Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Note to Self: Write a Book Someday!


In a letter I received from a reader, the question was asked: What made you decide to write a book?


What a question.

In order to answer that, I had to go way back. Back to 1989, in fact.

In July of 1989 was when I first thought about writing a book...a children's book. Of course, I would also illustrate it too. How hard could it be? People write and illustrate books all the time, right?

I was young, 22 years old, and so naive. 


What does it take to write a book?

It takes a story. 

I was pretty good at telling stories. I remember I could mesmerize friends with a story about a dream I had. I could retell the plot of a movie and keep my audience captivated even though it probably meant ruining the ending for them.

So, coming up with my own story would be no problem, right?


But I knew someday I would complete my own book. This was back in the day of typewriters. I loaded in the paper and started typing. I first started with a love story, but that didn't work out. So, I switched to the type of book I like to read: suspense. But that ended by chapter two. I had no idea what I was doing!


Chapter One

It wasn't until years later that I knew I had a story to tell and someone to tell it to: my son.

He wasn't able to read yet, but I knew one day he would read my book. So, I sat down at the computer (this was in 1997) and started writing what would become my first book, The Dragon Forest. 

But it wasn't until 2004 that I felt something special about my story. The Lord sort of took over and suddenly the chapters just came to me. I was putting into each chapter some Christian principles that meant something. The story became something other than just a fantasy/adventure story for kids. 

I typed "The End" in 2008 and realized that writing a book isn't as easy as I once thought back in the day when I was a young wife. No, by the time I finished, I was a wife and mother. So much had happened to me that my story now reflected some of my life experiences. 


I enjoyed reading that letter from my reader. He wanted to know how I came up with the setting, the characters, and the story. 

It was fun looking back on the writing journey only to find how God was there along the way giving me everything I needed to complete my book. 

How did I know I wanted to become a writer? I suppose it came to me the day I held my first book in my hands. The desire deepened when I saw kids reading my book and asking me to sign it. I suppose it was when my students began asking me questions about the plot and characters. It was then and there that I knew I had more stories to tell.

Is it easy to write a book? 

I don't think so. It makes one so vulnerable. It means taking risks. 

But is it worth it? Yes.

So, stay calm on the journey. Learn the craft (as I had to do for the last two years) and keep writing no matter what. 

In the end, you, too, will look back on the journey with such pleasure. You will be able to answer the questions:

What made you want to write a book?

How did you know you wanted to become a writer?


You can find my book and many other wonderful books at my publisher's site