Words are not the most important thing to a good author. We use words to engage our imaginations and hearts with characters as they care and strive, face obstacles, frustration and loss, return to the struggle, and continue ever on until the end. We use words to evoke an experience calling on all the senses; we use words to engage every faculty of reason, memory, aspiration, empathy and humor. We use words to create stories, and the words are important to the extent that they serve the story – to that extent and no further.
Yesterday many of the authors and editors involved in the anthology project, ‘Love in the Land of Lakes’ got together at a meeting of the Midwest Fiction Writers’ and talked about our roles and inspiration for participating. Why donate our stories, our time and professional abilities to MFW?
Most people know what it means to want to give something back to an organization or to a community of people who have supported them in one way or another.
Midwest Fiction Writers is an organization that has accepted, encouraged me as an aspiring writer, recognized me as a professional since I first started seeking publication, and has provided me with programs and work shops to inspire, inform and help me build my skills as a writer – and best of all, it has provided me with a place to meet a wonderful community of fellow writers and accomplished authors. Through MFW, I’ve met good friends and people to admire and inspire. I’ve met the wonderful critique partners who give serious consideration to the troubles and issues of the imaginary friends I bring to life in my stories.
These people and this organization were with me for at least five years before I sold my first novella-length story, and the two novels that sold shortly thereafter. In fact, I might never have written ‘Sweet Mercy’ – the novella released in December by Champagne Books, if my CP, Nancy Holland hadn’t told me about an anthology looking specifically for romances involving Superheroes.
Nancy had been reading and critiquing the first draft of ‘Wonder Guy’ – a full length novel featuring a young man given super powers by his fairy godmother. Apparently she figured this assignment wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for me. ‘Sweet Mercy’ wasn’t chosen for the anthology, but found a home with Champagne Books as a stand alone story, and lately Ive been working on a sequel.
I could go on for pages, listing the small acts of kindness and encouragement my critique partners and fellow members of MFW have contributed to my career as a writer. I’ve done what I can to return the favor, participating on the board, joining discussions, reading and critiquing for others – and when this anthology was proposed, I was only too happy to volunteer to contribute a story and my professional services.
Looking back, it seems to me that most writers – and most artists of all sorts (visual, musical, dramatic, etc) are moved in part by a need to give back to human civilization and culture. Generations before us have created works that inspire and inform and move us, works that help us understand what it is to be human. I’m glad to be part of this proud tradition.