10 years of a writing career. . .
This Saturday is my ten-year anniversary of the publication of my first book – VIALS. As they say, I’ve come a long way baby! Ten years, twenty-three novels, two short novellas later and writing has become my third career.
I started writing VIALS in the summer of 2012. It was a whim – I had some time on my hands and tried writing the Great American Novel. I lived close to San Francsico and visited Puerto Rico in 2009. There was someone I really disliked in my previous career and so he died on paper in VIALS.
It was decades since I was in school doing creative writing. So, I looked for ideas on how to start my novel. I skimmed a few books on writing. I downloaded software that was highly rated. I opened the app and struggled – who were my characters, what was my plot? I kept going back to the software and couldn’t get started. I felt like such a failure. I decided I would write a page and maybe that would help me enough that I could go back and answer the questions in the app. Yeah, one thousand words later and I still didn’t know where my story was going and who the characters were, so I just went back to making up a story.
As I was nearing the end of the story, I read Stephen King’s “ON WRITING”, and the lightbulb went on. I was a pantser like him. I wrote where the story took me. Up to the moment I read his memoir, I’d felt like an amateur writer that was failing because I couldn’t outline the story. I remember in grade school that I always had trouble thinking up a story and now as I look back on it, it was likely because I had to tell the teacher where I was going with my writing, and I didn’t know. During my career in leadership, I became a solid storyteller; I would tell my audience a story to get my point across rather than just reciting the leadership point. The stories would form in my mind spontaneously and towards the end of my second career, I felt like I was an oral storyteller.
I finished VIALS by March or April of 2013 and hired a Developmental editor as I didn’t know what I was doing writing wise as well as with grammar. She made a huge mistake in her editing – I didn’t use contractions as you don’t in the business world which was my reference point. I’ve re-written VIALS at least five times since I first published it, but it is my freshman effort.
I can’t tell you why I felt the need to write additional Jill Quint stories. At the start of VIALS, I would have said I was one and done. Somehow, I fell in love with creative writing – a first in all of my schooling. I still remember how much I dislike English classes. Of course, I still don’t get my punctuation and grammar right, but I have a much better editor now (thank you Ellen Falk).
I’ve also had the same first reader for all my books – GM Meyer. She knows and has tried to teach me grammar and punctuation. I admire her skill in this area. She also finds holes in my story or inconsistencies. She’s a voracious reader and last year I asked her why she hadn’t written a novel. Her answer was ‘it was too many words.’ That’s what I thought in 2012 when I started writing.
Now I hope to leave behind over two-hundred stories by the time I give up writing. Speaking of which, I better hurry up and finish my short story. It’s funny that as I’ve hurtled toward this ten-year anniversary this past summer and now into fall, I’ve lost my writing production. Hopefully, once I pass Saturday, I’ll hit the gas and floor it with the words spilling out faster than I can type, lol.
Cheers and welcome to fall!
p.s. Evergreen Valley Murder will be free on September 26-28