Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I am a writer

last updated March, 2013

Writing basic part of my make-up; I can't go a more than a few days without writing something - whether it's a few random notes on some idea I want to expound on later, to an emotional cleansing (e.g. venting) in my journal, to another chapter in one of the several fiction books I'm trying to finish (and in the past couple years, blogging has become an important to me, too).

I've been journaling ever since I was 9 or 10 years old, and writing stories since about that age, too. I have loved going through my journals and seeing my character growth, how I've changed, things leading up to my decision to follow Christ - and since then, the spiritual struggles God has taken me through to grow me.

I also love to write fiction, and little bits of myself and my journey and my beliefs are sprinkled through out my stories (without being preachy, I hope).

I finished my first book in 2000, at which point I started to go to writer's conferences to see how I would go about trying to get it published. Shortly thereafter I realized that my book had to be completely re-written - it wasn't anywhere near to being fit for publication.

I signed up at several on-line writing workshops (one of them was critters.org) and started to get feedback on my writing, which has helped tremendously.  For a while Laramie has had it's own modest little writer's group, which provided a lot of motivation and fun, getting to know other writers on a personal level.

Because my family kept growing (and I had to learn how to juggle personal goals with family goals and a whole new level of stress and distractions), it took me eight years to finish the second draft of my story in 2008.

Because I was learning so much from professional agent and author blogs at this point, it wasn't long before I realized it still needed more work (it was way too long for a children's story). I decided to split it up into two novels instead, but midway into revisions I burned out - plus I had so many other ideas in my head begging for a chance. So I started my second novel.

2013 update: I have four novels written now, and the biggest step I ever took with my writing was to push myself to write new stories; interestingly, this was even more helpful than getting feedback. Some things you can learn from feedback and revising; some things you can only learn by continually writing new things.

My first novel (a children's fantasy) has been through two full drafts and several partials. I still plan to revisit it again someday - it's my first love, after all, and I have spent the better part of my life with these characters!

My second novel is women's fiction, based loosely on my experience with marriage and being a stepmom, and with a strong Christian theme. It needs a second draft, and I'll be revisiting that one again, for sure too.

My third novel is a history fantasy set in the time when the Huns invaded the crumbling Roman Empire. It started out as an idea I had when I was 15 years old - so this one is near and dear to my heart, too, and it also deserves a second draft (I just need to clone myself, right?) But then, hold the bus, that cloning-myself quip gave me an idea for a forth novel!

My fourth novel is a science fiction for young adults (think ordinary American high school girl meets Star Wars), and I'm almost done with the second draft, and getting lots of feedback from the four critique partners I exchange chapters with. I'm hoping to query it to agents by the end of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment