Monday, July 27, 2009


It's an unofficial rule that an aspiring writer needs a blog. It's also an unofficial rule that posting stories online, even to your personal blog, can hurt their chances for publication. Hmm. So what's the blog for again?

I have my reasons. In a week and a few hours, I'll be many miles and dollars away from good ol' Oklahoma at Uncle Orson's Writing Class and Literary Boot Camp. For those of you who don't know, Orson Scott Card is the author of many bestselling speculative fiction novels, including Ender's Game, which is probably my favorite book. I remember saying to my wife, "If I could write prose like anybody, it would be Orson Scott Card." Well, in a week and a few hours, I will be sitting in the man's classroom. And this whole surreal shin-dig gets even better:

The two-day Writing Class is open to anyone. Only fifteen writers get to stay for Literary Boot Camp, which lasts an additional four days. These fifteen writers have to be college-age or older and serious about professional-level work. And it's by application only. It goes like this: You send in the first page of a short story, Mr. Card reads it, and either denies your application or...not.

Me? I'm one of the fifteen. And it kinda feels like a big deal. And it should. I've been writing in a vacuum my whole life. I've never even met a professional fiction author, let alone one of my heroes like Orson Scott Card. (I've had dreams where I met the man, for crap's sake!) Since high school, I've attempted novels, written bad stories, read books, written more stories, read more books, and, in the last year or so, I've begun collecting rejection letters. And they're really piling up. Sixteen so far, and more on the way. That might look pretty bleak to some of you, but to me it looks like battle damage. It looks like a writer's early career. It looks like trying. And with my first jump outside the fishbowl just a week away, I'm getting excited.

And so we come back to the blog. In a vague way, this blog is a flag in the sand. This is the start of something new. It's possible that I'll come back from this class having learned very little. It's more likely I'll return and look at writing very differently. But I'm not going to come back as someone else. It will still be me who sits at the keyboard and makes stuff up. Like Neil Gaiman said, "It's only you." It's only me. So here's to working hard, finishing things, getting them read, and starting new things, over and over again, until I wake up one day and realize that, yes, I did what that 25 year-old so long ago hoped. I didn't quit, I grew, and I succeeded.

I'll keep posting as this whole thing unfolds. Let's find out what happens together, shall we?