We all have them, but it's how we tell them that really makes the impact.
What is your story? How do you plan to tell YOUR story?
I have them. You have them.
We dream in stories, we act out the chapters of our lives in stories. I hope to share many of them with you. Read along with me and share.
Starting out is hard.
Hitting the button to post your first story.
Drafting a comment for an online journal.
Uploading a private photo and revealing it to the world.
These may seem like small steps, hardly earth-shattering gestures that should be daunting. In our present world it seems everybody has taken the old Sixties motto to new lengths: Let It All Hang Out is the mantra of our times.
But as I look back on my path of creativity, I find these were the hardest steps to take. The first ones. I remember six years ago shooting off a seven paragraph story — really it wasn’t more than an extended caption for a screen capture photo. I was proud of the words I’d written, they seemed to convey the mood of the picture in a dandy way. But what to do with my composition? I knew of a few people I thought might enjoy my creation, fans of the TV show whose image and characters had inspired me. I had no idea how to get my little story to those fans. So I just uploaded the “story” as a comment on a fan web site. Silly, I know. Innocent for sure. Unproductive, maybe. But people read my scant paragraphs. And, miracle of miracles, they liked what they read.
After receiving this lovely feedback — we parched authors drink up reader comments like the golden elixir they are — I was contacted by the owner of the fan site where I’d posted my story. This kind and generous person had a suggestion: why not post my story to a real fan fiction web site, a location where hundreds, maybe thousands of readers could find it? This Kind Lady was a terrific writer herself, so her suggestion blew me away. I was flattered. But also befuddled. I had no idea how to post a story. Not one clue. But this Kind Lady became my guide. She held my hand through the process (not literally, of course) of pushing the right buttons until my story was posted. When it went live, I felt as if I’d run a marathon or climbed Mount Kilimanjaro or birthed twins. Huge accomplishments, of which I’ve only done the last.
In sum, that old saying is indeed true: the longest journey does begin with a single step. Since posting that first short story, I’ve written over sixty fan fiction pieces. Some have been brief sketches, drabbles we call them. Some have been novel-length works. The best one was a nine-chapter work I co-wrote with the Kind Lady who launched me on this adventure so many years ago. And now I’ve published my first original novels in a mystery series. My genre is contemporary murder mystery in the noir vein, with characters who fall into and out of trouble at a fast clip, noir lite someone called it.
All of this is to say, taking the first step is hard. It’s scary, certainly dangerous, if you value your ego. But with a diligent guide, some luck, and a lot of moxie you can do it. And the results can be transporting.