How do you know when you’re a writer? Guest post by Marc Vun Kannon

How do you know when you’re a writer? It’s a big question, but there are no big universal answers. My own journey took me…rather roundabout.

I didn’t set out to be a writer at all, that just sort of happened. I read lots of stories, but I had no intention of writing anything. It never occurred to me to try. I learned a lot in my English classes in high school, but creative writing was not part of it. Or in college either. I went through a bunch of majors in college and eventually settled on Philosophy. Which I liked, by the way, but I only took one creative writing course and a Drama class that I failed out of. When I was attacked by my first story, it was my wife who pointed out that it would make a good book.

I think I got the idea behind my first novel about halfway through Graduate school. I started writing it on a typewriter and finished it on a computer. Which crashed. No backups. Ah well, but I’d finished the story so who cared. Obviously, not a writer.

Years later, I acquired another typewriter, fancy electronic job. And I had the original typewritten pages from way back when, so I think, ‘Hey let’s give this another try.’ I feed in the paper, open the looseleaf folder, and–gak! Really bad. That first sentence just went on and on. That story just had to be fixed. Then I went back to school again (computer science this time), got myself a crappy little computer and started writing. Blew through the original pages, completely rewrote them, and finished the book with what may have been a totally new ending. I have no memory of how the first version ended.  As I’m writing the story gets bigger, more characters, more ideas, until I realize that now it’s too big for just one book.

My characters were talking to me, enough to get me through a second novel. I had an inkling that this would not always be the case with my first short story, which was intended to be a little story about how Tarkas accidentally invented dragons. It wouldn’t go. I eventually turned it into a short story about an author trying to write a short story, saved by comedy. My next short story had a theme to it, one that resonated so much I used it five times in five different ways in the space of 2200 words. I began to think I really could be a writer after all.

Then came St. Martin’s Moon.

At the time it was called Blood Moon, based on the original novel I’d seen that gave me the idea. It was going to be a horror/mystery, about a man investigating a werewolf attack on a lunar colony. I was two chapters in before I realized something frightening. I could not write horror. Or mystery, for that matter. I had my characters and that was all. Even the ending I had cooked up would no longer work.

My characters pulled me through, although it took many years of following them around to see how it would happen. And that only came after I had written ‘The End’ on the damn thing. They weren’t speaking to me, but I had faith in them and they made it work, even though what they made is something I still can’t describe.

At this point, I still hadn’t become a writer, but I think I discovered that I was a writer. There are no credentials, no degrees, that make you a writer, any more than a certificate makes you a philosopher. There is simply the doing. Shakespeare didn’t have an MFA either.

About the Author:

Marc Vun Kannon was born in Bethpage, Long Island, and grew up with a complete collection of Oz books in his room, and Star Trek on the TV. After surviving his teen age years, he entered Hofstra University. Five years later, he exited with a BA in philosophy and a wife. He still has both, but the wife is more useful.

A series of minor jobs followed, which allowed him to enter Graduate School for Philosophy. Although he chose not to complete the degree, his studies inspired him to write his first novel, Unbinding the Stone. His wife inspired him to have children.

He went back to school, and completed a Computer Science degree. He also wrote his second novel, A Warrior Made, and a variety of short stories. Currently he is employed as a Tier One support engineer at Bottomline Technologies, a father to his three children, husband to his wife, and author to his books.

He, and they, now reside in Wading River, Long Island, New York.


St. Martin’s Moon available at OmniLit


About jlwylie

Stay at home mom of 2 boys, avid reader and writer. Published by Untold Press

6 thoughts on “How do you know when you’re a writer? Guest post by Marc Vun Kannon

  1. Verna Clay says:

    Marc, thank you for such a down-to-earth guest post that I can relate to.

    • authorguy says:

      You’re welcome. I like to write posts about the things that I have actually done and experienced, since the odds are pretty good you’ve done and seen something like it yourself.

  2. shaydenfl says:

    Great post, Marc! Love learning more about all my favorite authors.

  3. Thank you for this. I recenetly admitted to my family and friends that pursuing a career in writing is all that I want to do, so it’s great to see how someone else stumbled upon it.

    ❤ Gina Blechman

  4. jlwylie says:

    Thanks so much for the great post Marc!!

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