Monday, February 13, 2012

The Origins Blogfest



Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m such a party girl, but I couldn’t resist this particular blogfest.  Co-hosted by DL HammonsCreepy Query Girl KatieMillsAlex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish, the Origins Blogfest is the perfect place to share how my writing dreams began.

Unlike so many of the talented writers I’ve met here in the blogosphere, my writing dream is a fairly new concept.  I’ve always loved to write, but I never once thought about making it a career or pursuing publication.  For me, it was more about helping my son in school and not appearing the idiot when I emailed friends and family. 

I’ve always loved to read, but I’ve never read something and thought, gee, I could do that.  Well, maybe after reading Twilight, but that’s another post altogether.  Anyway, my journey began rather abruptly. 


In March of 2010, I downloaded a new CD onto my iPod.  It was 30 Seconds to Mars’ This Is War CD.  On it was a song called Hurricane.  It was a breathtakingly clear and warm day here in Seattle—in other words, a minor miracle—and I decided to take my little convertible out for a spin around Lake Sammamish, ‘cause, you know, when the sun comes out, the top goes down. 

(Mine is dark blue!)

So there I am, driving with the sun in my face and my tunes blaring when this new song starts playing.  The tune really struck me, but it was the lyrics that hit me hardest.  They said:

Tell me would you kill to save a life
Tell me would you kill to prove you’re right…

Do you really want me dead or alive
To torture for my sins

It made me wonder:  What could make a man do something really bad, something completely against his nature, and could he ever find redemption, find his way back to the man he once was?  That was a pretty powerful concept for me, and, after having yet another recurring nightmare of something terrible that had once happened to me, I decided I would try to make sense of it all and answer my own question.  Hence, THE MISTAKEN was born.  Or the idea of it anyway. 

The strangest part of writing this novel is that it came to me whole, like all in one moment.  I just had to write it all down in an outline first, then type it all up.  And as I was doing all this, it was like there was someone or something possessing me, or at the very least, standing over my shoulder, whispering into my ear, telling me exactly what to write. 


I simply cannot explain it in any other way.  I mean, surely it wasn’t me.  I’ve never written much of anything.  I have no training, no idea what components go into writing a novel or creating a cohesive plot.  Yet there was, a real story, and a compelling one at that.  And it was a fast read, too, lots of action, lots of emotion, everything I like in a book. 

Now, it was so far from perfect as to be laughable, but, over time, and with the help of many, many talented critique partners, most notably Lisa L. Regan, Tara Rendall, and Jeff O’Handley, The Mistaken took on a polished gleam worthy of querying, and, I hope, even publication.  Someday.  Fingers crossed. 


So now I’ve found a new passion in writing, in creating characters and plot.  I’ve learned a great deal in the last 22 months, and I plan on putting that all to good use.  Yep, that’s right, I just started writing my second novel, tentatively title Parasite. 

Writing has changed my life in so many fantastic and unexpected ways.  It’s given me a new purpose, a dream of my very own.  And it’s brought people into my life, wonderful, talented, loving people whom I now call my friends.  That alone is worth more that gold.


So what’s your story?  How did your writing dreams begin? 

Oh, and by the way, I just won a SECOND round entry in Cupid's Literary Connection Blind Speed Dating Contest.  My entry here went up today and judging will go through Wednesday.  Feel free to comment!  I'd love to hear what you think.  Fingers crossed I make it to round 3!

56 comments:

Rek said...

Your journey so similar to mine in the sense i never aspired to be a write or publish. good luck with your novel querying and hopefully your writing will continue to flourish.

Liza said...

It's amazing that your desire to write came out "whole" so to speak. Congratulations on all you have accomplished so far...and wishing you much more for the future.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Very cool story! I think we've all experienced 'the possession'- sometimes I feel more like I'm reading a good story than writing it, like they aren't my words but someone else's. Thanks for sharing your origins!

Grumpy Bulldog, Media Mogul said...

Well that's a different way of it happening.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I have those 'what if' moments. I love them, and they provide so much material.

JeffO said...

Thank you for sharing, Nancy. It's funny how those moments can pop up when we don't expect it, how stories can present themselves so clearly out of nowhere.

Matthew MacNish said...

So cool to hear about your inspiration, and get to know you better, Nancy!

Tara Tyler said...

so much brought you to where you are!
love the history behind your writing =)

Scarlett said...

Jea-Lous! Love your story, Nancy! Would love to hear more about The Mistaken! Ahh, I see it up there winking at me. I'll just take a look!

Love! Your origins.

Scarlett said...

Awesome first chapter! So cool!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've got to try the driving-in-a-convertible trick!

M.J. Fifield said...

First of all, Loved this; "I’ve always loved to read, but I’ve never read something and thought, gee, I could do that. Well, maybe after reading Twilight, but that’s another post altogether."

Second of all, I also love it when a song lyric gets my imagination going. All hail the power of music.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Love your origins story. You just never know when inspiration will strike, and then take you a whole new journey.

I never did get to ride in your BMW convertible... dang it!

Steven said...

Cool story. I am inspired by music quite a bit in my own writings. I also had the same thought when I read through the first Twilight book!

Eva Gallant said...

Good luck with your novel. Hope you find an agent and get published soon; I'd love to read it. I have been publishing on Kindle and decided that's the route I will go. I published one short novel, and I'm on a second one, Welcome to Country Connections. I've been sharing it on my blog in my Friday Fiction series. I will share the first 8 chapters, then when I'm finished (I'm on writing chapter 15), I'll publish it on Kindle and hope readers will be hooked enough to buy it if they have a Kindle.

DL Hammons said...

It's funny how you described how the story came to you...almost as if it were downloaded into your brain. I have that happen before as well...and it is very hard to explain it.

Excellent ORIGIN story! Thank you for sharing it. :)

Emily R. King said...

Beautiful story, Nancy! Lyrics inspired me to look more into writing when I was younger and more prone to listen to music than read. : )

Margo Berendsen said...

wow, that is so neat about how that story came to you all at once like that! gives me the happy shivers! those are very intriguing lyrics. Good news about that Cupid contest too - what exactly is blind speed dating?? _ grin! I guess I will have to go find out!

I'm a new follower - and my post is at how my writing dream began

nutschell said...

Hi Nancy!
I'm dropping by from the Origins blogfest. I love how your writing bug was sparked by the lyrics of a random song. :) And how cool that your story came to you all at once!

your newest follower,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Love the writing lyric inspiration! I think I already follow your blog, but I'll double-check. What a fun blogfest, eh?

S. L. Hennessy said...

I love that CD. I listen to it sometimes when I write. I'm glad it inspired more in you.

Julie said...

The story of how your novel came to you is so fantastic. I am always listening to music in my car and have been inspired by songs as well, but never to the extent you were. What a great story. I can't wait to have the chance to read The Mistaken when it is published, as I'm sure it will be!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great story! Now I've got my fingers crossed for you, too. Count me in as your newest follower.

Carrie Butler said...

Great story, Nancy! I love the impact music had on your writing. :)

Caledonia Lass said...

It's amazing what a few words or lyrics can do to people. That is why I like writing, placing the words together almost like a puzzle in the best, moving way I know how. Very glad I decided to join this blogfest at the last moment! Excellent post!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I never thought writing would be so addictive. It's amazing what thinking about plots and characters can do.

Love that you were inspired by the lyrics in a song. That never happens for me. :(

Alleged Author said...

I love it when music inspires a writer. Great post!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Awesome story, Nancy - especially because I know exactly how those rain-free days in Seattle feel like (and the Lake Sammamish drive on such day is a fabulous one!).
Music inspires me quite often. I listen to it when I write, but only to an instrumental pieces.

Monti said...

Wow! Your story gave me chills! That's amazing. Good luck.

Thanks for the follow. I've followed you as well.

Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Joylene said...

When I first began to meet writers online, I was stuck by how similar our stories were. That hasn't changed in the least. I started writing in a diary my mother gave me for my 8th BD. In high school, I remember writing during babysitting jobs. I remember how powerful I felt, how alive I seemed. I knew then I'd always write, but I never expected to write novels and have strangers read them. It's been a wondrous journey.

Tonja said...

Great story! I love how you found your first novel in song lyrics, that you saw it through to completion, and have come to love it. I follow you back. :)

ascenicroute said...

I love your picture of the angel whispering into the ear of the writer. I wish I had more moments like those!
My novel, as well as my writing impulse, came from a song as well, although I had to struggle for a while until I got it close to what I wanted!

The song is the well-worn (I like to think) classic 'Hotel California'. The line is
"We haven't had that spirit here since 1969"
It started there, and as much as the story has changed, that line still epitomizes what I am trying to get across.

For me, without music, there would be no writing. Great post! I'm already following, but now I'm also a fan. :)

Sarah said...

Oh!!! I love that particular song, and I have a specific character I think about when I hear it! That's such a very cool origin story, and ... *fist bump* here's to us late bloomers! What we lack in writerly longevity, we make up for in intensity.

Abby Minard said...

That's a great story on how you came to write! Sometimes those characters just beg to be let out and put down on paper.

Jasmine Walt said...

What a great origins story. I love hearing how people get inspired through other creative mediums. Oh, and can I say just how jealous I am that you got into Cupid's contest? :D

Claire Hennessy said...

Oh what a great way to start writing. And like you said, has similarities to my story. I also like 30 Seconds to Mars. I will have to read your book when it comes out if the MC is a Brit living in CA! Scribd is great - I wrote a blog post about how to start if you want to check it out. I am a new follower :)

prerna pickett said...

It doesn't matter when you start, once the writing 'bug' gets you, there's no turning back. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you did!

Jessica Salyer said...

Wow that's a great story. I'm intrigued by your story. You'll have to let me know when it's out so I can read it. Now I'm going to have to go look up that song. :)

Lisa L. Regan said...

Well you were meant to be a writer because you are so fabulously talented. I can't wait for The Mistaken to be on the shelves (the regular ones and the "e-shelves" for all the world to see how amazing you are!) I love when a book comes to you whole. I also love that feeling of someone standing over your shoulder whispering in your ear. As you know, I felt that way about Claire! Great post!

Intricate Knot said...

Love, love, LOVE this "origins" tale. I especially relate to feeling "possessed." Sometimes, I think of writing as channeling! lol "The Mistaken" sounds very interesting. Anything inspired by 30 Seconds to Mars has got to be fabulous! You have a new follower (me!). :)

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey,

Whatchatalking about Willis, er I mean Nancy!!!

Dude-ette, that is a friggin' *awesome* origins... OMG I'd offer free Electric Slide lessons to get such an idea as you did...

Thass some powerful mojo going on in your head.. you go, girlfriend :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

I also love how your book was inspired by a song! I'm looking forward to reading The Mistaken, and I'm sure it will be a hit! You also don't have to worry about the soundtrack when it becomes a movie! Congrats and I'm off to read your second round! Julie

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

You did the right thing after finishing your first novel--starting your second!!!
Keep at it and your dream of publication will come true. Persistence is the name of this game.

Chris Fries said...

Absolutely wonderful origins story, Nancy! I loved it! Much success with the novels and with all your writing! You've a new follower!

Accidentalwriter said...

Wow, that is amazing Nancy. Sometimes the lyrics creep up, camoflaged by the music and give us a decent whack before we see them coming. I have no doubt The Mistaken is a wonderful read - I was cruising with you with the top down - so the book is sure to grab the reader's attention. May this year bring with it the fulfillment of your aspirations and may the writing process of the Parasite be one of great joy and excitement.

Bish Denham said...

Wow! A newbie! You go girl. What strikes me as most important is that you acted on inspiration when it came to you. So many push those thoughts aside, believing they are too busy being busy to do anything with that flash of insight. My hat's off to you.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I love when inspiration strikes like that - best feeling ever!

Lynda R Young said...

That's brilliant. I love the way the novel came to you. Gotta like that!

M Pax said...

It is a crazy party month here in Bloggyland. Nice that you were inspired by a song that way. One of my stories was, too. I heard the line, "The war is over and the good guys lost." Made me think. Love when that happens.

LTM said...

I love that you say writing has given you a dream of your very own. I kind of feel that way. :o) And it was Madonna's "Give it to Me" that finally got me of my butt. I'd been writing for everybody else up to that point. Why wasn't I writing for myself? Why work for someone else to do what you can do right now? :o) <3

Jemi Fraser said...

That is an aweosme story!!! Those 'what if's and 'how's and 'i wonder's are so much fun to work with! :)

Trisha said...

This is a great story, Nancy!! I'm so glad the writing bug bit you and you churned this thing out! Sounds like it was meant to be. :) As for writers who have only started recently, I've actually noted during this blogfest that there are quite a few writers who've only started in the last few years. To me, that's really recent 'cause I'm one of those who's been writing since before I can remember. So you're not alone!

A lot of those who have recently started seem to also have already got published, so it does happen!

Jackie Jordan said...

This story was very authentic and entertaining, as well. Good luck in your endeavors ...

Jeremy Bates said...

Congratulations for winning the second entry. would it be just a coincident that you turned to being a writer?

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful story of your journey into writing! Those rare, miraculous sunny days can be life-changing here in the Seattle area . . . I agree.

Shallee said...

What a fabulous story of how your love for writing developed! I love when powerful ideas hit you out of the blue like that. Good luck with your writing.