Today is a time of reflection for me. I find my birthday usually prompts this feeling inside, like the beginning of a new year. Well, it *is* the beginning of a new year ~ for me and everyone else born on September 14th, hehe!
So I seized this opportunity to look back at my early writing days, when I first started to believe in the idea that I could successfully string words together in a way that would hold someone’s interest. Back to when I dared to submit the first chapter of my YA werewolf novel.
That was in June of 2010.
Well, I was not successful in my first attempt at ‘serious’ writing. hehe! The critiques I received were honest and showed me everything I was doing wrong. They also helped me collect great advice about learning the craft ~ there is no better “how-to-write” instruction manual than reading a published author’s work. In fact, I learned that the more you read, the more you learn diversity in style, world building, voice, pace and word choice.
So I shelved my werewolf story, because I knew, at that time, I didn’t quite have the skills to master telling that story in the way it deserved.
I started reading. A lot. And… differently. Something in my analytical mind *clicked.* This is how you insert backstory, this is how you weave in strands of tension, this is how you draw everything to a conclusion.
And during those book-wormish days, I still kept writing, planting my ideas down on paper to cement them into reality. My “someday I’ll find the right way to explain this mess of characters and events” file.
October 2010 rolled around and the writing forum I frequent was hosting a Halloween short story contest. A picture prompt inspiring us to write 5k words or less. I titled mine THE LIGHT SHAPER. It didn’t place in the contest, but in my mind it was a success, because it was the first story I wrote that had an ending.
My confidence high, in November 2010, I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A huge challenge, fifty thousand words in thirty days. (Yeah, something that hippopotamus-large deserves the magnitude of being fully spelled out, lol!) I took every last scrap of those thirty days and wrote a 50k (+) YA horror novel I titled CHOMP. Yeahhh, I spewed forth a *mostly* coherent story, but it’s nowhere near novel status. Not yet. It needs some work. But the experience of committing to a single project from start to finish taught me that I have the ability to write at a rapid pace and produce something of decent quality.
December 2010, I answered a call for submissions and began writing SANCTUARY, a story that, at it’s earliest stages, featured a MC named Kyle and an idea that perhaps, maybe, he’d wind up hiding a vampire in his basement. After many proofreads, I discovered the name Kyle wasn’t working for the tone of the piece, and the idea of hiding a vampire in his basement biscuit-bulged the story beyond the 5k word limit. I gave it to two trusted forumites to beta read and hit “send for submission” on January 14, 2011. Expected date of rejection, May 31, 2011.
So I took those months to work on other things, a revamp of THE LIGHT SHAPER revealed a novel ambition I titled, JULE. Also, MINER MISTAKE, SLEEPING BEAU and a bevy of others were born.
April 12, 2011 appears on the calendar and I receive an email from the editor of Fangtales. I’m in. I’m in? I’m in! Accepted! Someone I don’t know, in another country, read my story and liked it enough to include it in Wyvern Publications Fangtales Anthology! This is the same publishing house that produced the Dragontales Anthology, featuring Justin Carroll’s CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, short listed for the British Fantasy Awards.
Fast forward to present day, Wednesday, September 14, 2011.
The Fangtales proof has been received, reviewed by yours truly and returned to the publisher. I got to see my name in lights, so to speak, hehehe! And now, I’m about a month away from the anthology’s expected publication date. I feel like I’m floating on air, because when I look back at the progress I’ve made in one short year, I’m so totally pleased!
Which makes me excited for what I might accomplish between now and next September 14th.
Thanks for wandering in and looking back with me