Who Am I?

I am Andrew Palmer. Since I was a little kid, I have loved creating stories. A foundational memory of mine is sitting on my mother’s back patio with a yellow legal pad and a pencil writing a story about a boy and his friend living inside a fountain. I was in elementary school and it was a cool spring morning. My mother was gardening and I was crafting worlds. I still remember that story even after twenty years.

In high school, I was the dungeon master for my DnD group. I loved creating stories on the fly. Our sessions were insane. A character pissed on a tree to unlock a door to a dwarven city during a campaign. My love of fantasy has guided my writing ever since. I spent my senior project writing a novella. The plot was a homage to the videogame Jak2. A warrior is brought from the past to fight a demagogue in the future. I loved the idea that magic was the key to fighting technology. That was the first story I ever finished, mostly because I had to. It was also the first time I participated in a writing group.

In college, I couldn’t focus on just one area of study. I changed majors like socks. I am unsure what the record is, but I have 13 notches on that belt. My love of writing guided me near the end, but I settled on math. WHY? Well…I’m good at math. So good at it in fact that I got a Master’s in computer science. Again, WHY? If writing is my first love, what am I doing working as a data scientist?

Good question Collin. Money! I have a family and that family needs to eat. However, I almost got a BA in English Writing. All I needed was a language course and two non-English liberal arts courses.

My desire to have a career in writing got dark just before I started grad school. On the 23rd of May 2017, I almost committed suicide. I couldn’t handle the stress of life at that point and wanted out. I made one final plea to God and didn’t ask for anything. I knew what I had to do to bring meaning to my life and my plea to God was more a statement of what I planned to do. I promised to write every day no matter what because to feel true I have to write daily. Two days later, I got a call from DKMS about donating bone marrow. I saw it as an answer to my plea. God had told me this was the right way to live. How does one imply the other? I don’t really know. But that call meant everything at that moment. I donated my bone marrow stem cells and wrote every day for the next 4 years.

By 2021 I had written 4 novels. My focus flagged when I got a full-time job. Work and family came before everything else. I didn’t feel like I had time to write. I convinced myself that it was fine, I could work on revisions on one of my novels when I could. The job wasn’t too bad, and the benefits were good.

But the data scientist/hobbyist writer dream shattered when the corporation began laying people off in 2022. By May 2023 (May is significant in my life apparently. My wife was born in May also.), I wanted to quit. With a family to feed, I needed a place to land. Learning to Master is that place.

Hundreds of books and YouTube channels exist to help people learn the craft of writing. But learning writing craft and seeing how it works in practice don’t directly follow. It takes practice to see writing craft in action.

By providing critiques of published works and examples of my own writing, I want to help you see how to put craft into practice. I hope it will help you become a better writer. If nothing else, I want it to be interesting.

Thank you for playing your part!

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