A publisher or agency using Google ads to solicit your novel probably isn't anyone you want to write for.
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|02-21-2013, 01:59 AM||#1|
Hello? Eat my tarts?
Join Date: Jun 2012
What's the journey from first picking up a pen to getting published been like for you? How many years did it take? How much studying? How much writing? Major ups and downs? Moments you thought you would never make it?
And if you haven't been published (yet), what's your journey from then to now? What keeps you chugging on?
I'd love to hear it
I am not a great prose stylist. I'm a storyteller. There are thousands of people who don't like what I do. Fortunately, there are millions who do.
"Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars!"
|02-21-2013, 03:43 AM||#2|
They've been very bad, Mr Flibble
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: We couldn't possibly do that. Who'd clear up the mess?
You really want to hear it?
In 2004 I was struck down with ME. After a while, not being able to do much at all, I became seriously frustrated with daytime TV (and being on disability couldn't afford many books). So I thought I'd try writing down one of the stories I used to make up in my head - I always have, just never thought anyone would be interested in them. So I pratted about for a bit. Then the ME got bad and I didn't do much for three years because one of the symptoms is thinking like treacle. Got back into writing in 2007 (? I think?) Still just messing about.
September 2007, I gave what I'd written to a couple of mates. They really liked it. October 2007 I decided maybe I should give this a proper go. January 2008, after rejections etc, I joined here and got my eyes opened BIG style. Rewrite my query, started cutting my novel down to a sensible length. Got my first R&R request a couple of months later. My first book came out from a small press...Jan 2009. Not in the genre I thought I was writing in either! (I thought I was writing fantasy, turns out, fantasy romance...)
Anyway, learnt a BUTT LOAD from my editor. Sold another two books to that publisher then had an idea that I knew they wouldn't take (no HEA). BUt my editor moved to another, slightly bigger, pub who were fine with it. So I subbed to her, and sold that, and a sequel, and another (romance again)
Anyway, go back a bit. When I first joined here, I learnt about Nano. So I gave it a go in 2008. Got the first 50k in, but then made my sale, had edits to do, thought I'd write specifically for that market....and the book went on hold. Every now and again I'd play with it, but nothing major until two years ago. It was becoming clear to me that while some readers liked my romances precisely because they weren't standard, it wasn't really for me (or helping my sales! Which were...okay. Not stellar) So I dug out the old MS and finished it. The trusty betas and writing group I'd found through AW helped me shine it up reeeeal nice. Decided to try, again, to get an agent.
But I was dejected due to perhaps the trouble I had with the romance genre - maybe it wasn't just that the genre wasn't for me? Maybe I was just crap? Couldn't seem to get the query right either. Add to that perhaps my most vicious ever Biploar depression and I was ! ! close to giving up. In the end, I got the query half way OK to my mind (thanks JCD and Quicklime!) and decided, what the hell. I just send it to a few agents. If they don't bite, forget it. I'm throwing the towel in. (I'm not sure if I'd have gone through with this, but I DID have a lot of frustration etc in me, and at the time I seriously thought I would give up)
Got an offer of rep off the first query. Three months later I'm looking at an email telling me I've got an offer from Orbit. For three books. First book is out next Tuesday, my launch party is tomorrow, I've met, dined with and partied with big names in the genre and...well. It's been a ride!
So there you go. Saved from the cusp of 'Screw this for a game of soldiers!'. And I couldn't have done it without all I've learnt here, and the people I've met because of this place. Really.
"Fade to Black is a dynamic and original introduction to a world and character that promise further exciting stories". British Fantasy Society
The series has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying - Publisher's Weekly
|02-21-2013, 04:09 AM||#3|
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
Join Date: Nov 2012
Good for you, congratulations!
|02-21-2013, 04:23 AM||#4|
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
Join Date: Nov 2012
I'm currently unpublished and unagented, so I'll try to keep things from becoming overly emo :P
I've always loved stories and can't remember a time when I wasn't daydreaming/making up a story in my head. When I was 10, I decided that my story was SO good that it just HAD to be written down (lol). I spent 5 years writing it, until I finished it at a whopping 200,000 words (give or take a thousand). I tried to get it published, but no luck. (I think the word count MIGHT have had something to do with it)
So I put it on hold, and started writing my second manuscript at 15, and which again I finished 5 years later. I was convinced that this manuscript was the one that would be published because it was SO amazing (plus it was ONLY 150,000 words this time!), and so I tried to send it out. And got rejected. And rejected. And rejected.
So then I put that one on the back burner and got sucked in by life for about a year and a half. Then, I was inspired by a new story idea and got it in my head that THIS new story would be the one to make me into a household name and wrote it under 113,000 words in a year and a half (at least it's taking me less time and less words to write them now :P). So currently I'm working on revising this third manuscript, and really hoping that third time's the charm!
In between the three manuscript, I spent a huge chunk of my teen years writing Harry Potter fanfiction, many of which are close to 100,000 words. They were a lot of fun, because the universe and the characters were obviously already set up for me, and I was able to get really creative. It's probably those fanfics that made me fall in love with writing all over again, especially in those depressing teen years, since there wasn't too much pressure on making them amazing and trying to get them published. I just had fun.
It's been 13 years since I started writing my first manuscript, and while that makes me feel kind of old, it's been a lot of fun. At this point, sometimes it's hard to keep 'chugging on', as you put it, since I'm no longer that bright-eyed teen waiting eagerly by the mailbox for that letter that says yes. I know a lot more about the ins and outs of the publishing industry (I even thought I wanted to have a career in it for a bit), and while the business aspect of who gets published is kind of depressing, I still haven't given up yet. I don't know precisely why, but it might be because I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. So that's why I'll keep chugging on...
Great question by the way
|02-21-2013, 04:38 AM||#5|
has finally arrived
Join Date: Apr 2007
Always been a writer.
16 - Completed my first novel. It sucked, didn't know it then, kept writing. Decided to major in English.
21 - Wrote first draft of Courting Greta. It sucked. Nobody wanted it. Kept writing, finally landed an agent with another novel. Agent sucked. Ditched agent. Kept writing. Graduated from college, taught English in China, got a job writing travel related stuff. Had kids.
29 - Finished umpteenth rewrite of Courting Greta, the one book I just kept circling back to. After 350 rejections (this time around, not counting all the others), I snagged an awesome amazing agent.
30 - Awesome amazing agent sold manuscript.
31 - Courting Greta will be out in June. Still writing.
All told, half my life spent attempting to sell a novel. A decade for this novel in particular.
|02-21-2013, 05:21 AM||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2007
Of all instruments of war, make instruments of music
|02-21-2013, 05:23 AM||#7|
practical experience, FTW
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: With you in Rockland
I think my story is still a WIP, technically. But I'll give you a rough outline of it:
- Told from an early age that I was good at writing, not told I was good at much else
- Was kind of indifferent to writing/reading from the age of about 10-14. Continued, however, to receive good feedback on essays and such that I had written for school.
- At about 16, I read Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and quickly fell in love with literature, was inspired to write some of my own.
- At 17, I finished my first novel, looked back on it after a few months, decided it was an abhorrent, cliched, piece of something that rhymes with Schmidt (one journal entry I wrote after reading it described it as having "enough cliches to write a Nickelback song). This was also the year my high school sweetheart had dumped me, and I took a brief, strange, misguided detour into the world of poetry (some of which is nothing short of mortifying, and I believe it's still floating around the Poetry Critique section somewhere).
- Wrote half of another novel later that year, found out I was getting nowhere quickly with that. Applied and got into college, where I am majoring in Creative Writing. Turned 18 and started figuring out that I need to actually plan ahead for my stories, that outlines are my friend, and also that I need to read waaaaay more if I wanted to write the type of Literary Fiction I intend to write.
to be continued?
Goodreads- let's be friends!
Last edited by cmi0616; 02-26-2013 at 10:12 AM.
|02-21-2013, 05:53 AM||#8|
Misbehaving and stuff
Join Date: May 2012
Location: At the beach. Or sleeping.
Let's see how much I can remember:
Always loved writing. Wrote short stories while growing up. Friends would ask me to write their essays for school and I happily agreed.
Wrote the obligatory sappy, purple-prose teen-aged poetry.
Took journalism classes in high school and ended up an editor for the yearbook.
Went to college, took some journalism classes, Radio/TV/Film classes, but just couldn't stay interested in school. I left college, got a job, got married, got a mortgage, two car payments, had a kid...
Kept trying to write stories. Wrote characters descriptions, plot details, even wrote a chapter or two, but I'd always get stuck after the second chapter and I'd chuck it.
Went back to school. Majored in Environmental Science. Got to do a lot of interesting stuff. Thought "hmmm...maybe I could write about some of this stuff". Still never wrote more than one or two chapters and lots of notes that never got used.
Last year, my son and I got the flu and I had to stay home from work for two weeks. After the first day of watching daytime television and reading a book that I thought had a lousy ending, I decided I was going to finally write and finish something.
I sat down at my computer without any notes, no plot, and no idea what I was doing. I started writing. Two weeks later I had my first completed ms. I thought "well, now what the heck do I do with it?"
I googled about publishing and ended up on AW. I read all this wonderful, insightful, and informative advice from all these people who knew a crap-ton more than me. I revised and edited the above-mentioned first ms accordingly.
I sent ms to a publisher and then prepared to chew my fingernails into bloody stubs for the next four months. Eight days later, I had an offer to publish in my hands.
Since then, I've written almost every single day. My fifth book will be released in March and my sixth in April. It's been a great ride and I hope I don't have to get off any time soon.
BookStrand Amazon Blog Twitter AW Library
WIPs by Scarlet Day:
Shifter Sanctuary 2: Reclaimed
WIPs by as-yet-to-be-determined name(s):
Flip Flops Optional (Contemporary Romantic Comedy)
Saltwater Insanity (Satirical Crime Fiction)
Last edited by Beachgirl; 02-21-2013 at 05:57 AM. Reason: Geesh, forgot how many books I've written.
|02-21-2013, 07:03 AM||#9|
practical experience, FTW
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Warren, OH
Well, I already stated that I decided to write when I was eleven, almost ten years ago now.
Basically, back then I was still able to jump at things wholeheartedly without worrying about the concequences & I basically stubbornly decided that I'd be the best writer ever & dedicated myself to watching, collecting & reading any story I could possibly come across, generally for entertainment, but, just as well, I was always wondering in the back of my mind what was drawing me in? Why did I like this book so much? What was holding it back?
However, something else happened as a teenager that is both a bane to my life &, possibly, the best thing that ever happened to me as far as writing is concerned... At around the age of 13 my friends at church started refusing to hang out with me because they saw me as immature. It wasn't long before I realized that they were the only reason I was going to church at all & just stopped going, which caused my grandmother, my legal guardian, to stop trusting me completely from not letting me go somewhere out of spite, to not even believing me when I told her that I was starting to grow a mustache & that wasn't dirt on my lip...
That isn't the bad part, however, just necessary to get the whole picture. Two years later, at 15, I had a sudden massive social shift. Almost everyone stopped hanging out with me, I started getting picked on at school... one of my friends who turned on me lived next door & his grandmother was very close with mine. She overheard several conversations he was having with his friends on the phone making fun of me, took them as fact & told my grandmother, who treated me worse. Then, that same year, she died & left everything she owned to my neighbor. Effectively, I had nowhere safe to go where I could just get away & relax & was hounded by bullshit every step I took, which caused me to become suicidally depressed. For those who don't know, OCD is linked to depression as they are caused by roughly the same chemical imbalance in the brain. Little did I realize that I always had been borderline OCD & this depression threw me over the edge & caused it to develop full blown.
Long story short, however, the reason why I consider this somewhat beneficial is because I then dedicated my life to one thing & one thing only for the next several years of my life- trying to figure out what happened, what was wrong with me & why everyone turned on me. The depression eventually slacked off, as well as the majority of my OCD symptoms, however I've still been OCD ever since & am still unmedicated for it. This obsession drew me to darker reading/ viewing material, eventually led me to self diagnosing, not only OCD, but the specific type (Pure Obsessive) & has given me a base understanding of human psychology, which is helping out immensely in creating characters & making them stand out & be completely open & understandable by the reader.
Unfortunately, I still have problems. Pure Obsessive is generally being OCD about your own thoughts & morality- I'm now anti-social, practically a hermit, have panic & anxiety issues in public, self sabotage myself by refusing to do things sometimes (and plagued with terrible bouts of anxiety if I do) & just have extremely low self esteem concerning my abilities, even though I am a practicing Objectivist & try to be unbiased & fair towards myself & others, I still get discouraged for little to no reason, and often.
And... that's where I am now. Just got to push past & keep moving forward.
Spirits- Scifi/ Urban Fantasy/ Character Drama
What Lies Within the Mahounin- Classic Fantasy/ horror/ Character Drama
Let Us Thrive- Political Thriller/ Character Drama
Paranorm- Horror/ Character Drama
Buried Below- Treasure Hunter Homage
Spirits Sequels & Prequel(s)
|02-21-2013, 07:12 AM||#10|
"School? Mum, no!"
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: West Madlands UK
2013 Rainbow Honorable Mention Award (Don't)
2014 Rainbow Honorable Mention Award (Antidote)
2014 Rainbow Award Finalist Gay Mystery/thriller (Antidote)
|02-21-2013, 08:39 AM||#11|
Join Date: Jun 2012
There are great stories on this thread.
I'm not published...yet. ^_^
I wrote poetry and short stories for years and bugged everyone I knew to read them. Turned 13 and decided that I wanted to be a novelist like L.J. Smith and started writing "practice" novels.
Wrote several novels and they kept coming up short--literally, like 30,000 words too short. Got feedback from friends who read a lot in the fantasy genre. They offered good feedback, but nothing that helped me actually make them novel length.
Went to college. Wrote the longest story ever at 44,000 words! Read a book on writing that first summer that helped me finally understand why my novels were too short. (The First Five Pages. Great book!)
-The rest of college was awful. Under pressure from my family to have a "real" job, I changed my major from creative writing to English Education, got horribly depressed between manic episodes and stopped trying to write except for short stories for the writing classes I continued to take and writing exercises I did to improve the weak spots the awesome folks and teachers in writing classes pointed out.
Graduated. Did my first real editing job on the story from my freshman year. Submitted that and another story from high school. I didn't think either one were good enough, but out of ten total queries I got 5 real rejections, including a R&R!
Ultimately decided to pass on the R&R. In order to fix the story and I would have to rewrite it from scratch since my attachment to it was making it difficult to take out all of the offending parts. Since I hadn't written anything new in 5 years, I wanted to do that. It's like I had to prove to myself that I could still write a novel length story.
Spent a year having the most painful writing experience of my life, but I came out triumphant with a glorious 83,000 word manuscript!! (Later edited down to 76,000 because there was a lot of crap inside.) I eventually shelved it after 25+ form rejects. But since then, I've written a novel length every year. I'm currently editing novel number 13. ^_^
I guess what keeps me trucking along is the fact that I love to write so much and this is truly what I want to do for a living. I'm not going to be satisfied with anything else. I almost wish I could be. It would get a lot of people off my back and make my life a lot easier.
|02-21-2013, 09:03 AM||#12|
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Massachusetts, USA
You're all my heroes. Also, mega-congratulations to Mr. Flibble and JoNightshade.
My journey is only beginning -- I hope.
Way back in my early childhood, there were four things I wanted to be when I grew up: a bank robber, a mermaid, an artist, and a writer.
I dreamed of robbing banks, or rather, breaking vaults, like the legendary Willie Sutton who I vaguely idolized. To this day, I see him as a sort of role model.
As for the mermaid thing, when I told my mom I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up, she thought I was doomed. But then one night, as we were watching Ye Olde Ed Sullivan Show, I pointed at the screen and said, "Look, mommy, mermaids!" I was, of course, referring to the Weeki Wachee Mermaids underwater swimming performance troupe of Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. My mom says her immediate thought was, "Oh my god, she could grow up to be a mermaid!"
Alas, she was wrong, because it turns out I suck at swimming. Also, I'm way too lazy for a life of crime. So it was arts and letters for me, and as fate decreed, I ended up taking the artist route first.
For about 35 years, I've been a surrealist artist (love!) day-jobbing in retail or office work (hate!), and writing as a hobby. Just a few years ago, I actually really started to like what I was writing. I mean, not just like the activity but also like the result of the activity. I decided to get serious and try to finish my first novel.
Progress is... happening. I am closer to finishing and feeling more confident about the work than I ever have before. I've been studying the business, learning the publishing process. I joined this site, and it's been a godsend for keeping me on track, despite also being a procrastination pit. I'm starting to sense the scent of a completed MS on the wind.
I reached a milestone birthday this year. I made some serious changes in my life and decided to roll some dice while I'm at it. I'm shifting out of one social demographic and into another, and I'm looking at the next 20-30 years before me -- time enough for a whole new career. I'd like to be a writer this time (one who does art on the side, of course).
|02-21-2013, 09:44 AM||#13|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In a van down by the river
Oh, gosh, since I'm older and started way back there about 1978, handwriting novels (About six of them), I'll throw my credit list up which starts at about 1987 when I first started seriously submitting my work and getting published. It has a timeline and the publisher names and books.
My stint from 1987 to 1991 brought me all the money, TV, radio and newspaper limelight, not to mention shoulder rubs with Hollywood for a SF distopian that got edged out by Jurassic Park. I did no writing from 1992 to October 2004, and then started up again full force. I joined AW at that time and have been writing ever since.
Auto Repair Shams and Scams (Forward--Ralph Nader), 1990, Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles--226 pages, non-fiction, consumer warning and repair book.
Garage Sale Mania, 1988, Betterway Publications, Crozet, Virginia--190 pages, non-fiction—1988.
Word Wars, a SF novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—May, 2007.
Once Upon a Goddess, a Fantasy novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—January, 2008
Planet Janitor—Custodian of the Stars, a SF novel sold to Engage Books, May 2009
Gate Walker, a Paranormal Fantasy, sold Lyrical Press—January, 2009.
The Wolfen Strain, a fantasy thriller sold to LBF (Lachesis) Books, February 2009
The War Gate, a Paranormal thriller, to Pen and Press, 10-12-2012
Stellar by Starlight, to Amazing Stories, 1988.
The Lonely Astronaut, to Amazing Stories, 1988.
Temperamental Circuits, to Gordon Linzner of Space & Time, 1989.
Things that go Clump in the Night, to Richard Fawcett of Doppelganger, 1989.
Dance the Macabre and Dance it Well, to Erskine Carter of Ouroborous, 1989.
Future School, to Chris Bartholomew of Static Movement, January 2006.
The Incredible Mr. Dandy, to Not One of Us.
Planet Janitor The Moon is not Enough, to Enage Books, 2012
Planet Janitor Journey Interrupted, to Engage Books 2012
Other magazine appearances from 1988 to 1991 include, Alpha Adventures, Small Press Writers and Artists Organization and Sycophant.
The Summit, 15-minute horror play to Night Sounds, Embassy Cassette Inc, Santa Ana, California—1990
Night of the Moa, 13-minute horror play to Night Sounds, Embassy Cassette Inc, Santa Ana, California—1990.
Finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, for Temperamental Circuits, 1987.
First place, grand prize winner for The Girl They Sold to the Moon, a YA distopian novel, to a Publisher's Novel Writing Competition. Advance and publication offered—June 2012. Pending.
JOURNALISM AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES
350 newspaper profiles, stories, and interviews to Sunset Publishing, Anaheim, California, appearing in The West Coast Jewish News, The Senior Citizens Reporter, and The Military Review. From 1988 to 1991. Seven automotive articles to Dollar Stretcher Magazine, from 12-2-2011 to 2-28-2012.
CONTENT AND CLIENT
I have written and published over 1,700 non-fiction automotive, aircraft, marine, home and garden and science articles for Demand Media Studios, under the Beta-Automotive and E-How stations. Four automotive articles to Examiner.com—6-2012. Published 79 automotive and general articles to TextBroker.
Served as content editor of Sunset Publication (see above) for three years. Responsible for all writing assignment content, filler and artwork.
President and founder of Heartland Writers Group, Huntington Beach, California, from 1987 to 1991.
Past agent--Richard Curtis Associates, from 1988 to 1991.
Past agent—TriadaUS (Dr. Uwe Stender), from 2005 to August 2009
Present agent—Sara Camilli
CURRENT FINISHED BOOKS (AVAILABLE):
Fusion, a military espionage thriller.
Valley of the Mastodons, a non-fiction book involving the Ice Age megafauna discoveries in Hemet, California, during the Diamond Valley reservoir dig. Proposal, chapter outline, and 100 pages available upon request
Dispossessed Incorporated, an urban ghost fantasy.
The Omega Wars—SF, apocalyptic alien invasion (Sequel to PJ)
Screamcatcher, A YA fantasy
The Girl They Sold to the Moon, A YA distopian/SF set in the near future.
The Girl They Sold to the Moon (NEW RELEASE)
Planet Janitor Site.
|02-21-2013, 12:26 PM||#14|
greatest writer of his generation
Join Date: Jan 2013
Like many here I started writing in early childhood during the 1970's.
In my teenage years I dropped out of school and took the route of drink and drugs - something I am very proud of.
My experiences in the netherworld of life have provided me with a mountain of material to write about. I have now been a little face around the small presses for over twenty years and have been widely published on the underground scene. A list here would be too exhaustive and tiresome. Plus I have forgotten most of it.
I always had a clear vision of what I wanted to write and where I wanted to be and I was never interested in commercial success. Which is a good job because the kind of thing I write has no chance of ever being commercially successful. My new book We Are Glass came out three weeks ago on Murder Slim Press. I'm very proud of the book - not at having it published but because I believe it to be the best possible work I could have written at this point in my life, as an expression of self.
"We Are Glass is a bruising encounter yet it flickers with compassion and is the best short story collection I’ve read since Dan Fante’s Corksucker back in 2005" -- Mark Raison.
|02-21-2013, 02:11 PM||#15|
Join Date: Jul 2006
I started writing seriously when I was about 18 (so 1996), working mainly on short stories and awful poetry. I subbed a bunch of the stories to an agent in 2000 while writing a completely rubbish book. Funnily enough, the agent phoned me to tell me the stories were interesting but basically not good enough.
Between 2000 and 2006, I wrote some more rubbish books that were too long, too short or just crap and subbed all of them to agents and publishers. Had no success with any of them, joined AW and paid attention to the advice here while also listening to feedback in SYW and a few very clever betas. Around 2007, I noticed an improvement in my writing. Shortly after that, I had some short stories accepted by an online publisher while subbing other books which didn't go anywhere until I sat down to write a book (my tenth) I knew would be better than any previous book and probably my last attempt at publication. It sold in October 2011 to Musa.
Since then, I've written another three books and a novella, and sold a re-written older book to Musa which is published next month. I've also had a few more short stories accepted.
So, started taking it seriously in 1996 and first book published sixteen years later. Plenty of 'what the hell am I doing?' moments on the way. Plenty. And on days when I get two different books rejected by two different publishers within three hours of each other, it's still a case of what the hell am I doing?
Then I punch myself in the face and write something else.
ETA: Should have mentioned my rejections from agents and publishers are in the hundreds. I can't narrow it down to a more precise figure but I'd guess they currently stand at 300.
Last edited by seun; 02-21-2013 at 07:36 PM.
|02-21-2013, 03:39 PM||#16|
Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Kingsford, MI. Home of the charcoal
So many ways to start. Hmm. I tried writing my first book at about 7 years old, although I really couldn't read until I was 8 or 9. I wrote short stories and essays off and on through my teens, and got started on my first novel-length project in 1993 at age 22. I spent a few years on it while in graduate school, finished it after about three years, but got frustrated to say the least about the querying process. This was back before the internet got big, so that process went much more slowly and looking back the book was pretty silly anyway. I gave up on that book and focused on graduate school, my first scientific article coming out in 1998 (I now have over 60). In 2005, I got the bug for writing short stories again, and wrote a whole bunch. The first one was published in 2008.
In 2007 I dusted off the old novel, cut it to a novella, and *sigh* lost it for seven years to PublishAmerica. It has sold 12 copies, 10 of them to myself.
I've had six short stories published so far (I'm not a very aggressive submitter, taking long breaks every now and then). As for novels, in early 2008 I began my labor of love: an African travel/buddy/thriller novel. First version: 230K words. Second version: 200K. Rewrite: 109K. The consensus from beta readers (few of whom could even finish it), agents (about 30 form rejections) and editors ("good writing, but it needs to MOVE") I let it simmer and got started on what became my first commercially published novel, which came out a couple months ago. Paper Thin took about two years to write, including breaks to work on short stories, revise the Africa novel, read, or getting distracted.
In the meantime, I got about 15K words into my current querying project, Resingled. I started it a couple years ago, but it sat at 15K words because, ironically, I got divorced just like my three main characters. When I finally picked it back up, I finished it in about four months. As much as I didn't want to get divorced, the experience has led to a much stronger book.
At the moment, I've had a about a month break from writing, but I'm getting the bug again. The old Africa novel is now split into two separate books, one a buddy/travel story (the resurrected trunk novel in my sig) and the other a thriller (Nyasaland). I am determined to get them into submittable shape before I move on to the next big project. I have 10 short stories on sub, all to pro markets. There is another story that simply needs the right ending. Fingers crossed!
I read a lot of other novels, and say "how come them, and not me?" But I can feel myself changing as a writer, and for the better. I am proud of everything I've written, even the stuff that's too full of problems to salvage in their current forms. But, and I say this without wanting to sound snobbish, I honestly think my best work is yet to come. Someday I will be able to read a really good book and say "yeah, me too."
|02-21-2013, 05:19 PM||#17|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Mine's boring. Decided to try writing at age twenty-six because I read an article about Heinlein writing his first story to pay a bill. I sat down and read a grammar book, and then wrote a long short story in a couple of days, sent it to market, and it sold. Rinsed and repeated with a couple of other stories. Wrote four or five pages of a novel and sent them to an agent. She called a few days later and asked for the novel. I wrote the novel in three weeks, and she sold it to the first publisher who saw it. I quit my crappy day job
I went from never even thinking about being a writer to being a full-time writer in about two months. In doing this, I sometimes think I missed out on some important aspects of the journey.
|02-21-2013, 06:42 PM||#18|
practical experience, FTW
Join Date: Feb 2012
I think I enjoyed writing about as soon as I was able to do it... The first computer game my family had was called Storybook Weaver (did anyone else have this?) where you made picture books out of the provided backgrounds and pictures, with a spot for the writing. I was obsessed with it. So that probably started it. When I was about 10 I started writing plays for my sister and I to act out with our Beanie Babies... that sounds silly but I was pretty serious about it.
I wrote a novel at 11, and about that time I started reading writing books too and finding out about the publication process. I did actually make an attempt to get it published, submitting to a couple of the publishers that accepted unsolicited manuscripts. I found a printed copy of it the other year and I have the word count up at the top with my name etc.-- it was 44,000 words, so totally appropriate for MG! (I considered it YA, but it was MG really). I also submitted it to a writer-in-residence at the local library whose books I loved, and she was super impressed about the quality considering my age. In retrospect I should have said I was 11 in my submissions, hehe... I wanted it to be considered like anything else but I have the feeling something readable from an 11 year old gets more attention than something mediocre from a presumed adult.
Anyway I kept writing, starting tons of things, working on one novel for a couple years, getting praise from any of the teachers I had who read any of my creative writing... I wrote a play for drama class in grade 11 that my teacher pretty much insisted I bring to the city-wide high school drama festival, where it got good feedback (and even one drama teacher from another school saying I should tell her when it's published, because she wanted to do it!). I was working on another novel from about 16, getting ever more serious about it... that novel was the first time I got really into rewrites, and I have about a billion pages of it I cut/rewrote (I wrote everything by hand at that time). I was realizing, too, how much I needed to learn still, which could be very disheartening.
I worked on that one periodically through my first year of university, and bits of other stuff, but my writing dropped off as I got into other stuff. I was busy with school, and theatre, and life generally. When I was 19 I fell in love for the first time and that took over my thoughts so much there wasn't even room for characters and stuff. The next year I had severe health problems and depression and my life kind of fell apart, and it took a few years to recover from that. I thought about writing sometimes, and how I missed it, but that drive just wasn't there anymore.
Finally about two years ago (at 23, if you're keeping track!), when I still wasn't working or in school because I couldn't be, I thought I'd dip in again. Characters that had been hanging out in my mind for years suddenly had a story click into place and just like that I was writing again, every day, loving it and looking forward to it. I wrote a first draft (well, kind of--more a 30,000 word sketch of the novel) in two months. By then I was Serious. So I rewrote and worked on it and worked on it, improving all the time so that by I got to the end of a draft I needed to redo the first part. So I've been doing that for two years, hopefully I'm on the almost-final right track now!
So, yeah, not published yet but I have quite a bit of confidence that with a lot of work I can be.
|02-21-2013, 06:59 PM||#19|
Tell it like it Is
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: With my cats
Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/
|02-21-2013, 07:17 PM||#20|
practical experience, FTW
Join Date: Sep 2011
I don't have a super exciting story (yet!). I'm unpublished.
I honestly wasn't a big reader growing up. My older sister was a HUGE bookworm and I think I decided that was her thing, I'd go total opposite. So for many years I didn't read much at all. I did spend a lot of time creating character profiles for books I never actually wrote. I hid that though. And I won a contest in my elementary school for a book I wrote. I think it is actually still at the library there. But that was my one and only public creative writing experience of my entire childhood.
In college I did summer stent living at the Olympic Training Center (I was an intern, not an athlete) but my dorm there didn't have a TV. So I read, a lot. I also wrote a lot there, but not creative writing, I wrote press releases and Public Relations things.
After the birth of my first son I started reading more. I was a stay-at-home mom so I could read quietly while he slept. Then, a few years back my parents got me a Kindle for Christmas. Suddenly I became a big reader. The easy access and the ability to hold a book without my kids flipping the pages on me was great!
So before I turned 30 I made a list of life goals. One was to write a book. I started my first novel then. Got stuck part way through (and it still sits half unfinished). Then I heard about NaNoWriMo. I thrive on competition so it was great. I wrote my first complete first draft that year. Took a year off because life got in the way. Came back at last year's NaNo, wrote my second first draft. I'm currently working on a re-write of that first NaNo novel. I plan to have it query-able by the end of the year at the latest.
YA- The Dream Keeper's Apprentice - Trunked for now.
YA- Her Word Was Peace - 2nd draft (NaNo 2011)
MG- The Night Thief - Finishing first draft. (NaNo 2012)
MG Future WIP - P.R.A.E. - Planning
|02-21-2013, 08:14 PM||#21|
Join Date: Jun 2011
I started writing when I was 5 or 6. In 4th grade, I had a micro short story win in a district-wide competition celebrating the town's 100th anniversary. It got published in a book of stories and art the school district produced. In 7th and 8th grade, I wrote teleplays for my favorite TV shows (had no idea what fan-fiction was at the time), along with several original short stories that my English teacher was kind enough to read and critique.
Fast forward a decade or so, I started writing my first full-length novel. It was filled with cliches and melodrama. Really awful stuff! My short stories were better quality, not sure why. Eventually, I realized that I knew nothing about writing, so I started buying instructional books, and over the past ten years, my writing has significantly improved. A couple years ago, after writing 50+ short stories, I decided to focus more on my novels. I now have two finished novels, and another three in-progress. Haven't got up the nerve to start submitting the first two. I keep telling myself they aren't ready yet, they still need polishing, but that's probably just an excuse so I won't have to deal with the anxiety of sending my babies out into the world.
About two years ago, I started doing a lot of non-fiction writing. Now I've more than a dozen articles published in a well-known online trade journal (which pays well) and I recently submitted a proposal to a national trade magazine, hoping to expand my horizons. (Haven't heard back yet.) I have ideas for a couple of non-fiction books--something to work on when I have spare time.
Mostly, I write because I enjoy it. It's what keeps me going. I earn almost as much from writing as I do from my day job, but I don't really view it as "work." Even if I never got anything published, I would still continue to write--it's in my blood.
|02-21-2013, 11:47 PM||#22|
practical experience, FTW
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Near Los Angeles
I'm not published yet.
I started writing when I was about 17 year old. (I'm 31 now). I've been working on the same fantasy trilogy off and on since then. In the past few years I've grown up, gained some world experience and am seeing the WIP through new eyes. I've written the first two books, but since I came up with the idea all those years ago, it has morphed and changed and has to be completely rewritten.
Currently, I'm dealing with a bout of really nasty self-doubt and have been unable to write for several months. I'm working through it though and pushing myself past it.
So, that's my short Journey. I'm still working on the fantasy trilogy and knowing that I don't have a lot of time on my hands for writing, I will probably be working on this for awhile.
Last edited by srgalactica; 02-21-2013 at 11:52 PM.
|02-22-2013, 07:29 AM||#23|
practical experience, FTW
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United States
I am currently unpublished.
I didn't write a lot as a kid, aside from journal entries or things for school. I wasn't a big reader either. But I'd always made up stories in my head. From 5th to 6th grade I was homes schooled, and was made to read a lot more.
It wasn't until I was 13 that I knew I wanted to be a writer. (Guess I am a late bloomer.)I had to write a short story for English and that was what got me started. I wrote awful garbage through my teenager years. I've written some short stories since then which I think suck less.
I've finished one draft of my first novel. (editing and rewriting that) and writing the first draft of my second novel. I have plans for novel number 3.
My ultimate goal is to have a YA novel published. After a decade of writing, I think that my writing has improved a great deal. But there's always more to learn.
|02-22-2013, 08:10 AM||#24|
"Reality is merely an illusion,"-AE
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Littlerock, California
Well, my journey has come a long way actually. I started writing ever since 5th grade, I always was fascinated on the way books were made, so I wanted to make books for me and my classmates to enjoy, yet only about 3 people really supported me. When I moved, I stopped for a while, and then on 7th grade I was gladly accepted in society and my best friend told me I should write stories(I showed her my early "book") and that I should aim for a publish. She introduced me to zombies, and ever since I fell in love with that subject lol. But of course there were a lot of hardships, like for example, I was a loner and unpopular, so I was really depressed about it. I guess I realized that popular nowadays is smoking and all that stuff teenagers my age do so I ignored my unpopularity. Then somehow someway I was now known as the kid that can 'gleak' and writing so I'm cool now. In 8th grade I began to get more serious about writing, and I almost didn't pass that grade because I was "Too distracted in writing in books" or "excessive reading." I remember clearly that they even got the principle to take my book away. So I'm currently writing my book. I have went through 3 "rough drafts." I write all my books in composition books, I usually finish about 4 composition books in one month. I also have a journal, but that's because when I'm old and wrinkly, my children can read all the things that i have done in my youth. I have about 7 diaries done. There have been more complications, but in time I will tell. So that's what I've done, and I'm currently in 9th grade AKA Freshman.
|02-22-2013, 08:20 AM||#25|
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: East Coast
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