Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday's Teaser: Journey Into Writing: The Middle

How did you begin your writing career? Was writing a passion from childhood or teen years on? Or did you take it up later in life, as I did?

I've always loved to write, and in an earlier post described that beginning, but then I seemed to take a whole "lifetime" off before I began seriously again.

In July, 2006, I signed up for my first Institute of Children's Literature course, and had a wonderful instructor. The course was terrific, and I learned so much that I didn't know I didn't know! For my first non-fiction assignment, I decided to write a "creative" NF piece about a small part of the Amazon Rainforest. My instructor was very impressed, and told me I should start thinking about writing a NF article for publication. Publication? So soon? I was amazed that she thought I could actually write something publishable after being in the course for only a short time.

I was encouraged, however, so I started looking through guidelines for some of the children's magazines. Nothing came of that effort at the time, however, as I got caught up in the next assignments. When my second NF asignment came up, I went back to the guidelines and saw that a future issue of ODYSSEY was going to be about...get this...POOP! Yes, that's right, all about POOP. The first thing that came to my mind was, of course, horse manure...er, poop...and that brought to mind dung beetles. We had dung beetles all over our ranch because they ate the horse poop. So I wrote my assignment about dung beetles ( you have no idea how many different kinds of dung beetles there are...each type eats only a certain kind of poop...and that's probably more than you ever wanted to know about poop and beetles, right?)

Okay, to get back to the point: I wrote the assignment, my instructor made a very observations, and wanted me to make it more factual rather than "creative." I worked on it aside from the assignment, and in doing some Internet research, I came across a great article by an Entymologist from the University of Montana. I decided to send him an email, tell him who I was and what I was doing, and see if he would give me an interview. I figured the worst that could happen was for him to delete the email. But he didn't...he replied, asked me to send him my article and he'd critique it. I did, he was  impressed, gave me an interview, and the article was published in the POOP! issue of ODYSSEY magazine. My first publication! I was thrilled!

When I completed the first ICL course, my instructor recommended that I take the Advanced Novel Writing course. I not only took one, and completed a contemporary novel for Middle Grade girls, but I took a second course, and completed an Historical Fiction taking place in pre-Civil War days for YA boys age 12 to 14. Neither of them has been published yet, but I'm confident that I will find the right agent or publisher in time. Hopefully.

In the meantime, however, I've published several short stories, including one in a children's anthology, and some poetry. The poetry is for adults, however, not for children.

Now, I have a couple of stories that I'm ready to send out, and I'm working on two new novels: one is another historical story, about a traveling carnival, a freak show, a disfigured MC, and a murder, all taking place during the Great Depression; the second is also a murder mystery, but it is a much darker story, taking place in modern times. Both are Young Adult.

My story has come to an end, but not my journey. It continues, for giving up is not an option. This is a road not less traveled, but well traveled, with all the accompanying twists, turns, detours, dead-ends, and potholes, but nevertheless, one which I believe will ultimately lead to my destination.

Are you traveling it with me?

Until next time,
That's a wrap.


  1. I got into writing because I thought it would be an easy way to earn a nice little chunk of extra money, working from home.

    Really, truly.


  2. LOL...ROFLOL...

    Gulp...snort...snicker...wipe eyes and blow nose.

    Yeah, Kate, we kinda get blown away by all the money we make,working from home...right? Maybe in the next lifetime...

  3. I enjoyed reading more about your journey, Mikki, and the story behind your first publication. Who woulda thought, an entire issue on poop?!

    I took the first ICL course when my first daughter was a baby and I was a brand new stay at home mom. My husband made the monthly payments so that I could take the course, even though we really couldn't afford it. I imagine he thought of it as an investment. Still today, he often comments "When are you going to write something that makes big money?"