helen lloyd montgomery
I've been a reader far longer than I've been a writer. Forty-some years longer if the ugly truth be told. My fascination with words and the mental images they create began when I was in the first grade learning to spell and recognize word after word. Then one day I saw words put together in a string:
Look, Dick. Look and see. See Spot run.
I immediately smacked my nearest desk-neighbor and shouted, "Did you see that?"
This earned me a reprimand from my teacher, but I was too excited to care. I've been devouring words and their images ever since.
By the third grade I refused to do the weekly spelling assignment of writing each word ten times each, offering instead to write a story per week using each word. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Nancy Craven, who allowed me to do so provided that the story contained each and every spelling word on the list.
My luck held out through the fourth grade where Mrs. Clarisse Rains continued to bolster my enthusiasm for the craft. By the fifth grade I began to be pressed into the usual public school mold of learning, which prohibited creativity in lieu of conformity. By the seventh, the only writing career appeared to be that of a journalist. My interest flagged, my imagination died, and reality took over with a vengeance.
It wasn't until 1997 that I decided to try my hand at it once more. I stumbled across an idea and started writing. It took tremendous effort, an amazing amount of thought, and I strained plenty of imaginative muscles in the process. Twenty single-spaced pages later I realized I had come home.
I won't ever leave it again.
~HL Montgomery, 2009
HL Montgomery lives in Minnesota with her cat Turbo Tasha, where she keeps warm by exercising her fingers over a hot keyboard. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached by email at email@example.com.
From the Beginning
People ask me, "How do you write something as vast, complex, and totally imaginary as a novel?" I usually answer, "I dunno. It's something that just sorta happens."
How easy it would be if there were nothing more to it than putting words on a page.
But there's a music to writing, and a rhythm. It's the writer's job to sweep the reader away in the symphony of the story, never once letting their partner stumble over a craggy analogy or awkward description. If the writer can do that, from beginning to end, then the story has been a success.
Links and Information
Believe ItRevise, review, rewrite, and remember: hard writing makes easy reading.