Friday, May 06, 2011

Part 1: I Demand You Write a Book

Part 1:  I Demand You Write a Book
Part 2:  How WriteOnCon Changed My Life in Less than a Week (coming 5/9)
Part 3:  Announcing the Agent (hopefully coming 5/10)

I'm going to preface this by saying, I still have not made a decision about what agent I will go with as I'm waiting to hear back from a few, but Monday is the deadline, so I thought I could write this part of the story.

Let's start at the beginning - a very good place to start.  I always meant to write.  Abandoned manuscripts litter my past; most of them no longer than a few pages.  I thought I'd write in grad school, but, um, that was so not possible.  Fast forward to last June and a telephone call from my mother-in-law.

After she asked about the kids (I had a 2 year-old and a newborn at the time), she dropped this bomb on me:

"I demand you write a book."

Color me flabbergasted.  Hello!  I had a baby and a toddler, and I already wrote a successful parenting blog. I was totally offended.  But she knows me too well.  Her comment really ate at me.  So, just as she planned, I started to write a book.

I never got past 50 pages with it, and those 50 pages were rewritten several times.  My husband began to tease me that my obit would read: "Author of the 20 most promising first chapters ever written."

And then in August inspiration struck, and I wrote one page - a prologue that remains pretty much in tact to this day.  And then a few days later tragedy struck.  I dumped an entire glass of water on my mac and fried it beyond repair.  Thankfully I had sent the prologue to a friend, but I no longer had a way to work.  I worked on my husband's PC while my baby slept and wrote 15k of a very different version of the novel, but it wasn't working, so I stopped writing.

Then I heard about NaNoWriMo, I thought: "I'm going to do this."  I told my husband and he agreed to help.  On November 1st, I started on page one.  At first I worked at night with my daughter asleep on my lap, typing one-handed well past midnight.  Soon I decided I needed to go out to work.  I started going to the library and using the public computers and my flash drive.  I had to work in seventy minute increments because of the time limits, but I pressed on and on November 30th, I crossed the 50k finish line.  And yes, I cried.

***My awesome CP just reminded me to add that my mother-in-law bought me a new netbook for Christmas to show how proud she was.  It's purple and awesome.  She's awesome.

The next thing I did was print it out and start to read.  It. Was. A. Mess.  The dialogue was good but everything else sucked.  There was no world building or character development and the plot was fuzzy at best.  Thankfully I have awesome critique partners who brainstormed a lot with me.  By the the beginning of March, I had a finished second draft.  It was better but still lacking.  I built more and fleshed out.  The pages of that hard copy look like they're bleeding.  I drank a lot of coffee (I now have a Starbucks gold card).  I finished it around April 15th.  What a great day.  I sent it off to my critique partners, and printed it out for my husband to read.

And then on April 22nd, I did something that would change my life....

to be continued...



    Err, ahem.

    Great to see the road to publication journey mapped out here! I had no idea Crewel was something you'd only really been working on full time since NaNo. Wow!

    Congrats Jenn. You've got a lot of great things coming your way, for a long time to come, methinks. This is only the beginning!

  2. To be continued?! Awww... ;) Looking forward to the rest of your story!

  3. I have not made a decision, especially since there are still fulls out and agents may read over the weekend. I'm keeping an open-mind, which will promptly shut down and start deciding Monday night!

  4. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story. And how you make your decision!

  5. So proud of you! Don't forget your MIL believing in you so much, she bought you a laptop for Christmas!

    Can't wait to find out who you chose.