Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Writing...but no samples , yet

I saw that your husband was working on a book too and you are possibly going to have a book published soon. Do you both write a lot? Or is it something you do on the side? Will we be seeing more writing samples soon?

Well, I haven't forgotten that I have two more questions to answer. Better late than never right?

Learning to read was traumatic for me. It took me awhile if I remember right. I was in a kindergarten class that was combined with first graders. The teacher would teach one half of the room and then go teach the other half. I'm not sure what my teacher's problem was but I think she expected the kindergartners to be reading as quickly as the first graders. I couldn't do that. The pressure placed on me to read was more than my little anxious personality could handle. When I would get home from school the slightest thing would set me off and I'd fall into a rage, which would get me sent to my room. I'd then proceed to take my anger out on the room and dump every last thing out of the drawers and throw them all across the room. And then it was too big of a mess to clean up on my own so my sister would be sent in to help me. (What are big sisters for right?).

You would think that this experience would be enough to make me hate reading forever but it didn't. At some point things just clicked and I've been in love with reading since then. I remember my mom reading Agatha Christie books and then passing them on to me when I was very young (fourth or fifth grade). I just couldn't get enough of reading.

So, this post is really supposed to answer a question about writing books not reading them, but I just have to say that I am enamoured with books. I love going to the library (by myself mind you) and walking the aisles and looking at all the books. I don't care what book it is. As long as it is not nasty, I'll read it. I am currently reading two books on natural birth. I can hear the collective gasp from my family members right now. First homeschool and now natural birth?! Oh no, they better call for a family intervention.

The last few months I just finished reading books about Mt. Everest--three of them actually--and I loved them.

But, enough about reading. I used to collect children's books. I haven't bought a children's book for a long time but I think about it every month. When I was little I took art lessons and I thought about being an author/illustrator of children's books but never got serious about it. Plus, I'm not really an artist.

In high school I took honors and AP English and loved it. They were by far my favorite classes. I loved listening to Mr. Olsen analyze Bob Dylan songs and ate up the challenge to write an essay on syntax. I probably wrote that essay a million times before I finally got my "9" but I still have that essay somewhere packed in a box.

When I went to college I took a creative writing class and also loved it. It was probably one of my favorite classes.

Even though I've always enjoyed writing (I have about 12 full journals), I've never considered myself a writer. I am actually a little self conscious about my writing. I took this online quiz once that read you blog and then gave you a score telling you what level of writing your blog was. I scored Jr. High or something lame like that. It's because I'm lazy. I don't like to worry about commas and grammar. Mike, on the other hand, is a very precise writer (he even added a comma to this sentence).

Anyway, this current set of writing started when the boys were having a few hard days and I joked to Mike that I thought our kids were the spawn of Satan. Then I laughed and said, "Wouldn't it be funny to write a story about a Devil Bug that climbs in a kids ear and makes him do naughty things all the time?" So I wrote a story and that was that. Mike kept bugging me (no pun intended) to send my story somewhere but I had no intention of doing that.

I finally sent it to my family for a review and to my friend but only got a few responses and I worried that my story was crap and that no one wanted to tell me that. But my sister, unbeknownst to me sent it to one of the ladies at her work (a publishing company) who read it and said it was one of the best children's books she's read while working there. I was so shocked. She encouraged me to send it somewhere and try and get it published.

After doing a lot of research I decided to try and get an agent and see if my work was acceptable. I got a response in less than a week and they have been helping me make the story better since then. Sometimes I want to scrap the whole idea and pretend like I never sent it in because I get anxious that it's not good enough. But then I think, "Who cares? You weren't even going to do anything with it anyway so it doesn't matter if nothing comes of it."

So, in answer to the question, I write a seen by this very long post....but I still don't consider myself to be an author and I probably won't for a long time after I get my story published (cross your fingers). The agent asked me if I aspired to be a writer and I had to say no. I aspire to be a mom. I have everything I want--a husband who loves me, three beautiful children, a happy life. Writing is something I do as a hobby. I write because I am never without something to say. I write because I want my kids to read my journals when I'm gone and know who I was. And, if I get stuff published, that would be fantastic. Really fantastic. What I don't want though, is for someone to ask my kids to describe their mom and they describe me sitting at a computer typing. That is not what I want to be known as.

In response to the second part of the question, yes. There will be more samples of Mike's writing (if he ever believes the people who tell him the stuff he writes is interesting). He's got over 55,000 words now. I'm worried about putting samples of my story on here for fear someone will rip it off.

I've entered a giveaway at Cedar Fort Books. Go here to enter it also. You can win a bunch of cool primary things for your kids.


Jess and Jen said...

Natural childbirth?? What are you talking about?? How could you even consider???

Just kidding. By the way, didn't Mom have, like, 10 natural childbirths? She didn't epiduralize until Ammon, I believe. Or is natural childbirth something else?

Wait, this was a post on writing, wasn't it? You're a great writer and trust me, you write at a much higher level than Jr. High. Your posts have some real thought put into them -- unlike plenty of mine. Too often I get lazy and my blog posts become "here's what I did today. First, I woke up and went to the bathroom...." That's too much detail, so I'll stop there. Ask Chelsey if I ever told her about those experiences. Gross. What is wrong with me?

Jess and Jason said...

Hehehe, funny that your side comment about childbirth is so enticing...If natural means no drugs/no epidural (but in the safety of a medical facility just in case) I am all for it...

I love to read what you write, and can't wait to see your devil bug story!

Carolina said...

One thing you might consider is submitting directly to publishing companies. Often times, if your submission seems promising but doesn't quite meet their standards, they will work with you to make it better (which makes you seem like a more attractive author since they get to keep more of the profit for themselves rather than pay an agent a commission). My mom just got a publishing contract with Cedar Fort, and she submitted directly, got some suggestions to make changes, and then got accepted for publication. Covenant Book also did the same thing a couple of years ago (they gave my mom suggestions to make the book acceptable for publication).

Best of luck with it!!

Mike and Adrianne said...

Carolina, Cedar Fort will not publish my book because the title was "The Devil Bug" and they mainly publish for Deseret Book and Seagull Book, who won't accept books with the word Devil in it unless it is about the actual Devil. Also, they don't publish a lot of fun kid books--mostly childrens books about serious topics.

Cedar Fort is actually where my sister sent the story in the first place and where the lady said it was a great book and to send it to someone else so it would be more likely to be published.

I have done a lot of research on this and considered sending it directly to a publisher but felt that sending it to an agent would be the better option for me because I really don't know the business and an agent will and also because everything I read said that if you haven't published before it is almost impossible to be accepted by a publisher without an agent. Of course that isn't true for all cases.

Congratulations to your mom! Does she write a lot?

Carolina said...

My mom always wanted to be a writer, but only recently had time. She's written a couple of books and is working on a third--she writes young adult fiction for a predominantly LDS market. She's been really lucky with publishers offering good feedback.

I can't wait to see your name and your book in print--good luck!