If you missed my recent blog post about this announcement that’s okay. I recently decided that I was ready to finish a novel I started writing when I was 15. It’s been tucked away in the dusty old files of an external hard-drive for the last decade or so of my life and after one night of nostalgia re-reading my old works and some self-reflection I was inspired to pick it back up and finish the thing.
I began reading the 30,000 word draft and fell in love with the story idea again. However, much of the actual writing was very clearly written by a young teen: melodramatic, overly-complicated, and cheesy. So I started editing. I cut down so much that I basically started over. However, the story is still the same. The plot was re-evaluated and re-worked and the outline came. The message and the why is what has motivated me to pursue this. Writing (and publishing) a book has been a dream of mine since childhood but not something I have thought of really doing until recently.
So here I am and I’m excited to share the process with you. I found a couple of writing tags online and will answer some of those questions for fun.
- When did you start writing and what made you want to try it? When I was a kid. I don’t even remember when I started writing. I think as children, we write as we play because childhood imaginations are so active. I would make up plays, puppet shows, skits, and even radio programming (that we recorded on CASSETTE TAPES) with my sister and my cousin all the time! I would journal and draw and write story ideas down often. I think I was also highly encouraged and influenced by my family and extended family who all have a deep love for the arts and creative expression.
- What inspires your stories? Life. That’s a lame and cliche answer. But I believe it’s true for all of us. What inspires my current work in progress (WIP) is the common human struggle of finding peace and self-acceptance. Relationships, setting, and history also deeply inspire me.
- What themes do you explore in your writing? Like I said above: self-acceptance, self-pity, identity crises, and even some gender role issues (maybe in ways you would not expect either) are being explored in my current WIP.
- Are you a plotter, pantser, planters? For my current WIP it started out as pantsing. As I re-read and edited and started re-writing I quickly realized that to make this book make sense I NEEDED a strong plot. So I figured out the plot… it took a few weeks.
- Where are you in your writing journey? Just beginning. Writing was an avid hobby of mine as a child and as a teen but not as much as an adult. I am a busy homeschooling mom so writing is not my main priority in this season, it is more of a hobby. But I do plan on pursuing publication when my novel is finished.
- Have you entered any writing contests? Did you win any? I wrote a poem in high school that won a contest and was published in an anthology. It was very exciting.
- Who are your writing heroes? Jane Austen, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis (I know… typical!)
- What is your current WIP about? It is a historical fiction story of relationships and lost treasure set on an Island in the Caribbean in the late 1500s.
- Do your ideas begin with characters, plot, world building, or something else entirely? For this WIP the setting inspired my story. I remember wanting to write in a historical castle/fortress type setting. So I remember googling that and found something beautiful and mysterious that drew me in. The story started that way and has evolved since.
- How do you puzzle piece your story elements together? Do you start with the ending and make your way to the beginning or vice versa? I started with the beginning, the backstory actually (I wrote a whole two chapters of just backstory) and then move forward. The point of conflict is also a driving force.
- Do you share your book ideas with friends or keep them a secret? I used to keep everything very secret when I was a teenager because I lacked self-confidence. Now as an adult I feel like I can own my creativity a little better and I am beginning to share more of my writing (which is why I am blogging about it too). It’s easy to feel afraid that people will think you are crazy or think your work is terrible but if I want to be a good writer and publish a book I need to have the courage to face criticism because that criticism is what will help me improve and write a good story that people will like.
- Have any of your favorite movies/tv shows sparked ideas for scenes in your book? Hahaha yes……. probably too much. My weakness is watching too many things and not reading enough books – I am working on that. But I will give you a list of movies that inspired me as a 15 year old because it is easy to remember: Pirates of the Caribbean, Mask of Zorro, The Count of Monte Cristo, Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings. There’s probably more but those I think are the main ones that have directly or indirectly influenced my current WIP.
- What’s the oldest/first story idea you remember coming up with/writing down? I wrote a story in 7th or 8th grade I think for English class called “The Paradisiacal City” (thank google for teaching me that knew word). I don’t even remember what it is about but I printed it out and even made some of my own illustrations. I also submitted a short novel in 9th grade instead of just writing a short story called “The Lonely Road” about a young woman trying to run away from her painful past via solo travel in her car. She meets a guy and they fall in love and he helps her accept her pain and make peace with it and blah blah blah (think teenage melodrama).
- What are your writing goals? To publish my current WIP. I haven’t decided yet if I will self-publish or try for a publishing company. I know both will be hard for different reasons. I do have more story ideas but I want to try and focus on one at a time even though that’s hard. In my season of life it’s also hard for me to make specific writing goals because I don’t have protected, scheduled time for writing. It happens when it happens and I don’t want to push myself too hard too fast because I want to keep my family life a priority. This is why my husband is sending me to Hawaii for 4 days to write – because he believes in me and wants me to get away from my normal routine so I can make some headway on this project. But daily writing goals or monthly word count goals? I just can’t commit to those things yet. Maybe someday!
- What’s your ideal writing setting? Right now I am in my bed feeling cozy, looking out the window at the rain falling and listening to classical music. Taking my laptop out in nature or sitting in my car can also help my brain or being in a coffee shop or library are also great settings I love to go write in!
That’s all for now! In my next post I am going to talk a little about my plans for my Hawaii trip and how I plan to deal with FOMO (fear of missing out). That’s a real thing ya’ll and I will have some of that while in Hawaii. I need to stay focused on my task though and remember what the purpose of this trip actually is for.
Thank you so much for reading! If you’re not connected with me on instagram yet I would love to say hi to you there.