#4 A Little About Me And My Writing

So, I realise that I’m very much talking about myself in all of these posts, but it’s early days and I want to share my journey in writing with everyone while we’re still getting to know each other. In today’s post, I want to take a second to tell you about my proof copies. If you’ve read my first post, you’ll know that I want to have 20 of these by the time I hit 30. So, here’s what I’ve got so far.

I started writing in 2007. I was 17, in my sixth year at high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. At that particular time, I was only taking three subjects, so I had a lot of free periods which I chose to spend in the Technical Department because my teacher – Mr Fulton – was awesome and let me use the computers for whatever I wanted. It was at this time that I discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I decided to go for it and on November 1st I sat down at my computer and started writing. I had no idea who my characters were, what my story was going to be… nothing. But it was the greatest feeling in the world to be typing it all out.

I’d been creating stories since I was around 7, little silly things that I scribbled on paper but never really worked on. November 1st 2007 is the moment when writing went from something silly to something awesome.

My first NaNoWriMo produced my first proof copy – Out of This World, Into Another. It is a horrible piece of writing, but one that I am quite proud of. My NaNoWriMo in 2008 failed epically, so my next proof copy is from 2009 when I wrote Ashlyn and the Lost Prince – the first of what I wanted to be a seven book series (I still haven’t written the second!). I’m quite proud of the cover on this one, since it’s when I started trying to make my own. I made covers for the second and third book in the series (because at the time there was only going to be three) but they’ll probably never see the light of day now.

The third proof and my next NaNo in 2010 produced The Daisy – a rewrite of Out of This World. It has the same characters and the same basic storyline, but is much better written – although still horrible! It’s also the first in a trilogy that is yet to be written.

The next proof is something I’m very proud of. In 2011, when I heard about the tsunami and subsequent earthquakes in Japan, I took to the NaNoWriMo forums and asked people there if they would be willing to help with a charity anthology. The proceeds of the book ended up going to the Red Cross (about £100 in total – not much, but every little helps). We had 34 writers who all submitted a story – myself included – and we managed to get our venture into newspapers and onto radio shows around the world. It was a truly inspiring effort and I’m glad to have been a part of it.

When Your Novel Strikes Back is a silly little story that I wrote for myself and my two online friends. I think I wrote it in about a week. It’s the first book that I actually decided to publish (I think) and is still currently on Smashwords for download (for free!). Although I wrote it for myself and my friends, other people seem to have enjoyed it, which is always a great thing.

In 2012, I took the plunge and rewrote/edited Ashlyn a little bit. I’ll admit to my naivety at this time. I wanted so badly to publish something ‘properly’. When Your Novel Strikes Back was a novella and it was free. Ashlyn was a fully fleshed out story. The editing was rushed, I didn’t look at the bigger picture. I hit publish. The revised copy got a new cover and was sent on it’s merry way to be torn to shreds by the reviewers who all insisted that it was not ready. And I agree. It wasn’t. In the time that it’s been published, it’s had a good few reviews and I’m proud to say that not one of them has been 1 star. I can at least say that. It’s had a few 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars, and even a couple of 5 stars (but those were family trying to be supportive). The thing about publishing too quickly is that everything is a learning curve. I’ve learned from the mistake, am currently rewriting/editing Ashlyn properly, and will be re-releasing it on Smashwords as an ebook only.

The next story that I finished and published was Of Time and Space. I wrote it during the 2011 NaNoWriMo and edited it briefly (like I did with Ashlyn) and put it up on Smashwords. I’m quite proud of this little novella. It wasn’t really supposed to be anything. It was a silly idea I had one day and decided to write for NaNoWriMo (I wrote five different stories for that NaNo but this is the only one I saw through to completion).

Also in 2012, I put together another charity anthology project. This one was for orphanages in Haiti and the proceeds were going to the charity Random Acts (the actor Misha Collins’s charity). It wasn’t as successful as Write For Japan, but Write For Haiti still managed to raise a little money (can’t remember exactly but it was less than £50).

Finally, my last proof copy is That’s Charming. I got this proof copy in late 2012 when I finished the first draft. I gave it to my mum’s friend’s daughter to read (seeing as she’s in my target age group) and she loved it. The version that’s in the proof is drastically different from the version that I am now working on, but I hope that she will love this version more when I give it to her for her opinion again.

She’s also read Ashlyn and the Lost Prince and she absolutely loved it, too. She keeps telling me to abandon all my other projects so I can finish the series for her to read. Now, despite all the bad reviews that I’ve had for it, I think that this girl’s opinion is the one that I should listen to a little more. Sure, I take in the constructive comments from the 2 star reviews, but those are from adults. If just this girl reads my series and loves it, then I’ve done something right.

This post is getting a little on the long side though, so I’ll leave it there.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

See you guys on Monday.

Heather

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