Last year (2021) I earned three certificates in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a certificate in editing.
This year I enrolled in an intense proofreading course that I need to finish up. I’ll have to dedicate a month to doing nothing else but that.
Late March or early April I started writing the novel I’ve been threatening to write for decades. My friends were all sick of hearing about my dozens of sci-fi and fantasy short stories that I needed to edit. One of those friends suggested that instead of remaining stuck with those stories and not able to move on, I should pick a completely different genre and write a novel.
So I did.
I started out intending to write a romance. Well, 85,000 words later it is a romance. But there’s a lot more to it. Even a juicy murder mystery. Then came the hard part: re-writing and editing. Gaaahhhh. I was about one third of the way through when the clamoring of my characters was too much to take. They were making so much noise I couldn’t concentrate. They all wanted to continue their stories. But the book is done, I kept telling them. No, we still have a lot to say, they answered.
What could I do? So now I’m about 19,000 words into Book Two–a lot harder than the first one, I must say. One evening I was minding my own business watching TV and swilling down a couple of glasses of wine when those pesky characters screamed at me: there’s a third book! What? The arc of the entire story stabbed me in the brain. It hurt! But I couldn’t ignore it. I now have a trilogy on my hands. And gradually–very gradually–my dear characters are filling in the story.
I watch quite a few interviews with authors on YouTube about how as a writer you are supposed to be sitting at your computer eight hours a day or writing at least 2,000 words a day–but that’s not me. I enjoy too many other activities. And I’m still passionate about photography which takes up a lot of time. I was also told that I should be spending my time getting my first novel ready for publication before dealing with book two and three. But that’s not how I work.
Apparently there are two kinds of writers: pantsers and plotters. I am definitely the former. I write by the seat of my pants. My characters inform my story. Every day is an adventure. Outlines, plots–what do they have to do with anything? So if I publish my first book and the characters change the story in book two or three, then what would I do? So I have to write all three novels. All my life, I’ve always had to do things MY WAY!!!! So this is going to be a long, long process.
I joined the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society back in March and attended an in-person meeting. Next I attended an in-person three-day conference in August. Fortunately it was held in Culver City so I was able to bus/walk to it. In October there was an online week-long conference. At the end my head was spinning–so much information. Having started out with absolutely no knowledge of the publishing industry, now I think–I hope–I have a pretty good idea of all that is involved. I always imagined myself sitting up in my high tower spewing out my novel and publishers would be crawling all over me to get first dibs. Ahem, not quite! I still dream of Amazon Studios (just around the corner from me, as it happens) picking up the rights to my trilogy for a three-year series. Nothing wrong with dreaming. But if that happens, it will only be because of a LOT of hard work on my part.
I still want to use my English teaching skills to help foreign speakers. In fact, the protagonist in my novel–my fictional self–has her own freelance business teaching ESL, and she loves it. I intend to make it happen.
Now I’m going out for a walk. Hopefully, I can upload a few photos from my 2022 adventures when I get back. Until then…