Saturday, December 14, 2013

Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut Guest Post #3

The inspiration behind Finn Finnegan

I am often asked: why Celtic mythology? Well, my undergraduate degree is in anthropology, so my fascination with world cultures and myths goes way back. But it was a chance comment from my sister (who travels to Africa every year) about so-called “fairy rings” found in the African bush.  The local people said they were created by magical beings. I started researching fairy rings, which led me first to Ireland, then the Tuatha De Danaan, and finally to the legend of Fionn mac Cumhail. And thus, The Adventures of Finn MacCullen were born. Plus, I come from Irish stock; hence my first name, which is an old family name on my father’s side.

But my real inspiration comes from my students. I have always written for older elementary and middle school boys. Since I teach 7th grade (social studies), I am constantly surrounded by this age. I wanted to give my boys a hero their own age they can measure themselves against as well as an adult male hero they can emulate.

I am such a fortunate author, for there is not a day goes by that I don’t see a copy of my book in the hands of one of my students. What a gift.

What a treat to visit with everyone today. Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions or make a comment. I’ll be stopping by throughout the day.

Ten things every aspiring writer should know

  1. The best way to get better at writing is writing a lot. Your motto should be BICHOK:  “Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.”
  2. The other best way to get better at writing is reading a lot.
  3. Treat writing like a job—an incredibly fulfilling job that totally takes over your mind, but still a job.
  4. Write every day, even if it is crap. You can edit crap. You cannot edit a blank page.
  5. That said, try to write your best, even on the first draft. That way, you are training yourself to write well, earlier than later.
  6. Treat your writing seriously and others will, too.
  7. Act professionally at all times, whether in person or on social media. The book world (publishing world) is a small world. Believe me – agents and editors want to work with grown ups with positive attitudes and a strong work ethics. 
  8. Mind your health. Exercise every day.  Eat healthy. Drink lots of water.
  9. Getting published takes longer than you can imagine. It is worth the wait.
  10. The moment when you see your book in the hands of a stranger? Yeah.  Even better than you imagined.

Best and Worst Things about Being a Writer

  • Best Thing: Spotting a teen reading your book. For the second time.
  • Worst Thing: Knowing you cannot re-write your first book. What is done is done.
  • Best Thing: Knowing your next book will be better.
  • Worst Thing: Finding a typo in one of your books. Arrgghh!
  • Best Thing: The moment when you see the cover art for the first time.
  • Worst Thing: The moment when you see the cover art for the first time.
  • Best Thing: Fan mail.
  • Worst Thing: When you want to write, NEED to write, and Real Life gets in the way.
  • Best Thing: When a teen tells you they’re going to try to write a book, too.
  • Worst Thing: The first draft.
  • Best Thing: Revising.
  • Worst Thing: Revising
  • Best Thing: Re-reading one of your earlier works and coming across a scene you have no memory of writing and realizing it’s pretty good.
  • Worst Thing: Rewriting a scene that sucks just to get it to a less sucky level.
  • And finally, the Very Best-est Thing: Friends you make around the world who share a passion for books

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