My Writing Journey–Writing My First Novel


Last week I brought you up to my light bulb moment of deciding I should try to write a novel.  (If you missed it, check it out in the archives.) I knew nothing about writing books except what I knew from reading books all my life soooo….I sat down at my computer. Yes, we really did have computers back then!

And I wrote my story. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a novel, I just did it! It took me a full year to complete that first draft of my first novel–Stolen Memories.

When I was finished, I shared it with my Book Club. Mostly they were excited that I wrote it and had positive things to say. And a few pointed out ways for me to improve it. All in all, it was a positive experience, but I wanted to learn more about writing. That meant finding books about writing.

For the next few years, I read books and learned about writing techniques and I wrote and I wrote.. and I…you get my point.  Somewhere in that time I got bitten by the writing bug.  I loved creating stories and characters. At this point it never occurred to me to try to get the books I was wring  published. I simply enjoyed the writing and wanted to be good at it.

Now after writing for 19 years and having 9 books published, I look back at that first novel….and cringe! There were so many things I did wrong in that book. Here’s a few:

Started with a dream sequence. I’ve since learned this a BIG pet peeve of many agents and editors.

The main character had amnesia-another pet peeve of a lot of agents/editors.

I had no idea what POV was so head hopping was plentiful! (If you don’t know what this is check last week’s writing tips.)

As far as the quality of writing, I can’t really say since I haven’t read any of my early manuscripts since becoming a better writer. But I suspect that wasn’t all that good either. But I kept writing and kept studying books about writing. I wrote at least three more novels (all about the same character) and probably a few others.

One day as I was sitting at my computer, I had a thought–a very scary thought.

Maybe other people would like to read my stories!

Wow, I had no idea how scary that thought really was!

Writers, share one of your mistakes you made as you wrote your first novel.

Readers, tell us the truth now, would you like to be a writer? If so, why?













My Writing Journey–How I Started Writing?


OK, I admit I don’t really like talking about myself all the time. And that’s part of the reason I struggle to find things to put on this blog. I asked for advice over the weekend on Facebook about what my friends would like to see on any writer’s blog. And one of the answers was to write more about my own writing life.

DUH!  That makes a lot of sense. Why didn’t I think of it. So over the next few weeks or however long it takes,  I’ll share a little about my writing journey. PART ONE is today–How I Started Writing:

I’ve always loved books. Once I learned to read, I carried a book with me everywhere I went. And I do mean everywhere. To my aunt’s and uncle’s. To the doctor’s office. In the car when we were going some place. Even to the creeks and lakes where we went to fish. Of course, I didn’t fish. I read my books instead.

And yes, I was one of those kids who  tried to get away with  reading in class or even after I went to bed.

So the first step in my journey to become a writer was to read, read, and read some more!

As much as I loved books, it never really occurred to me to write books.

But I was a life-long fantasizer. And no I don’t mean sex fantasies!

As a child, I would make up characters in my head and create little lives for them. I would act them out with Barbie and Ken or Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.

Even as an adult, I continued this little quirk.

Perhaps, the first inkling that I was meant to be a writer came when a friend of mine named Mary and I would read the same books and then critique them. And discuss how we could have made the book better by doing this or that.

The lightbulb moment came soon after I celebrated my 40th birthday. As many 40 year olds are prone to do I was searching for….something more in my life. (And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my spiritual journey to reunite with God started at about the same time.)

Anyway…I was watching some TV show. I think it was Oprah. That talked about writing your own obituary. Not just any obituary but one that included all sorts of “fantastic” things that you hadn’t done. It seemed a little silly, but…I did it anyway!

At the same time, I was reading a book called SIMPLE ABUNDANCE. One segment of the book was about creativity and how we all yearn for creating something in our life. Made sense, but I didn’t consider myself creative.

Anyway…back to my obituary. In it, I wrote that I was a bestselling novelist!

Really? I had never written anything creatively but a few poems and hadn’t even done that for many years.

But as I read the words I’d written in that obituary something sparked inside me.

And a writer was born!

More about my writing journey next week.