On Writing

I started doing non-classwork creative writing when I was eight.  I don’t remember the details, but I’m pretty sure it was a short story.  It was difficult to do.  I mean that the act of physically writing was difficult.  I have  below-average manual dexterity.  My ability to print letters was poor until my senior year of high school, when I was seventeen.  I tried to type my first Star Trek script when I was ten.  My father had a manual typewriter.  I used to like to try to type on it.  That was as much of a challenge as thinking up what to write.  I’m pretty sure I started writing outlines for science fantasy stories when I was seventeen, when I learned in school how to write an outline.  It was amateurish stuff, heavily influenced by the TV show Dr Who, which I was fan of at the time.  When I began trying to write post-apocalyptic science fantasy influenced by the movie Wizards and the Lord of the Rings books, it was also heavily derivative.  I didn’t come close to doing original fiction writing until my first year of college, when I had read several more fantasy and science fiction books and had begun to learn about the creative process and copyright law.  I made a conscious effort not to imitate elements from published writers’ works.  I began to learn to take my influences, internalize them and digest them.  I began a journal in the Fall of 1982.  It started simply as a method to help me remember what I needed to do that day and a way for me to maintain and improve my cursive writing.  I started writing both fiction and non-fiction pieces in it soon after.

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