Thursday, March 22, 2012

A True RMFW Story

For my inaugural contribution to the Rock, I’ll tell you a true story about my journey into the world of RMFW. This world was an alien planet to me, no different from Mars, as my normal world had been the confines of my auto repair shop. My friends were mechanics, sales reps, and customers. I didn’t travel much, fixed cars, went fishing, learned to fly light aircraft. Then I started writing a book, the inciting incident that changed my normal world forever.

My motivation came from my then 14-year-old stepson visiting from New Jersey. A fledgling writer, he suggested we co-author a novel, so to pass the time, we came up with a few characters and a sketchy plot for “The 13th Power.” When he returned to New Jersey, he abandoned the project saying the book would never be published, anyway. Why bother? I set out to prove to him that anything was possible.

I went to Simi Valley, California, the setting for my book, met a girl who became my protagonist’s love interest, researched CERN and Fermilabs, and read about things I never cared about before. I traveled to the Kennedy Space Center to see NASA first hand, and then to an air show in Las Vegas where I sat in the cockpit of C-130 transport, talked to the pilots and the loadmaster, told them I was writing a book. My normal world was left behind for this new life of action and adventure.

It took me three years to write that book. Then I had to get it published or lose face to a now 17-year-old who was betting against me. Problem was...I had no idea how to go about getting a book published.

Then one day a friend came into my shop with a newspaper clipping about a contest I could enter, the Colorado Gold Writing Contest, it read, put on by some outfit called the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers at rmfw.org. This was the turning point in my journey. Filled with trepidation, I entered the contest, joined RMFW, attended the Capitol Hill critique group, and this alien planet soon became my home: new friends, new places, new adventures.

“The 13th Power” made the finals of that contest, but it didn’t win. So I entered the next year, and to my total shock, I didn’t even make the finals. I was crushed. My very own black moment descended on me in a dark cloak of despair.

So I fought back, looked at the judge’s comments from both contests, seriously this time, and went to work rewriting my book, determined as ever to win that contest. And just to be sure I had a winner, I found someone to evaluate my manuscript, a small press out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who offered me a publishing contract. I had achieved my goal, the climax of my journey. The pride I felt when I sent my stepson, now a young adult in college, a published copy of “The 13th Power” will remain one of my most memorable resolutions ever.

However, I was no longer eligible to enter the Colorado Gold. I spent the next eight years judging the contest, and now I’m in my fifth year running it. You see, anything is possible. And that, my friends, is a true RMFW story.

12 comments:

Mark Stevens said...

What a fantastic piece -- and quite the testimonial to dedication! Thanks, Terry.

Mario said...

Great story. I think your bio needs to read: a former mechanic and now another crazy writer.

Kevin Wolf said...

I had never heard that story from the start. I'm so glad that the sequels to your personal journey continue. Now you write screenplays, continue to write novels, and you're a publisher.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I enjoyed it.
Marilyn Baron

Julie Golden said...

Great post, Terry. You took us through years, fears and finally cheers for your first book. You are a writing hero for all that you have done to keep Colorado Gold one of the most respected competitions open to newbies.

Patricia Stoltey said...

There are so many wonderful stories associated with members of RMFW or Colorado Gold attendees. Thanks for telling yours, Terry, and thanks for all the great work you've done with the Colorado Gold contest.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Terry
What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing.
Nancy

Dean K Miller said...

What a cool story. Fuel for those of us still early in the process.
Thanks for sharing and giving back so much to the writing world.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Terry! Pretty cool, huh?

Claire L. Fishback said...

What a fantastic and inspiring story. Stories like this push me to keep trying and keep going because you never know what might happen.

Susan said...

Terry, what a great post--how to write an extended metaphor and have it work and mean something.

Sharla Rae said...

Wow! Great Story. Just hearing it, makes me want to buy your book. Rock on! Okay, play on words but I couldn't help myself.