Monday, June 6, 2016

W is for Why I Started to Write

Ana reveals why she started to write a romance.

In college I tried to study astrophysics, but a heavy-handed destiny had other plans for me. I fell in love, eloped, and got pregnant. (In that order, contrary to the predictions of my family.) I was always a voracious reader, and as a substitute for science textbooks, during midnight feedings, I read science-fiction novels. These led me to fantasy, which led to romances.

Soon, I was planted on a farm in northern Minnesota. I tackled homesteading skills like a science major, ordering University Extension Service pamphlets on everything from growing fruit and churning butter. (This was back when a computer was housed in a building, and the Internet was a one-celled germ of an idea.) I was a city girl. I had a lot to learn.

Fast forward to ten years ago. I picked up a western romance by a much-heralded multi-pubbed author. I was so outraged by the abrupt, no dots connected ending, I vowed I could do better. I enrolled in a Writer's Digest online class and churned out a first draft of Stormy Hawkins.

The instructor encouraged me to submit it to agents, which I did. My story was soundly rejected. For good reasons, I learned later. Completely discouraged, I let it sit for a year.

The vow I'd made nigged at me. I enrolled in the Advanced Romance course (didn't know where else to turn, still thought like a college student) and wrote my time travel. It, too, was soundly rejected.

Realizing I needed a completely new approach, I joined Romance Writers of America and found an online chapter. I bought craft books and took dozens of online workshops. I joined FTH's crit loop and studiously critiqued every sub. A year later, I was asked to moderate the loop, and I kept on critiquing every sub.  (I still do). I learned about POV and FAD. Plotting, editing and character profiles. I'm learning formatting.

I applied to this (our) blog group even when I was privately sure I'd never be able to write a publishable story. Just rubbing elbows with good writers was my goal. Surely some of their skills would rub off on me.

Thanks to some honest crit partners, who have infinite patience and tolerance, I submitted Stormy Hawkins last week. I believe I finally have a publishable story. If it doesn't fit into Entangled's line-up, I'll shop it elsewhere or self-publish it.

Now I can say I write for the love of writing, for the joy of words and phrases, for the camaraderie of blog and crit partners.


  1. Full marks for perseverance, Ana! And we're all keeping everything crossed for you and Stormy!

    1. Ah perseverance. Looking for a blank CD disc, I just found my original notes for Stormy Hawkins. I'd like to think they'd be treasures some day, but I dumped the folders in the trash. Better to free up that drawer for something new!

  2. I'm so glad you've pursued this! I can't wait to see your published work (because I know it will be)!

    1. Thanks, jen!
      I feel the story is good enough to be published. This is a new feeling that is pushing me into a new story. I wrote half of chapter 2 this morning.

  3. As a teacher in 'real life' I so appreciate your love of life-long learning.

    And, I too, am so glad you persevered with Stormy. I can't wait to read the published book!

  4. Thanks, Debra! I love reading yours, Margaret's, Jen's and Paula's stories, too. Knowing the author makes the read even better!