Apr
17
2014

My Writer’s Path

A Guest Post by R J Terrell

Hello Nathan and thank you for having me on your blog!

Before I became a writer, I was as a reader. As a reader, we all have tastes, preferences, and things we would like to see in our reading choices that may or may not be a reality.

What I am referring to in this instance is diversity. As an avid reader and huge fan of the fantasy genre, I find my experience with it a mix of the love of entering a new and alien world filled with wonder, excitement, danger, courage, etc. One thing that has been a rather glaring omission, however, is diversity.

While the genre has been undergoing a gradual change, it has been sorely lacking of strong female heroines as well of ethnic diversity. Until recently, my reading experience has been to turn on a switch in my mind to try to ignore this in order to enjoy the story.

I say all of this for one reason. My parents always said to be the change you desire. My love for the fantasy genre and desire to see more diversity has impacted my work, and my readers have responded in kind. I have been pleased by the reception to the Legend of Takashaniel Trilogy and most recently, the Hunter’s Moon Series, and Unleashed, the first book in the Saga of Ruination.

One of the most important things I have learned as a writer, is to write what you love. If you love what you write, readers will love it as well, and there is an audience for every genre.

Another important lesson I have learned is to not be afraid to stretch out of my comfort zone and try something new. You never know what you’re good at until you give it a try. I avoid writing for trends, as I have found that ‘me too’ works may sell, but they may not be as respected as new ideas and concepts. Now, that’s not to say that if a story comes to me that is in a hot genre, I wouldn’t do it. Who wouldn’t? But the best work comes from the heart.

One of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life was to begin simultaneously building an acting and writing career. Just as in building a business (which is what it is) you are taking the reins in your own hands, and your success is dependent upon persistence, hard work, and maybe even a degree of luck. But one fact about luck, is that it most often visits those who are working for it.

There are many rewarding aspects to being a writer, but the most rewarding of them for me is to receive that email, or comment from a reader telling me how much my work resonated with them, and how much they enjoyed the work. To have someone tell you that your work has had a positive and profound impact on their lives, no matter how large or small, is a very satisfying and humbling thing.

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R. J. Terrell was instantly a lover of fantasy the day he opened R. A. Salvatore’s: The Crystal Shard. Years (and many devoured books) later he decided to put pen to paper for his first novel. After a bout with aching carpals, he decided to try the keyboard instead, and the words began to flow. When not writing, he enjoys reading, videogames, and long walks with his wife around Stanley Park in Vancouver BC.

Connect with me at:
RJ Terrell on Facebook
@RJTerrell on Twitter
R. J. Terrel on Goodreads

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3 Responses

  1. Monique says:

    This post brings up a lot of really good points in the journey to becoming an author. I especially liked: Another important lesson I have learned is to not be afraid to stretch out of my comfort zone and try something new.

    This is a concept I am trying to embrace. I feel I write strongly in the two worlds (series) I have created, but trying to broaden my horizons and try new worlds and stories is a little scary. However, like trying most new things, I am finding that taking on new challenges can be very rewarding.

    Good luck in all of your endeavors: writing and acting. I wish you the utmost success. 🙂

  2. R J Terrell says:

    That is a very good point, Doug. I think now that the genre has experienced such an expansion, recently, we will start to see more of it based off of many different regions. Jacqueline Carey’s Nammah series is a good example.

  3. I’m a big Salvatore fan myself, though my first book, the one that started me on a lifelong love of fantasy, was one of the Lancer Conans. I think part of the problem of diversity in fantasy is that most are set in Medieval worlds, where all of a society were of one race or ethnic group, and women were not allowed in leadership positions. Of course this can be changed in fantasy, if the author really wants it to be changed. For example, the setting can be Rome, or a Rome like city, where the trade of three continents converges, and magic can be a mostly female endeavour.
    And I have to agree about the fan feedback. It’s, almost, better than the money.

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