Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Writer's Corner: A History of Writing and Why I Started Finally Writing My First Novel

Hey, everyone! Happy New Year!

I'm excited to share my first post on my writing experiences.

Starting my first novel was really daunting. If I'm completely honest, it's pretty much taken my whole life up to this point to actually start the novel.

I started writing when I didn't even know how to write yet. I would fill page after page with scribbles of a pencil, pretending to write the next great novel.

By the time I was eight or nine, I started writing short stories. I usually wrote about my current crush or MacGyver (who was my crush for a long time. Let's face it! He was one of the hottest characters in the 80's!) I quickly branched off into fantasy and science fiction. The stories were usually totally ridiculous and revolved around soap opera type of relationships in a spaceship. 

I also went to Duke Young Writer's Camp when I was in middle school. It was really fun and creative, and taught me to be excited about developing stories and plots. I vaguely remember writing a science fiction novel about an alien named Lena.

In college, I took several fiction writing classes my senior year, one of them from the now very famous Adam Johnson, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize winner, The Orphan Master's Son. I wrote several full length short stories at that time. The main problem with most of my stories was the fact that I had almost no description. The only thing I liked to describe was food. So people would salivate when they read my stuff, but they also felt like they were watching characters exist in a white box. I learned that even though I personally don't really care for description, there's a balance for everything.

After that, I cultivated a graveyard of abandoned novels that I started and stopped, most about a page long before I lost interest. I have about ten pages of a novel that's vaguely reminiscent of Divergent, a novel about a medical dystopia, a novel about an enchanted necklace, and the start of a contemporary novel about four friends in medical school. This went on through medical school and residency. During this time, my best friend bought me a notebook to start writing my first great novel, but somehow I couldn't get started.

It really wasn't until I started blogging in earnest last year, participated in the Writer's Cramp, and met a lot of authors who are now good friends, that I realized I should really do it. Plus, my best friend kept emailing me repeatedly, telling me I better start!
Finally, my sister told me that neither she nor I had the attention span to write a book. Because I'm just that stubborn and reverse psychology really works on me, I told myself, "Now, it's ON!" I was determined to prove herself (and my own doubting self) wrong.

And I did :-)

Have you guys ever written a book? Have you had trouble getting started too? What have your experiences been like? If you haven't, are you interested in writing a book? Why or why not?

My next post on Writer's Corner will be about how the writing process actually went!

Right now, enter another giveaway! Win a book off my giveaway shelf (US only) or a $10 Amazon GC (INT only).
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  1. I have also always wanted to write a novel, yet I've never been able to do it. I have various documents of various lengths, ranging from 70-something pages to two sentences of stories that I've never finished.

    So I tried NaNoWriMo in 2012. That's where I got the 70-something page piece. I couldn't finish it. It just...didn't work for me. (Also, note I can't write short stories for my life so ugh.)

    Then this year, I tried again. I almost didn't win, and I almost didn't write til the end, but I cheated a bit. Either way, it was the first time EVER that I finished writing a book, start to finish. I plan to revise and edit it, even though I know it won't get me anywhere. It's just a good experience and a good start.

    It's always/almost always been a problem of keeping interest and of being downright lazy. I'm thankful to have a class called ESP (English Scholar's Program), where we get to create our own curriculum and projects, and that's helped me a lot.

    And as a note, I also have the same problem with description. I'm not the biggest fan of reading a lot of description, so that carries on to when I write. Ack! (Also, show not tell has never been my strong suit.)

    Good luck with your writing, Christina! I hope one day, I'll be able to read some of your work.

  2. Okay, I am so excited for you, girl!

    I know your book is going to be NA and I don't read NA, but I'm going to read this, just because you wrote it!

    You have so much writing background. I hope that I can go to writing camp sometime. I'm still in middle school right now, so like, yeah. (And I want to read about this Lena character).

    OMG I can remember NaNo! You wrote like 12 in a day. CRAZYYYYYYYY WRITER! You're amazing, hehe.

    - Nova

  3. I have always had a vivid imagination. I could turn magnets into something fun and a world of its own. I've had the interest of writing but only for the past few years. However, I have no clue how to start or what to right. It would be something fantasy based but that is all I know.

    I was working on my associate's when my English professor pushed me to write better. I learned how to take a poem and analyze it in a 12 page paper. She told me I was really good at it. However, I never went from there. Of course writing a novel and analyzing a poem are two separate matters.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us! I'm glad your friends and family pushed you to write!

  4. For years i was set on working with horses and spending my entire life dedicated to an equestrian profession, hence throughout my childhood and teen years all i could think of were horses.
    However, i never realized up until more recently how important books and writing was to me. I was an avid {obsessed} reader and loved to read books ever since i can remember. English was always a subject that i really enjoyed at school and i was constantly writing - i even remember when i was younger aspiring to be like Jo March {from Little Women} and trying to write my own novel.

    Years later the hobby of writing is now my career path and the horses are now the hobby. It is strange how life's path can alter and the realization that hits you when your 'true love' lies. Dreams change and now i am working on my first novel in a planned series for publication.
    I stopped working in the equine industry due to health reasons and this gave me the time i needed to evaluate my life and look back at my childhood into adulthood, seeing clearly how great a part of me was books & writing. Over the years i wrote loads of short stories, poems, notes etc. i am a creative person and so it is like breathing - it comes naturally. Writing is an innate thing and so despite how tough writing an actual novel is it is also something that i enjoy and which i feel has been buried inside of me for far too long, just waiting to come out!

    In 2012 and this year {2013} i participated in 'NaNoWriMo' and i can honestly say that this was the element that made all the talking about writing a novel become a reality - i would STRONGLY recomend it to all.

  5. Congratulations on finishing your book! I have always had a passion for reading fiction, mostly fantasy, paranormal, and historical, pretty much anything that will takes me to another world outside of the mundane.

    In the last few years, I've had an itch to write my own book, but have never had the guts to do it. I am constantly reading author's bios and how they got started writing, but I find it intimidating because most authors say they have been writing in one way or another since childhood. I, on the other hand, hated writing because I always felt that it was either a job (like writing essays on boring topics) or that I wasn't as fluid as other writers. I was a math and science kind of girl, who would write the meats and bones with no fluff.

    I will have to say though that I get inspired by people like you and Diana Gabaldon who entered careers that have nothing to do with writing, and then decide to write a novel. Diana Gabaldon wrote Outlander, one of my favorite books, and she was a marine biologist. She just decided one day that she wanted to try writing a book. Little did she know that it would become her career.

    I wonder sometimes if I should just stick to reading because of my lack of experience writing. However, I keep telling myself that I will never know if I can actually do it unless I try.

    Thank you for this post, and I can't wait to hear about your writing process! Will we be able to read your book? Has it been published?

  6. Congratulations on writing a book. People might think "Oh, that's not hard to do" but I think it is. I wish and pray I had the talent to write. That would be the most awesome job ever I think. But I was unfortunately not blessed in that department. I can't get what I want to say in this comment much less a whole book. So be proud of yourself because I sure am. I also can't wait to read what you got. Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing everything.

  7. I don't want to write books, I just have more enjoyment of reading others books. It would be awesome though to bring a dream to life so that other people can visualize it.

  8. I have soooo many ideas for novels, but yeah, I find it nearly impossible to get started. I can pre-write descriptions and motivations and settings, but I find it nearly impossible to put words down to actually form scenes. Like you, I have a notebook or two set aside with ideas, but that's all. I wonder if I could verbally record a novel or if I'm one of those people who would do better to shape other people's creativity as an editor or something like that. Best of luck with your novel!

  9. I haven't written a full novel, but I wrote the first chapter of a story in my creative writing class. I have written a play. I have plans to continue my writing in the future, but at the moment I'm busy taking care of a toddler and preparing to have our second child in May. But I guess I just need to do it or it won't ever happen. Thanks for the post.

  10. Yeah! Great job getting started on your book! I am glad your sister was able to get you to start writing- even if it was to prove her wrong. I am also a writer and it took me a long time to get started. I wrote a book with one of my best friends and it has been the best adventure of my life! Working with someone else helped to keep me focused and forced me to keep going when I might have given up. :)

    Wishing you a wonderful and productive 2014!

  11. I totally remember McGyver. You're right, totally hot 80's guy! The 2014 McGyver would be able to get out of those sticky situations using only his iPhone and a toothpick.

  12. Good luck to everyone!! Thanks for the chance to win!! :)

  13. Wow, you seem to have a really creative mind! No, I've never written a book. I wouldn't mind, though. Like you I remember scribbling short stories when
    I was a lass but it never went further than that. I also have a problem with giving description. Oh well, best of luck to you!

  14. Congrats on writing your book! It's a huge accomplishment. I had this idea for a murder mystery character/book and sat down to write it this year during NaNoWriMo. It was harder and easier than I expected at the same time.