My first word was “Book.” Not “Mama” or “Dada” but “BOOK.” Said in a firm, declarative tone while pointing to an example of the species. It was likely A Happy Man and His Dump Truck; apparently, I was as easy to entertain then as I am now.
When I said this single word that would, as it turned out, shape the rest of my existence, I wasn’t walking yet. I spoke early (very early) and walked late (rather late). Yet another example of nature over nurture. I only run when chased, but by God I’ve been a loudmouth since diapers.
I believe my first word was book because my parents were constantly holding the Things of Many Pages and Staring at Them for Hours On End. I think I picked up on the idea from a very early age that there was definitely something going on there worth knowing about.
So as soon as I could figure out letters into words and that whole Holding a Pencil Not In a Fist thing, I was off and running writing books. For the most part, I like all the things I’ve written. The story I wrote when I was six about how adults turn into monsters when children aren’t looking still haunts my father. If you knew my father, you’d understand it’s an accomplishment to haunt him with anything; his demons are louder than just about everybody’s and the ghosts of his past have more chains than ten Jacob Marleys. That porn story I wrote for my boyfriend when I was fourteen left him breathless and in need of some time in our basement without parental supervision. Who knew that virginal foray into fictionalized sex would be the first of thousands?
Now, granted, there’ve been some duds. There’ve been stories that were more dreams than linear plot lines. There have been some truly unoriginal gems in the mix. Like that one so cleverly entitled, “The Vampire and the Immortal.” Guess what that was about?
AF Henley: *peering up over his Stephen King novel* She has a point, kids, just bear with her.
Ignore him. He’s just always inevitably there. I’ve learned to live with it. There’s no excuse for him.
AF Henley: *raising wine glass* Damn right.
Anyway, the thread of my early life with words was this: I wrote, I liked it, and I might let, oh, one or two other people ever see what I wrote. I felt absolutely no calling to share the words with the masses. I didn’t need to become a writer. I was a writer. By the sheer fact of putting words on paper, I became a slinger of prose. And really, really bad poetry.
AF Henley: It wasn’t that bad.
Mmhm. You only fell asleep once or twice.
AF Henley: That one was like FORTY PAGES LONG. And there was no sex.
Moving along… Eventually, I skimmed Stephen King’s On Writing and I started running into other writers. Usually in English classes, which I tried to avoid by the time I was a junior in high school. English classes meant Shakespeare, and gods do I hate Shakespeare.
AF Henley: “To be or not to–”
*throws orange at Henley*
AF Henley: *ducking* …WHY the orange?
So these other writers–
AF Henley: No seriously, everything you can throw, and you choose produce? Like what in the hell was–
–had two traits that were previously not in my genetic makeup: they wanted to share their words and they hated them.
Which made no sense to me. But it seemed like the more somebody hated what they were doing, the more they wanted to share. Again, counter-intuitive, but there we go.
AF Henley: *starts peeling the bruised orange*
The Hate But I Must concept made zero sense to me until one fateful day when I received a certain piece of mail. I was sixteen, I’d had some poetry published, and the piece of mail in question was a letter from a fiction magazine to whom I had submitted a horror story. I tore into it, read the (actually very kind and rather insightful) suggestions, the (gently phrased) rejection, and promptly locked myself in my bedroom and blared melancholy metal music (think Metallica).
Suddenly, I hated what I wrote. I locked some up, I burned some in effigy, I vowed never again to write certain kinds of stories again or submit them or share them, and the next time somebody in an English class also ignoring the Romeo and Juliet lecture asked me what I was working on, I caught myself saying, “Well, I was working on something, but it sucked. In fact, I hate it, now.”
And right there, surrounded by a sea of teenage apathy and angst, I had one hell of an epiphany: *I* liked my story. The magazine didn’t. But it didn’t take away the initial liking of said story. It merely buried it underneath a landslide of rejection woe.
That made me wonder if those other kids who were writing things and hating them had people in their lives — magazines, editors, parents, friends, siblings — telling them that their stuff stank. It made me wonder if that stuff stank before someone told those people that it did.
Which started me thinking about who in the hell was qualified to know what reeked like soiled diapers and what didn’t. How do you do this creation thing in a world that doesn’t like change or newness? How do you be original when everything’s been done by Egyptians about 3500 goddamned years ago? Do words beg to be read or heard? If so, by whom and how and why? At what point does one draw the line at compromising the words to make or meet other peoples’ standards? What is growth, what is better, and what is just difference of opinion?
AF Henley: And, most importantly, “Why do I think so damned much it makes other peoples’ heads hurt in retrospect?”
I’m ignoring you.
AF Henley: Obviously.
Anyway, thus began my ever-expanding, highly-editable, constantly-evolving, likely-greatly-overrated…
Rules to Write By.
AF Henley: Oh yeah. These. I’ve heard these.
Clearly not enough.
AF Henley: *goes back to NOT reading about commas… with vigor*
There’s probably somewhere between one and a million rules. Give or take. Some are far more important than others. Some far less. Like the one about never writing porn stars while under the influence of muscle relaxers. Or the corresponding and seemingly contradictory, ONLY write to porn stars while under the influence of muscle relaxers.
But one thing I do know is that the first and most important rules is this:
Write. For. Yourself.
Do not write for your partner, your lover, your constant readers, your publishers, you editors, fangirls, fanboys (no matter how cute they are or, you know, whiny)–
AF Henley: HEY!
Do not write for your friends, your animals (though they are less demanding than the fanboys)–
AF Henley: I can hear you.
Do not write for your boss (unless he’s your beta reader and you willingly walked into that unofficial arrangement wherein he could loom over you, all six-feet-and-change, in a not-quite-intimidating manner asking you when you’ll be done with this week’s story and by God please, he says, did you wake up this morning and remember how to use your talent wisely?). Do not write for your coworkers, your enemies (though use their hateful energy for fuel by all means) or your deceased ancestors (unless you can hear them, in which case, might want to get that checked out and write what they tell you on the way).
Do not write for your “muse” unless one day you wish to meet him or her as he or she slithers out of your closet, either a six-be-dicked insatiable manwhore or a short, squat manrat horror critter or a teenage girl perpetually in PMS or some other entirely too literal manifestation of story lines. Muses tend to be alcohol-induced mutterings, imaginations hellbent on distracting one from a real task, or the actual whisperings of a divine universe made up of infinite numbers of souls and stories seeking to be heard and remembered. It’s really damned hard to tell.
Write. For. Yourself.
As my mama says, “Happiness is up to you.” First and foremost, YOU must be happy with what you write.
Because if you ever decide to share what you write with anyone, you must be happy enough with it to love it despite its flaws, in the light of other opinions, through negotiations and contracts and edits, and to do battle in its name should agents of the Dark Side ever try to change it.
Loving what you do is loving yourself is loving the words.
Because at the end of the day, we all became writers the second we figured out exactly how awesome the mystery in those Things of Many Pages really is and picked up a pen in a clumsy hand to attempt to make some of that magic our own.
And no amount of naysaying by the unfaithful will ever take that away.
Light & love to you & yours,
A supernatural reincarnation romance novel.
Outer Banks bookstore owner Hyacinth Silver Fox has a secret millennia in the making: her soul was magically entwined with another, and at night she dreams of every lifetime they’ve ever spent together. The rules of their magic are simple: Hydee always knows her lover, but he, or she, doesn’t remember her. It’s up to Hydee to find and make her soulmate see they are destined for each other, and this lifetime is no different, but there’s one problem: her soulmate is Theo Monk, heartthrob actor and Hollywood’s sometime-infamous badboy. Hydee’s hope of reuniting is wearing thin, but she has no idea how dire the situation really is.
Because meanwhile in California, Theo Monk is losing his mind. Anxiety and paranoia rule his life, along with his on-again-off-again girlfriend and her entourage. When fear and frustration push him to an edge, Theo cuts and runs as far from his problems as he can without knowing Fate’s giving him one last shot to unite with the only person who can help him. Hydee and Theo must save one another before hope runs out and Hydee’s despair and Theo’s fear keep them apart forever.
Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. She believes she’s here to tell stories and to connect people with them. She’s written several novels, novellas, and short stories and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She’s a coffee addict, an avid movie lover, a chronic night owl, and she loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.
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