Monday, June 10, 2013

When a Leopard Changes her Spots - From Nonfiction to Fiction Writing

Some only know me as the author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series.
Some only know me as the editor of
Some only know me as a freelance writer.

I'm happy with each,  because I know if someone loves me for one, he'll eventually find out about the others. What I want them to recognize is the fact I am a serious writer. If I've accomplished that, I'm proud as can be.

What many do not realize is that I started with fiction, couldn't sell it, and moved into nonfiction because it naturally flows from my fingers . . . and it pays more quickly. I was hell bent on being a writer, one way or another. Admittedly, though, nonfiction is easier for me. That career grew faster. Nonfiction built my platform. So when I decided to return to fiction, a very tentative, self-doubting choice, I wondered what people would think. More so, I wondered if I could write it nearly as well.

Most of all, I wondered if people would take my fiction seriously. Mystery fiction, you see, is my first love.

So when I received this email from Patricia Fry, I just smiled. I wasn't the only one. See . . . I've known Patricia Fry for years . . . online. We've never met, but we've followed each others reputations and advances. We're very close to being like souls. She's made  her career with her consulting, ebooks, teachings and speaking about freelancing. She's Executive Director of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). Yep, we've walked a very parallel path. And she had a burning desire to write fiction, too.

"You were my inspiration, you know. I was on the verge of writing a novel when I heard that you had been writing one. I have 3 written and ready to go now. Yesterday, the first one went live at Amazon as a Kindle book. Catnapped (A Klepto Cat Mystery) . I read your first book--have your second one on my Kindle as my next reading project. And I want to thank you for the inspiration. I mean, I was a bit timid about trying to write a story after so many, many years writing nothing but nonfiction. Sure have enjoyed the process, though. Thanks again for leading the way. I hope you are still enjoying the process. ~Patricia"

It took me years to realize that every word I wrote made me a better writer. We don't have to just write fiction or just write nonfiction. The simple act of using the best words in the best order for the most graphic communication, is applicable to all types of writing. I put my fiction aside for four years before picking it back up. Amazingly, I wrote fiction must better, when I hadn't written a word of it over that long four years. Instead, I'd written magazine features, essays, editorials,blog posts, and opinionated pieces. Still . . . when I picked up my pen and attempted make-believe, it worked. Unbeknownst to me, I'd evolved anyway, and so had my fiction.

Something tells me that Patricia's did, too.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Good writing is good, whether it's a post or an article on how to get published, or a novel. And you do all of it well, Hope.

(By the way, your second novel is on my stack of must-reads for the summer. I loved your first.)

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, Sioux. Let me know what you think!

Sean McLachlan said...

When you look at most long-term professional writers, you'll find they work both in fiction and nonfiction, and often in a variety of genres in fiction and a variety of subjects in nonfiction. It's one of the ways to keep making a living. And yes, I think all good writing helps the writer, no matter what it happens to be at the moment.

Hope Clark said...

You're a prime example of that, Sean!

writerdeman said...

I had begun a novel a few years ago that I felt led to write--maybe driven to write. I got busy and got it about 1/3 done, then took it to the Write-to-Publish conference, where I tried to see where I might go from that point. (I had the beginning, knew the ending, but the middle is the part that has stymied me.) Les Stobbe (co-author with Jerry Jenkins of the Christian Writer's Guild curriculum) read the first page and told me to send him the entire manuscript as soon as I finished it. Somehow, it must have scared me, because I couldn't get another thing written on it!!! I was angry with myself, furious, but could not progress! I reluctantly put it aside, and then, was asked to do a weekly newspaper opinion column. I did it for 3 years and I feel ready to try again with the novel. (What's good for Ernie Hemmingway is good for me, right?) Now I see this affirmed in your story, too. I tremblingly start anew to finish this story that MUST be written (about a family who loses a son in a farming accident and each family member copes with and without God.) Thanks for the very REAL encouragement with this blog post.

Hope Clark said...

Yep, our fears can consume us, as minor as they may at first seem to be. And that self-doubt is devastating in the long run. But we are the only ones who can push through it. Nobody else. Glad the post helped!