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<== Click to receive a free copy of my short story Crystal Servants and learn about some of the major players in Crystal Kings, my upcoming novel due out this summer.

Adrian, a spy for the King, sees a nobleman murder a servant. His desire for truth is pitted against the dangers of a high-stakes political game. When his friend Draken insists on pursuing justice, Adrian must protect those he cares about as the political games of powerful men alter the lives of everyone around him.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Beyond Words

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt, hosted by Positive Writer. Please follow the link to learn more.

Hi. My name is John, and I am an introvert. (Everyone chime in with "Hi, John.")

It's like being eccentric in a way, since one of the cool things about being an introvert (or eccentric) is that you never consider it to be anything but normal. In the 7th grade I was voted the quietest kid in the school. I didn't know anybody, but apparently everyone knew me. I've known and enjoyed the life of a quiet introvert now for over half a century, yet introverts tend to form a small number of deep friendships rather than socializing widely. This was a handicap I didn't know I had.

I'd dabbled with writing fiction on and off for years. The sale of a story in 1995 was more fluke than skill. over the next eighteen years I collected quite a few false starts, and the occasional finished short story. My handful of submissions all garnered standardized form rejections. I was being crushed by doubt and had no idea how to improve.

It's not that I couldn't write. I'd written several chapters in popular books on software design. I just didn't know how to write fiction despite having read hundreds of books in the fantasy and science fiction genres over the years.

Then two things happened, with one triggering the other. First, one of my friends encouraged me to enter an anthology contest. That by itself would have resulted in several so-so attempts, and I would have figured I just wasn't fit to write fiction. It was the second thing which made all the difference.

As a result of my friend's invitation, I did some research and discovered the local writing community with all its quirky wonder. While my first attempts at writing were rejected as before, I was better at completing what I started. I also discovered a treasure trove of web resources on writing. Better even than those resources, I discovered within the local writing community a host of people ready to give me a hand, share encouragement, and let me join in as part of the community even though I was a neophyte.

Within months, I had turned the tables on my old failures and crushed my doubt. I won a position in an anthology, and got a view into the workings of a great editor who showed me what she was looking for in a story. Just this past week, two more anthologies were released with a story of mine in each, and I pitched a book I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2015 at a writer's symposium. The novel needs work still, but I know what it needs, and why it needs it.

Without that sense of community and belonging offered to me by local writers, none of that would have happened. I'm grateful for all my new friends, beyond words.

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