Oh happy day, my first publication

I checked my e-mail on my lunch break at work earlier this month and saw I had an e-mail in response to a piece of writing I submitted months ago. I wasn’t having a great day, so I kinda sighed and thought to myself that I should go ahead and get reading my first rejection letter out of the way. It was, after all, a historic moment of sorts.

I opened the e-mail and can’t even describe the feeling that washed over me when I saw my piece had been accepted for publication. I’ve always heard the expression “on cloud 9” but I believe that is one of the few moments in my life where I’ve understood it. The rest of the day I felt sort of disconnected from the mundane things in my life, riding a disbelieving high.

I was even more amazed by the piece that was selected. I wrote it about 5 years ago and though I did a quick edit before submitting it remains very close to the way I originally conceived it. At the time that I wrote the piece one of my exes who is a creative writing major was looking over every piece of writing I made before I shared it with people. This piece sticks out in my memory because it was the first one where he made me post it without him offering approval or criticism first. He told me that if I was going to be a writer I had to get used to putting myself out there.

I have all sorts of ideas in my head of things to write, fantasy, poems, romance, etc. But lately I’d started to think that maybe I should stick to one area of writing. This piece that was accepted for publication is a sort of dark modern fantasy piece, not the area I was planning to limit myself to. So maybe this publication will help remind me not to write myself into a box.

With that in mind I registered for a workshop here called Drunk on Writing. I was selected to be one of the 12 women in this session, we will meet every 2 weeks for 6 months and write and critique pieces in various genres. I’m excited to see what new things I can produce and learn by participating.

Here is the link to the e-magazine where my short story “1,000 Lies to Break Your Fall” was published. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested. http://www.fictionmagazines.com/shop/romance-issues/romance-magazine-vol-02-09/

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In the Middle: How Their Story Became My Story

I started writing my second draft with high hopes of finishing it quickly. I wasn’t quite sure what to call the new version of the story at first, it went without a title for a long time. Eventually I was inspired by the form in which I was putting the book together. Since each chapter tells the story of a different girl the main guy was involved with from the main girls point of view I decided to name it “How Their Story Became My Story”. And so I created a title, and it was good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to create much else. The form, my motivation (from proving a point to a guy, to making a story girls could relate to and learn from), everything changed and I felt a little out of my depth.

I was so out of my depth that months would go by without me writing anything at all. I would get bogged down in research, or “not feel inspired” and so much of the time my manuscript sat untouched. Then there would be good periods, months where I’d make steady progress, and still I was nowhere near the end.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I read so much, for once more, the introduction to a book I was reading saved me from giving up. I began re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and when I read at the beginning how it took J.R.R. Tolkien thirteen years to finish since life, work, and other obligations kept getting in the way, I felt a sudden invigoration. Yes, of course life gets in the way! Everyone has a life outside of writing novels, why shouldn’t I? And yet, it didn’t have to stop me from finishing in the end. So, three years after I started my second draft (four years after I started writing the story) I made a pact with myself, I would finish the novel by the end of the year.

No, I wasn’t writing an epic fantasy like Tolkien, and I don’t dare compare myself to him, but I did feel a kinship with him, we were both writers in the trenches who kept going no matter what. My story may not be epic, or fantastical, but I do have tentative plans to make it into a trilogy. Each book in the trilogy would tell the story of a different man the main character loved during her life, and the men would each have bit roles in the novels where they weren’t the primary love interest.

If Tolkien could do it, I could do it, and if it were a race I planned to win, it wasn’t going to take me more than a decade to write my stories!