THE CAREER OF A WRITER passes through several stages. The earliest being those spelling lessons in grammar school, or perhaps the first book precociously read above one’s grade level. It proceeds through many stages over years of life and learning. And, near the main cusp — the point at which writing and storytelling change tack from being an avocation and a subject for study to a possible career — one goes to school.
I’m sure that the school setting and curriculum are as varied as are people, their lives, and their experience. At the same time, I believe any artist would recognize the schooling experience by the universal nature of certain elements. How to use the tools of the craft, what is the form of a complete work, the history of the art, the horizons you seek.
For storytellers, there will be a workshop experience. It may not be called a workshop. It may take place in a formal setting, or a casual or ad hoc one. It may take place face-to-face or, in this modern age, online. In the latter case, the participants will almost inevitably be widely scattered. All the same, relationships are formed in what may be seen as a crucible of common experience.
For me, that setting was the Online Writer’s Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. My time on matriculation was around the turn of the current century. (The 21st, not the 20th — I’m not THAT old!) The senior classmen at the time included Elizabeth Bear. The most recent graduates, Jim Butcher.
And among the upper classmen of the era was a woman who took me under her wing and undertook to help me along. I fell in love with her writing — particularly her voice, which at the time, reminded me of Zenna Henderson. (No more. She has her own, unique voice, now, though the perceptive may find the warmth and wisdom of Henderson in its tones.) She, in turn, fell in love with my characters. She is, as a matter of fact, Dolly’s godmother, the alpha reader for the Dolly stories. Her name is Jamie Lee Moyer, and I am proud to call her friend.
Her first novel is now available for pre-order. It is the first book of a trilogy (and possibly a longer series, but who knows) being published by Tor between now and 2015. It’s called Delia’s Shadow and the Amazon link is above. (Remember, if you buy at Amazon through links on this blog, you help defray the costs of running it at no additional cost to yourself.) I have read the first two books complete and am beta reading the third, which is at present in draft. I can heartily recommend it as thoroughly enjoyable.
And, among all the other wuffies, Jamie got an absolutely brill review in Publisher’s Weekly. Check it out.