Ever since I was in elementary school, I’ve dreamed of being a writer. I wrote a story about secret doors, a story about an American girl raised in France who has to return to the US during high school, and more. I’ve journaled when I felt bad and when I felt great. Always in the back of my mind, I dreamed of being a writer.
I think seeing my account nearly empty of funds and not making enough to support myself, spurred me on with a either now or never attitude.
I’ve learned through my daughter Books for the living and her book blog a new vocabulary. And this includes the term beta reader. These are people who volunteerily read your first draft. They critique the story, point out holes in the plot, timeline issues etc. My daughter sent my book off to a beta reader and I was completely blown away by her comments. It was a very good review with only a few plot line and timeline issues. Once I’m finished making the changes, I’ll hire an editor to take it to the next step.
And hopefully in the not too distant future, you’ll be able to find Unpacking Dreams at Amazon as an ebook.
I am taking a course at UTexas called Kickstart your Novel. Last week I brought in a sample of my story and a few classmates and the instructor took it home in order to critique it. Normally the instructor critiques your writing while you are in a small group setting. But for reasons I won’t go into, my writing was critiqued in from the entire group.
The instructor is kind and has a way of delivering a critique without squashing your dreams. Overall it was a favorable review by all who read it with one classmate saying it was the best thing she’d read so far in class. The instructor pointed out my good word and phrase choices. An example, “Michael casually shredded her life.”
I have the most difficult (my therapist would say impossible) time accepting praise. I sift out the good and only keep bad. Silly, I know and I’m working on changing.
So who knows, maybe I will someday realize my dream and be a published author.
I am an addict. I love books and journals. Walking past a bookstore and not going in takes a tremendous amount of willpower. I’ve learned to use the library to save money but sometimes you just have to give in. I ordered #52happylists and #52listsprojects by @mooreaseal #mooreaseal because I have struggled with the idea I can be happy again.
I know it’s just a matter of refocusing but having my supportive friends living thousands of miles away has made it difficult. I’ve wandered and not been able to stay hopeful that my life will change for the better. I know if you read my blog, you understand how depressed I’ve been.
I read about the The 52 lists for Happiness on a Psychology Twitter feed and thought why not. I ordered them on #amazon and as a #amazonprime member, I paid no shipping costs. The challenge now is to stay on task and fill out each list so hope and happiness return. Thanks #sasquatchbooks for publishing them.
I have added a blog. I now have Life Rewritten and Life with a Book. I don’t know how I would live without books. They add so much to my life, adventure, comfort, love, knowledge just to name a few. So if you like to read, I’d love to have you follow my new blog.
Life with A Book
I finished writing. I am not certain 67,439 words qualifies as a book but it is certainly the most I’ve ever written. Now I need to take the steps to get e-published. It isn’t as simple as it sounds. An editor must be found and paid to do the work. A professional book cover artist must be hired to make the book look appealing. I must research and determine which e-publisher is the best fit for me. This is followed by making certain the book is formatted to meet the qualifications for whichever e-publisher I select. Then the prayers that someone will want to buy my book. I may never become a famous writer, but I can now honestly say I have written a book. Below is a sample from the beginning of the story. I hope you enjoy it. And if any of you have been down the e-publishing road, I would love any and all advice you have to share. The words below are my creation and not to be republished without permission.
First comes Shame, second comes Fear and then comes Murder
Spring was on the horizon. It was one of her favorite times of year here in Bowie Hills. Central Texas prairies produced some of the most beautiful wildflowers. It wouldn’t be long before the roads were lined with Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, purple foxgloves, honey daisies, orange milkweed and more. It was a veritable artist’s palette covering the fields. This year was set to be a good one. There had been enough rain and no late freezes. Charlotte was lost in her thoughts when she used her electronic swipe card. Opening the side door, she entered and headed to her classroom. The lights were motion sensitive and turned on as she made her way down the long corridor. Charlotte marveled at how much the school had grown. Just over 900 students in two grades when it first opened, Bowie Hills High was now home to four grades and over 4,000 which did not include teachers, staff and administration. Bowie HHS was almost as large as the town had been when she first arrived here as a young wife and mother. She had been set to create a perfect life for her, Dan and Hannah. Kaitlyn came along two years later. Her dreams were big then. How dreams can change she thought to herself.
Charlotte had forgotten the latest essays her students had turned in. She had been deep in a conversation with her two favorite students over their most recently read novel. Her attention had been on Andrew and Brandon and not the essays. She had walked off and left them in her classroom. Charlotte decided after dinner to return and pick them up. She would have plenty of free time to read and grade them since it was a three-day weekend. The lights to her hallway would not turn on until she actually had walked a few strides down the corridor, so looking ahead it was dark. When she reached the corner of the English classroom hallway and turned, Charlotte took a few steps and then she tripped. Managing to stay upright and not falling completely to the floor, she turned to see what had caused her to trip. She froze. Unable to scream due to the horrific scene before her, Charlotte just stood there. Staring. Staring at the body lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Coming to her senses, she dialed 911 and requested emergency help. Then doing what seemed obvious, she checked for a pulse. None was to be found. The face was covered with long blond hair and Charlotte carefully moved it away to see if she recognized the girl. There had been an unspeakable crime in her school, in this safe haven for children.
Alright, I may have admitted this before, but it is important we own our addictions. And I have found a new website which happily feeds my addiction. It is Thrift Books. I’ve been using the library for ebooks but sometimes I am impatient and don’t want to be 11th in line for a book, so I feel compelled by my addiction to buy the book. Thrift Books helps me afford to do that but, I am a book addict. I will say it again. I am a book addict. Since January 1st, I have read 38 books. Which means I am averaging one book approximately every 3.8 days. And since last fall I have specifically become addicted to detective mystery series set either in another time or another place. These include:
- The Armand Gamache Books by Louise Penny – set in Quebec, present day
- The Maisie Dobbs Books by Jacqueline Winspear- set in England pre and post WWI
- The Ian Rutledge Books by Charles Todd- set in England post WWI
- Bruno, Chief of Police Books by Martin Walker- set in St. Denis area, France, present Day
I am not certain why I have suddenly become addicted to this type of book but I do know why a series captures me. A good writer makes a character real in my mind. These characters become my friends. I think about them. I wonder what they are doing when I am finished with a series. What do I share with each of them. Each character faces their own demons and identifying with this is easy. I question my choices like Armand. I have been hurt and right now I keep s wall around my emotions like Maisie. Ian struggles with a voice in his head of a lost soldier. I struggle with my own voice chastising me for making so many wrong choices. I long for love like Bruno.
I admire them and their unique qualities. What can I learn from their lives and then incorporate into my own life so I will be happier, more content person. I want to be a better listener like Armand. I want to be patient like Maisie and not miss the details. I want to push past my fears like Ian. And I want to live a life rich with friends and the love of the simple things like Bruno. I know they are fictional characters but I still learn something about myself through each book, each story, each struggle and each triumph.
So again, I admit I am an addict, a book addict and I hope I never am cured.
MURDER IN BLUEBONNET HILLS
I am well into my story now. 80,000 words is given as the minimum for writing to be considered a novel. I am halfway finished with reading Stephen King’s On Writing book. I was skeptical when he mentioned his characters speaking to him and leading sometimes down an entirely different story path.
I know now he’s right. I had a basic plot line in mind, characters, victim, a guilty murderer and as I have continued to write the story, I am being lead in an entirely different direction. It seems my murderer is innocent and someone else did the nasty deed.
If I continue writing at my current pace I hope to finish the first draft by mid-May. Thank you to Julie and Anne for their bravery in reading what I’ve written and giving me their honest opinions. When it’s finally finished and I e-publish it I will certainly post it on my blog.
You would think with all the time I’ve had on my hands I would have spent it writing the book I’ve always said I’d write. I would begin and then think this story is dumb no one will read it. Then I went to a Meetup group for aspiring writers. I met writers who had actually written books, self published and made money!!
I spoke to one afterwards express in my belief no one would read what I wrote. She assured me in no uncertain terms if I wrote a book, self published it, someone would read it. Maybe that’s all I need to hear because as present I am at 38,000 words and counting. According to Internet gurus I need approximately 80,000 words for an adult novel. So I am not quite halfway.
Hoping to finish before I move out and into the unknown I’m using my time during the day to do nothing but write. The story probably makes no sense at all but it has given me something to focus on during the day. Now to find something other than hopelessness to fill my night.
If you’re like I was at the beginning of my career, you have huge dreams. But sadly, the bigger the dream, the greater the frustration when day after day passes without success. The cause—not starting—looks simple. But the fix—starting (which also looks simple)—has you stymied. You know you would succeed if you could just get…
via 5 Ways to Smash Through and Finally Start Writing — Jerry Jenkins | Write Your Book
Today I received encouragement from a group of strangers. At a coffee shop in Austin a group of would be writers were encouraged by already published writers. Competition is at the forefront of everything so many of us do. And here I had the kindness of others bestowed upon me for nothing. It was free. And it was refreshing.
Now the challenge is to silence the inner critic and write. No need to ask would someone actually read a story I wrote. Just write the story. Get it down on paper. Fine tune it when I’m finished but as Nike says, Just do it.