Today we welcome fellow Extasy Books Author Stefan Angelina McElvain. You’ll want to grab this book at Extasy before November 1 – it’s on sale at 30% off through Halloween!
You’re never too old to learn a new trick!
I’m retired. What do I do now?
A lot of people get bored and go back to work. Initially, I played spider solitaire for hours, much to my wife’s disgust. She challenged me to do something useful—how about writing a story since you’re not tackling my honey-do list?
One minor issue, I’m awful at English and eons ago only managed to scrape through school with a bare pass. At work, I struggled to use Word, especially with longer reports and merging input from contributors. Different styles are a nightmare. Software has evolved and after an internet search, I decided to try Scrivener, a tool for writers. Thirty minutes later, the software was downloaded and installed. After one or two trial runs, I felt comfortable to start writing.
What to write?
When I was younger, my favorite authors were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and of course Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, who pioneered the scifi genre. Along the way, I discovered Ray Bradbury, Roger Heinlein, a touch of comedy with Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and many more great authors.
Could I compete? Probably not, but I’m writing for me.
What genre? I felt more comfortable with paranormal scifi and decided to start there…with one difference. I wanted the story to be racy.
It took me three months to write Alex, a 40,000-word novella. The story wrote itself. The characters took over, and I wanted to continue writing to find out what would happen! Needless to say, I didn’t do an outline.
What do we do now, self-publish or follow a more traditional approach? Money is tight. I decided to follow the tried and true path and look for a publisher. My wife didn’t like Alex, but my euphoria at actually finishing a story won out. Looking back, I should have listened. Back then, I didn’t have any idea of the difference between show and tell. Trigger words…what are they?
How I found a publisher is a topic worthy of a separate blog.
I’m still learning. After a lull of twenty years, I’m reading again. This time not just science fiction but multiple genres, and I read articles on how to write—they’re fascinating. I have a technique that works for me. I write quickly, still with no outline. The characters know what to do. I then put the draft to one side and leave it. I have a couple that have been waiting for a year. I then read them. They’re fresh, but I have an advantage over a reader. What I don’t like, I can change or build upon. The engineer in me writes the summary version first. The second time, I add atmosphere.
For me, this is step one of the edit process. Step two is compile the Scrivener file into Word, re-read, check hyphens, similar words, over-usage of phrases and words. It’s at this time you need a beta reader. I’m lucky, my wife reads them. Depending on what she says, the story could go from a total rewrite, fleshing out areas, correcting storyline flaws, or a final pass through prior to submission.
So…if you’re wondering what to do, or sitting watching the TV…remember, you’re never too old to learn a new trick.
Go for it. I’ve fifteen, and counting, published titles.
If hubby can’t manage it—get the man in. Satisfaction’s guaranteed. What’s the problem?
All of his clients tell William Harder he’s a great handyman and should work for himself. He decides to give it a try and discovers the true meaning of get the man in—especially with his female clients.
Wearing his tool belt, he’s ready to impress and goes the extra mile.
About the Author
Stefan Angelina McElvain has always been fascinated with adult sci-fi, the paranormal and fantasy. He lives in the South Bay, Los Angeles and is married with two sons and two grandsons. Born and raised in England in the early fifties, he and his family relocated to Los Angeles in the late eighties.
Stefan has a first degree from Manchester (UK) University in Physics, and a Master’s in Business from the University of Southern California.