My name is Virginia Anderson. Virginia S. Anderson. V. S. Anderson. You can follow me on Twitter at VSAnderson1.
I’ve been writing since I figured out how to hold a crayon. I’ve been writing in hopes of being read since I was about eight. I published newspaper articles while I was still in high school. I published five novels with good presses–three suspense novels, two romances–in the 1980s and 1990s. When I returned to college and graduate school, I published academically in major journals in the field of “rhetoric and composition,” or the teaching of college writing, and in journals about “rhetoric,” which is about how symbols–languages, images, action–can win over audiences (some people, like Aristotle, prefer to call it “the art of persuasion,” but I think that’s too narrow a definition).
Now I’ve retired from active teaching and am returning to writing; I’m writing this blog and another one, just started: College Composition Weekly (www.collegecompositionweekly.com), where each week I post a summary of an article from a major English studies/composition journal so that harried writing teachers can drop in and see what’s going on “out there.”
Finally, I’m working on a proposal for a book for prospective college students about to take their first writing class. There was so much the students I taught didn’t know that would have helped them make better decisions and better use of their writing classes. It isn’t a textbook; Lord knows, there are plenty of those already! Instead it will feature practical information that will help students understand why their teachers teach as they do and how making the most of the experience will help them in their lives and careers.
And of course, I’m writing a novel. Or rather, revising one for the six millionth time, with the help of the wonderful writers’ group at Green River Writers in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m just about to publish two of my previously published novels on Smashwords. They are King of the Roses, published by St. Martin’s in 1983, and Blood Lies, published by Bantam in 1989. I’ve done some revision on Blood Lies (boy, did it need it). They’re a little dated, I suppose, but that mainly means nobody in them has a cell phone. You may not have ever thought about how the explosion of cell phones affects what a mystery writer ‘s characters can and can’t do!
You will soon be able to read sample chapters of these two books at my personal web site, virginiasanderson.com. It will be open to the public as soon as the books are available. .
This blog, Just Can’t Help Writing, began as an account of my rather checkered experience as a published novelist. I did a lot of things right, but an awful lot of things wrong, and people who want to be published can benefit from my mistakes. I’ve moved on to speculate about a lot of the things I see writers in other blogs thinking about, above all what works in different kinds of written communication. Sometimes I venture into pedagogical territory (once a teacher. . . .). I’m still learning, and I enjoy sharing as I learn.
I’m writing something almost all day, every day, but when I’m not I’m riding my horse, Paddy. He’s a hunter, which means he has to jump over (very small) things. He keeps me young. Or I’m trying to get this year’s garden in (almost done, and everything is still alive!). Or I’m learning Python–because it’s there.
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