(Mostly for my benefit…)
My writing started with compositions for school. I was home-schooled, and the Principal (my dad) assigned a weekly composition, one Full Handwritten Page. When my sister and I complained we couldn’t fill an entire page with anything, he whipped out a sheet of paper and a pen and proceeded to write a composition entitled My Button [looking for it]. I never complained again.
The Beginning (1998-2001):
It’s hard to form an exact timeline, but I have a pretty good idea. The Rabbit Family (about a baby rabbit who goes wandering off and her parents think she is dead until she returns) was a page and a half (!!!), but was trumped by The Adventures of Garl and Earn (a cat and a mouse fighting R.O.U.S.), which I didn’t finish but spanned about 5 pages. While hiding in a closet I started playing with a green duster and created the story of The Green-Haired Man, a stick man who becomes real and marries a princess. I explained How the Rainbow Became (via flowers disappearing), told of The Beautiful Creature (?), drew on a fable to write Mr. Alligator and the Canary (where he is sick and needs to eat canary?), and so forth [I’ll fill this in when I can check]. Talking Beauty, something like Snow White but not, Sasy & Phil, etc.
Safe to say, my works were very short, had very little dialog and story development, and really no character. My grammar and spelling, however, were pretty good.
In The Middle (2002-2007):
When I was 12, I guess I had some time on my hands, and had been using AppleWorks on the computer for my recent projects. I uncovered my stack of stories in a drawer and decided I should get to work not only transcribing them, but making them into actual stories. (Note I was never so presumptuous as to call them ‘books’.)
The Rabbit Family was thus developed from an animal story (1.2 pages) to a fantasy comedy adventure about a royal family who’d been transformed and ousted from the throne. It had a chase scene involving the pack of wolves, an evil tyrant, a not-evil not-tyrannical usurper, lost family, mysteries, and of course romance. At 36 single-spaced 12-point typed pages, it was my longest project. It was later followed up with the story of Sailboat Jaack Rabbit, which I don’t really remember right now (all the important stuff wasn’t really that important to the story).
The Adventures of Garl and Earn became a 2-part story, where in the first they defeat the evil magician (and it was here, I believe, I defined[link] the types of magic-users), in the second they defend against a siege of evil rats (ROUS’s), and in the end it tells how the years passed until animals could no longer talk. This was my first Pre-Ignolopi story, though I didn’t determine that until later when I rewrote…
…The Green-Haired Man, which turned into the creation story of Ignolopi. Around this time I took a selection of my stories and put them in a timeline, tying them all into the world of Ignolopi (as I called it – the geography is not so).
more stuff in the middle….
The Book of Peace. Oh what a title to make me wince… but I never bothered changing it. This book was inspired by, of all things, a computer program. Not a game. A doll-design program where you then could order your doll from the manufacturers (they were really good dolls! But the company went out of business 😥 ). I designed a few dolls and gave them intricate personalities (likes, dislikes, secret wishes, that sort of thing), then wrote the story. Haluaya is an orphan with mysterious lineage who is given the task of writing in the Book of Peace, and creating peace between the warring queens Agatharae and Morgana. Her story ends, for a short while her husband-to-be gets to tell a story (but he really didn’t have much to say), then the real story picks up again with their son Malekith. The Book of Peace was my greatest accomplishment, passing 200 pages (well over 50,000 words). Once I finished it I even went back and started rewriting it sentence by sentence — thankfully I didn’t do too much of that (well I’m only going to have to do it again — more brutally). Later, I established that this story took place in Tagikiasta, the parent-world of Cerinoit [link].
Another Tagikiasta story was born around the same time. There was this awesome little application called Storybook Weaver (OS 9 was as far as it went, sadly), where you use custom scenes and stamps to create pictures, then write the story below (like a picture book). It was there I wrote The Girl, about a girl who befriends a mysterious girl and the girl-pair goes on adventures.
more stuff in the later middle….
The Recent (2006-2008)
Mirror Image was inspired by a dream of a girl who had Medusa hair that turned people to stone. I decided to create a mutant story… and named my main character Xavier. I swear I had not seen X-Men recently, that I only picked ‘Xavier’ because I wanted something beginning with X or Z (or any letter I didn’t use much), and it wasn’t until my sister pointed out the match I realized the connection. So I changed his name to Zaver. So there. Selsea is a cast-out noble who has gone crazy (been possessed by a demon, actually), Zaver saves her from being burnt at the stake and takes care of her. He is a Jarismelan warrior, so this was my first attempt at fight scenes (they were pathetic). I had a good cast of characters, but it’s very underdeveloped.
CAUTION: This is a Book. The title came to me and I just started writing, while waiting for my sister’s computer science class to get out. I wrote the first 20 pages or so at school that semester, then another 20 or so pages over the next year, maybe another 40 the year after… until 2009 when I sat down and actually finished it. It’s a complete all-over-the-place magic-religion-monsters-culture satire that was sooo much fun to write. I thought it was rather funny, to me anyway… but going back, the main character is kind of mean. I decided to use that, and rewrote her character. That way she can have some development.
and more to come…..
The Present (2008-2018):
The Present age began when I discovered NaNoWriMo. The contest inspired me, and more than anything it forced me to write write write — and I know I needed and still need the practice.
In 2008 I wrote Ash is Reborn As Snow, a (supposed-to-be) dark fantasy about a little girl, Flurr (who is not really a little girl), and her caretaker, Hapi, and the pair help in a revolution to overthrow the oppressive government. 2008 was my second-to-last semester at school, and it was a hard semester. It was a hard November. But at least school inspired me: I was taking a Geology class, and Ash begins with a volcano scene.
For Nanowrimo 2009 I wrote About 3 Minutes, which is the work closest to completion. About was a new thing for me. For one, I was going to write a romance. I had just read Twilight (which I liked) and decided if I could write a romance it would be my best bet for a first book (one that I could disown later, of course). Because it was going to be a romance, I decided it would take place in the real world (a first). Furthermore, it would take place mostly at school — and I, being home-schooled, have no idea what school is like. To counter that, I made up a school that is unlike any I have ever heard of. But… even while looking at my idea I couldn’t quite stomach a full romance, so I decided I would also implement another idea I’d been dwelling on about a girl who always sees 2:55 in the future whether she wants to or not. About 3 Minutes was really fun to write. It was hard, though, because about 15 pages in I decided in the end I would scrap both romances and it would be a fantasy… so I spent the whole book writing filler stuff so I could get to the end. Going back, though, it’s a really cute story — for once the main character is exactly who I want her to be. I intend it to be a trilogy, and I need to write the sequels before I think about publishing the first one. (And, by the way, the end is being completely re-written anyway….)
Also in 2009: I wanted to submit something to a publisher before I turned 20. Just something I had decided would happen. So I quickly edited CAUTION, read up on how to submit stuff, researched publishing companies, and found that Tor was the only one (I could find) that would accept submissions without an agent. I love Tor, but I didn’t think CAUTION would fall in their spectrum. I did it anyway, though… and was of course rejected 4 months later. Oh well, I did it.
Over the next year (2010) I started outlining my next project, WitchLyre. I’d gotten the idea the year before during a long car ride, and it was a simple idea: a battle witch running down a line of arrows, setting them all ablaze. However, I built that up. For once I was going to really actually fully outline the book. I created a plot, an outline, a history of the world, character profiles, culture, a map, and so forth. I decided the world would be based on Russia (as far as the geography, climate, and some cultural aspects are concerned). So when November came, I was ready. Mostly. I gave myself a real challenge here. For one, I knew the main character was bad. Not really evil, but definitely not a good person. That was hard (and I didn’t fully succeed — that’s one thing that really needs to be done in the rewrite). For another, there are a lot of battle scenes. A heck of a lot. I was slow and uncertain at first, but by the end I was having a good time writing those things. I researched tactics and weapons, bought 33 Strategies of War (haven’t read it yet but I will when I go back to re-write), and had fun inventing the spells used by the dueling witches.
Well… I wrote 50,000 words for Nanowrimo (2010), but in truth, WitchLyre was not finished. I wrote another 50,000 words over the next couple months to complete it. Having fulfilled the Nanowrimo goal, though, I got 50% off of Scrivener, a great writing application, and a CreateSpace code for a free proof copy. I’d made proof copies for Ash and About, Ash is formatted really bad but the cover is pretty, and About is much more like a book — but there was no way WitchLyre was going to be ready to publish. So I decided I would re-write About and get another proof copy for that… but it was a really, really, really, really busy season. So that didn’t happen. Oh well.
During most of 2011 I didn’t write much at all. I did finish editing About 3 Minutes and rewriting the end, and I managed to brainstorm a bit for book 2.
NaNoWriMo 2011 came too soon, but I was itching to start my sequel, which was later named Another 3 Minutes. Where About is fantasy because the main character has a power, Another 3 Minutes actually gets into another world. It was a lot of fun writing that world, but getting to that point was rather hard. I completed NaNoWriMo on November 26th with barely 50,000 words, and decided I would take a month to rest and plot, then finish the book during ‘Janowrimo’. Ah. Well. This time, that didn’t happen. By the end of February I’d made it all the way to 66,000 words, then I got eye surgery, starred in a Taekwon-do commercial, and was thus torn from my heart’s desire….
(But I will say the commercial was a good deal more fun than the eye surgery.)
August 2012 I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and though that was ambitious I did complete 25,000 words of Ghost Keeper. By mid-October I’d reached 50k, and a couple weeks later I finished at about 60k…
…Just in time for NaNoWriMo 2012. I wrote Warning – Do Not Use As A Flotation Device, the sequel to CAUTION, finishing at 73,000 words. Yipee! That’s a record.
Fast forward to February, when my practice paid off and I tested to 1st-degree in Taekwon-do. Then in early March set off to Japan for a year to teach English. I was hoping it would be an easy year and I could get some writing done, but I rarely make things easy on myself. I started work on 3 Minutes Later, the last volume in the 3-minute trilogy, plotting the entire thing then leaving it to stew.
NaNoWriMo 2013 was a hard one, but surprising myself I made 55,000 a week early and completed Danger – Highly Flammable, the 3rd in the CAUTION series. Then I planned book 4.
While I didn’t write enough during that year, I certainly made up for it in new experiences.
Returning back to the great state of Utah in April 2014, I got back to writing. Sort of.
For NaNoWriMo 2014 I had a blast writing the 4th CAUTION book, completing the quartet. This is a milestone. Let’s pause to admire it for a while.
A while longer.
(Ok it’s been long enough, Myra, get a move on.)
2015 NaNoWriMo I wrote my vampire romance, A Horde of Gummies. Once again I failed on the romance (it’s there, but it’s not romantic) but enjoyed myself immensely.
Summer of 2016 I couldn’t get this idea out of my head—a magic system that relies on words, specifically, the repetition and intensity of a word. Thus, 2016 Nano became Hiko’s Word, my first ‘Ignolopi’ book in about a decade. I miss Ignolopi, and made great plans to get a timeline in place and return to that world. I bought Aeon Timeline and made a specific list of to-dos. Then failed to fulfill them.
For NaNoWriMo 2017 there was so much going on I decided to write the sequel to Horde, which I hadn’t intended to do so soon, but it was easy. Thus came A Host of Monarchs which is one of my secret loves now.
Enter 2018, and the LTUE convention I go to every year (since 2013). Every time I go, I get all inspired, and think ok, finally, this year is my year, I’m going to get stuff done. Yeah right. Never happens. This time, though… I think I’ve finally got a handle on myself. We’ll see. I want to write a bunch of short stories, and submit to competitions/publications. Which is what I decided 2 years ago when I wrote Super Stephanie… and yet it stands alone in its portfolio. We’ll see.
In April 2018 I at last finished my About 3 Minutes trilogy. Major milestone.
NaNoWriMo 2018 I wrote Pumpkin Eater. You can read my preparation struggles in this blog post. Once again I attempted a romance, and I failed. I also attempted a horror, but it’s more of a tragedy. I wanted it to be a really cool reveal but I failed there too. There’s a great story here waiting for a rewrite. The one thing I did succeed at was making a pitiable main character who turns out to be lying so you hate her… but then you end up liking her anyway. At least I did. For whatever reason I used Russia as inspiration again… which means it ties into the WitchLyre world, heralding the rise of the witches.
In 2019 I made a lot of great goals and failed most of them so far. I did, however, submit a couple flash fiction stories to Flash Fiction Online. Will I be published before I’m 30? even if it’s just flash fiction?
(Spoiler: No, they were all rejected.)
I loved my 2019 novel, which I wrote mostly while staring out at a Hawaiian sky and wanting to go back to the beach.
Then 2020. Let’s not dwell on that. There’s a post about my Nanowrimo issues.
And yet! I decided to write a short story for the LTUE anthology. It was rejected of course, but I also submitted it to Writers of the Future. Did you know I’ve been reading WotF for about 10 years and never submitted anything? I was scared, obviously. Well, this story I felt was finally worthy of something. It got an Honorable Mention. I framed my certificate, then resolved to submit every quarter of 2021.
Q1 = submitted, results not posted yet.
Q2 = submitted.
Q3 = tbd
Q4 = tbd