I’m on my way to Borderlands Press Writer’s Bootcamp. This will be my third year attending. The first year I went, I was unsure of myself.
The worst thing about writing is having to show it to someone.
What if they don’t like it? What if their nose squinches up and they put on that smile and tell you it’s great?
What if they down right say it stinks?
Who would you remain friends with, the honest one or smiley face?
What’s worse than that, is I paid good money to get beat up by 16 fellow “grunts” and three accomplished authors.
Are all writers sado-masochists? We love the punishment and love to punish?
I met some great people that year. And the year afterward. We keep in touch and encourage one another in our writing, praise one another for our accomplishments.
I learned from Writer’s Bootcamp why Marines are so tight.
We did our share of mental push-ups, I assure you that!
On my way home from Towson, Maryland, I couldn’t contain myself. I had more creative energy than I’ve ever felt in my life.
To be in the constant company of like minds!
In the real world, few of my friends read books. Many of them don’t retain anything.
I had a friend tell me she read a book she took out of the library. She said she read it before but didn’t remember until she got to the end. I opened the back jacket.
She had checked that same book three times!
I want my books to be remembered. I want people to talk about them. I want my stories to change lives!
I want my characters to live!
We learn a lot in Bootcamp. We actually learn, that in reality, we shouldn’t use words like “actually” and “in reality.”
No body “thinks to themselves.”
I was just thinking hungrily to myself that maybe I’ll just get up and actually walk gingerly to the kitchen and then make myself a sandwich. In reality, I’m desperately aware that I haven’t been grocery shopping in weeks.
Tom Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson and Doug Winter would hate that.
So do I. But I wrote it. Just now.
We all do it. We read over our first drafts and look for knitting needles to put in our eyes.
At Bootcamp we learn about Point of View. One year, a grunt asked what that was. We all laughed and then listened intently as our drill sergeants grew red in the face and explained. Gimme a hundred, soldier!
What’s a participle?
Another twenty, you sorry maggot!
We learn about plot and pacing and strong character voice.
What’s more important, Plot or Character? Hmmmm.
We learn comaraderie and that writing, though a competitive field, is also an intimate environment.
We have to cheer each other on because we’re not sure anyone else will.
I came home from Maryland and turned my 35 page submission into 195 pages.
I was so pumped up, I wanted to sell the restaurant and buy a bottle of scotch.
Just kidding. But I was pumped. I decided that no matter what I do in life, I will pursue this dream. I still have to be responsible to my life, but as long as I’m writing, I can’t hurt anyone right?
It doesn’t matter if I ever get published, though it would be nice. I mean really nice. And I really shouldn’t care if nobody likes what I write. There’s nothing to fear.
I can always call my smiley face friends and my mother.
As long as I keep writing, I’m doing what I love and that’s what makes life worth living.
It helps to have people critique your work. It makes you a better writer. Like anything in life, you can’t learn unless you make mistakes.
My bags are packed and I have 16 manuscripts with red ink all over them.
Hahahaha she sneered with a sinister laugh.
I too can play that game!