Sunday, June 15

Guest Post: Being a Writer by Will Hahn

Guest Post: Being a Writer by Will Hahn

Today I'm turning my blog over to Will Hahn.

I've been interested in Will's writing ever since I learned he considers himself a chronicler of events, something that suggested he observes and records the events of his story rather than creating them.

I asked Will if he wouldn't mind talking a bit about his chronicling and anything else that came to mind. Will's upcoming book is Judgement's Tale, and it will be available on July 4th.

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Will!

Will Hahn says:

Being a Writer: What Does it Take, and Where Will it Take You?

I’m very pleased to be here today--what could be better than interacting with fellow writers and sharing what we know? Karen was interested by my claim to be a chronicler, rather than a writer-- it’s true, I even confessed about it years ago--and I’ll start there. But I want to encourage everyone reading this: finishing and publishing your work is well within your grasp--truly, it’s a marvelous time to be an author.

Chronicler? What’s the Diff?

Some stories are best told from the ending backward. As a chronicler, the most important thing I want you to know is this--at last, at long last, I started.

My tales are all set in a single epic fantasy world. But for a long time I merely studied The Lands of Hope. I drew maps, jotted down notes on important people, wondrous artefacts, rare beasts. I sketched out certain things but not in prose--stars, the cycle of the two polar-orbiting moons, their zodiac.

And I listened, also, to the Lands--battle, the adventurers’ enemies cursing as they went down in defeat, but also merchants haggling, church-goers singing. I saw and heard so much--but I wrote nothing, not in tale-form. Writing stories is something writers do, those wondrous people (like you!) who imagine other places, who make up characters and things that befall them. None of that was happening to me. The Lands are simply there. So I watched and listened and took notes.
How long? Half my lifetime, as it stands now, and ever more as time goes by because the Lands of Hope will never not be on my mind.

My Epic Moment

Then rather suddenly, I had a revelation on a weekend visit with heroic friends--another epic story in itself--the key finally dropped into my hands. I broke down (in joy) and admitted something to myself. I couldn’t keep pretending… that the Lands were NOT real. Simple. I went with what my intuition was telling me all along, abandoned foolish thoughts like “I must be making this stuff up,” and just started to bear witness to what I was seeing and hearing.

Judgement's Tale by William HahnI am the chronicler of The Lands of Hope, a world I firmly declare to exist (ever since, I’ve called the place we live the Alleged Real World). I watch what the heroes of The Lands do, and I write it down. I began to draft out the tales in story-form in June 2008: July 4th 2011, I self-published the first two Tales of Hope and today I have a quarter-million words in publication. Judgement’s Tale Part One: Games of Chance, will be available this upcoming July 4th.

So much for “how”--I hardly think many folks will find their path to authorship similar to mine. But what’s really important, as it was for me, is that you finally begin. I have found such tremendous satisfaction since discovering that I am called to write, and of course by the power to publish my own work which is crucial but the subject of a whole ‘nother post.

Are You a Writer? Yet?

Stephen King told how frustrated he became when people, introduced to him at parties and such, would always get that look on their face, and always say the same thing. “You’re a writer? I’ve often thought of being a writer.” Mr. King said he finally landed on the proper response, “That’s great!” he’d say, “I’ve often thought about being a brain surgeon!” And there in a nutshell is as good a definition of a writer as you’ll ever need--it’s simple and it’s merciless.

You’re a writer if you sit there and write something.

Again, don’t copy me--I live and work in a home-office/home-school with myriad interruptions and not a single door. I have a full-time job and part-time talent. My manuscripts go nudge, blip, nudge through the day. I don’t command myself to meet a word count, and I don’t give myself a day off in advance. “Let’s just see” has been my motto.

Four Rules for Getting There

I would say I’ve found these four ideas to be useful for me, so much so that I recommend them regardless of your genre, experience, schedule or voice.

1. Write what you love, starting with what you love to read. 

Others often say to write what you know, but I think that will come with time, and right now the task is to make the practice of writing a joy, not a labor.

2. Read it Aloud! 

There is no better technique for surfacing weird constructions, poor grammar, and accidental, repeated or rhyming words than to actually speak what you have written. More than once.

3. Start Strong.

Having a good opening can be gimmicky and you don’t want to get carried away. But it helps to organize the flow (maybe you’ll figure out how to create chapters by finding places where the line is a really good one).

4. Seek advice, but don’t blindly follow it. 

Putting your draft out there for critique takes courage and can be uncomfortable; but the experience of other folks’ opinions and reactions will be invaluable. When they think of something you hadn’t, be honest with yourself. When they try to push your heroes where they don’t want to go- be honest with them.

As we say in the Lands--Ar Aralte! (Hope Forever)

Will Hahn is the chronicler of the Lands of Hope tales.

Karen Woodward says:

Thanks Will! That's good writing advice. All the best to you on your blog tour for Judgement's Tale.

Will Hahn's contact links:

- Facebook page for The Lands of Hope.
- Will Hahn on Google+.
- First blog post in his tour: Judgement's Tale by William L. Hahn.
- Will Hahn's Amazon page.
- Will Hahn's Smashwords page.

Also, Will has set up a raffle for his upcoming book. I couldn't get the widget to run on my site, but for details take a peek at the first post of his tour. Cheers!

Photo credit: "Unique" by Marina del Castell under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

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Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies. I do appreciate each and every comment.