“I really do not understand this child…”

Over in the U.S., a cousin’s daughter has been writing free fiction anonymously on various online sites. Apparently she – she’s about age 20 – receives lots of “likes” and approval. I’ve not seen any of it (I’m not even sure if my cousin has), and I know only what my cousin has told me about her daughter’s writing.

My cousin and I are about the same age. We grew up together, but had drifted somewhat apart – geographically as well as in life – in our later twenties. Thankfully, we “found” each other in a day to day manner again upon the death of my mother in 2015.

Out of the blue, she messaged me the other day frantically seeking Christmas present advice:

Screen capture of Messenger.
Screen capture of Messenger.

As you see, I went all emoji in my initial closing response.

I also can’t stop smiling at one line above: “I really do not understand this child when she speaks to me.”

She has told me repeatedly that her daughter’s writing, and where, and about what, and so on, baffles her. I gather it is fantasy, medieval-focused, or some such; but I could be off there. It’s all sort of “underground” stuff, and her daughter is evidently fantastic at “eye-rolling” at my cousin and offering a “Mom, you just don’t understand it’s about the people…” explanation when it comes to her online writing.

So what I think I know I’ve learned mostly from attempting to “decode” messages like those above. That info my cousin requested was outside the “realm” of what I consider my writing expertise. (If I might term it that.) So I threw her question out there on Instagram. Fortunately, Kate Colby came to my assistance – as she always does – and I passed my cousin Kate’s suggestion:

Screen capture of Messenger.
Screen capture of Messenger.

Time to time I receive messages also asking me for writing advice. Most of the time, I don’t know what to say. Sometimes I also find I better understand what my (now late) uncle was telling *ME*…

“I have my own writing to do,” he moaned. “You know, nephew, I just don’t have time to critique everyone else’s….”

It is almost never a straight line to writing fiction. And there is no one “formula” to writing it. And there is no single way to share it with interested readers.

Free Stock Photo: Girl working on a laptop.
Free Stock Photo: Girl working on a laptop.

The main thought I might offer – and it is based entirely on personal experience – is to plant your flag. Sit down, tap, tap, tap and write, write, write. Once you have a generally “completed” effort, then seek out suggestions and “advice.”

And, as I did in 2013, when you do so shock the heck out of everyone you know with it! 😉

Have a good Tuesday, wherever you are! 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.

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