Monday, January 23, 2012

January Theme: Firsts Prevent Extinction by Dia Calhoun

 Writing is a long series of firsts—if you are learning, pushing your craft and yourself.  The first inspiration, the first draft, the first critique group, the first writer’s conference, the first rejection, the first acceptance!

In Firegold, my first published novel, I felt my way through the novel, reading books on craft, joining SCBWI, attending workshops. I kept writing Jonathon into the tunnels in the caves inside Kalivi Mountain—and couldn’t to get him out. So I started over and over—getting him into the caves a little later in each draft. I was essentially wandering blind in a dark cave myself.

Another first—learning how to do a visual outline on long sheets of continuous dot matrix computer printer paper.

Another first—working with an editor.

Another first—a dinner given by my publisher for my book.

Another first—a starred review.

Another first—an award.

Another first— breaking out of fantasy and into middle grade verse in my forthcoming book Eva of the Farm.

Another  first—writing a YA fantasy in four voices. What a challenge that was. I think it is one of my best ever books, but no one wants to publish it—it has no vampires, zombies, werewolves, or post-apocalyptic marketing hooks. Just plain old fantasy.

Another first—breaking out of fantasy and into middle grade verse in my forthcoming book Eva of the Farm.

Another firstreading Robert McKee’s book STORY. This book sharpened my story- telling skills immensely. I hope that is reflected in Eva of the Farm and its companion novel.

My next first? Scriveners—the writing software program is at last available for PC.

Who knows what my next first will be? I only know that if I want to stay alive as a writer, and not become extinct before I die, there must be many more firsts.


  1. I want to read your fantasy in four voices! Yes to lots of firsts, and yes to lots of cave-wandering. Thanks for this post.

  2. I love that phrase "not become extinct before I die." So true, Dia.

  3. I really like this idea and how listing your firsts gives a you a nice list of accomplishments.

  4. Evolve or die, right? Lots of great firsts here.

    Over at our blog Swagger Writers
    we appreciate what you're doing over here and have awarded you The Liebster Blog Award.

    Now it's your turn to pass on the love.