Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost Genre Guild : A personal journey

Usually, during these blog tours, I give a good objective review of the book or website. Sometimes, I include a philosophical essay or interview. Today, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to get personal, because the Lost Genre Guild literally changed my life and restored something I thought I had put away forever.

I began writing my first science fiction story during the summer between 6th and 7th grades. I pounded away on my mother's 1939 Royal typewriter on some story about a time traveler from the 20th century and one from the 22nd century getting stranded in the 21st century at the home of their grandson/grandfather, the only non-scientist in the bunch. Unfortunately, I had a premise, but no story, but it started my love affair with writing in general and speculative fiction writing in particular.

By the time I hit college, I had all sorts of unfinished stories mostly Twilight Zone and Star Trek (original) inspired. In college my attention drifted to journalism, but still writing the occasional short story and saying, "When I get out of college and have the time, I'll get back to fiction writing." Out of college, I landed in radio and was writing commercials and promotions and news. And I said, when I get time, I'll write fiction.

I lost my job in radio (like Johnny Fever of WKRP said, "They all fire you eventually.") So, I had the time and set up shop as a full-time freelance writer. But I had to pay the rent. Advertising, stringing for a local radio station and writing magazine articles paid the rent. And I said, "When I have the time, I'll get back to fiction."

I wrote some stories, even started a novel or two. Tried to take the Writer's Digest Fiction Writing course. For awhile, I taught creative writing and could justify my time writing as an example to my students. But, I went to work in PR and had to write press releases and brochures. And I said, "When I have the time, I'll get back to fiction."

I got my dream job, teaching full-time, tenured at a college in a small town in the Central Valley of California. It took a few years to settle into the routine. For several years I drove 30 miles one way to work. And I came home worn out and I said, "When I have time, I'll write fiction."

My schedule cleared and I moved closer to the college. I began teaching more classes online. I got involved in internet ministry and was designing a bunch of ministry web sites and said, "When I have time I'll write fiction."

Then about five years ago, I joined the Fellowship of Christian Writers email discussion group. My fervor for writing was rekindled, but by now I said, "I'm a nonfiction writer. I just don't have the talent or skill for fiction writing. At one time I thought... but no more." But I was a whiz at marketing, and posted several things about marketing one's writing. Those items caught the eye of Frank Creed, founder of the Lost Genre Guild. He invited me to join the email discussion group. I told him. "I'm not a fiction writer. But I do love to read speculative fiction, and I'll help out any way I can."

The first several months, I felt out of my depth, fearful of contributing much beyond some marketing ideas because I was not a fiction writer. Then I noticed that while there were plenty of sites for Christian Fantasy which sometimes included science fiction, there were very few for science fiction. So, Wayfarers Journal was born. Since I had an ezine, I figured I could at least try to write something for it. I did, but didn't need it because I had plenty of better material available.

But it got my fingertips itchin' to do more fiction writing. So, all these folks at LGG were talking about National Novel Writing Month and the craziness of writing a novel in a month. So, I decided to try. My first effort was not spec fiction oriented, but I visited that forum a lot during the time and surprised myself by doing a credible job with a mystery Death Gets an "F" . Nothing to write home about, but hey, it was finished and it had words on a page and didn't read too badly.

By the time the next Nano came around, I had written three more short stories and was reading for a speculative fiction novel. Dark Side of the Moon was begun. This week, over a year later, I am within 10-15 hours of finishing the first draft. It ain't too shabby. I am working with Frank Creed and The Finishers off and on to get it into publishable shape. Frank is a fantastic writing mentor and coach.

So, I encourage you, even if you have deferred your own dreams of writing, to get acquainted with the Lost Genre Guild . Visit the website and drop by our forum and maybe join the Yahoo Group . Who knows, it may change your life as well.

Read what others are saying about LGG on the tour

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Lost Genre Guild
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

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Blogger Mike Lynch said...


I enjoyed reading about your journey. People's stories are usually more interesting than anything we can think up.


December 30, 2008 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Mike said it. This was enjoyable to read. It's great to see how LGG has impacted you.


December 30, 2008 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger TWCP Authors said...

This was very enjoyable to read. I like to hear about people's journeys because I forget that people have come to writing along different paths.

It is funny that you say you "felt out of [your] depth" at the LGG. From the beginning I marvelled at the gentle confidence that rang through your posts!

Thanks for sharing this.


December 30, 2008 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Frank Creed said...

Truly humbling. I swear, it's livin' at the intersection of my passion and and talent, the faith on my sleeve, that inspires people. With moments like these, God pays me back for serving Him.

Pointing up,


December 30, 2008 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger KEANAN BRAND said...

Terri - Your journey parallels mine, leaving the writing for other pursuits, and returning after a long absence. When I did return, it was like coming home.

For a while, I resented the lost years, but then I came to be thankful for them, because I had changed in the interim, and had come to realize that "writer" is part of who I am. Even at my worst, I must write. At the risk of sounding sentimental or melodramatic, writing is my worship to God.

December 30, 2008 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Cool story, Terri. While not mirroring my own exactly, there are parallels.

Groups like LGG (for me it was DEP), play an important role in empowering us to push ahead and succeed when alone, we'd given up and stuffed all this in the closet.

December 30, 2008 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Grace Bridges said...

Thanks for sharing. You've got me thinking along similar lines for tomorrow's post... :)

December 30, 2008 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Well, this was an emotional one for me. I'm nearing the end of my first science-fiction novel. I don't know if it will ever be published, but it's a passage for me. It's restoration.

I just couldn't do a traditional review given how much LGG has meant to me.


December 30, 2008 at 11:12 PM  

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