“How long has it been since this storyline began…”
“When did you start writing?”
It’s one of the questions I get asked most when I tell people I’m an author. The real answer, is that I started writing when I was in the ninth grade in Linda Riggs’ class. I’d sit in the back and write my stories after I had finished my English classwork. My first novel? A really, really, bad story I called Summer Love. It was about a girl going to summer camp and finding her first love. I kept that manuscript in a box for I don’t know how long. But after a few moves, it’s history.
I wrote off and on after that. I never finished anything. I’d start one idea, play with it, work on it, and then another idea would hit and I’d abandon that one. One day, I just simply stopped writing altogether.
About ten years ago, I met someone who would become a great friend of mine. I was hanging out one night at a place I used to like to go to. We talked about writing, and he wrote me a poem on a bar napkin. I told him I’d write a poem back, and I did. A really horrible one, I’m sure. Today, I don’t even remember what it was about.
It did spark something in me and I started playing with words again. I found out about this thing called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I set out on a journey to write a novel in thirty days. I didn’t make it. But, I did start this wonderful story about this girl named Carly, this guy named Joey, and the Redbird Inn.
I set that story aside, but I never really forgot it.
A couple of years later, I was bartending and a friend of mine brought me a newspaper clipping about a story contest for a writer’s conference. All I had to do was write the opening scenes of a novel. That seemed easy enough. It was only a couple thousand words. So, I did it. I started the story of a woman who was tired of her alcoholic husband and the damage he was doing to not only his life, but hers as well.
I sent it off. Went to the conference. And won third place. I was ecstatic.
And motivated enough to finish the novel. I titled it Crossroads.
I finished this one, but it wasn’t the end for this story. I re-wrote it. Submitted it. Recieved rejection after rejection. I eventually put it away and started the second novel.
In 2014, I decided to give it a try one more time. If nothing happened this time, I was going to quit. I dusted it off, literally, and read through it again. I sent it out to some readers who had some pretty tough words for me. I was going to have to rework it. Again. Determined, I learned everything I could about story structure and mapping. I made a huge poster on my wall and moved the scenes around until it flowed. That poster is still on my office wall.
As I worked on it, I would listen to music. Every time that Aaron Lewis’ “Tangled up in You” came on, I would think that if Emily and Noah had a song, that would be it. When I started submitting the novel again, it not only had been completely redone, it had a new title as well.
I participated in PitMad on Twitter that summer. A publisher I’d never heard of before, Limitless Publishing, liked my Tweet, and I guess you could say that the rest is history. The story that started so many years ago, finally found a home.
And I haven’t quit writing since….
Amazon Buy Link: http://a.co/0d6mJGU