Once upon a time I wrote for high school and college papers. I wrote a column, reviews, profile features. And then I didn’t write at all, for a long time. When I started, years later, to write again, I went for what I knew. I did little essays on a site called Gather. They were okay. Then someone told me about fifty-word stories.
I was incredulous. I was hesitant. I was – curious.
I discovered I had a knack for twisty little fifties. People on Gather liked them. People off Gather liked them. My first sale was a “long” story (a whole hundred words) and my second, FOUR fifties.
Somehow, that led to writing poetry. Still not sure how.
I acquired a crit partner, who I’ve never met in person, courtesy of the internet. And despite the fact that he wrote humor and horror and I – didn’t — because the story fairy had delivered him, he was just the magic I needed. I began writing fiction; exploring flash, which was just starting to really fly with the increase of reading on the computer.
I wrote a little horror (my crit partner calls my horror stories “horrilous”). I wrote a little fantasy, and a little mainstream, and a little undefinable something that teetered between the two. I wrote stuff I dreamed, whole, and things that trickled out bit by piece; things that I recognized – and things that made my husband shake his head, speechless.
What I learned, through all this, is that it doesn’t hurt to try anything I have a mind to try. Maybe I can do it. Even if I’ve never done it before. Even if I’m not sure I know how to do it. Even if I give it my best shot and can’t do it – what are they gonna do to me?
So I’ve got a middle-grade story series that’s being published, and a story in an anthology this summer that’s, well, not middle grade. I’m writing a novel that involves a place I’ve never been, and if any editors would like to take a look at the first story ever co-written by me & my crit-partner, John Jasper Owens? Just ask. It’s horrilous.
I spend a lot of time, probably too much, on Twitter. One of the more interesting things I’ve learned there was that RL Stine, who writes Goosebumps, was originally a humor writer. Rule 1. When the story fairy makes a delivery, take it.
Why don’t I have any other rules? Because after all this time, I haven’t found I need any others.
Bio: Lydia Ondrusek has been known to describe herself as writing her way out of a paper bag. Her fiction and poetry have been published both on the web and in print – find out where at www.lydiaondrusek.com. Her middle-grade short-story series “King of the Marshmallows” is being published by Echelon/Quake in six monthly releases. It’s available through Amazon, OmniLit, and Smashwords.