I would like to welcome Frank L. Cole to Books R Us. Frank is the author of The Hashbrown Winters series and The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter. Thanks for stopping by.
How I Became A Writer
Everyone has unique stories… even good ones. The key is in the telling of the story. So, how does one become a storyteller? That's a question I've been asked from time to time and it's not always an easy one to answer. Maybe the question should be; "What was the route I took to become a writer?" I could share with you the long, grueling process of rejection letters and broken hearts. I could emphasize the important role networking and honing your craft will have on your writer career as it did for mine. But today I’ve decided to answer this question by sharing with you 3 defining (albeit unusual) moments from my life that steered me in the right direction.
1. Fourth Grade - I cannot remember a day in my life that I wasn't thinking in narrative form. There's daydreaming, which every healthy kid should do and then there's taking your imagination to the next level. If I hear a catchy saying, or see a weird shaped tree, or come across some unique landscape, I almost always imagine the story behind it. When I was in fourth grade I stayed home sick for the day from school. For some reason, I couldn't sleep because some idea wouldn’t let my mind relax. I kept thinking about this story of the city of Atlantis. Finally, I went and asked my mom is she would type the story as I dictated. Instead, she handed me a mini tape recorder and I told the story myself. I listened to that tape and my high-pitched squeal of a voice over and over until I had memorized the story. I wanted to share it with my friends and family. I wanted them to laugh along with me or cringe in horror as the werewolves (yes there were werewolves) attacked Atlantis. From that moment on, I knew simply writing or recording a story would never be enough. I needed to share my stories.
2. Freshman year of college - My first year of college was somewhat of a joke. I hardly ever went to class and ended the year with a pathetic 2.2 GPA. I was too busy having fun, hanging out with friends, basking in the freedom of a new college student to give any thought of the misery I would go through later in life trying to correct the mistakes of that year.
There were few highlights as far as grades were concerned, but one of them snapped something in the back of my mind and started the wheels turning in a new direction. We were asked in my English class to write an essay on what gave us "Absolute Joy." It was a cheesy assignment, but worth a hefty sum towards our final grade. Every student in that class wrote something touching: Their family, their church, their wife, their children, their memories of deceased relatives, etc., etc.
I opted to go a different route and wrote mine about a Whopper with cheese without onions. I got an A+ on the paper and the praise from my teacher for my creativity. Writing a story and having fun with it had paid off. Hmmm. I learned a valuable lesson. If you’re not having fun with your story and the process takes on a work-like feel, your writing projects won’t achieve your desired result. You have to enjoy it!
3. A skunk nest under the house. One afternoon my family discovered an awful smell literally saturating the walls of our house with stench. Apparently, a skunk or two had taken up residence beneath our home. An exterminator would be needed, but unfortunately, none were available until the following day. My brother, Michael, demanded that the family stay at a hotel for the night because he couldn't stand the odor. Though he adamantly protested, my mother and father insisted it wasn't that bad and that they would just endure that evening and all would be well the next day.
The next morning, my parents went looking for Michael only to discover that he wasn't in his bed. After searching a few moments in the room and in the hallway, they couldn't find him anywhere. Finally, my mom noticed something under the closet door and opened it to find Michael lying on the floor with several pairs of jeans rolled up under the door and two grape Jolly Ranchers shoved up his nostrils. When I heard about that, I was literally dumbfounded with laughter. Just the thought process that must have lead my brother to go to such extremes amazed me. From that moment, I realized that not only had I grown up living with a comedic master, but also I needed to open my mind to new possibilities. A great story can come from any situation. Any circumstances. One must look around for the possibilities.
Though many significant events in my life positioned me to become a published author, I firmly believe these 3 provided the strongest kick. 1. I wanted to share my stories with others. 2. I needed to have fun doing it. 3. I needed a skunk (I think you know what I mean.)
Frank L. Cole.
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