Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I started thinking about this blog and its purpose. Many people use blogs to vent. Others use blogs to teach (and to those who teach about the writing/agent/publishing industry - I am most grateful!) Well, I don't want to vent here. I can find other venues for that. And I am working toward credentials to be able to speak professionally on writing, but as an unpublished, unagented author, I don't feel like that's something I should do right now. Still in the muck and mire, as it were... But I CAN blog about what I know, and I KNOW what I write.
Just before I had my son, I was searching for something to do. Something to keep my mind sharp. I memorized the periodic table. I learned the list of presidents. I learned British kings and queens, books of the Bible, weights and measurements. I created a journal with all that information in it and carried it with me everywhere I went. Okay, so I was really bored. I had gotten married in March, and by December, I was a mom. My identity had shifted from a single career woman to wife and mother. Not to mention, I moved across the country, away from my family and home. It was a wacky time. I had looked for a job, but no one was hiring...
One afternoon, I pulled up some old files I had kept from my online role playing days. The characters started whispering to me. Their stories were changing, evolving from the world they knew into a completely different place. And a couple months after my son was born, so was Valor. Somewhere in there, we moved, because I remember completing the 90,000+ word novel in a different house. Writing became my therapy. It gave me identity. It gave me purpose. I finally was in control of something. I just didn't realize at that point how big this whole thing would get.
Valor is the story of two very different people coming together for a single purpose. My ideas always start with the characters. I wanted to put a little of myself in it, so the main character's name is Selah. Yes, that's from Psalms, but it's also the majority of the letters in my name - Ashley - rearranged. Her counterpart - Gray - is an anagram of my husband's name, Gary. Throughout this book, I used anagrams of names for minor characters. When I needed numbers, I used birthdays or other familiar combinations. It's so neat to be able to put those little secrets in there!
The solar system I created - the Circeae System - also has meaning behind the stellar and planetary names. If I ever do get these books published, I would like to offer a compendium of "anomalies," as I call them. I have started to employ this in most of my writing now.
Valor needs to be rewritten before I can even think about putting it out there. It was the first novel I had written, relying only on what I had learned in high school and college English. Of course, I thought it was brilliant...and then I started trying to get it published. Ha! I then found a wealth of information online tha tled me to find all the terribly wrong things I had done. I knew nothing about point of view, telling versus showing. Ugh. It's ghastly! But I am confident in the story...so once I rewrite, it's going to rock!
The others that followed are stronger and more polished. Each one is a stepping stone. And as I write, I have to go back and tweak things in the others to make them all work together. Did I mention that I don't write chronologically? I start with my characters, build a scene and grow from there. Somehow, it all comes together for me. I started with the fourth novel in my series (although as I said, at the time, I didn't know it would be a series!) Then I wrote the second. The seventh. The ninth. The first. I have the majority of the fifth. The eighth. The third. The tenth has a few scenes. And the sixth consists of notes. But they're all there. And I can see every one of them in my head, like I'm watching the movies. (They would make awesome movies, by the way!)
So that's the introduction to my history as a writer. Well, it's not a complete history, but it's how my novel writing got started. I've been at it for...oh...seven years now. Seriously at it. And I will keep at it because now, it's part of me. I couldn't quit if I wanted to. I love writing. I just hope that someday, I'll get to share my work with the world.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3