Wit 'n Wisdom of Janice LaQuiere

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Writing - The Birth of a Passion

I grew up reading. After learning about Sue, Tom and Pepper in the Ginn Basic Readers at the age of 4, I was hooked to books. However, the closest I ventured to writing stories was when my cousin Jennifer and I glued together pieces of scrap paper and started writing our own versions of the Little Golden Books to try and beef up the business at our Kool-Aid stand. Unfortunately, our self-publishing venture went about as flat as an open can of store-brand coke.

Fast forward 10 years. Having been influenced by the likes of Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden, Jennifer and I again set out to write our own action/adventure series. Our heroines had just discovered an ominous plot and were undergoing extensive self-defense training when my hand cramped up. My blue-lined notepaper would forever carry the beginning of our unfinished story, but in the process of our two excursions into the land of literary accomplishment I got bit by the writing bug.

Not long afterwards, I peddled my bicycle up to a neighborhood garage sale. After I shunned the costume jewelry and the beat-up appliances, the older lady hosting the sale walked up to me carrying her stack of Writer's Digests. I had an aura, she said. She knew I'd be a writer and wanted to give me her collection. Wow! I’m not into auras. I didn't know if should change my deodorant or walk around with a veil over my face like Moses. I did, however, accept the magazines and carried them home to be read and re-read.

A few months later we purchased a computer and my dreams of becoming a writer began. I stared at the blank blue screen of WordPerfect and tapped out Chapter One.

The lone horse and rider trotted slowly across the Wyoming prairie. The setting sun sank deeper beyond the crest of the earth, tinting the horizon with beautiful hues of orange, crimson, violet and yellow, and casting a gilded edge of gold on the clouds that were scattered about it. The tall, prairie grasses waved gingerly in the cool late April breeze.

For Love of Life was the first of my novels. During the next several years I finished six westerns, wrote several essays and short stories, and won a few essay contests. Like any great journey, I learned a lot on the way. However, my dream of having a published novel remained elusive. I knew my writing lacked something, but what? Grammar? Plot? Character development? My lack of knowledge choked my inspiration.

Over the course of the next several posts I'm going to answer some of the questions I had early in my writing career. I hope to explain fiction techniques, such as:
Point-of-view (POV)
Active writing vs. Passive writing

I'll also explore the how-to's and whys behind publishing lingo that left me befuddled. Such as:
Studying the market?
Who is your audience?
Comparing similar books?
Researching publishers?
Creating a platform?
Getting a referral?

In short, I hope to drag you along with me into the world of writing, until you're no longer a stranger looking in, but an insider with the confidence to pursue your dreams.

I don't promise to have all the answers, since I'm still on the journey, but if I can mark the trail and make the map clearer for the next novice, I'll consider this blog a success.


  • Hello Janice!
    I went to your blog today and really enjoyed it. I can certainly relate to your writing journey. I esp liked the part about the person who thought you had an "aura" and gave you the Writer's Digests. What a riot! I had a teacher give me encouragment about writing when I was 14. I've never been the same since. Good or bad, we're all in it for the long haul. Keep up the great work and I'm excited about reading future posts about what you've learned about writing.

    By Julie Dearyan, at 12:35 PM  

  • Great post! I haven't had the time or nerve to start my blog, but it's there waiting for me. When I get it up and running, I'll invite you over.

    By Gina Conroy, at 7:49 PM  

  • Another Trixie Belden fan!!! I still have my old books.

    Nice blog. Keep up the good work. :-)

    Cheryl Russell

    By Cheryl R, at 4:48 AM  

  • Thanks for stopping by.


    By Janice, at 8:05 AM  

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