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The hardest part about writing is…
There are so many things that challenge an author, especially a new author, and they can all make writing hard. The approach to writing is not the same for everyone. As a writer it’s important for you to find what works best. Experiment. Try new things. Have fun with the process. But here are a few things that come to mind about the hardest part about writing.
Time, for example, may be a hurdle to overcome. We all live a busy life. We don’t want to cheat ourselves, our family, or friends from sharing special moments, doing the things we want to do - the things that takes time away from writing. Time, or lack of it, should not be an excuse not to write. Even if you were to write for 15 minutes a day, it’s a great accomplishment. It’s 15 minutes that brings you closer to completing the story. And those 15 minutes of writing doesn’t have to be a polished piece of work. You’ll come back later and edit it. It’s been said that writing is 1% writing and 99% re-writing.
For some the fear of what others might say about your work may become an impediment to writing. But opinions are just that, opinions. As long as the feedback is constructive, an author will learn from it. I also try to remind myself that my story will not be for everyone. We all have our likes and dislikes in what we want to read or choose not to read.
Then there’s dealing with the main elements in creating a story such as plot, character development, setting, tone, style, etc. These can be hard because everything must be carefully weaved together to create a story that is compelling, memorable, entertaining, etc. Each character must be unique, perhaps complicated, have their own voice, quirks, and have them grow in some way. Equally important is the use of words, lengths of sentences and paragraphs to maintain good pacing, tapping into emotions, creating tension and on and on. Putting all of these together to express what you’re trying to say can be hard.
For me, the hardest part about writing was not writing per se. I believe I have a good imagination and have learned so much about the craft of writing from reading, attending webinars, masterclasses, etc. that hitting the keyboard has not been difficult for me. What I have had to learn was to come up with a routine, a habit of writing – just showing up to write. This ties in with what I mentioned earlier, how we use our time.
I knew that a writing routine was important. At first it was hard. There were always distractions, things I wanted to do instead of writing. But if I was going to take writing seriously and fulfil a dream, then I needed to develop a routine that worked for me.
So, I start the morning (after breakfast) by dealing with the business aspects of writing: check and respond to emails and social media; follow-up on marketing initiatives; work on a draft for an upcoming blog, etc. After lunch I work on my story whether it’s planning scenes, researching or actual writing. The mood will generally dictate which way to go.
But, my routine is not set in stone. Of course, there are days that I prefer to golf instead or go out for lunch or visit friends and family. And I don’t beat myself up for it if a day goes by and I haven’t written a thing. I know at some point I’ll make up for it and write for hours on end. Balance is the key.
There’s no specific time of day that works best for me to write. Once I get going, I don’t stop until it’s lunch time or supper or time to go to bed. Frequent breaks are important too. Sitting in front of a computer for hours can drain you. So, going for a short walk, having a drink on the deck or a brief conversation with my wife can recharge my batteries.
So, try to figure out what is hard about writing, for you. Then talk to others about it, research on-line for ways to overcome the obstacles, develop your own solution to remove the barriers that make writing hard. Remember, never give up on reaching your goal. Never give up!
Nenshi, an Egyptian house servant, raised in nobility, is well-schooled, a master huntsman and hungers to be free. His master agrees to grant his freedom but while the petition is set to be heard, Nenshi's indiscretion gets in the way. He is caught in a secret love affair with a woman above his social status.
As punishment, he is exiled to labour in the Nubian gold mines. His life turns upside down as he is thrust into a world for which he had been ill prepared. He escapes from the mines and vows to return to Thebes, but his attempts push him farther and farther away on a journey that redefines him – a journey mired with cruelty, bloodshed, and the discovery of a new deity.
In the end Nenshi learns his freedom has been granted and must decide whether to return to his homeland or start a new life.
"I greatly enjoyed this well written story by Vince Santoro. He takes us across the Ancient World through the protagonist, Nenshi, an exiled Egyptian servant who struggles with class structure, both around and within himself. Santoro weaves a story of ideas – a sense of belonging, monotheism, and the human soul - told through Nenshi's rite of passage through to his final crossing. The setting is visually evocative of "spirit of place" as the novelist and travel writer Lawrence Durrell called it. It's a story worth reading." - Terry Stanfill
Award winning historical fiction author of The Gift from Fortuny, Realms of Gold, The Blood Remembers and other works.
"Vince Santoro is a gifted storyteller. I found The Final Crossing difficult to put down because it is well written. As an historian and author of non-fiction books, I am impressed with the amount of research that Santoro has done to prepare this story of adventure and romance set in the ancient Middle East. The customs, the beliefs and even the character names are all authentic to that region and era. With so many plot twists and turns, Santoro will keep you guessing about what might happen next to the protagonist until the very end!" - John Charles Corrigan
Author of The Red Night and "Love Always"
The sound of dragging footsteps along the pebbled path grew louder. The morning heat would soon turn into an inferno and drain any enthusiasm from the simplest of pleasures. But it was not enough to hamper a hunting expedition.
“Finally,” Nenshi said as he bent down to grab his bow and arrows nestled between his feet. “Must you always be late?” He looked up to the sky and squinted to get a reading of the sun’s position. “I don’t have all day. Unlike you.”
“Don’t scold me like a child. I keep forgetting,” Hordekef replied and wiped his clammy hands on his shirt.
Nenshi shook his head. “You keep forgetting you’re a free man and I am not?”
Hordekef shrugged his shoulders and turned to look down at his hunting dog. “Precisely,” he replied as he tugged at the leash to nudge the dog to come closer. It refused. “I have known you as a nobleman’s son, not a servant.”
Nenshi frowned, hated to be reminded of his status. Unlike most servants, even raised in nobility had its burdens. Hordekef gave the leash another tug. The dog still refused to budge. “Perhaps one day you will call me to celebrate your freedom rather than go hunting.”
There was silence, save for the sound of the dog’s pant.
The yearning for freedom had grown over time but the longing was not enough to set Nenshi free. Even though it was uncommon for servants to ask for their freedom, if warranted, in time, it would be granted. But Nenshi could not wait to be accorded such benevolence.
“Well … when will you ask your master to grant you your independence?” Hordekef asked. “You have told me, repeatedly, you would.”
Nenshi was reluctant to answer but felt the obligation to provide his friend with an explanation. “I have tried, several times. Something always gets in the way, his work, visits from old friends. I don’t know what else to do. He has been good to me. You know that. I don’t want to disrespect him.”
“Tehuti is aging. After he enters the underworld, you will still respect him. Unfortunately, your status will not have changed.”
Nenshi remained silent. The dead air surrounding him fell on his shoulders and caused him to be still, immobile. The heaviness could only be shaken with distraction. “Let’s go, we’re wasting time,” he said, tipping his head sideways in the direction of the wasteland.
Vince is an Italian-born Canadian who grew up in Toronto, Canada, and now lives in Pickering, a suburb of Toronto.
In his youth, education and sports became a priority. A private boys' school, St. Michael's College in Toronto, provided the opportunity for both. He graduated from York University, Toronto, with a degree in history and a minor in behavioural science.
Vince was always up for new challenges. After completing his studies, he set his eyes on Europe and played professional basketball in Italy. When he returned home, he shifted gears and worked in the aerospace industry in several capacities. The most rewarding was managing internal communications for a large aircraft manufacturer. It was during this time he decided to hone his writing skills by studying journalism at Ryerson University, Toronto, and he had several articles published.
His career in communications along with studies in history and journalism prepared him to take on his next challenge: to write a book. His debut novel, The Final Crossing, has been a labour of love, one he worked on for many years. It reflects life experiences, woven into a story that inspires and entertains, and perhaps even show the world in a different way.
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