Dane Richter was lovely enough to write a guest post for us here and it's absolutely brilliant so if you have some time read it here
Working at a school, I am in a unique position to see young minds develop and more importantly how young people perceive themselves in what they are able to do and achieve. Earlier this year, a young Muslim girl originally from Somalia had heard from another teacher that I had written a book and wanted to see it, as she had an interest in journalism as a potential career pathway. I showed her my debut novel: Hunt for the Star to which she immediately cried out, “I could never write something like that!” This was due to the tome’s hefty 170k word length and yes, to write something that size is a daunting undertaking. I am not a fan of people who use words like “can’t” or “never” or “won’t” especially when those words are used in conjunction with “I”. I told her how I wrote my book.
After having the desire to write a book, I sat down and came up with some character names, plot ideas and a map. At the end of 6 months I had about 9 pages written - a back story which set up the plot for the current timeline. After 18 months, I had about 57 pages (I guess it’s worth saying I was doing a BA Commerce Degree at the time and most of my writing was getting done during the semester breaks). During the next year, I committed a couple of hours a night going over the work. Sometimes I would write a page, sometimes half a page, sometimes just 1 or 2 sentences, and sometimes I’d delete a sentence. It was frustrating at times especially when I had less words at the end of the session than when I started. However, for whatever reason, I judged the book to be better without that sentence and so even when deleting, my work was progressing forward. That’s the beauty of writing; you will always move forward and the old adage applies - just keep at it. In the end, those first 9 pages I wrote over 6 months were scrapped during editing, but the overall story is better for it.
2 and a half years in and I had 150 pages. I deferred my education for a year and added another 140 pages or so and could see the finish line. It took me 4 years to write the first draft and the most beneficial advice I could give her was make it routine. A little bit each day is all you need. After hearing my story, the young Muslim girl who had come into my office with “I could never write something like that” went out thinking “maybe I can write a book” and I know that was a big step for her because from her country there are certain expectations for women, and education, career and ambition aren’t any of them.
For anyone aspiring to write a book all you need to pencil in a little time each day. Once it becomes routine, there will be fewer days when you only write 1 or 2 sentences and more days when you produce 1 or 2 pages.
A little bit about Dane
Born in 1981, Dane Richter spent his early life growing up on a farm located about an hour east of Perth, Western Australia. A love of Enid Blyton’s works first introduced him to the world of fantasy and adventure and with time, shifted to works by Tolkien, Feist and Tad Williams which opened a wider spectrum of the fantasy genre.Although a deep-seeded passion for adventure and storytelling existed, during his high school years he had an aptitude for sport, excelling at track and field. Quickly rising up the ranks of Australia’s elite, he represented Australia in high jump at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2000. He continued athletics for over a decade with personal bests of 2.19m in the high jump and 50.46s in the 400m hurdles and although he won numerous Australian national medals, a career dogged by injury saw him missing out on the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games. Writing was a passion for Dane throughout his track and field career, beginning in 1999 and finishing the first draft of Hunt for the Star in 2003. With education and sport a primary focus, time afforded to writing was limited. Dane honed his skill over the next few years with affiliations to Tom Collins Writers House and the Speculative fiction group KSP Writers centre, whilst penning a sequel, Rise of the Deceiver.Dane completed a Bachelor degree in Commerce majoring in Accounting and Marketing in 2003 and worked in coaching and education over the next ten years with a brief stint as a freelance writer in 2006, publishing 23 articles as a sports writer for the Perth metro and country based paper, Community News Group.In 2011 Dane was introduced to Hal Colebatch - a contributing author to Larry Niven’s military sci-fi series, The Man-Kzin Wars. With Hal’s mentoring, Dane got his start with a small independent press who published the paperback version of Hunt for the Star in 2012. In 2013 Dane released the ebook, which is available on Amazon.