Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Writing Itch (Part One) by Tim Northburg

T.A. Northburg, known to those of us in Northern Colorado Writers as Tim, is the kind of young writer I wish I had been--determined, persistent, and still able to balance work and family life with his writing dreams.

According to his website, Tim loved to act out adventures with his friends when he was a kid. In the park, he played the roles of a British spy, a hero in a galaxy far away, or a brave Knight of the round table. Many years later, when reading his children the bedtime stories he had always loved, his imagination was sparked to create an adventure that brought all of those themes together.

Tim's Bacon Finnegan novel has turned into Bacon Finnegan and the Miracles of Merlin Saga.  Here's how it all came about.


My Writing Itch (Part One) by Tim Northburg

At some point in time we writers get “The Itch.” That itch is an idea or thought that forms and builds until it comes breaking out in the form of words. For some, that happens earlier than others. For me, that itch started my Senior Year in High School.

My good friend Cory sat next to me in Creative writing class. At that time I didn’t take writing seriously, it was something I had to do for class. However, the February day he committed suicide was the pivotal moment that started my itch. I used the rest of the semester to put down my thoughts and feelings into words.

Several years after High School, the itch took hold of me and developed into a mild rash. I took many of the short story pieces and developed them into a full hand written manuscript. It took me just over a year to write it. I never did much with that story, it sits in a box in the basement with some of my other writings, but I will always remember that as my first, full manuscript and credit Cory for it.

For a while, the rash went away and the itch subsided. Then I got married and began a career in automotive sales. The itch came back in the most unusual way. I used my creative mind and writing abilities to develop a personalized brochure to market myself. I wrote my own follow-up letters that I sent to my customers. I also took various notes on the training I received over the years and compiled them into several non-fiction training books for automotive sales.

The itch kept growing, spreading, and intensifying. It wouldn’t go away. It was when my children were old enough to read to I began sharing my enjoyment of books with them. I remember reading them the adventures I enjoyed as a kid and young adult. Together we discovered new ones too.

I had always been interested in adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi stories. In early 2004 a full body rash that itched all over consumed me. Do you know what it is like to have an itch you can’t reach? It nags at you and almost drives you mad. For several weeks my thought rolled around inside my head and I couldn’t reach them. As the writing rash tingled and worked its way about my body and mind I asked myself, “What would my own series be like?”

One day I sat down and my thoughts came pouring out. It was as if I finally reached the itch and satisfied it by scratching. My thoughts were to take all the elements I enjoy and write a story with some kids in it and they have to go to different worlds on a quest of some sort. I could combine adventure with fantasy and add sci-fi elements and mix it with a legend. I choose the legend of Merlin. Now I had my story.

Some itches start in strange spots. As I developed my new world, and created my characters I got an unusual itch. This one came right before my third child was born. My wife and I were watching A Baby Story on TLC channel where they follow a couple for nine months through the birth of their child. The husband was joking with his wife about naming the baby “Bacon” if it was a boy. They ended up having a girl. Like them, my wife and I were waiting until the birth of our baby to know the sex. I too kept joking with my wife that if we had a boy we were going to name it “Bacon.” We ended up having a girl. So, I named my main protagonist Bacon. I thought it would be a great name for my target audience (kids ages 8-12) to remember and have some fun with.

My itch persisted and I continued to write my story over the next three years.

To be continued . . .

Note:  Tim will be giving away a copy of one Bacon Finnegan book to a visitor who leaves a comment on today's or tomorrow's post before midnight (Mountain Time) Friday, May 31st.


Tune in tomorrow for the rest of Tim's story. In the meantime, if you'd like to track him down on the web, you can read more at his website and Bacon's blog. Tim is also active on Facebook and Twitter.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Tim.

Tim - It must have been very hard for you to lose your friend, especially to suicide. Such a hard blow... It is interesting isn't it the kinds of events or situations that will bring on 'the itch.' I know what you mean too about non-fiction writing being a part of what makes that 'itch' even stronger. That's what happened to me. Looking forward to reading the rest of your story.

Julie Luek said...

Sometimes it's a realization that life is short and that we need to pursue our dreams-- that's exactly where I'm at with this all. Scratching, not always hitting the spot right on, but still trying.

Tim Northburg said...

MARGOT, yes it was hard dealing with my friend leaving the way he did. Especially when we were peer counselors together. It didn't make sense. You are right, it is strange how things in life start "The Itch." JULIE, you are correct, many times you can't get to the itch but if you can just scratch around it you might work your way towards it. Happy writing!

Dean K Miller said...

A life time of stories written to tell the story of a life time. Don't lose the itch, Tim...or you'll leave us scratching our heads wondering where you went.

Tim Northburg said...

Thanks Dean. I don't think I'll ever lose the itch!