Bret R. Wright is a middle school teacher, freelance writer, and author. A retired Chief Petty Officer, he traveled extensively all over the world while serving in the U.S. Navy, and still enjoys exploring the globe with his wife and youngest son. Wright enjoys running and hiking the trails in the foothills near his home in Monument, Colorado.
One of my earliest memories is creating a kidnapping-slash-murder mystery for the neighbor kids to help solve. Now, I was in kindergarten at the time, and they were both much older, but they humored me as they listened to the tape the “kidnappers” left, with instructions to follow the clues to find my missing father (who was at work at the fire station.) This is where I trace the beginnings of my writing career. In that respect, my journey as a writer has been pretty short, as far as genre is concerned. Over time, I’ve experimented with different forms of writing, and ways of presenting the stories I tell. I think challenging yourself is key in growing as a writer. -- voice, genre, style, and perspective -- all of that can be dragged through the sandbox. What comes out is sometimes dirty, it might be barely readable, but, in the end, I think I’ve become a better writer for it.
In my day job, I’m a middle school English teacher. Teaching kids how to write comes with the territory, and it’s a part of the job that I really enjoy. One of the best things is this epic short story project I have them do. It’s a long-term thing that runs most of the year, and it teaches the kids about the writing process as a craft. We start at the beginning, with how to write settings, then move to dialogue between characters, and moving a story forward. We talk about pre-writing, research, plotting, -- all the writing things. The lessons become more intricate as the year progresses, and we have a lot of fun along the way. By spring the kids have these wonderful short stories that range somewhere between six thousand and twenty thousand words long. Even the kids who “hate to write” turn in these amazing stories that they’re proud of. I mean, they really are! Those kiddos are part of what keeps me motivated. I get to go back to the basics and remember why I love to write. At least in my case, that’s an important aspect of keeping the creative juices flowing.
In addition to my kids, I also get a charge out of just hanging out with other writers. Is there anything more inspiring than spending time with a roomful of writers? Keep your motivational videos and Instagram quotes, and give me some living, breathing authors in a hotel bar at a writers conference any day of the week! Some of the best ideas I’ve ever had have arisen organically from just riffing with other folks in the writing community. I love hearing about projects, ideas, finished manuscripts, and people’s adventures in publishing.
I’m not picky about the “kind” of writers I hang with. They don’t have to be genre contemporaries by any means. I have great friends who write romance, poetry, science fiction, spiritual realism, horror -- the whole spectrum, really. The other day I attended an album release party. I didn’t know the artist whose music had just dropped, but I did know some of the poets who attended. Poets really have it going on when it comes to supporting one another. I watched as a good friend of mine tore into her slam poetry performance with a vengeance, and worked that room like nobody’s business. It was awesome, in the most literal sense. I left in complete awe of my friend and her ability with words. I also left with ideas for stories and articles raging in my head, and I had to get them out. I went straight home and wrote until the wee hours, totally invigorated.
That has been the fuel of my writing. People are surprised when I tell them I’m actually an introvert. Well, I mean I’m situationally introverted. Classically, big crowds of strangers leave me exhausted but get me around people I know, or in a performance spotlight, and I’m instantly energized, and my head fills with ideas. Locking myself away to write isn’t all that effective unless it’s in the context of a retreat with a couple of other folks. Some people fill their wells in quiet, and I get that, but my charge comes from others, even if all I do is sit quietly in the corner and take in the energy.
Do you know who I’d like to hang with? Tim Dorsey and Tom Robbins. Only a voice like Dorsey’s could pull off a main-character like his Serge Storm. A serial killer as the hero who outthinks the bad guys and the cops, and there’s humor? Are you kidding me? Add in the mind of the man who waxes so eloquently absurd about Woodpeckers, Frog Pajamas, and Fierce Invalids. I love the idea of sitting around and tossing out weird ideas and out-there topics. I think it would be a hoot!
Private Detective Nate "Nasty" Jepson's sense of right and wrong leads him into the dangerous world of human trafficking, where he risks everything to save one man and bring another to justice the only way he knows how: Things get Nasty.
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I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.
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