Saturday, April 16, 2011

I guess I'm a Writer after all

It was never in my dreams or plans to become a writer. Originally, I wanted to be a veterinarian but due to lack of funding, I ended up with a degree in technology. I write business documents, tech stuff, case studies, software programs, not fiction. Writing fiction caught me totally by surprise.

So let me introduce myself, "Hello, I'm J.C. Hanks, and I'm a writer". (I have an image of me standing at a podium in front of a group of strangers like I'm at an AA meeting when I write that). I'm not even sure what genre I write in, yet. English was not one of my stronger subjects, I'm a math/science/business geek by nature. My mother, on the other hand, holds a degree in English and teaching. My cousin has a Master's in English and is a published author, despite having dyslexia. My Aunt is an artist. I'm the practical one, I'm not supposed to be writing fiction, I'm supposed to be reading it.

I had a surprising conversation (after writing my first draft) with my BFF of 3 decades in which he told me, quite bluntly, that he always knew I'd end up writing. Which really surprised me. Oh, not the bluntness of it, he's earned that right over the years, but the fact that he knew and I didn't. He's also the one who told me my book just has to get published, that it's supposed to get published, and that's how I ended up here, with the wonderfully eclectic group of writers in the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group. We now have a lone male member (okay, that just made me laugh as most of our writers are in the romance genre), but the rest is made of a group of wonderfully supportive, wickedly funny, awesome women.

Still I find myself asking "How did I get here?". I'd like to blame it on my mom as she refuses to read my first book because Jess swears so badly. Which is sad, because my mom would make a great editor. She doesn't hold back, even though I'm her daughter, and always spots my grammatical and punctuation errors and is willing to say if something stinks. But it's not really my mom's fault.

It's Jess' fault. She started it all. You see, I'm a "pantser". I write by the seat of my pants. I had no plans for Jess, no concept of her, no storyline, no plot, no outline, and no plans to ever write. Jess just strolled into my brain one night, sat down and started demanding attention. At first I thought it was Alzheimer's or Dementia kicking in early (it does run in the family). Then I read Maggie Sefton's site and realized that maybe I wasn't completely insane. I began reaching out to some of my favorite current (and living) authors, all of whom assured me I wasn't going crazy. So I began writing what Jess was telling me. In 3 weeks I had over 60,000 words done, and the start of the next 2 books in the series roughed out.

While I was wrapping up Jess' first book, Collie flew in, folded her wings and made herself at home. Next came Merie, and then Paul, Jess' BFF, began chiming in along with the Coven from Jess' series, and the chaos of having 3 book series and individual story lines in my head all at once began. Grammar and punctuation be damned, I had to write. And write. And write. Except for today, today when I needed to write, I had to coax my brain out of it's warm fuzzy state and demand it cooperate.

Hopefully I haven't bored you into a fitful slumber with my ramblings. If I haven't, and you're the least bit curious in what Jess (a recovering alcoholic who not only sees dead people but touches and talks to them) and her closeted stockbroker by day, reigning Draq Queen Diva by night BFF are up to, come visit my blog at I'm planning on re-posting info on each of my characters over the next few days so everyone can easily find them.

I have been reassured by several members of the group, that I am, in fact a writer. So, at least for today, I guess I'm a writer after all.

1 comment:

chocoaddict said...

Welcome, JC! Can't wait to hear and read about these characters. They sound like an interesting bunch. It's true that they take over your life. Enjoy the visit.