Authors’ List

It is common among fans to want to know what a writer reads who are the authors that he or she enjoys. It’s said that one should write within the genre or genres that one is most familiar. So, here is a not-so-short list of the many authors I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’ve been reading books since I was old enough to  pick one up – just about 55 years. I loved getting lost in the worlds and characters created from imaginations of these and other writersBut,  there was a period of time due to my career that I had to give up recreational reading. The job involved taking work home as much as working it at the office, so reading for enjoyment went out the window.  Eventually I was able to rediscover the love of books and the fictional worlds once again.
So, be prepared, this  “short list” is long but it doesn’t begin to cover all the authors or what I’ve read.

 So, in no particular order,  here are some of my favorite authors :

Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinland, Frederik Pohl, Aldous Huxley, Anne Mc Caffrey, Marion Zimmor Bradley, Andre Norton, Ursula Le Guin, Clifford Simak, James White, Douglas Mason, Piers Anthony, Frank Herbert, Arthur C Clarke, Jack Campbell, Ray Bradbury, Ian Douglas, David Weber, Paul O Williams, Frank Peretti, Orson Scott Card, Wil Mc Carthy, Terry Brooks, Harry Harrison Alan Dean Foster, J R R Tolkien, Luke Short, Max Brand, Louis L’Amour.

Yes I’ve read non-fiction also, but as you can see, most of my reading has been in sci fi, fantasy, and westerns. Of the sci fi authors , one of my favorites has to be Anne Mc Caffrey. She could create worlds that seemed real and left me always yearning to read the next book in the series. The Dragon Riders come immediately to mind as an example of a fictional world she created that had a past, present, a history and a life all its own. 

Yet at the same time I can’t leave out either Andre Norton and her Witch World series, or David Weber and his Honor World.  Any time  there is more than one book, you have the difficulty of keeping the story alive and accurate across the whole story line, however many books it may involve. Unless such stories and its complete series are released at the same time,which generally is impossible, the writer can look back and can see inconsisitencies written in the first that makes additional books seem false. Sometimes in the forward to a book you can read from the author about the known error and the reason for the change. Yet how does one do that without losing your readers? Because many of the readers are following the series, often they know it better than the author who originally wrote it. So if an inconsistency does appear they almost immediately know it. Yet these authors, and many others I have not mentioned here, have been able to stay consistent  and if changed from the original first in the series, explain it in such a way to bring it in line with the overall story.

For me when I begin a new story, overall it is complete in my head. And while some facts, details and directions do change as I write, overall it is as I imagined once the manuscript is complete. Each writer has their own way of writing and there is no correct or incorrect way to write. It has been said that anyone can write, but the successful ones are the ones who can edit their material. If one would take any of the authors above,  look at their first draft verses the one that made it to print the final work would be very different. So any who want to write remember edit, edit, and edit some more almost to the point that you can recite the story to any that ask word for word. Then expect a publisher or agent to suggest to you that this or that item within the story may be in need of changes. Be flexible but remain true to your story, your characters, and world that you have created.

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Published in: on March 26, 2011 at 11:25 am  Leave a Comment  

The Pacific Northwest

What is it the draws so many writers to this area? Could it be the beauty, solitude, or some other reason? You cannot deny the beauty of the area. For example the gorge area off of hwy 84 in Oregon attracts thousands of visitors annually. The Columbia River runs through this area and probably is responsible for the gorge as it is viewed today. Running from Troutdale on the West to the Locks to the East one can venture on the old Columbia Highway, a two lane blacktop road that winds through the heavily forested area. Along the way you will pass many waterfalls that beckons one to stop and park your vehicle, get out and hike the many trails. Of course the world famous Multnomah Falls is here. But it is only one of the many. If one stays West of the Cascades you find heavily forested areas, yet if you go East of the Cascades you find desert, scrub brush – areas that are similiar to Southern California, giving one climates of their own choosing.

Then you have a couple of the largest writing organizations around. The Willamette Writers, and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Both strong and very active with annual conferences which are well attended. Providing writers with excellent classes in writing, and bringing in agents, editors, and publishers who are always looking for new material and new clients. These conferences are well worth the time and expense as any who attends leaves with additional knowledge, and maybe an agent or book deal, that allows them to be better at their craft.

Solitude abounds. If one needs such a thing then it is here. Small towns and rural communities are everywhere, plus there is a huge wine producing area that is located both in Oregon and Washington. With Mount Hood as a backdrop how could one not be inspired? But if the quiet is not your thing then there are large cities such as Portland or Seattle nearby. Of course, Microsoft one of the biggest players in software, makes its home here also. There are writers, artists, and craftsman who make their home and their living here. One must admit that from the volcanic gorge to the rocky barren deserts,  this area has the type of solitude that any would want to seek. After all, there are many biking trails, and one can hike or camp to their heart’s content.

Yet, for the ones who live West of the Cascades I feel that there is another answer. No real distractions. I am not referring to  TV, radio, or the net, since those distractions exist everywhere, and if one wants to avoid any or all of them, then just turn them off. To produce the heavily forested areas that exist here one must have a lot of rain, and long winters. And that is exactly what this area has. Winters last up to nine months a year. They can begin as early as late September, and end as late as the middle of June, with rain continuing off and on throughout the Summer months. With the grey skies and brief sunshine (sun breaks as they are called here), you have a couple of choices – of course if one punches a clock then the choice has already been made for you. But for those who are not on such a schedule, that means that you spend your time producing children, or spend your time creating a manuscript. After all, when it is cold, wet, or icy outside, who wants or needs to go out in that stuff? So with the weather presenting a dark and drury day, writers take advantage of this and write. While I am sure that others have different views on this, this is mine, and from one who came from an area where nine months of sunshine was the norm, this was a shock. Yet for me it has led  to having the discipline to write with a goal of a thousand words a day, and overall I have been successful with this.

Published in: on March 19, 2011 at 9:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm  Comments (1)  

It All Starts Here

Why choose windmills as an example for writing? Good question and I thank my wife for the idea. After all I cannot claim something that I did not create. She stated that writing is like windmills in the sense that they move in the direction of the winds, and each blade could easily represent the different genres that exist. I thought that was very appropriate since writing can and is taken in just about any direction as the wind changes the direction of the windmill.

Story telling is an old art that has been with us since we could communicate, starting out as verbal and now progressing to the electronic medium. The problem any writer faces is to become known, and to find readers who would enjoy what they write. In this brave world,  it is this goal for which we strive. Some facts were recently revealed that shows how difficult it is to actually get published, and then noticed. It was stated that between ebooks and traditional publishing,  roughly a million books are released yearly – that is a huge number. So how does one get noticed in such a massive amount of literature? Of course this question only counts if you have actually been published. If we then look at the road to getting published, we find that the percentages are ridiculously low, and that just finding an agent or editor that would be willing to take on your project seems at times to be the impossible dream. Yet even if one is fortunate enough to find an agent who is enthusiastic about your manuscript, it does not guarantee anything. It just gives one a better chance of getting closer to that dream.

These are the harsh realities of the writers’ world. So that leaves us to wonder why would anyone want to tackle that mess? I guess it’s because, at least in my case, the stories, characters, and their lives demand it. I know that it sounds funny that some fictional character that only exists in my mind demands it, but I find that it is true. An example, in one book I had planned on certain characters to be minor – someone to move the plot along – but in the end the characters became  major players in the story. So from my point of view, it would be tragic if their story was never told, even though I know that they are not real living beings. Yet in the story they are alive and just as real as you and I.

This first post is not necessarily the way all will go, but I thought it was a great way to start. As the subtitle suggests there will be many different directions to this blog, so each visit may be a surprise. Presently I am only going to post once a week. Of course this could change over time, but  that is an unknown .

Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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