Monday, June 16, 2008

Getting Started

Have you ever had an idea and thought it would make a good story, but end up staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen? Or don't even make it that far because you're paralyzed with the fear that you won't be able to properly translate to a page the thoughts in your head? One of the ideas that most helps me start writing was from a book called "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott, in which she says we have to give ourselves permission to write a "@#$%%* first draft" (loosely translated to "crappy first draft").

Ms. Lamott points out that every writer who sits down to type isn't in a euphoric state where words flow effortlessly onto the page. Most of us are full of self-doubt and fear, so it's important to just start typing and get something down. We can always go back and fix it later. In fact, a friend of hers put it this way, "...the first draft is the down draft. You just get it down. The second draft is the up draft -- you fix it up." So just get started! "Begin, the rest is easy." (That's what my mom used to tell me. I don't know where the original quote comes from.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Idea

I'll share how the idea for my novel, "Forgotten Love," came about. I got to know my husband in college because it wasn't safe not to. He and his friends were quite the pranksters and it was safer to be on their good side.

He hates this part, but I never considered him for a romantic interest, we were just friends. He was much too wild for my tastes, and besides, I was writing to a missionary. But, he happens to be an excellent dancer, and we started entering disco contests together and my interest grew. Little did I know, he had designs on me all along, but he used to tell me, "You're so close to worthless it scares me to death." So I honestly believed that if either of us was to start liking the other, it would be me.

But "alls well that ends well," and we got married. I've always made up stories in my head to pass the time when I had nothing else to occupy my mind, and the first part of our marriage I commuted from Ogden to Salt Lake to work, which gave me plenty of time to think.

Considering the complexity of our courtship, one of the questions I asked myself was, "If I were to lose my memory then meet my husband again, would I be instantly in love, or would he have to woo me all over again?"

Thus, around this question I created a scenario that turned into a story and eventually ended up as a novel, "Forgotten Love." You'll have to read it to find out the answer!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Birth of a Novel.

Through much external pressure, I've finally been convinced of the value of blogging and the necessity of my joining one of this centuries greatest communication tools. So here is my first entry. I hope that someone, somewhere may possibly read it. This is my first baby step to getting my own website (and truthfully, for others of you from a more advanced generation who might be as frightened as I was, it wasn't hard at all.)

My novel, "Forgotten Love," published by Cedar Fort came out in April 2007. Now, I have to admit that the experience was a bit like building a tree house. You know the old story of how exciting it is to anticipate, collect materials, start building and chatter with your buddies about all the great times you're going to have when it's finished, then when it's done, you never go up there again.

This was my first novel, so getting it accepted was the thrill of a lifetime. The fun of e-mailing back and forth to editors, publicists and the like was intoxicating. And the sheer elation I felt when I finally saw the cover and it all became a reality was the most excitement I've experienced in a long time.

Then when the book finally came, it was great and all, but truthfully, not as thrilling as the steps getting to that point. Dumb, huh? But now I had to get out of my comfort zone from behind my computer and go to work. I lined up book signings and even a tv appearance on Good Day Arizona. They went okay, but unless your name is Stephanie Meyer or J.K. Rowling, book signings aren't as glamorous as they're made out to be in the movies. I felt more like Nicolas Cage's assistant in "National Treasure 2."

So when the initial hubbub died down and I'd given away copies to most my family and friends, I retreated back behind my computer to work on my next novel and pretty much gave up. Then I attended the Author's Appreciation Dinner at Cedar Fort, and subsequently, the Writer's Conference held there this past Saturday (June 7th), and I've had new hope and enthusiasm pumped into my veins. Thus, this Blog and soon to come, my own website.

Was anyone else's experience like mine? Or did you all hit the ground running?