Begins with one step.
When I began this journey, I had no idea where I was going. Worse, if I started, would I be able to finish?
My characters whether they are in the throes of a murder or an impossible relationship are fun to write and fun to read.
This process is a journey of discovery.
People make faces when a writer says they let their characters take them where they need to go. Often, I have an idea of how a story will end and then one of my characters pulls my arm and says, “No, go this way.”
And off I go in a new direction.
I’ve decided to talk a bit about the writing advice I find in many of the excellent articles in the major writer’s magazines, or e-zines, or books and/or blogs written by and for authors. It is important to listen to those who have made the journey and are kind enough to share their wisdom and often, their mistakes, and hold up a light at the end of the tunnel.
You can learn how to perfect your language usage, seek and destroy those passive verbs, modify and eliminate most of the hyperbole of the “ly” and, naturally, you can beg someone, as I must, to edit your horrid spelling.
Yet, no one can teach you how to tell a story, because the stories are in you. Are you inspirational or romantic? Are you cunning or crabby?
No matter. At the end of the day, can you tell a good story?
My alter-ego is actually my middle name … Antoinette … the name of my paternal grandmother and the name my father had wanted for his first, and most likely, only girl child.
It was fate that my maternal grandmother … Florence … passed away while my mother was expecting me, thus switching the order of my two names.
I use her name in several short stories and the stories of the young, Italian family growing up in Sunset Park.
The first kiss …
Bobby Salzano was the prettiest boy Antoinette had ever seen and when his mom came to see her mom, he and Antoinette would go in the back yard and play. For as long as she could remember whenever they were together she felt odd or silly.
Bobby had beautiful wavy black hair and light blue eyes with dark blue speckles. He was two years older and the only boy Antoinette liked who was taller than she. Every girl in the public school was crazy about Bobby, especially Teresa, but Antoinette knew he was crazy for her. She didn’t exactly know how she knew, but she knew.
They were playing handball against the wall of the diner and when they got tired, found two old milk crates and sat down and watched Slow Rosie’s dad, Carmine Tafazzoli up on the roof with his pigeons. Bobby was busy explaining about pigeons when Antoinette felt him put his finger on her arm. She flinched, but he left it there. She felt him move his finger all the way down her arm, giving her a chilly willy.
He said, “I like you, Toni. I want to kiss you. Okay?”
Antoinette’s head bobbed up and down, but nothing came out of her mouth.
He kissed her, just like that. He put his hands on her shoulders, turned her crate so they were facing each other and he kissed her. And before she knew what was happening, she put her hands on his shoulders and kissed him back. Her boobs in training started to tingle; in fact she tingled all over and didn’t want to let him go. She was two weeks shy of ten and Bobby was twelve.
Carmine yelled down at them. “Hey! You two cut that stuff out. You ain’t old enough.” They looked up, laughed and ran back to the front of the house.
There is a maelstrom of noise from the writing community discussing to nauseum the “trends” of what publishers and agents are “looking for” these days.
Alas, poor lads and lassies, you cannot follow the current trends because by the time you think you have caught them … they have changed gears and left you in the dust.
Take the first step towards your own personal destiny, do good work every day, and write the stories only you can write.
Come take my hand
And together we will
Find our way to,