Last week was a big week for me. I became a first time published author. Seriously! Name on the cover and everything. My first published book is called Whiteout, an erotic romance published by Cobblestone Press. I'll share my virgin publishing experiences as soon as I'm finished having them. Meanwhile, let's talk about being a virgin writer…
Not quite two years ago now, I woke to an overwhelming urge to write. Not the vague "I want to write a novel someday," type of urge. Heck, a lot of people tell me they want to write a book. No, this was a "Help me! An idea has me by the throat and won't let me go!" full-on compulsion. I sat and started writing. It didn't matter that it was the Christmas holidays and I had a house full of family. It didn't matter that all of my previous writing experience was either academic or technical. The only thing that mattered was the story and the characters that were coming to life inside my head.
I didn't know anything about writing a novel and I had absolutely no interest in publishing, all I wanted was to get the story out of my head and onto paper. Before I wrote the first word, I envisioned a four book paranormal romance set in the Highlands of Scotland. This life-long detective novel queen was now writing about Druids, shape shifters, and the Tuatha de Danaan, as if I knew what I was writing about.
I lived the idea and wrote without an outline and without much more than the beginning, a few major plot points, and the end of my series in my head. The characters continued to speak to me, often taking me in unexpected directions. When the first book was finished I immediately started on the second.
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me it might be enjoyable to share my story with others. Since I already belonged to a board that posted fan fiction, I took the plunge and started an off-topic fan fic thread.
I didn't expect many would be interested, but I was wrong. People started reading. They started to care about my characters, discuss plots, take sides in the stories. Readers were dreaming about my characters! I was no longer alone in my fantasy world.
It was then the insidious thought of getting published began to worm its way into my brain. I started researching and found out writers needed agents, agents needed queries, and queries had rules. Not only that, but the query rules were as solid as water and clear as mud. And whatever you do, don't use adverbs.
I am no longer such an innocent and I continue to learn more about my craft every day. But I will never forget those first heady days as a new writer, when every idea was fresh and every story possible to tell.
Other writers, are you out there? Do you remember when you were a writing virgin? Tell me about your first time…