut in half and died, he regained consciousness as a newborn. Whatever his task was, the god had sent him back to try again.

No, it made no sense, and it was heavy on action, but it was the first complete story I wrote. I think I was about 10.

My first attempt at a novel was when I was in 7th grade. The story line went like this: We all went to school one day (in central Kansas), and shortly after we got there metal shutters came down over all the windows and doors, and the school started sinking into the ground. We were told to sit on the floor near our lockers as the school was lowered to a massive railroad deep underground. Once on the railroad, the entire building with us in it began moving south at about 10 miles per hour. We were told that life on Earth was about to be extinguished by some terrible event. Our school, and those of us that attended it, had been randomly selected to be saved. We were going to ride the underground rail under Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas before we were to eventually descend to the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (you would think the gov’t would have picked a school on the coast, from Houston, for instance).  From there – after various misadventures – we were going to reemerge and restart humanity.

This one does not make much sense either, and I only got about 10% of it written, but I learned from it and began to think in terms of novels rather than short stories.

Linda G. Hill

My first foray into fiction was a piece I wrote after asking my mom to staple some paper together. I then sat at the dining room table and proceeded to ask her how to spell every word that wasn’t “and” and “the.” After half an hour I was rewarded by being told to draw pictures instead. I refused. This is why, I’m sure, I still can’t draw a picture. What did I write? I haven’t a clue. I was five.

Jay Dee Archer

I was writing non-fiction long before I started writing fiction. I’d write my own encyclopedia entries on dinosaurs and countries as far back as when I was seven or eight years old. But fiction didn’t come until high school.

In English, we had a week of creative writing when we had to write a story about anything we liked. I wrote a science fiction story about a space shuttle that was hit by space debris, and had to make an emergency landing. However, they burned up in the atmosphere and died. Dark ending, but I still got a good grade from my teacher. That was my only attempt at creative writing until university, when I started to finally write some short stories that will never see the light of day. No idea where they are, nor do I want anyone to see them.

How about you?

When did you start writing? And what did you write? Share your stories with us in the comments below.

Looking for a Writing Competition in 2016?

2016 is the year I become much more serious about my writing. After moving to Canada, I want to focus on Ariadne and get as much done as possible. However, there is a possibility I may join a writing contest. I found this list of contests on the Almond Press website.

Some of them are free, but most you have to pay to enter. There are some good sized prizes available. The very first one catches my eye, actually. It’s only 750 words, though it closes on January 15th. It’s very soon. The grand prize is €50, which isn’t a huge amount, but it’s something. I may give it a try.

Although many say International, the one by Readers Digest is only open to the UK and Ireland. Another has a prize of a four day holiday in Provence. Interesting! And then there’s the one that’s held every month, the 99 Words contest, which has no monetary prize, just your story getting published on their site.

Do any of these contests catch your eye? Do you know of any other writing competitions? Let me know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 19 – Writing Beginnings

We all start somewhere.  Anyone who does anything gets an initial inspiration to do whatever it is they do.  Writers are no exception.  What exactly is it that makes people want to write what they write?  What makes us pick up a pen (or put fingers on a keyboard) and write? This week’s question comes from our very own H. Anthe Davis.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 19: How did you get into writing and what made you select your genre of choice?

Linda G. Hill

I actually don’t feel as though I had a choice in either getting into writing or choosing a genre. I’ve been making up stories since Kindergarten – I remember writing a “book” at my mother’s friend’s dining room table and driving them both crazy because the only words I knew how to spell were “the” and “and.” I’ve been doing it ever since. Same with genre… It doesn’t matter what I start or what my intentions begin as. Since I don’t plot a story (or when I do it’s very loose and only in my head), my works tend to take on a life of their own and inevitably turn to something dark… or at least shades of gray and often end in a twist that not even I was expecting.

Paul B. Spence

I’ve always been a storyteller.  My genre of choice?  What genre is that?  In all seriousness, I write what I like to read.

Caren Rich

It started in the 7th grade with my English teacher.  We had to write poetry. Nothing I wrote was great, but it showed me that I had something to say and it gave me a way to say it. In College, I wrote a short story for my niece when she was born. Throughout life moments and changes, writing has provided an outlet, a way to express myself.  For the most part they were unread and contained in a cardboard box, they were practice. Now, I write short fiction and mystery novels based on life in the South. Why? Because I love the South. The South is full of quirky characters and odd customs. The swamps and bayous that run like ribbons through the area are the perfect places to commit a murder.  Yes, murder.  I’m a Southern Baptist who drinks way too much caffeine and dreams up ways to kill characters off.

D. T. Nova

I’ve had ideas for stories for as long as I can remember, and back in school I had a teacher that encouraged me to write, and yet I didn’t really get serious about it until much later. I suppose that you could just say I realized one day that I could really do it. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

Pretty much all my ideas have been science fiction or fantasy of some sort, so what genre I’d write is nothing I ever needed to put much thought into.

Elizabeth Rhodes

It’s difficult to pin down.  I’ve held an interest in writing stories for as long as I can remember, but didn’t make any serious effort to do so until I was in high school.  It started with co-authoring stories with a friend of mine, starting with the basic details of a fledgling character and winging it.  After a few of those I worked up the courage to write something of my own.

I picked the genres I preferred to read or watch.  I started with crime, mainly because my favoriteTV show at the time was Law & Order.  But when that crime novel started to develop more fantastic elements, I explored fantasy and science fiction more.  I haven’t looked back since.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I got into writing at a young age, after we had a little creative writing assignment at school in the third grade. I was already a big reader at that point, and I really enjoyed creating my own story for a change. Around this time was also when I had first met my best friend, and she enjoyed making up stories as well, so we used to write stories featuring ourselves and our friends and then swap and read. We did this for years, until we eventually started writing more “professional” stuff (i.e. not using ourselves as characters), as well as a lot of fan-fiction (I was big into Star Wars at the time so I wrote lots of stories featuring Luke).

There were times when it seemed like all I did was write, and times when I got distracted by other things and  went months without putting a single word to paper, but my desire to write definitely never faded. It followed me through high school and college, and when school was finally over and I found myself out into the work world, it followed me there as well.

My genre of choice? Well it’s not one specific genre…I’m all about speculative fiction. I like horror, supernatural, and fantasy worlds – all that stuff that is partially grounded in reality, but is full of outrageous unreality. I love the scary thoughts that keep us up at night, the daydreams of other worlds and grand adventures. I love the genres that allow us to imagine that the world could be somewhat more than what it is. When I was a kid that was the kind of stuff I loved to read, the kind of stuff I loved to watch on TV or absorb via video games, so it only makes sense that these are the genres that I would love to write in as an adult.

Jean Davis

Early in life, I’d say it was my third grade teacher who pushed me to write. As far as getting serious about writing, I stumbled upon NaNoWriMo on a forum where I’d been writing fan fiction. After my first NaNo, where I wrote my second novel in thirty days rather than the many years it had taken for the first, I stuck around the forums and met my first critique partner. That led to learning about editing and querying, and finding many more critique partners that  eventually resulted writing that didn’t suck.

When I started writing more seriously, I was writing westerns and sci-fi. While I love a good western,  I found my stride in what I read, meaning all things speculative.

Amy Morris-Jones

I started writing when I was young to entertain my classmates. All of my stories had my friends as characters. Then, as school demands increased, I quit writing. It wasn’t until a few years ago when my husband was working on his own novel, that I decided I’d churn something I’d been turning around in my head onto paper. I didn’t realize I was writing a novel until I was a good 50,000 words in. At that point, I was committed—and hooked!

S. R. Carrillo

Ha! I got into writing because I was born with breath in my lungs, and I haven’t looked back ever since. My genre, though? I mostly just got sick of never seeing the dark, violent, sexual, queer, colorful sides of stories. I got sick of watching straight white men fall in love with straight white women *all the damned time, everywhere*. So I wrote outside of that, and I guess I landed in whatever genre it is that I landed on.

H. Anthe Davis

I started writing at a young age, mostly in those little blue test books they used to give you in elementary schools for writing essays.  Maybe on some level I was dissatisfied with my books and wanted to write things I considered more interesting, because the first story I can remember writing was about a princess’s handmaiden, who was a lot smarter than the princess.  Royalty was never my thing.  As for my genre (fantasy and sci-fi), I got that from my mother, who got that from her father.  According to my mom, she started giving me Dragonlance novels when I was eight.  I picked up a later love of horror possibly because New England (where I lived as a kid) is a spooky sort of place, and I read a lot of ghost stories and watched a lot of Unsolved Mysteries and then started reading Stephen King, et cetera…  It grew from there.

Jay Dee Archer

I got started in a rather unusual way.  I wasn’t into fiction at all when I was a kid, but I loved science books and encyclopedias.  I started transcribing some of the encyclopedia entries onto paper.  That’s right, I was copying the encyclopedia.  It moved on to creating my own material to make presentations about different countries.  I had a bulletin board in my bedroom and started off with Afghanistan, writing about the history, the people, and so on.

My first experience writing fiction wasn’t until high school, and my chosen genre was science fiction.  It was basically like a scene from Armageddon, though I’d written it several years before the movie came out.  But it wasn’t until university that I decided I really wanted to write.  That’s when I created Ariadne.  I had a story in my head to go with the world, and that story is still in my head waiting to come out.  With this world, I wanted to mix science fiction and fantasy, though the fantasy elements have become more scientific.  I also enjoy writing fantasy, though haven’t finished anything.  I’ve begun a couple books and intend on going back to them in the future.  The reason I chose speculative fiction is that I love creating worlds where I can use my imagination.

How about you?

If you are a writer, how did you get started, and why did you choose the genre you write in?  Leave your answers in the comments below.