07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More like a stumble

B. A. Binns here, back with the Genre-istas
As I grew older (no, I'm not telling my age) I decided I wanted to do something creative with my life. I’m a classic left-brainer whose right-brained creative urge spent years struggling to find a place in life. Five years ago I went out and purchased a paint set, complete with instruction book, and pens and a notebook. I would, I told myself, express my creativity by both writing and painting.
I started with the pen and notebook, and never stopped.
I wanted to write romances. I thought I’d be good at it. Until I took a class from  the wonderful Lori Wilde. She finally got it through my head that my ideas did not fit the romance mold. Love story, yes, but come on, romances featuring con men and killers as heroes and women of a certain profession as heroines – no, not a romance. Still, I kept writing, because, as one of my characters put it, “Ruthless businessmen deserve love too.”
I discovered that younger adults were often more open to the idea of the anti-hero. I had the idea for a female character whose older brother was a domineering, pushy, control freak.  As I wrote the girl's story, her brother David kept demanding that I tell his side of things. He wanted people to know why he was a...well, and uber-alpha male.
Then came the stumble. Just to shut this character up, I agreed to write about his childhood, how he became the mad-at-the-world character who dearly loves his sister, but can’t stop being in charge.  While writing I decided to make the book 100% HIS story. That guy became my anti-hero  David, his story became PULL.
 I really wanted to use David's story to attract reluctant readers, especially teen guys, people who things books are for someone else.  Many of these guys are like David. They feel alienated from school and society, but are still capable of loving and caring for others.  I set out to make this a book that would keep even the most reluctant reader turning pages.
The result of that came in January, when PULL was honored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), with a spot on their 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list.   The book is also one of the 2011 books for Incarcerated Youth.
I stumbled into my passion. To this day the paint set sits in my closet, unopened.

I would love hearing about your leaps, jumps and/or stumbles and how they have effected your journey through life.  Share your stories with me.

My website - babinns.com
My personal blog - barbarabinns.com


Judith Ashley said...

And I'm very glad you started with pen and notebook instead of the paint set! Many young adults are also...

This blog and Romance From the Genre-istas is my leap - my stumble would be my own writing. I cringe when I look at my first - eight drafts of the first couple of chapters of my novel. I found my stride with I found my process -sit down and write the book from beginning to end. Then go back and fix it. Book Two had blank spaces for the names of towns, horses, etc. I filled them in on the second go-around, once the story was on the page.

Diana Mcc. said...

Until last spring, I stumbled in that I tried to do "everything" I liked to do, and my writing suffered. Now, I have one craft I do outside of writing. Focus on my writing is the number one priority, and I've achieved way more word count than last year.
Great post!

Tory Ferrera said...


I loved hearing your story. Sometimes the stumbles help us change direction and get the creative fog in our brain to coalesce into the story we really want to tell.

I think I've wanted to be a writer since childhood, but was afraid to let myself do it because of the fear of failure, and also because I was afraid to disappoint my family. After rounding a particularly hard birthday, I decided life was too short not to try. Trying means the possibility of failure, but also the hope of success.

Tory Ferrera (Chicago North)

Yasmine Phoenix said...

Dear Barbara
I hope my comment didn't disappear but just in case it did. I'm glad you 'stumbled' into writing. Pull is an awesome first book and to chosen by YSALA is an honor. Have you heard from any of your readers?
I love the anti-hero hero and it reminds me of my favorite movies of the 1930s' and 40s' especially Humphrey Bogart in Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, Key Largo ... you get my point. It's where the bad guy is vulnerable.
Keep writing.

B. A. Binns said...

Dorothy (Yasmine) If you get a chance, I'm reading on Monday, and my hero is just being released from jail. I'd love to hear if you consider him sympathetic enough to deserve redemption.

Morgan Mandel said...

I blame my writing fixation on Chicago-North RWA Chapter. If I hadn't happened on their program at my library and noticed that authors were real people, I wouldn't have been encouraged to try, and now I can't stop.

Morgan Mandel