Maggie Robinson

Mar 10
In the Beginning

Long ago and faraway (well, several years and two counties over) I woke up in the middle of the night and started to write. My ‘book’ turned out to be a 25,000 word novella, so I wrote three more and tried to peddle them as a family saga. I was quite in love with the Anthony family, so wrote another four novellas, dividing up the chapters into ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ stories. Needless to say, the girls and boys have gone nowhere except two counties over.

I think about those eight Anthonys quite often, going so far as to change an earl’s name in a recent revision from Adams to Anthony as a little tribute to my first characters. Paradise has a scene plagiarized from the first novella, and particularly brilliant (!) paragraphs and phrases have been lifted and grafted into newer manuscripts. I feel like I have my own little bank to raid, although more often than not, when I step into it to pillage, I don’t find much worth plundering.

Which in an odd way makes me happy. I have actually grown as a writer. My mistakes were legion, and I’m not making so many of them now. Headhopping seems to be my most egregious offense. What’s yours? How did you get your writing start? What’s your favorite writing rule?

Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum. ~Graycie Harmon

15 comments to “In the Beginning”

  1. Kelly Krysten
     · March 10th, 2008 at 12:08 pm · Link

    I started writing stories at age11. I love to write conflict in a story. And most definitely I have improved as a writer. I used to head hop every single line and write things in that made no sense because I hadn’t supplied the reason(which of course I knew, for some reason I just couldn’t figure out how to share it with my audience).

  2. Anonymous
     · March 10th, 2008 at 4:12 pm · Link

    Iusedtowriteinlongrun-onsentenceswithlotsofdescriptionthatwouldconfusetheheckoutofreaders(takeadeepbreath) but I’m doing better now.

  3. Anonymous
     · March 10th, 2008 at 4:40 pm · Link

    (Let’s try this again.)Iusedtowriteinlongrun-onsentenceswithlotsofdescriptionthatwouldconfusethe heckoutofreaders(takeadeepbreath) but, I’m doing better now.(I hear only puzzled silence out there. That’s a joke, son. I say, that’s a joke. Darned hard to get a smile out of a reader when you’re writing. Also, I’m never sure if my references may be a bit, I say, just a bit, too obsure.) —Fogghorn Legghorn

  4. RevMelinda
     · March 10th, 2008 at 8:26 pm · Link

    Maggie, I know I’ve said this before (haven’t I?), but when I’m deep in the Saturday-night-sermon-writing frenzy of despair, I remember my mother-in-law’s immortal dictum:

    “ANYTHING you give them is more than they deserve.”

    (This may seem uncharitable, but my mother in law, being a pastor’s wife, a pastor’s mother, and a pastor’s mother in law, has seen lots of us struggling over the years to Say Something Profound. It is immeasurably helpful to repeat her words to yourself at about 2 in the morning. . .)

  5. Maggie Robinson
     · March 10th, 2008 at 8:38 pm · Link

    LOL, RevM, I thought it would be something like “anything is better than nothing.” And I can’t say anything profound much past 10 PM. *w* Isn’t there a Cliff Notes for sermons or something, or would that be cheating?

    Foggy,better obscure than obvious.

    Kelly, it’s taken me forever to get POV straightened out. I just want the reader to know everything, which is not really necessary. Maybe I should start writing first-person!

  6. Anonymous
     · March 11th, 2008 at 12:41 am · Link

    You know what else is an egregious offense with my writing? Poor spelling. (Thanks for adding the “c” in obscure, Maggie.)

  7. BernardL
     · March 11th, 2008 at 9:16 am · Link

    I wrote my first novel after taking a creative writing class at the junior college I attended after the service. Being a big fan of Robert E Howard’s Conan, I wrote a fantasy bringing a Conan type warrior forward in time. Back in those days you had to send the whole manuscript out with return postage. Dropping inactive verbs whenever possible ranks as the number one writing rule I learned back then.

  8. Tiffany Kenzie
     · March 11th, 2008 at 12:41 pm · Link

    Interesting… what is my problem? apparently my characters aren’t likeable enough. They lack an emotional depth that makes them believably in love… I’m working on correcting that.

  9. Maggie Robinson
     · March 11th, 2008 at 6:43 pm · Link

    Tiff, poo on the critics!

    Bernard, I took a persuasive writing class, but clashed with my professor dreadfully. I didn’t persuade him of a thing, LOL.

    Foggy, spelling bee champ here. *w*

  10. terrio
     · March 12th, 2008 at 11:58 am · Link

    I totally knew that was Foghorn. I love him!

    I fell in love with writing in the 7th Grade (thank you Ms. Bernabee!). But I didn’t start seriously writing until little over a year ago. My biggest problem is verbs. I’m afraid I write the way I talk which means I’m even more annoying than I realized.

  11. Elyssa Papa
     · March 12th, 2008 at 3:56 pm · Link

    Love the quote, Maggie.

    I’ve written since I can remember… I definitely remember writing things at six.

    It’s more like what don’t I learn? I learn something every day. And thanks to some CPs (*w*), they catch all the mistakes I don’t; which more often than not is a lot.

  12. Janga
     · March 12th, 2008 at 4:30 pm · Link

    I started writing when I was very young, and I can remember making up bits of rhyme and story even before I could write them down. Poetry was my genre though. I wrote the usual very bad angsty teen drivel and lots of derivative pieces that show the influence of Dickinson and Eliot. But I was still in my teens when I knew writing poems was a necessary part of my life. It still is.

    And every time something–be it poem, novel, blog, or letter– shows what a gifted, caring writer can do with language, I learn something. Nothing improves my writing like reading the good stuff in any genre. I have learned a great deal from Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf and Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nora Roberts and Margaret Maron and Eloisa James and Lee Smith and too many others to ever list them all. (Maggie Robinson is on my list.)

  13. Maggie Robinson
     · March 12th, 2008 at 6:25 pm · Link

    Aww, Janga. I’m blushing and grateful. I started with poetry too, something about a hunter and his dog and a log as I recall, LOL. Not quite up to your standards.

    Ely,I thought the quote was pretty great myself. I used to pretend and talk to myself all the time as a kid, and now I can do it all in the name of writing.

    Terrio, you’ve made such incredible progress this past year! I am in awe (and of course you named a character after me *w*)

  14. irisheyes
     · March 12th, 2008 at 8:36 pm · Link

    I started writing in journals in my late teens early twenties. Lots of angst going on that needed to get out of my head and onto paper (or just out of my head, really). I didn’t start writing for fun, or fiction, as it were, until just about 5 or 6 years ago. I would see movies, TV shows or read books that I thought I could improve upon (not too full of myself, am I!) and so I went at it.

    I’ve always had stories floating around in my head. I would make up stories all the time when I was growing up – lived in my imagination a lot. After I started reading romances again the stories started up again. Now I just write that floating around stuff down.

  15. Maggie Robinson
     · March 13th, 2008 at 6:17 am · Link

    Funny, Irish, I used to live in my imagination a lot too. Then along came the childrearing years. Now I’m back to indulging my fantasies. The best of all worlds!