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Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Writer's Journey (Part II)

Please welcome back author Peg Phifer with the continuing story of her journey to publication. Peg will tell her story in a series of posts the third Thursday of every month on this blog. (Apologies for the error in my last post indicating the next installment in Peg's story would be posted on July 5th!) Leave a comment after any post in the series to be placed in a drawing to win a copy of Peg's debut novel, To See The Sun.

In my last post on The Over 50 Writer, I ended with: 

But another story took its place, this time with a female character named Tori, short for Victoria, and I titled it Totally Tori. “Tori” was the initial beginning of Erin in To See the Sun. 

Back to those days on my old 386 IBM clone I started a writers workshop on AOL's Writer's Club, along with two other writers. We'd meet online once a week in a dedicated chat room and talk about writing for an hour. Two of my very early members were authors Jack Cavanaugh and Alton Gansky. Honest. I was struggling with disappointment over having to give up on my rodeo-girl-with-leukemia story and trying to transition into a new story, new character, new plot, new setting, new everything.

One evening I mentioned my struggle and Jack asked for some details and we threw ideas back and forth for a few minutes. I was so thrilled! I still have part of that transcript. And Jack's willingness to take the time to encourage a fledgling writer was just the impetus I needed to send me down the road to eventual publication instead of giving up.

An aside note: During those years Jack was writing his American Family Portrait series and he was trying to find the right title for the final book which was set during the Viet Nam era. I immediately thought of all the PEACE signs, the Flower Children, sit-in protests, so I impulsively threw out "The Peacemakers." Jack liked it, the publisher liked it, and so it became. And Jack gave me credit for the title and I have an autographed copy of the book. How cool is that?

So, Totally Tori became my next WIP and I poured everything into it. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I had no outline, no plot but I pressed on. Tori was a graduate of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, and taught music in a local high school. For the junior/senior annual play, Tori decided she wanted them to do Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. And here I got bogged down. 

Yes, I had been part of a community choir as an adult, and we did selections from The Mikado, but I wasn't a choir director, drama coach, or anything of the sort. Plus, I'd been away from Milwaukee far too long to remember much about it. Besides, much I was familiar with had drastically changed. 

So, I moved Tori up north into an area I was more recently acquainted with. 

To be continued . . .

Be sure to come back for more of Peg's story on Thursday August 23rd. 


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  2. Thank you, Patti, for allowing me to share my writing journey here on your Over 50 Writer blog. Hoping your readers will enjoy the trip and that my travels along the way will encourage others. It's NEVER to late!


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