In the interview below, this impressive Hubber reveals more about his background. In addition to finding out how Wayne Brown got started on HubPages, you may also come away with some interesting insights on what this important judge will be looking for in contest entries that can help you start this contest on the right foot. Enjoy, and good luck!
When did you first start writing in earnest?
Most of my writing up until two years ago was technical stuff for work. I had written a couple of things which I had shared with my sister but no one else. She was elated after she read my first one and encouraged me to write more, and to eventually write a book. I had the desire to write but I was not as confident in my work as I find most folks to be.
Finally (to quiet my sister), I began looking for a place on the Internet to write, and that is when I discovered HubPages. My first posting was called “The Vacant Lot” and was a retelling of my childhood days of summer and baseball. I had written it a few months before. It was my sister’s favorite piece. Pushing the “publish button” took both hands that first time. Little did I know at the time but there was a good chance no one would even see it! LOL!
I then began to work on short-story fiction and some political commentary. Charlie Campbell, “Ralwus,” introduced me to my first real intrigue with poetry. Finally, I gave it a try and found that it actually helped me tighten up my writing style in other areas. I have been on HubPages now for 20 months and have published 472 pieces. In my my first year here I published an average of 30 Hubs every 30 days for the entire year. I have slowed a bit since. I think the inspiration to write was always there, I just never really recognized it.
From where do you get inspiration for your work?
Some of it has come from my own life experiences and interests. I have always loved the old west, so it is very attractive to write about it. It was a very colorful time in our history so there are plenty of story lines and angles for poetry. I am inspired by things that touch my emotion and bring them to the surface. I am also challenged to write about things which are less known to me. My “Conversation Pieces” series revolves around placing myself into the mind of others and attempting to communicate their perspectives to the reader. Inspiration is everywhere and the broader one stretches themselves, the more opportunity there is to write. Many times, when I begin to write something, all I have is the opening line, or a hook line or phrase. I write that down and things begin to perk from there.
What would you say are the key elements of an engrossing story?
A good story revolves around action or emotion or possibly some combination of the two. I don’t get carried away describing characters but attempt to give the reader just enough to form their own mental picture of the person. Some of the actions of the character tend to speak to their appearance and manner. As some of the writers I have worked with here on HubPages will tell you, I am a strong believer in good dialogue as an economy of scale in conveying the storyline and painting the backdrop. Good dialogue allows the reader to become immersed into the story rather than just being read to by the writer. I am not an “outline freak” either. I tend to be more of an “unbridled writer” having a general idea of where I am going but not necessarily mapping out every inch of the journey. That may change a bit if I decide to tackle a book at some point. Some of my best endings to a story have come because I did not know how the story would end when I began to write it. I try not to overthink a story or a poem…that first impluse is usually in the best.
As a judge on the fiction panel of the HubPatron of the Arts contest, what will you be looking for in entries?
I believe a good writer grabs the reader from the start, especially in the fictional arena. I will be looking for that hook that drags me into the story and keeps me there to the end. I will be looking for a writer who makes me feel that I am witnessing the event as opposed to being “read to” about it. Don’t tell me what happened, show me with both actions, emotions, and dialogue. A total work of fiction with no dialogue between the characters is not something that holds my attention very well. Bring all the elements if you are going to enter the contest. I will also be looking for quality, quality, and I’ll say it once more…Quality! A good believeable story line written in a quality manner which employs the elements I mentioned earlier will be a contender in my book.
What advice would you give to aspiring fiction writers on HubPages?
Desire is not enough in most cases to produce the type of quality you will need in writing good fiction. Certainly desire is part of it but not the biggest. You need a good, active imagination and the ability to let it go unbridled at times in order to achieve the story line you are looking to create. Sometimes that revolves around violence and the struggles of life. Sometimes it borders on the sci-fi area with things which seem almost beyond the normal human experience.
You also need a strong sense of empathy not only to write of the tender emotions associated with a character but to also deliver the convictions associated with the more evil side of the equation. A good writer can shift the reader to those perspectives almost seamlessly letting him/her as the reader see the world through that person’s eyes and beliefs. This is true of the fictional writer and also true of the poet. If one cannot find those traits, it will be better to stick with other genres in your writing.
Finally, let me emphasize that “quality” is going to make or break you as a long term writer here on the Hub. Establish yourself with quality and then commit to sustaining that in all that you write. Your fans will appreciate you for it and your run here on HubPages will be a good and rewarding one.
[Thanks, Wayne Brown!]
For more information on the HubPatron of the Arts contest, visit the official contest page.