Writing Journey

I started this blog to share my journey to publication, but what I neglected to say was how I got started in writing in the first place.

Well, as far back as I can remember, I’ve had a very active imagination. While I was never diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), one of the side effects is daydreaming. Who doesn’t day dream once in awhile, right? Well, I found myself doing that a lot. In fact, growing up, I could sometimes remember the daydreams more than what I actually did. Sometimes, my sisters and brothers and I would act out my daydreams or some movies we watched on tv while playing outside.

I got through school (especially boring classes) living inside my head. Anything would throw me into the daydreaming; a word, the look the teacher gave us, something in the classroom. I’d be somewhere else during the whole class, then – boom! – I was back and thinking, what happened? What did I miss? I did this so often, I’m amazed I passed all those classes. I don’t even remember being there half the time.

Well, besides daydreaming, I had a knack for writing essays. I always did well in that area. I even liked the English classes because they asked for more essays. I never put the two together, though, because I don’t remember any teacher asking me to make up a story, or writing a fictional piece. It wasn’t until I became a mother and read children’s stories to my children.

The one book that got me thinking about writing was “GOODNIGHT MOON.” Did anyone read that? It was so simple, I thought, I could do better than that! Well, I took a correspondence course, “Writing For Children and Teenagers.” I discovered that I could write, but writing for children was harder than it looked. The words had to be simpler. The sentences had to be shorter. The subject had to be appropriate for the different age groups. There were several age groups to write for as well. I passed the course, but I felt like I forced the stories out. I didn’t enjoy the stories either. That was 27 years ago. Since then, I discovered Writers Digest and learned a lot more about writing in general, as well as for adults. I devoured that magazine.

Eventually, a story came to mind, and I sat down to write it. Most of my writing was done around 6 a.m. because my children were night owls and didn’t wake up until 8 a.m. (they weren’t in school then). I still have that story, (Faith and Prayers) and I guess it was a YA (young adult) since it involved teenagers. But I didn’t know what to do with it. It’s in a file somewhere. Instead, I found myself writing short articles for local newspapers that didn’t pay anything.

That was in Florida. After we moved to the Smoky Mountains, I thought about writing again when another story came to me. It was a total of 36 pages. I discovered through Writers Digest a book that held names and addresses of publishers, so I bought the book and began sending out the story. I did everything wrong, but I was learning. I eventually expanded the book to 300 pages, joined the Romance Writers of America and the Smoky Mountain Romance Writers. These two groups alone did more for my writing career. They opened doors for me. My local chapter, SMRW, had programs that covered basic writing, taught me how to submit my manuscript, how to do a query letter and a synopsis, and had contests to help me get feedback.

After 47 rejections on the second manuscript, (The Golden Idols) I started another one. I sent it off to 16 contests and submitted it to over 16 editors or agents. I’m still waiting to hear back from some people. After receiving feedback from several contests where I got high scores from two judges and a low score from the third (this happened several times), they had to get a discrepancy judge each time because the scores were over 20 points apart, I decided not to enter any more contests for this particular manuscript. It seemed that they either liked it or they didn’t. I have re-written this manuscript (The Abduction) many, many times. I’m also working on a script of this story.

photo courtesy of NASA

I like this story (The Abduction) because it’s gone through so many changes. It started out as a YA, but the characters wanted to take their relationship to the next level, so I let them. I’ve had comments that they sound young. Well, the main characters are in their mid-twenties, and for someone in their 50’s, that would seem young, but my characters grow throughout the series. And because there is a mistaken identity thing going on, I couldn’t have the characters more than 20 years apart, or they wouldn’t look alike. One is early forties, the other mid twenties. Any older for either of them would not work for the story.

But I didn’t stop there. I kept writing. I wrote a story in a month during the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November). That was the sequel to The Abduction. I call it Revenge. Then I wrote another story, a paranormal, Between Heaven and Earth. That is the beginning of another series about angels.

So I’ll leave you with this tagline for The Abduction and you can decide if you think it sounds interesting enough to read (or watch as a movie).


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