This journey of becoming a novelist and writer has been so fascinating. After working on my great big idea, my very unusual novel, on and off for sevearl years, I finally finished and got a book agent (also called a literary agent). This author can’t stop dancing!
Becoming a Writer
From the beginning and throughout the entire process I’ve been studying, learning and practicing the principles of the Law of Attraction – reading all the books by Esther Hicks, the original source of this material. There are also a ton of YouTube videos where you can listen to Esther Hicks answer all kinds of questions. You can also search under Abraham Hicks.
Through these principles I first asked for an original idea for my own novel. The next morning I awoke with the first few sentences in my head. The whole idea was full of magic and I’ve been enchanted with it ever since, even though my work on it was on again – off again, for many years.
Finishing the Novel
At a sci-fi/fantasy conference I took an author’s workshop. When she learned about my idea, she became so excited she offered to write the blurb on the back for me. Her enthusiasm acted as a catalyst and I began writing in earnest. I joined a local writer’s group whose main goal is to get our novels done. In about a year, and with the help of NaNoWriMo virtual camps, I finally finished my novel. Then I spent another whole year plus a few months revising and editing the novel, studying and applying the craft of writing from recommended books like The GMC, My Story Can Beat Up Your Story, and Editor-Proof Your Writing.
Get a Book Agent
A writer friend highly recommend I attend the local annual writer’s conference. We have a big one here in Colorado Springs: The Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference. It is so popular and fun that even the speakers often ask to come back.
While I was still writing my novel, not quite finished, I went to the writer’s conference one evening to attend “Bar-Con,” where everyone networks around the bar. A writer friend introduced me to my future agent, though I didn’t know it at the time. But I was able to pitch my story to her and she immediately saw the vision of my unique book. She asked for the full manuscript–a miracle in itself! I told her it wasn’t quite done, and she said to take my time, not to worry. Of course, I didn’t expect it to take over a year later!
Many Queries Later
I completely finished my book, revisions and everything, finally. This year I attended the full 4-day writer’s conference and pitched my story to five agents, receiving five rejections and one literary director and editor who loved it. I sent the full ms to the original agent from last conference, and also queried it out to about 15 agents in the U.S. and the U.K. (my story is set in 1665 London). Then I waited for two months, sending it out to agents here and there.
In August my agent, Natalie Lakosil, told me she loved my book. She arranged a phone call and offered me representation! By now, I’d received enough rejections that I accepted from the original agent who saw the vision.
It was so exciting to get a book agent! Now I’m in the interesting phase of Natalie and I collaborating to make my novel even better with more revisions and edits. I knew going in this would happen somewhere along the line towards publishing, and I’m really enjoying watching my novel get better and better. I’m learning that a good novel is sometimes more about what the author takes out, than what she leaves in. Less can be more, allowing the reader to bring more of themselves and interpretations to the story.
So what is the big idea, what is my unusual novel? It’s a potions textbook that has accidentally gotten out of Hogwarts and into the muggle world. It looks like an old encyclopedeia, with black and white woodcuts throughout. When you start reading Encyclopedeia Magica: Volume 1 – Alchemy, you discover there is something weird and alive in this book. Without giving it away, let’s just say you will be pulled in to becoming the magical hero of the story, if you wish to take on the challenge, and learn about a young girl who had to dress like a boy and became an alchemist’s apprentice, before the book defeated her. Now it is up to you to save her!
What is the take-away to get a book agent?
- Study and practice the Law of Attraction, to bring the right ideas, circumstances and people into your life – everything by Esther Hicks and Abraham Hicks
- Join local writer’s groups. Go to your nearest, best writer’s conference (they offer scholarships).
- Make yourself write, study the craft, and finish your novel.
- Network with agents and editors at conferences. You can also query your writing to agents with the online service, DuoTrope – worth the $5/month.
I learned that several famous authors received their original ideas by inspiration – from a dream or the like. So, many years ago, I prayed to receive an inspiration for a novel. The next morning I woke up with the first couple of sentences in my head, I saw it clearly: “Alpha, first letter of the Greek alphabet…Hello, my name is Alpha, I am trapped, please help me…” Alpha reached out to me from the ether and told me of her plight.
So I received a tiny germ of an idea, just the first few sentences (I’m not including it all here since I don’t want to give the story away). The idea fascinated me, captured my imagination, sent a thrill through me. What will happen to Alpha? What happens in my story? What is Alpha’s story? I knew the book was like an old encyclopedeia with alchemical terms, like a Potions Class from Hogwarts. This novel is my answer to a deep desire to attend Hogwarts.
Thus began my journey as I worked on my first novel, on and off, for many years. It required a lot of research, which I love to do. I struggled the most with finding consistent time to make myself work on it – the first challenge of all writers. I was also running a business, then started a second, and raising four teenagers. My auburn hair began to gray.
But I continued working on my novel off and on for several years, spending the bulk of my time doing historical research and learning alchemy myself.
Then I met full-time author Susanne Lambdin at GalaxyFest and attended her writing class. I shared my story idea with her and she became so excited she offered to write the blurb on the back and connect me with her book reviewers and network. Her excitement acted as a catalyst, getting me fired up about my story again and finally figuring out how to work on it consistently.
I started participating in the various NaNoWriMo goals throughout the year (National Novel Writing Month plus their virtual writing camps) and joined a more aggressive local writer’s group. They meet every other Monday night to give feedback on each other’s works, to learn the craft of novel-writing, and to push each other to write at least 2,000 words a week and get our books done. I was encouraged to stop researching and get the writing done – the research can continue alongside the writing. I had been stuck in the research hole for a long time so this was what I needed.
I got serious with my writing and spent a year finishing the novel. Whew – I thought the main work was done. I was wrong. It took me two years of working on it steadily to revise and edit. I learned so much.
Finally in June of 2018, I finished my novel and kept dancing all day. I’m now querying it out and one agent is reading it!