For Salt Lake Community College English instructor Lynn Kilpatrick, the key to writing and writing well is just “to keep going.” This is how Kilpatrick came to fashion together her book In the House, scheduled for release around the end of this month or beginning of April.
In the House is a collection of short stories, character sketches, scripts and shorts. Anything can happen and anything can go wrong, when relationships go awry and domestic routine, the concepts of space and family, is thrown off center.
Kilpatrick hadn’t conceived her written pieces as becoming a book; she just wrote stories and themes began to emerge, particularly on women, relationships, space, and the home.
“Too many young writers think publishing is the goal, but the goal is really to become a better writer,” Kilpatrick says.
She suggests reading and writing, always. There are plenty of online sources and texts about writing books, but “ultimately it’s about the writing.”
“Read great novels. And write,” Kilpatrick recommends.
She also encourages aspiring students not to think about getting published when writing or writing to get published. Kilpatrick says, instead, to write something, and then put it in a drawer. Pull it out later and if you still like it, keep revising, adding, deleting, and even completely transforming it. Then shut it away again. Repeat this process as much as needed and if you can honestly say it’s good and then consider getting it published.
Many of the stories included were written while she was a graduate student at the University of Utah back around 2000. It wasn’t until 2004 that she first started sending out earlier versions of her book through contests. Kilpatrick submitted In the House to the publishing company Fiction Collective Two, or FC2, in 2007 and wasn’t accepted until 2008. Now, after about two years, the University of Alabama Press will print In the House.
“I really admired FC2 and they were my first choice to publish the book, so I’ve been really lucky,” Kilpatrick admitted. However, it has been a long process for her, spanning nearly a decade before seeing her book in print.
Kilpatrick advises aspiring writers not to rush into publishing and to “always prepare for rejection.” It’s not personal; “It’s about the work, not about you.”
Kilpatrick also warned, “You will be rejected. It’s going to happen. But you just have to get over it and move on.”
If you have had your taste of rejection, she encourages you to go back, try to improve your work, then send it out again.
Kilpatrick has published other works from poetry to fiction to essays. Her story “Domestic Drama” appeared in the May issue of “Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.” Currently, she’s working on a novel and is interested in writing a book about sports.
While Kilpatrick has found success with her work, it’s been no cakewalk. A published writer, she emphasized that writing should never be for the sake of getting published.
When working at any time, whether the words are flowing freely or she has writer’s block, Kilparick’s goal remains the same.
“For me,” she said, “it’s about sitting down and just trying to write something, anything.”