Friday, September 28, 2007

Writing Journeys

Here I am at the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Atlanta, GA. (In the business center, as I didn't bring my computer with me this time.) Hanging out in a hallway this morning (most disreputable, I know), I chatted with a newbie writer and she wanted to know my writing journey.

So, here are the highlights.

  • I've always written. Always. Well, since I learned how to write a sentence.
  • I sent off my first full length novel (written on a manual typewriter) to Mills & Boon at age 20 (or thereabouts). It got rejected.
  • I kept writing, but it was mainly fanfic. Which builds all your writing muscles except for world building and getting a character started. Oh and it didn't seem to help me with sagging middles either, but then I was writing mostly short stories.
  • I took out that first novel from under the bed and joined RWA in 1999.
  • Three manuscripts and many revisions later, I sold that first novel in 2004. Yep, it took me that long to figure out how to properly start a novel.
    (Hint: don't have the heroine riding through the countryside, thinking about things la de dah. Use those pages to create character, but don't put them in the book.)
  • And here I am, writing for Kensington Aphrodisia...

Ok, so those really are the highlights. There's lots more stories to tell, so you'll have to corner me at some conference or another and ask.

Tomorrow night is the Bookfair and Autographing here at the Hilton Northeast Atlanta on Peachtree Industrial Blvd. It starts at 4pm and runs until 5:30pm. Maybe I'll see you there?

Well, back to slumming it, er, I mean, aggressively networking.

Before I go -- anyone else want to share their writing journey?


Pam Rosenthal said...

Have a great time, Celia, and I loved reading about your writing journey. Finished a novel at 20? As someone who spent most of her adult life dreaming of writing and not doing it, my hat goes off to you.

Kate Pearce said...

Do you think its a rite of passage to have at least one novel rejected by Mills & Boon? :) (They've rejected 5 of mine for different lines and I actually withdrew the last one myself)
I'm impressed you wrote a whole book at 20-it took me 15 more years to get started!

Gillian Layne said...

Thanks for taking the time at conference to post, and be sure and share more details--I love to read about conferences, since it's so hard to get to them :)

Celia May Hart said...

Pam, it wasn't a very good novel. In fact it was perfectly awful. Plus, I had the whole summer in which to do it, pre-empted by a period of illness where I was stuck in bed and so could plot the whole thing out in my addled mind.

Gillian -- when it's my turn to post again, I'll be sure to do that. Oh, and someone blogged about it, but I have to find the link again...

Oh, and Pam, I finished "The Slightest Provocation" on the plane and dog-eared a page so I can put that quote on my wall. I have to say, the book felt positively literary! I adored Kit and Mary :)

Pam Rosenthal said...

I don't care how bad it might have been, Celia -- I'm in major awe of ANYONE (in this case you) WHO FINISHED A NOVEL AT AGE 20. Don't EVER discount that.

So glad you liked The Slightest Provocation. I'd love to know the quote (via email, if you want, when you have time).

Sharon Page said...

Finishing a book at 20 is a terrific accomplishment--and kudos for doing something so positive while you were sick.

I wrote my first book on a manual typewriter too. A little one that fit on my lap, and the caps key didn't work. I was about 14, and my mother pointed out that it was about time I got a paying job during my summer vacations.

I actually didn't finish the first book until years later--about the end of highschool. Then it was years later again before I got back to writing. The journey is a strange one, but could it be made any other way? Hmmm, I feel that it has to happen a certain way for a reason...

Congratulations on your journey, and enjoy the conference, Celia!