Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Roadtrip: The Journey So Far

Happy 100th Roadtrip, YA Highway!

This Week's Topic: What has your writing road trip looked like so far? Excitement? Traffic Jams and detours? Where are you going next?

I was so excited when I saw this topic for the 100th Roadtrip Wednesday. It's perfect.

I have a lot behind me on my writing journey, but a lot ahead too. This has been a year of incredible growth and learning for me. I learned how to type queries that catch an agents attention, found some great resources for writers, found a great writer's chatroom, met some wonderful, supportive people, and discovered YA Highway. I've been blogging more this year, learning the industry lingo, doing research into the writing field. I created a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a Tumblr account, built this blog, and completely revamped my website.

This year, I sent my first novel out into the world, endured the grueling process of awaiting a response, as well as the heartbreak of my first emotionally-invested rejection. That five-month wait for the response got me in gear to send out more queries, to research more agents. It set the fire under me that I really needed. And it paid off.

My rejection email came with a referral to another agent. A week later, I received a response to a query from a wonderful agent requesting part of my manuscript. Two great things came from something not-so-great. I had been discouraged, but I was far from out.

The friends I made at Writers Chatroom encouraged me, supported me, and my family was always behind me. I'm still waiting for the offer of representation, but along the way, I've been learning, absorbing, and growing. I believe in my book. I know it's good enough for publication, and I can't wait to see it on shelves, sporting my cover illustrations.

I wouldn't have gotten this far if there hadn't been a beginning. And the beginning came as subtly and innocently as a new hobby. I have always had stories in me. I've been a reader since I was a child, and even now I devour books like potato chips.

I began life drawing on any surface I could find and working with modeling clay. The stories I created remained in my head until Junior High when they began to take shape on paper. I wrote poetry and short stories, I created characters. By high school my stories were growing longer, developing series potential, but I still loved character design the best. Back then I didn't even know what it was called, but I loved it.

Along my journey, I illustrated for my older sister who writes picture books, and I continued writing my own stories. I didn't even know what age group I was aiming for. I just wrote. I wrote stories I would want to read myself. Stories about original races, unique creatures, strong female characters, and dark fantasy lands.

I went to college and then grad school in pursuit of a career in illustration. Throughout college, my favorite source of entertainment and creative expression was online chat roleplay. Real-time stories unfolding between writing partners, in any setting or time period you could imagine. I did this for nearly a decade, developing worlds and characters, improving my skills. But it was only for fun. A nice break from projects and deadlines, a way to socialize with online friends.

At the end of my two years at SCAD, I finally decided to write something bigger than a series of short stories. I wanted to use my text roleplay experience with world-building and character creation to write something that was all my own. I had already drawn the characters for this novel as early as 2003, but the thought of a novel was daunting.

When I broke my novel down into three chapters at a time and worked at it steadily, I discovered I definitely had enough words in me for a novel. Maybe even two or three. With a little encouragement from family, I decided I could create a series. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

So now the first book is finished and the second started. Lividia's story keeps growing, ideas coming to me from so many directions that I have to keep a little notebook to write them down. This has been one of my dreams for a long time, and I'm glad to have started the journey!

fact-tids about me:
- pantser
- worldbuilder
- character designer
- illustrator
- royal procrastinator
- fantasy and sci-fi lover
- disorganized do-gooder
- villain fancier and anti-hero lauder
- addicted to quirk and strong female heroines

What has your writing journey been like?


  1. Thanks for telling your story, Donelle. All the best to you with your novel. :)

  2. Good luck with the submission process Donelle. I'm prepping a dark fantasy for submission as well, once I pull myself out of the revising quagmire.

    I also learned a lot of my writing through roleplay, and I tend to sketch characters from my projects until I come up with a solid visual design for them. It's awesome how writing and other art forms seem to merge. :)


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