My knee-jerk reaction is "research." That would make sense to you if you knew how much I loathed studying in school. Listen, seventeen schools in twelve years of schooling, and I spent most of the last two years at one school. The most preposterous year I and was three schools, which meant I averaged a single quarter at each of the schools in two separate states.
Studying wasn't my thing. Nervous breakdowns? That was my thing. That, and reading. Arguably I was doing research back then, but as I had no intention of ever becoming a writer, I'll have to say I was just escaping. I learned a lot about different world and damn near nothing about this one.
And Grammar? Yeah. Hated it. Never learned how to diagram a sentence, and I likely never will. Okay, that last part? That's because the entire exercise is a waste of time. The part before that about never learning? That goes on he shoulders of one of my teachers, who was, frankly, an imbecile. Happily she was the exception and not the rule.
SO the thing is, I decided to become a writer and I knew exactly nothing about grammar. I had to learn it on the fly. A friend of mine who was at that time an English teacher suggested several books to me and I read them cover to cover. then I bought several more books on writing in the genre, writing in general and writing to make a living.
I did more studying in six months than I had done in my entire life, and then I sat my butt in a seat and started writing.
When I wasn't writing, I was reading about writing, scheming and dreaming about what I was going to write and going over the manuscript for my first novel with as careful an eye as I could manage in an effort to erase the titanic number of typographical errors I had committed in an effort to make a legible novel.
Thank God Above for computers. Seriously. If I'd had to do all of those line edits and then type the whole thing all over again I'm fairly certain my eyes would have exploded out of my head.
What's the weirdest thing I ever did in the name of writing?
Ultimately, I took a leap of faith, something I am not guilty of very often.
I sat myself down and decided that I could do it if I really tried. I decided that I was worth taking the time and the risk, and I ignored the doomsayers, the negative voices and the people who scoffed and told me that "Everyone has one good novel in them." (Side note: I remember the words and the people who used them. Not a one of the bastards has a novel written yet.).
I had faith in myself.
Next time you're wondering if you can do it, tell yourself that you can.
Because if you do not try, you will never know.
And now for something completely different: On October 31st, Christopher Golden posted the following on Facebook.
"What do Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Chuck Wendig, Kat Richardson, Mark Morris, Tim Lebbon, Cherie M. Priest, Jonathan Maberry, James A. Moore, and Christopher Golden have in common? A single novel. It's called INDIGO and you'll see it from St. Martin's Press in 2016. It'll be a VERY long time before we can tell you what it's about, but since everyone's so tired of vaguebooking, I thought I'd post some actual news. Boom. INDIGO. 2016. By all of the above."
This should be a hoot. I'll keep you posted when I can.
James A. Moore