Updated: Sep 24, 2021
My writing journey began when I was about eight years old. At the time, I wrote short stories with titles like “The Mystery of the Hand without a Body” and “The Mystery of Pirate’s Island.” Rather lame titles, but hey, I was eight. While I no longer write mysteries (and seldom read them), I do like stories with action and suspense. As I continued to read and write as an adult, I found I loved fantasy—J.R.R. Tolkien, John Flanagan, Brent Weeks, and others.
Several years ago, I attended my first ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference—by myself, I might add. Talk about an overwhelming experience. Some really positive things happened, though. At our first mealtime, I found a vacant chair at a table filled with fantasy and science fiction writers (these two genres, along with fictional horror, comprise what we call speculative fiction).
Wow, that was so cool! Especially when I later found out that the fans of Christian speculative fiction are few, and hence the authors who write it are comparatively rare. I “just happened” to find this group and met some well-known Christian speculative fiction authors like Jill Williamson, John Otte, and Gillian Bronte Adams. I also met a writer of urban fantasy, Kim Vandel whose first book turned me into a huge fan. I praised her writing in my reviews, in messages I sent to her, and through boldly promoting her book on social media. Hence, my name earned a spot in the acknowledgements of her second book. That was another “wow” experience and totally unexpected. I felt supremely honored.
Saturday evening brought the conference to a close, and a very worthwhile experience ended. The best part of it was connecting with other writers (both published and pre-published). I also learned a lot about writing a novel, and discovered one cold, hard fact: Just because you can write a short story does not mean you can write a novel. You cannot just turn a short story into a novel because guess what (!) a novel is a different animal. Things like structure, plot points, sympathetic characters, deep POV, denouement, story arc, and character arc became part of my vocabulary. Yes, I knew something of those from reading novels, but applying them to my book was difficult. So even though I had those two agent appointments already lined up, I realized in one of the first classes that my novel was sorely lacking, and I thought what am I doing trying to talk them into representing this novel? But both of those agent appointments were positive experiences. One of them told me he was “intrigued.” The other actually wanted to see my first fifty pages! I sent what she asked for later and sadly, received a rejection. But every rejection is one step closer to finding an agent and that agent finding a publisher.
Since then, I have written several versions of this book, continued to study books on the writing craft, have published two short stories, won an award based on the first line of a new WIP, and plan to send a book proposal to an agent soon. Yes, it has taken a good while for me to get to this point, and I am still learning when it comes to writing a novel. But I am excited about the possibilities. I am also considering Indie publishing (self-publishing) if I don't find an agent fairly soon. I would love to discuss Indie vs. traditional publishing with you another time.
Whether a reader or writer or if you just happened to wind up here, I welcome you to my site, and hope you will hang around to see more.