Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author ~ Rangeley Wallace

I would like to welcome Rangeley Wallace to Jera’s Jamboree today.

Photo courtesy of author

Photo courtesy of author

 

Rangeley Wallace was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and lived there (except for one year of boarding school in Memphis) until she went to college at Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, she moved north to Washington, D.C., to attend Washington College of Law, American University. The year following, she was a fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for Public Interest Representation, where she received an LLM.

She never left D.C., much to her surprise, and, in between raising four children and writing books, she has practiced public interest law and corporate law, prosecuted anti-trust and criminal cases, and represented several white collar criminal defendants facing politically motivated charges in federal court. Most recently, she has taught a variety of courses at the Washington College of Law, including legal writing, externship seminar, general practice clinic, and disability rights clinic. For several years she also represented asylum and immigration clients on behalf of CMHS, the Center for Multicultural Human Services.  Currently, she is teaching in the General Practice Clinic at WCL.

Rangeley has written two novels.  No Defense and Thing Are Going To Slide.

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Rangeley is sharing her writing journey with us today.

Today, I want to discuss briefly some of the tools that have helped me in my journey to become a writer.

When I began to write fiction, I had been practicing law for years, and, as a lawyer, I wrote constantly: motions, briefs, memos and the like. And, I had been a big reader all my life. Thus I was surprised when my first attempts to write fiction were not very good (an understatement). I could write a witty line or two about something, make an interesting observation about something else, but for the life of me could not master the parts necessary to tell a story.

When I tried to write a scene, I discovered that I had no idea how to include description or dialogue. I was clueless about how to approach point of view. I didn’t know how to include a flashback or how to decide if one was needed. The list of things I didn’t know would fill this entire blog but suffice it to say there were many.

Despite my discouraging early efforts, I refused to give up. I was determined to learn more about how to write a novel. I didn’t know any other aspiring writers, so I turned to the local universities and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md. First, I took two college level courses in creative writing where the other students and the professors read my work and made suggestions and I did the same with the other students’ work. You can learn a lot editing other folk’s work. The days my work was critiqued in class, while sometimes painful, weren’t as horrible as I thought they’d be because I knew I needed assistance. I also took courses at the Writer’s Center where you can take almost any type class you can imagine, from “getting started” to “ point of view” to “writing conflict,” all taught by experienced writers. After I had figured a few things out, I took several creative writing courses in the grad schools in the area.

As the years went by, I met other new writers and joined a writing group. At times there were five or six of us but after several years, I and one other writer were the only members left and recently the last member moved from novels to children’s books. Through the years we’d read and critiqued each other’s work, on-line and in monthly meetings, and I miss those sessions. When I read other writer’s acknowledgements and they mention their wonderful writing groups, I am always a little jealous.

In the place of my writing group, however, I found, after searching on-line and talking with other writers and editors, several free-lance editors who give me the feedback I need. The first few editors I worked with weren’t ideal for me, although I learned something from each of them. Finally, I found the right ones. They help me see things in my manuscripts that I don’t and help me create a vivid fictional world. They help me find the holes in the plot and the problems with a character’s development.

And the very best tool for writing? Write. Write after dinner and on weekends or in the early morning, before the day begins. Write on the bus or subway or while you eat lunch. Make notes — keep notebooks of ideas and observations, the way people talk and what they do and don’t do and say and don’t say, how they look and walk. Write about the weather, how the sky looks at certain times of the day and the year, the way your child’s hand moves towards her food, and how you feel when your teenager treats you the way you treated your parents. Make notes of everything. And when you have something, when you’ve finally put together a bunch of words and sentences and paragraphs and they make a story, work just as hard to find an agent and to get published.

Thank you for sharing Rangeley.  I am sure that new and aspiring writers will be able to take inspiration and tips from your writing journey.  

Author Links:

 www.rangeleywallace.com

 twitter:@rangeleywallace

 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rangeley.wallace

Things Are Going to Slide is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours:

RangeleyTB

Follow the tour for reviews, an interview and guest post.  Each tour host will be offering a giveaway:

Date

Tour Host

22nd April 2013

Donna’s Room for Reading

23rd April 2013

Among Stories

24th April 2013

Brook Cottage Books

25th April 2013

Miss Bookworm Reviews

26th April 2013

Bookboodle

29th April 2013

Me, My Books and I

30th April 203

Busy Moms Book Reviews

1st May 2013

Sylv Jenkins

2nd May 2013

Cosmochicklitan

3rd May 2013

Inheritance Books with

Rhoda Baxter

 

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3 thoughts on “Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author ~ Rangeley Wallace

  1. Can relate to so much Rangeley says. When I began to try and write, one of the smartest moves I made was to join a Writers’ Workshop, and, of course, write, write, write, including replies on blogs.

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