Fifteen Years A WriterA Short History of S.C. Barrus

It’s been nearly a month since I started this blog chronicling the production of my novel Grim Curio. I haven’t spent much of that time talking about myself, and that’s been deliberate. But today I want to do something different and share the writing journey I’ve gone through over the last fifteen years.

High School

I began writing in high school, took every creative writing elective I could. It was there I wrote my first novel, My Field of Everlasting Smiles. It was an angsty coming of age story that’s now collecting dust in storage.

I was 18 and queried agents for a month or two, but didn’t get far. Then I gave up. If you’re a young writer with a novel and a desire to get published, don’t give up. Send out query letters for years if you have to, or work your ass off on the independent publishing route (but do it right). Just don’t give up.

College

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I went The University of Washington and a degree in Creative Writing. While there I wrote my second novel, Everything Else by the Wayside. It followed a few listless travelers who played the blues, and I thought it was philosophical as hell.

I spent months querying agents and received good feedback, but nothing happened. It’s not hard to see why. It was a difficult to summarize, meandering literary tale featuring an unlikable character. Not a book that screams best seller.

Sometimes I think about Everything Else by the Wayside and wonder what could have been. Maybe one day I’ll revisit it.

Post College

After graduation I got a job as an internet marketer. I was paid to write blog posts about flooring and modular homes, gardening and a swath of ecommerce copy. I hated it.

Meanwhile, I stole every second I could to write the novel I knew would get me out of that shitty profession (sorry if you’re an internet marketer, but it’s a shitty profession).

I wrote Discovering Aberration and immediately thought, “Screw the publishing industry, I’m going to do it myself.” Away & Away publishing was born. I hired editors and cover designer, printed hundreds of copies which I sold by hand at conventions, and quickly sold around 10,000 ebooks with a few smart promotions. Pretty cool.

Then I was fired from my shitty job. I couldn’t get a job for nearly a year. I tried to write, I really tried. I wrote and published the first episode of a serial novel called The Gin Thief, but my depression got so deep I couldn’t finish it. Even now when I think back on The Gin Thief all I can see is that dark time when I lost my job, my apartment, and my will to write.

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Today

Eventually I went back to school and became a web developer. Now I work for a company called Concur building expense reporting software, and to be honest I’ve never had a better job. Oh, and I’m writing again.

That’s it, that’s my story so far. I don’t know if there is a moral to it, but I’m here and I’m brimming with ideas. What will happen with Grim Curio? Will I handle publishing duties myself or go the agent route? I don’t know yet, but I’m considering all my options. In the meantime, I’m glad you’re here and I hope you’ll stick around as the next chapter in this journey unfolds.

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