“What did you do since you published your first novel?”
In the past year and a half I joined two writers groups in the Memphis, TN area — The “Memphis Writers” group and the “Malice in Memphis” group. As I have experienced so many times in my life, the age old philosophy of “the more you learn about a subject, the more you realize how little you know” became reality about my writing aspirations.
The first writers group I joined, Memphis Writers, [insert link] is a bunch of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers with all levels of experiences, successes and failures. I believe the correct acronym for the genre Science Fiction is SF, and for the sub-genre of Fantasy if it includes magic or some unknown forces, is SFF. (See I learned something in the past year.) Wow, what an eyeopener the first few session was for me. I have learned more about writing and publishing from Bill Webb, aka author William Alan Webb [Insert link], than from any other person in my life. Although I might have seen some SF or SFF movies or TV series, remember Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, I don’t think I have read more than a handful of SF novels. (Please don’t ask me for a list.) I am sure I have read the Bible from start to end more times than I have read SF books in my life.
After a few sessions, I tried to stay away from the group, but I just couldn’t. There was just too much information being shared and I used the opportunity to learn as much as I could. The first time I decided to quit the group was when I attended a session with a guest-speaker everybody raved about. I had no clue who they were talking about, and forgot his name the moment I left the meeting. He was so full of himself and his personal achievements in the gaming industry, that I started to dislike my ideas of becoming a writer. The condescending way in which he talked down to the small group of writers sitting around him, made me think that if that is what success is, I never want to be successful.
I started to look for another writers group to join.
I am glad to say, that I did not quit, and I am still learning from Bill and other guest-speakers he invites. By continuing to attend a writers group focused on a different genre than the one I am trying to write in, taught me how to separate the good from the bad. I continue to focus on the good ideas and advice that will help me to become the successful writer I want to be. After all, I am writing because I enjoy it and not because I am in search of a new career. I already have one, and I love what I do to put bread on the table, and save for our retirement.
Eventually I did find another group, and in 2019 I joined the Malice in Memphis group. This group is focused on the same genre as my first novel – Mystery and Suspense. The group annually publishes an anthology of short stories written by members of the group. If you like short stories, here is a link to the series. At the end of 2019, I submitted my first ever short story, “Moonshine and Bitcoins” to be included in a future anthology. I have not yet heard back from the editor and don’t know if my submission was accepted or not. Watch the space for an announcement and also for when it will be published.