The Great American Novel
Have you ever dreamed of writing the ‘Great American Novel’? No? How about an Academy Award for a screenplay?
I once heard that there is a best selling novel in every person. The secret is to get it into print. We all dream, but you have to work to make the dream a reality.
And it is much simpler to do than you might imagine. You just go out and do it. That’s what I mean by simple. Now, I didn’t say easier. I said simpler. In some uses, simple and easy might be synonymous, but not in this case.
Over the years, I’ve had aspiring writers call and ask how to go about it. That’s the big problem, that first step.
Well, if you’re interested in any kind of writing, the next few months should give
you the jump-start you need.
Twenty-five years ago, I read a news release about a Romance Writers’ Group meeting at the old Hilton on I-10.
The speaker was Robert Vaughn. I had no idea who he was, and I wasn’t particularly interested in getting hooked up with a bunch of flighty romance writers.
My wife and I talked it over. I think it only cost ten bucks or so for all day, so I went. Simple as that.
Robert Vaughn was remarkable. The romance writers were extraordinary.
I wrote my first women’s thriller from the information I garnered that day. Now, it’s never been published, but that few hours provided me the impetus to get off my keister and do what I had been prattling about for the last twelve or thirteen years.
That organization is now the Golden Triangle Writers’ Guild. And if you’re interested, it meets the second Tuesday at 7:30 pm at Barnes & Noble out at Parkdale.
And what’s really nice is that once a year in October, the Guild hosts a writer’s conference, bringing in writers, agents, and editors from around the country.
This year the conference is at the MGM Elegante from October 22-24. For more information, go to the web site, gtwg.org or contact D.J. Resnick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s something there for everyone. Song-writing, mystery, suspense, romance, thrillers, action-adventure, poetry, forensics--over thirty presenters will be here for those three days.
In addition, Lamar University Continuing Education is offering a series of non-credit writing courses both online and on campus. They offer them each spring and fall.
There are several from which to choose: article writing; teen writing; how to write fiction; novel writing, and several others. Go the ‘The Write Site’ at Lamar Continuing Education. Instructors are experienced writers such as D.J. Resnick, Jessica Ferguson, Carol A. Thomas, Jessica Burkhart, and yours truly.
Yes, I shamelessly admit that I teach a short six-week course in the spring and fall titled ‘Writing the Novel.’ It is a hand’s on course where students actually write parts of the novel so we can critique in class.
By the end of the six-week period, many students have written the beginning, the end, and outlined the middle of the book.
As I mentioned earlier, the biggest problem with writing is to figure out that first step. In addition, grammar, format, and submission methods are discussed.
Nothing turns an editor or agent off like poorly constructed sentences and grammatical errors. You might have the greatest story ever told, that legendary ‘Great American Novel’, but if the editor can’t get past the first few pages because of poor writing, it will make no matter. Today, we’re fortunate to have spell check, which catches the majority of these errors—but not all.
If you’re interested in more information about any of the writing classes at Lamar, go to www.lulearn.net’writesite or contact Rhonda at 880-2233.
There’s a lot of myths about writing, and either at the conference or the writing classes, you’ll have many of them dispelled.
So, if you’ve ever had the itch to write, the next few months can scratch it for you.