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Ray Rhamey photo125WAs it turns out, storytelling is my life. As a boy, when I read the Book of Knowledge the short stories and novellas were always the most fascinating parts. When I teened, I moved on to science fiction and fantasy via magazines such as Analog and If and a galaxy of mass market paperback books.

I also consumed comic books by the bale, which led to a desire to be a cartoonist—not in the sense of a style of art, but as a creator of drawn stories. As an adult, I created a couple of comic strips in hopes of becoming a professional cartoonist. Came close with one, but it wasn’t to be (yet—there’s a graphic novel growing in my mind). Some of  the cartoons in Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling are mine.

As a copywriter and then creative director in advertising for twenty or so years, most of my seventy produced commercials were thirty-second stories, with beginnings, middles, and ends. My adverstorytelling propelled me to the top tier of thetastebuds Chicago advertising scene. Just for fun, here are two of my two favorite Budweiser TasteBuds commercials, Pizza and Forecast, that ran on Saturday Night Live in 1979.

While in advertising, another form of storytelling called to me: screenwriting. I left Chicago advertising to tackle screenwriting in Los Angeles and studied the craft in books, at UCLA, and at the American Film Institute. A few speculative screenplays later, I signed with an  agent. But, while I could craft screen stories in a professional way, I never came up with a story that anyone wanted to invest millions in engine shadowproducing. I don’t consider that a failure, just part of the learning curve. And I was a staff story editor/screenwriter at Filmation, a major animation studio at the time. Freelance, I did a fun adaptation of The Little Engine that Could for film.

But I moved on from that place and that job, re-entered advertising, ran into ageism, and began reinventing myself as an editor. Starting as a subcontractor for an online editing service, I edited beginner novels, and I became a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. I launched an online editing service in 2001 and have had modest success.

Crrreative-URL-150WAs a form of guerilla marketing to generate editing work, in 2004 I started Flogging the Quill, a blog about the art and craft of storytelling. FtQ has become a popular litblog on the Internet:  thousands of writers stop by every week for my coaching and critiques of writing.

While editing jobs have come to me as a result of the blog, the most satisfying part has been helping other writers conquer writing difficulties—you should see the delight in the thank-you notes I receive. I’ve also used the blog as a springboard to doing workshops at writers conferences that focus on the keys to crafting a killer first page. Info about 4 of my writer workshops is here.

And then there’s the novelist side of me

I’ve completed five novels so far, learning as I go. A  couple of them were viable enough to land a literary agent, though I haven’t yet found a publisher.

In terms of focus, I guess “commercial fiction” is mine, although I haven’t settled into a single genre. So far my work doesn’t seem to want to conform to the expectations of genre fiction.

So I’ve taken the path of self-publication. Don’t sell much--yet--but it’s out there.

On the personal side, I’m happily married and have four delightful (and grown) children who are procreating a growing brood of lovely grandchildren. I now live in Ashland, Oregon, a place of beauty.

 I grew up in Dallas, Texas, but have since lived, as my grandmother would have said, all over hell and half of Georgia. As of this writing, the places I’ve called home are Dallas, Texas; Bloomington and Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Studio City and Van Nuys, California; Ashland, Oregon; Cincinnati, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; Louisville, Kentucky; Seattle and Pullman, Washington.

 

© Ray Rhamey 2014   ray (at) rayrhamey (dot) com 206.291.8758  420 Morton St., Ashland, OR 97520

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