Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Accidental Adventure...

Today I'm plugging my post on my other blog. If you know of a child (preferrably 8-12, since that's the target age) interested in adventure stories, please check out the interview I conducted with C. Alexander London, all about his Accidental Adventure series (it's tres cool, I'll tell you that much here).

Speaking of accidental adventures, I thought today would be a good day to share stories about how we writers got started in the writing business. My first attempt at writing for children was definitely an accident, in case you were wondering how an accident and writing connected in the real world.

Oh, you want to hear that story? Well, okay. But it's dull. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's my accidental adventure/how I go started in the business for writing children:

You see, I'd been writing stories for adults for years, but I couldn't ever finish one. Usually I gave up somewhere in the first chapter or two, most often when I'd hit a brick wall with the plot and couldn't figure out a way forward (then, as now, I'm a pantser). So I was pleased when I had made it to the middle of a manuscript. The problem I ran into this time, however, was that main characters kept acting like children. I was so irritated at them that I flung the story right out the metaphorical window and took a break until I could figure out how to fix it.

Not long after, my young son was being silly with rhymes, and he giggled when he came up with "enormous porpoise." I knew there had to be a picture book in there somewhere, so I wrote a (badly-written) 5,000-word rhyming story about a porpoise, Dorcas, and her tiny friend, Jose. The book was terrible, but I enjoyed myself so much that I realized the best way to fix my problem of writing characters that acted like children was to...wait for it...write books where the children were the main characters.

Yes, I was a little slow on that uptake.

So, you see, a rhyme by a 4-year-old and a manuscript that will never see the light of day accidentally helped me find my true calling as an author of children's books.

Okay, now it's your turn. What's your story? Accidental or other-wise, I want to know!

*pulls up a chair and leans forward to listen*


  1. My story is similar to yours. I sort of fell into writing YA novels. I started out wanting to write picture books, so I signed up for a writing conference, but the picture book class was full. I ended up taking the general writing class and brought a short story. The teacher and class encouraged me to make it into a novel so I did, and it became my first YA novel. The same thing happened with my second short story. My writer's group encouraged me to make it into a novel. Now that short story turned novel is with an interested editor. That's how I became a writer of YA novels.

  2. Dull? No way. It's lovely. You inspired me to think about how I got here also. Can't remember when I didn't write, and for kids. Thinking.

  3. Alice--why did I not know that? Uh, I can only guess which two YA manuscripts you are talking about, but I'm pretty sure I've read at least one of them! Congrats on the editor interest (is this new info, or are we talking something I already know about?) and thanks for sharing your story. How fascinating! Really. I love hearing stories about how people get started.

    Mirka--Well, thank you. I think it's dull, but I'm glad it didn't bore you to tears, at least. And I love your story, too. Even if you don't think that you have one, it's fascinating to know someone who has been writing for kids since they were one themselves. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yah, Kala is one of them and the same editor has it. My first novel was a contemporary story about a girl who fights forest fires to save money to go to art school in Paris. Our writer's group went through it before you joined.

  5. So, girly, you a writer? Lucky day! WooHoo!!! Hereby, I, blessed holy socks, shall giveth unto thee, just and worthy liege, A-L-L of our blogs to sit-down, ponder, and think of ways YOU could re-structure the sentence structure -IF- you'd allow me to kiss your precious, adorable feets in Heaven (my PCs not mine, you understand. On loan from Gawwwd) --- Like iconoclastic romance? Like well-oiled-clichés? Like adventure and passion in the Great Beyond? Reading our blogs, especially 'MySoulAccomplishment', we can do whatever we like Upstairs - God only gives bawlz to those who see the need for humility. We love you, girl. I seriously gotta whooole lotta bawlz (in the cranium). Meet me in Heaven and you, too, can see’m. God bless you.