I went to a writer’s conference several weeks ago—the first conference I’ve attended in 25 years. The first session consisted of two agents and one editor who addressed what is hot in the market and some of the dos and don’ts for getting representation and submitting a proposal. While the conference sessions were filled with information to help us develop our writing skills, there seemed to be one overriding concern from many of the attendees and that was getting published—not learning the craft of writing.
That started my thinking about why I write. I thought about the books that I’ve read that have stayed with me through the years and why. They’re books that triggered my interest in a subject, produced memorable characters or told a story I can’t forget.
I read my first memorable book when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. It was called The French Foreign Legion by Wyatt Blassingame. This book created an interest in the French Foreign Legion which has taken me from the poem “Rendezous with Death” by Alan Seeger written during World War I, to the French Indochina war (1946-1954). Reading The French Foreign Legion set me on the path of a life time of studying history which foreshadowed many of the significant crises of my generation—including Vietnam, and our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Finding The French Foreign Legion in my elementary school library propelled me on a course that led me to the outstanding author and one of the greatest historians--Bernard Fall.
Yes, I want to be published but I want to write something that creates in the reader a desire to learn and a desire to see more in the lives of others and in themselves.
Jim Ferguson won first place with his novel, Beginner's Luck, co-written with his wife. He is working on a nonfiction book.