Following an opening prayer and “Words,” a Words to Write By devotional read by Ruth Schmeckpeper, the guest speaker for our May 11 meeting took center stage.
Harold (Skip) Thorpe delighted us with his presentation on “My Journey into Fiction Writing.” He admits it began by helping his mother, Laura Annette Fitzsimmons, write her collection of family stories that eventually were published in a volume titled, From High on the Bluff: Memories of Family and an Earlier Time.
“I’m a big fan of writing family stories, ” he said. “You never know where that will lead.”
For Harold, his mother’s stories lead to his writing a series of novels for children which he calls the Good Friends Storybooks. The idea for each was sparked by one of his mother’s stories which he then fictionalized, giving its hero or heroine the name of one of his grandchildren. Thus, such titles were born as Wyatt’s Woods, Grayson’s Garage, Aubrey’s Attic, and (coming soon) Bellamy’s Ball. He also wrote and self-published The O’Shaughnessy Chronicles which includes Bittersweet Harvest and Giddyap Tin Lizzy. His books are set in Wisconsin and can be purchased at www.littlecreekpress.com.
In order to write his family-story novels, Harold admitted, he first had to learn how to write fiction, then market it. Books he recommends include:
- Stein on Writing and How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein
- Dialogue by Gloria Kempton
- Self-Editing for Writers by Browne & King
- Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eagar
He also had to discipline himself by committing to a writing schedule. These days he gets up around 3:00 a.m. and writes until 7:00 when the grandchildren arrive to be babysat. He considers these early morning hours prime writing time because of no phone, no visitors, no interruptions. For him, a day doesn’t seem complete with out accomplishing some writing.
Twelve Word & Pen members, one past member, and two guests were present for this very enjoyable evening of fellowship and learning.
For more about Harold and his books, visit haroldwiliamthorpe.com.