The old saying is: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I’m having a great time on MasterKoda’s Blog tour!
My next guest has written and published several books, thus he is no stranger to writing. So, what is he reading now? Come on in, have a seat and let him tell you. Let’s have a hearty round of applause for Ed Griffin!
This is the story of a book.
In early July of 1984, we were ready to go on our annual vacation. My wife and I owned a commercial greenhouse in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’d had a very busy season, selling flowers and vegetable plants to our customers. We’d worked very hard since January, no days off, planting, transplanting, watering, growing and finally selling. Everybody had worked, our son who was eleven, our daughter who was nine and even Grandma. We were ready for a vacation.
This year we’d decided to take our kids to Great America, an amusement park half way to Chicago. We would stay in a Howard Johnson’s with a pool.
Kathy and the kids looked forward to this trip.
Before going, I stopped in the bookstore and spied on the rack, Professional Fiction Writing by Jean Owen. Perfect. I had decided that making money was great and everything, but my brain was atrophying. I wanted to learn to write. I bought the book.
The first morning on the vacation, I got up before everyone, and went to the walkway outside our room. I could smell the chlorine in the pool and I knew the kids would be excited.
I started on the book. Wow. The table of contents. Character, dialogue, plot. Just what I was looking for. The first chapter was Becoming a Professional Writer. I didn’t have a pen, so I went to the car, but all I could find was an orange crayon to mark good sections. I was just about finished with Chapter One when the door to our unit opened. A sleepy Kathy said, “Can you get us some coffee?”
I hauled two coffees from the lobby to our unit. The kids were up, so it was a dip in the pool, then Great America, then a late afternoon swim, then dinner and then bed. Everyone was tired by nine o’clock, but not me. As soon as everyone was in bed, I was back on the chair in front of our unit and into my book. Writing Habits, Story Material, Theme and Plot. Luckily there was an outdoor light just outside our unit.
At 11:30 Kathy opened the door. “When are you coming to bed?”
I closed the book. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I lay in bed and thought about what I had read. So that was how it was done. It was like a mystery revealed, like the time I knew I could ride a bike.
The next day was the same. I really wanted to do nothing but read that book, but I had to keep my priorities straight. Around nine that night, I was back out under the light, reading about viewpoint, and that critical opening chapter and the opening sentence. I was in the middle of ‘Painless Flashbacks’ when Kathy opened the door. “It’s a quarter after twelve. When are you coming to bed? Can’t you put that book away?” I could tell by her tone that she was upset.
I went to bed, thinking about what I had read. A whole world had opened to me. I could do it. I could write a novel.
The next night I quit early, around ten, with Chapter Fifteen, Narration and Exposition. I don’t know where my energy was coming from. I swam with the kids and took them on rides, drove back and forth from the motel to Great America, but another part of me was walking in a whole new world. It was exciting. The book already looked a bit dog-eared.
I tried to tell Kathy what it was all about, but I don’t think she understood.
After the trip, I signed up for a course in creative writing in my local school district. I read Jean Owen’s book again and a third time.
It’s twenty-eight years later now. Professional Fiction Writing is out of print with only second-hand copies for sale. I go back to it often and I show it to my writing students. I urge them to find a book like it for themselves. It was my start on the wonderful career of being a writer. The best hours of my day are when I’m writing.
What books are your personal favorites? What books are you re-reading now? Will you continue to re-read them, and why?
Find Ed online at
13573 113th Ave.
Surrey, British Columbia
V3R 6S9 Canada
My books are available at
All my books are available as
E-books for $2.99. Visit the Kindle store atAmazon.com.