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How I Got Here Part 2: Writing in a Vacuum

Posted on August 20, 2011

Earlier, I posted how my daughter inspired me to get back into writing. With this entry, you'll see how my desire to find acceptance of my work with other authors landed me back on the web.

I wrote GRAHAM THE GARGOYLE, NORTON THE VAMPIRE and PAUL THE PILLOW MONSTER in 2000, 2001 and 2003 respectively. They were self-published and limited to small print runs that have since sold out. GRAHAM and NORTON were illustrated, while PAUL was my first straight prose piece. They sold well at library visits and comic shows, even garnering some nice online reviews at the time.

One of my favorite authors from my childhood was Piers Anthony. His Xanth novels were my first exposure to the concept of patchwork fantasy worlds and word play. I gobbled down his books and can say his writing had a huge influence on me in my teenage years. When I published my earlier novels, I had sent Piers copies of the books. He read them and said very nice things about each on his website.

Because of this, I would frequently check on Piers' website for his monthly newsletter posts, even years after his posts about my work. I stumbled upon his review of Keith Robinson's book, ISLAND OF FOG. At the mention of children being able to transform into magical creatures and the post-apocalyptic setting (two of my absolute faves), I slipped on over to www.unearthlytales.com and checked out Keith's site. Impressed with his posts and the synopsis of the book, I ordered ISLAND from Amazon. After reading it, I decided to use it as a read aloud with my class. They loved it! Excited by their enthusiasm, I had them write letters and send art to Keith. We sent the package off and were pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Robinson had posted all their letters and art on his site.

Now, writing is very rewarding. It stirs something in me that is joyous and liberating. But, it's also very lonely. I reached out to Keith, hoping to find someone who would be a kindred spirit, someone who knows what it's like to put pen to paper and concoct a scene with a talking dragon podium that wants to be the center of attention. Yep, that's still one of my favorite little bits from PAUL THE PILLOW MONSTER.

I began corresponding with Keith, sending him copies of my early efforts. It became evident our writing interests were very similar and we started sending each other our projects to look over. In addition, I also read ISLAND OF FOG to my next class, and we again wrote Keith letters. All the while, Keith and I kept up our friendship and mutual respect for each other's creations through phone calls, e-mails and even a joint vacation to the mountains of Asheville that was a real hoot!

His friendship and authorly camaraderie means a great deal to me. He became my first beta-reader outside of my eagle-eyed wife and sister. I have had the privilege of looking over three of his books as well and it has been a joy. It's amazing what you learn about your writing when you are trying to offer insight and edits to another scribe. He has made me a sharper writer and helped me to become energized about pushing my creations further into the public eye and hopefully onto the desk of a discerning agent.

The site you see before you is all his. He executed it, and I am very indebted to him. I hope I can make him proud. If my posts are half as interesting as his, I'll consider this site a success.

Up Next: What's on my plate?

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE SHARE IT AROUND...
Comment by ERICP on SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2011...
Howdy Brian
Glad to see you are doing well and am very pleased to see your web presence back.
Lately, I'm revisiting my past artwork and formulating a plan to resurrect it. Which in turn made me think of you and behold, here is your new website. I will always admire your dedication and creativity.
Keep up the great work, my friend!!
Comment by JENSEN ABHAU on TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011...
I can't wait for your next post. I can't wait until your new books will be available!
Comment by BRIAN on TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011...
So good to hear from you, Eric. Is this the Eric I went to Maryland with many years ago?
Comment by CAROLINE ZERA on TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011...
hey mr. clopper! i love your books like paul the pillow monster and space cowboy and graham the gargoyle. you are the best teacher. can't wait until your new books!
Comment by BRIAN on TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011...
I'm so happy you are excited by my new work. This site is really getting me amped. Now, don't you have a story in need of some words of the day and similes? I can't wait to see how you handle the treasure prompt.
Comment by BRIAN on TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011...
Thanks for posting, Caroline. I am so lucky to go to work every day and be surrounded by such a creative bunch of students. It's a plethora of fun being your teacher.
Comment by SUSANNA on THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011...
Hi Brian - I'm a fellow campaigner just stopping by to say hello and nice to meet you! I write picture books, mostly, but am hoping to branch out into MG/YA one of these days. Looking forward to getting to know you through the campaign!
Comment by GAIL SHEPHERD on FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011...
Hi Brian, me fellow campaigner too! Middle grade science fantasy and magic realism. Nice to meet you!
Comment by DAWN MALONE on FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011...
Hi Brian - Stopping by to say 'hi' to a fellow campaigner. Loved your story about connecting with Keith. See you 'round!
Comment by CHRIS PHILLIPS on FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011...
Glad you found the support you needed. That stuff is indescribably valuable. We are in the same Campaign group! Now maybe you can set up a website for me and beta read all my stuff. Each one teach one and all, j/k. nice to meet you.
Comment by LADY GWEN on FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011...
Hey your books sound awesome. I'm stopping by from the campaign to say hello *waves*
Comment by GABBY RYAN on FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011...
hey, Mr.clopper i luv ur books they are awesome! Ur my favorite teacher EVER.. P.S. if u didnt know UR the best!!!! :D
Comment by CAROLINE ZERA on SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2011...
hey mr. clopper, thanks for the nice comment. im going to write down that you said plethora. LOL! you are the BEST TEACHER I'VE EVER HAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are sooooooo nice and it is an honor to be your student.
Comment by SABA on SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2011...
Hi Brian. Just stopping by from the campaign trail :D nice to meet you :)
Comment by JENSEN ABHAU on SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2011...
Hi Mr. Clopper. How's it goi'n? I was wondering when your next post is going to come.
Wait, I already left a comment just 4 days ago!

P.S: This time I have to answer a hard one: 6+9. Last time it was 1+1. Weird, Huh?
Comment by BRIAN on SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2011...
So great to see so many campaigners posting. Haven't had a lot of time to check out the other campaigners, but hoping to remedy that soon. Should have much more time on Labor Day weekend to peruse the other fine authors and bloggers.

Jensen, I hope to post with a big entry about my project plans next Friday.

Next weekend will also be the weekend I get Tagalong up for the Nook and Kindle. Right now, only Graham is up and it is an affordable intro to the work I do.
Comment by GABBY RYAN (G R) on SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2011...
Hey mr.c im goin to also write down u said plethora and alot! And @Jensen, 6+9=15 ii don't really think tht was hard jk......... Mr.Cloppers Awesome!!!!!!!! i have 6+7 this time lol!
Comment by CAROLINE ZERA on SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2011...
hey mr. clopper, you are the best! see you tommorow.
Comment by J.R. WILLIAMS on MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2011...
Hello fellow campaigner. Just dropping by to check out your blog. I look forward to learning more about you throughout the campaign. :)
Comment by LAURA BARNES on MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2011...
Isn't it amazing how children inspire us? I'm a campaigner. Glad to meet you!
Comment by CORTNEY on TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2011...
Hi Brian! Just dropping in to say hi, I'm also a fellow Campaigner. I write YA. Your books sound fun!
Comment by JENSEN ABHAU on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2011...
I have a HUGE question: Can you post pictures and videos on your post?

(. .)
Comment by PATRICIA TILTON on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2011...
Hello Brian. Another fellow campaigner stopping by to say hello. Look forward to connecting. What a cool blog!
Comment by GABBY RYAN on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2011...
Hey mr.clopper i hope u havin a great weekend, and ur awesomeeee! :D
Comment by KELLY POLARK on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2011...
Hi Brian! Over here from the campaign! I write MG and Pb! Have a fabulous weekend!

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