With all this craziness, I haven’t had much time to reflect. But after about three years of waiting and preparing for this moment, I want to take a look backwards. How did I (romantic-dreamer-college student with a huge passion for writing) get here (maybe-almost-sometime-soon agented)? I think I can pick out a few defining moments.
I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It was called THE CAPTIVES, and was some sort of fantastical journey about this girl named Brin and a love interest named Prindell. His nickname was Prin, and while I don’t think I meant for their names to rhyme, they are certainly the strangest-named leading pair ever. Fax paus? I think so. Anyway, I don’t remember why I started writing (or finished writing) this novel. But it sparked everything. I was hooked. I was a writer. I was going to be an author someday . . .
Summer 2008 (with a lot more words and a lot more determination on my side), I went to the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. My grandparents and parents generously provided the opportunity for me to go, and it changed the way I wrote forever. I learned that much more goes into a novel than plain talent and thousands of words. Craft and technique shape everything. I learned about Donald Maas’s book “Writing the Breakout Novel“, learned how to structure plot (Blake Snyder’s fifteen beats), learned how to ratchet up tension and pull out all the stops and create unforgettable characters. I had the terrifying and exciting experience of pitching to an agent and an editor… and got to network and chat with lots of other writers.
Then there were the millions (probably not an exaggeration) of hours I spent researching how to write a query, query, what to do once an agent is interested, what to say when you get The Call… also hours spent reading agent blogs, publishing blogs, Publishers Lunch, industry news… also hours spent stalking all those lucky authors out there who have publishing contracts and published books. And hours spent on Absolute Write. That website saved my life. I’ll talk more about it later, because I need at least one full post, possibly more, to explain how brilliantly helpful those people are.
So love, yes, for writing got me here. Obviously. Do I want to count all the hours I’ve spent at the keyboard? No. Only a certain, crazy obsession for writing books could cause me to pour so much of my life into this dream. But craft gave me the gigantic heave-ho that somehow got me this far. And I can honestly say that I feel quite prepared to face whatever’s next.