Friday, 19 October 2007

Coffee and Community

Welcome to today’s coffee break, everyone! Pull up a cushy chair and have a mug of something toasty warm. I don’t know about where you’re all at, but winter is fast approaching here on the eastern plains of Colorado. If you’re not into coffee, may I suggest some cocoa with a dribble of peppermint?

Something occurred to me as I was deciding what to talk about for my coffee break days. There are about forty of us now, and although we’re all working toward a common goal, I don’t really know much else about you. (Nor you about me, I would guess.) I think since we’re all in this race together, today might be a good time to get to know one another. (In a central location, so to speak.)

I’ll start and then each of you can leave your important stuff in the comment chain. Maybe we can use it later as a reference point for networking between Racers, and for helping each other when we get stuck or need help in our particular genres.

First off, I’m one of the few Yanks in the crowd (although we have more now than when I first started.) I’ve been writing steadily for the past 4 years, and have two books completed – both of them thrillers. I’m also in the final editing stage of a speculative fiction book, in the editing stages of a mystery, and in the first draft stage of a book I haven’t quite pinned down the genre for. Even though I’ve been a prolific little writer, I still haven’t sold anything and I don’t have an agent. Prior to writing, I worked as a secretary for a private school system and a large manufacturing company. I worked in telemarketing (don’t hate me too much), as a manufacturers’ rep for electronic parts, as a computer trainer and consultant… And countless other means of earning a living. Needless to say I’m a Jack of all trades (or maybe a Jackie).

One thing I am passionate about is research. I could spend days looking stuff up online. I always say that if I can’t find it, it’s not there to be found. So, if my fellow racers are desperate for info, drop me a note and I’ll see what I can do (provided I’m not jammed up with life stuff).

Anyway, I don’t want this to turn into the ‘about B.E.’ hour, so now it’s your turn. What would you like the other racers to know about you? Do you have a particular skill you think could be helpful? Is there some particular skill or knowledge base where other racers could pick your brain?

Finally, I’d personally like to see us be able to grow and work together as a community. Rather than just competing and encouraging, perhaps those of us in similar genres could work into beta reading or critiquing for others who are of a similar need. I know I could use a good critter for my speculative fiction right now, and I’d be happy to do the same for someone else. Does this sound like anything any of you would be interested in, or is it just me?


liz fenwick said...

Thanks B.E. Great idea especially as we have so mant new racers.

I too am a Yank but of the long term expat variety.......

Writing has always been there for me. I wrote three quaters of a novel for my senior thesis and was given the name of my professor's agent to send it to (Molly Friedrich) and I never did. The folly of youth.

I then went on to research, compile and write the history of a small island of of Massachusetts. I was paid well at the time but when it finaly was printed ten years later they left my name off the cover and only gave me credit on the inside. Such is the way of the world I guess. The whole experience made me vow to never write for anyone else again.

I moved from writing to insurance to earn a real living!

In 1988 I was at a crossroads in my life. i had applied to do a Master's in Theological studies at Havard Divinity and done the ground work to move to London. The dice were thrown so to speak and I moved to London in spring 1989. I met my now husnband two weeks later which has led to a life as the trailing spouse. During this time I had the prelidge to be the global head of a volontary network of spouses in 140 chapters in 100 countries. In this role I wrote and presented on the joys and woes of the expat lifestyle.

Back in 2004 I stepped down from this role and returned to my first love of writing fiction. I wrote a Harlequin Mills and Boon during my last six months in Dubai and my first back in London. It is/was crap but I did it. Over those years of not writing fiction I had lost the skill of writing.....not the skill of telling a story. So since then I have written and rewritten August Rock ten time and completed the first draft of A Cornish House. I am looking upon AR as my 'masters' in creative writing. Unlike the past I am not afriad to rewrite nad rewrite again. I have so much to learn:-)

I need a strong black coffe this the idea of mint in the coco though

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Good call! I'm having peppermint in my peppermint this morning. So, about me. I've been wanting and trying to write a novel for years and years. After many failed attempts I've finally (very very nearly) done it, and expect to be submitting to agents early next month. I live in England. I work as a humanist funeral celebrant and so does my protagonist, so I'm careful about my online identity because my writing has potential implications for my livelihood. So that's all I'm telling you, I'm afraid! I have a good real-life network of critters, but would be happy to crit bits for any novel racer who would like that. I also think it might be useful for anyone brave enough to post a short section of writing here - maybe just a page or two - that we could all crit, because it's always useful to see other people's suggestions. Since I've been blogging, people have mostly contacted me for advice and support around matters of bereavement and funerals, and I'm happy to help where I can.

Flowerpot said...

I started writing early - won my first prize aged about 6! but never did anything with it, went on to work in television latterly and my editor suggested I become a journalist then (20 years ago). The CEO said no. When I left London, I suddenly started writing and wrote my first novel. Got another fulll time job, got married (late in life) and started writing seriously 7 years ago. Got drawerfuls of novels here at home but technique is definitely improving - my RNA crits get better each time! - and now starting to earn some money from journalism as well. Just started my new novel so my head is spinning in all directions!

Kate said...

I'm Kate H (as opposed to Kate K)- with Lucy D/Sue, we jointly founded the Novel Race, initially as a duel. The rest is history...

I've loved writing since I was at school - but never thought I could make a living from fiction till I was in my thirties. After that it was all systems go! My first book was published in 2003. Since then, I've had three more published, with two more due out in 2008 (one was completed in the first few months of the Novel Race, and I'm editing the second right now. Well, not editing, obviously as I am coffee breaking: a Nespresso for me, George Clooney optional). I've only been a full-time writer for 15 months, though, the previous books were written while I was working in TV production. Much prefer my second career, I must say, though it sometimes feels even more precarious...the web is a boon to relieve occasional writerly isolation, though also a procrastination trap!

Rowan Coleman said...

Hello everyone - Good plan B.E!
I've written, or should I say made up stories since childhood. I started writing them down in my twenties. I wanted to be a writer but I didn't think I'd every get anything published (it's really hard!) So I did the next best thing and managed a bookshop for two years before working in pubishing for seven years. My last job was as an Editorial Manager at a non fiction publishers. I kept on writing all the time though, and about seven years ago I decided to study for an M.A in Writing part time with the amazing writer Sue Gee. During that time I entered The Young Writer of the Year competition run by Company Magazine and imagine my surpise when I won it!! That opened a lot of doors for me and before long I had an amazing agent and a fantastic publisher. Becuase I was very slightly known in the industry I submitted my first book to publishers under an assumed name - I didn't want any favours and if everyone thought it was terrible I didn't want anyone to know it was me! But luckily they liked it and my first novel GROWING UP TWICE was published in 2002, it was a WHS Fresh Talent winner. I have now written six novels for adults. The sixth THE ACCIDENTAL WIFE (out April 08) has been written since joining the racers, its been great to have you guys there to spur me on! I've also written a novella for the Quick Reads series and the RUBY PARKER series for girls, with three books out now and a further three to come. And late in 2008 I will start work on a paranormal series called WEIRDSVILLE for girls and boys. Phew!
I am very very happy to offer any of you help with getting your stuff ready for submission or general advice, except I can't commit to reading entire novels because of my work schedule. However if anyone ever is brave enough to post their work here I'll certainly throw my two penneth in!
Great to get to know all of you guys even better.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I'm working on my first cup of extra strong Folger's. =o)

Thanks for being the first to chime in you guys. I like reading about where you're at, and getting to know you better.

And Kate, thank you for creating the Novel Racers with Lucy. I think it's a great place to come and be with other writers. =oD

Helen said...

Great idea B.E. Thanks.

In my former life I used to work in Professional Services Marketing. I wrote press releases, web copy, biographies, newsletter articles but how tedious is insurance and the law (no offence to any brokers or lawyers out there). Why didn't I market champagne or dark chocolate...

So I have general marketing, PR, event management and database experience amongst other things that I have deleted from my mind. Anyone wanting help organising their launch give me a shout! (I'll find you someone who remembers what to do!)

I've never identified 'writing' as a profession for me, mainly because I didn't think somone like me could do it. Yes I enjoyed writing stories at school, but no-one said you could have a career in writing. I started my cake making business as I knew I could do that. For a year or so I was torn between taking the cake business more seriously (I went on small business courses, wrote my business plan and everything)to wanting to write. Eventually after much soul searching I went for the writing. Even though I had no idea if I could do it, I just knew I had to try. So I started writing seriously from January this year. As Kate says, the rest is history.

Looking back I think my first year has gone quite well so far.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Although I live in Scotland, I'm a Londoner by birth. I've been writing since I was young and began seriously when I was seventeen. Other stuff (teaching in schools, community education work, and then teaching in museums) kept it on the back burner until I had to give up work because of ill health. That coincided with the publication of my first book - a text book for teachers on the use of museums as an educational resource. As writing is pretty much the only thing I can do these days, that is what I do. I have written 8 non-fiction works and had seven of them published. I have also written 8 novels and had two of them published (one of which has long been out of print). I'm currently working on a non-fiction book, editing a collection of short fiction by other writers, have been helping with a collection of non-fiction pieces by another author, and I'm well into the first novel of a cycle of four.

I used to have an agent but gave her the sack as she did very little and clearly wasn't interested in representing me. I seem to have managed reasonably well without one since, although it would be good to find one who was prepared to make the effort. Finding one who has the same range of interests as me, though, would be a minor miracle.

My publications are listed on my blog. Of the stuff that didn't get into print, the non-fiction was a philosophical thesis on education. The novels include spy fiction, science fiction, a children's book, and what tends to be called speculative fiction.

One day, I hope to make more than pocket money from my work. Two days would be better.

Caroline said...

A big hello from Chester (UK).
I joined the Novel Racers to complete my second novel, Black Boxes. My first was published in June 2007. I finished Black Boxes over this summer (thanks to novel racer support) and am signing (tomorrow) a two book deal. Black Boxes will be published June 2008 and novel 3 June 2009. So I will be writing novel 3 over the next year.

In my other life, I am a freelance editor and a lecturer in linguistics for the Open University. Life is just one big juggle!

Cathy said...

I live on the edge of London, though I grew up in the south-west of England.

I have always been interested in language and books. My degree was in German, but I also studied French, Italian and Dutch language and literature at various times. After university I trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (like a CPA in the US.) I always had the desire to write but no confidence. I took a supposedly short career break when my first child was born and sixteen years later I am still on that break. Both my children have special needs at present, one of them has severe autism, so I have been needed at home.

When my younger child started school I signed up with the Open University and have taken a number of courses to keep my brain active. It was studying Creative Writing with the OU over the last few years which finally gave me the confidence that I could write and now I am taking it much more seriously. So far my writing is only on the web (links from my blog) but I do have a few rejection letters for short stories!

My novel is making slow progress but I am committed to it, however long it takes. In the meantime I am juggling that with my OU study,voluntary work, part-time flexible accountancy work for my husband's business and my caring duties. I also have a mid- to long-term ambition to do an MA in Creative Writing, either locally or by distance learning.

Life is never dull!

Kate.Kingsley said...

Minty cocoa! Why did I never think of that before?! Mmmmmm……

Great topic, B.E, I’ve loved reading the wee biogs so far ~ aren’t we a fascinating bunch with a wealth of diverse experience? I love the fact that whilst we all have the writing in common, in terms of everything else we’re all coming from such different places (in every sense of the word). Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of us prevaricated earlier on in life, but started treating the writing ambitions with much more respect one we got into our 30’s or thereabouts ~ interesting!

So, me. Well, I have always had a passion for the written word, and did my first degree in Eng Lit, followed by an abandoned MA in Contemporary literature ( I WILL go back and finish that one day!). However I always thought writing was something that other people did, that I wasn’t creative or clever enough, until suddenly one day it occurred to me that I was possible equally as clever or creative as some of the published authors out there and I wouldn’t know unless I gave it a shot, which is what I’m in the process of doing now.

Currently working in an insurance office (maybe we could swap stories, Liz!) but I have also recently completed a bsc in psychology and am looking to train further in this field (either clinical or counselling psychology). So, although I’m not yet fully qualified I’m able to offer up my limited psychological know-how, if anyone wants to ask anything in that area.

I also realised recently that it’s extremely beneficial that my pseudonym is not quite the same as my real name: the long term aim is to work as a psychologist, but write as well, and I think it might create some conflict if a prospective patient / client recognised my name ~ would you want to reveal the deepest darkest corners of your mind up to a psychologist–come–novelist? I guess it’s similar to Zinnia’s situation.

Right, off for a quick run before an evening tango (watching, not oding!).

Happy writing all,

Kate K

Ps: I’m happy to offer critting services to other racers ~ critting other people’s work on A215 really helped my hone my writing senses.

ChrisH said...

Hi everyone, forgive me for not going on at length but I'm deep into my rewrite at the moment. My blog of 20 September 'Proceed with Care', ( in response to a request from would-be novelists, pretty much explains where I've come from and why getting this rewrite finished is so important to me.

Hope this doesn't make me seem an aloof old snotbag - just keen to get this done, that's all - I've also been visitng your blogs as time allows and it really helps me to see what others are up to.

Thanks B.E.S for hosting discusssion.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I don't think there's anything particularly special about me. I just write, and once in a while send out a book. I'm amassing quite a few rejection letters so I'm doing something wrong, I think. Probably query letters and synopses; I'm rubbish at those, particularly since I can never keep the novels to a plan and end up with them diverging from the original idea.

I'm English through and through, originally native to Newcastle, then the Midlands, and now Derbyshire. I was trained as a painter then worked as a civil servant. I was raised Catholic and became pagan by choice, though now I write about One Man and his Demon in various guises and genres though most are urban fantasy.

I'm currently writing one book in chunks of 500 words a day (Jasfoup's Diary) and plotting another. An historical urban fantasy is waiting in the wings.

CTaylor said...

What a great topic BE and reading all the responses makes for fascinating reading.

I've been writing since I was little (and sent off a 'book' I wrote to Penguin Publishers, complete with illustrations, when I was eight. Funnily enough it was rejected). I continued to write stories over the years (although I didn't write much between the ages of 18-22. Too busy enjoying university!) Got 'serious' about writing in 2005 when I started writing and subbing short stories to competitions.

This year was my third attempt at writing a novel (the others were abandoned) and being in part of the novel racers really helped...I finished it! Still editing it now but I'm 73% of the way through so not much more to go (and then I start on the second edit!).

Jobs? Everything from waitress, dishwasher, fruit sorter, postwoman, shipping co-ordinator, graphic designer, web designer and now I'm an 'instructional designer' (I write and design online courses - commercial training courses in the past and academia now).

Special skill? I've got a BSc in Psychology but an appalling memory so can only really remember bits and bobs. I'm a bit of a technical bod so feel free to ask me anything to do about web design.

As for reading other people's manuscripts? Yeah, I'd happily swap my paranormal chicklit novel with someone else's chicklit/women's fiction novel - but not until I've finished the first edit. Personally I wouldn't share any of my novel online unless this blog was password protected but I'd happy crit someone else's.

Btw I won't be around for next Friday's coffee morning I'm afraid but I'll raise a mug to you all. Back the week after.

Cathy said...

As a footnote to my post, I agree with Cally. I am happy to crit the work of others but I do think it should be on a password protected blog or just by exchanging documents off blog.

I am writing women's fiction with a darker edge rather than chick lit.

Helen Shearer said...

Hi everyone. Great topic this week. I'm having visions of B.E. smiling big and dancing a soft shoe routine while belting out "Getting to know you...getting to know all about you..." I was born In Glasgow, Scotland, the dodgy end, but we moved to Canada when I was six, so I suppose technically I'm an expat too. I started writing as a child, then in 1985 I studied nursing for a year. I hated every minutes of it but my English teacher wrote on one of my papers that she thought I should consider writing for a living. That was all the encouragement I needed to ditch nursing college and work full-time while I saved money for university. I registered as an English major in uni in 1989 and studied part-time, finally graduating in 1999. Between 1985 and 1999 I worked at a staggering array of dead-end jobs, all of which paid abysmally but gave me a plethora of ideas for writing. Nothing inspires quite like misery, I suppose, and you meet some interesting people (read: selfish, pampered bastards) when you work in the service industry. For nine long years I worked as a nanny for five different families and by the end of it, when I was particularly cranky, I wrote 40,000 words about the joys of wiping the snotty noses of other people's children and dealing with the tantrums of other people's parents. Sadly, McLaughlin and Kraus published The Nanny Diaries and beat me to the punch. I might eventually pick up that story again.
I have written two as-yet-unpublished novels, one a children's story, that I have never had the nuts to send out. While I was polishing that book, the idea for a comedy about the maid industry hit me. I finished a revised first draft this past spring, and sent the first three chapters to an agent in August. I received a lovely rejection slip in September. I'm in the midst of reworking it to tighten it up before sending it out again. While I was waiting for word on the maid story I managed to bash out 8000 words of the next story but I've put it on hold until I send out the maid story again. I've had some encouraging feedback from fellow writers so hopefully finding an agent isn't too far off.
For the past five years I've worked in a non-profit housing office which pays only slightly less abysmally but offers just as many intriguing story ideas. I worked concurrently at Starbuck's for four years and I just know there's a book there. I would love to read bits and pieces of your works in progress, but I, too, am superstitious about sending my work into cyberspace, with or without a password.

A. Writer said...


I'm near enough a newbie when it comes to writing. I've only been writing for 3 years. It was a spur of the moment decision when I couldn't find a book I wanted to read so I thought I'd write my own.

I'm currently writing the 3rd draft of my first novel, doing edits as I go.

I'm finding it tough finding the time to write which is rather pathetic as I don't have any children and I've only got a part time job! I feel so daft moaning I have no time when others manage!

I work part-time in a supermarket-awful!

I don't think I'm qualified to critique anyone's work, as in the writing style but if anyone wants an honest opinion on their story-I'm your girl as I love a good read! But I think helping each other out in that way is a great idea!

Sarah*G* said...

Hello all, I apologise upfront for the lousy spelling that is bound to follow as I got a manicure today and I now have long(ish) acrylic nails and typing is very odd! I am a newbie to writing seriously too. I have always enjoyed it (and reading) and my teachers at school all said I had an active imagination and essays were always a interesting to read. I am sure there is a compliment there! I decided to become more serious about it and stop moaning about the fact I hate my current job and wished I could do something I like, when I saw a certain writing competition in a glossy womans magazine. I am writing a story with inspiration picked from bits of my life. I am doing it as sort of a letter to my children when they are older so they can know me better and why I am the way I am. Does that make sense? I have written down a list of things and people I remember from growing up and am turning them into characters in a story. (My list includes the usual marriage, divorce, prostitution, drug dealser, criminal activity, living abroad, sex, hate, violence, tears...) My kids are 4 and 2 years old and the loves of my life (along with hubby). I was born in Edinburgh and stayed there till I was 18 then I went to Michigan for a year as an exchange student. I returned to the UK in 1995 and went to Uni in Preston and then moved to Northampton where my hubbys family are and where I still live. We do hope to move to Indiana next year if visa is approved.
I am pleased I started this journey writing because even tough it is hard and times, I love it. I enjoy doing it and that is the most important thing.
Nice to get to know you all a bit better! I am so glad to be back online. The 2 weeks I was off was torture. I love the internet! god bless wireless broadband connections!!

hesitant scribe said...

Ooh. Really having to think here! Your comments are all so interesting!

I live in the UK, but am Canadian born, adopted by Brits, and I lived in Spain for a while. I have identity issues (ha ha) as I'm neither Canadian, nor British, and feel a closer affinity to Spain and France than anywhere else. Weird. I've done all kinds of jobs in 'former' lives: bottler and busker in Covent Garden, cardiothoracic surgical secretary, bar maid, etc., but went back to school at the age of 29 and am now a lecturer in language, literature, and creative writing. I think I spent the first 25 years of my life paying off some really heavy karma. Either that or I was simply stupid, or unlucky. But it all makes for great writing material, eh!

I've been writing, making up songs and stories since I learned to talk, but somewhere in childhood I stopped showing anyone my work. But I ended up doing creative writing as a minor on my degree course (English Lang and Lit) due to a clerical error. (?!) I've since written a collection of short stories for my MA in writing, and am 2 years into my PhD. My PhD is ... you guessed it... a novel with a thesis.

So there you go. Just returned from a field trip in Spain and am bursting with ideas. I've started writing my novel from the beginning again (argh) but at last I've found the voice for it. There is light at the end of this long dark tunnel!

Cocoa with mint - hmmm! Especially now it's gone all chilly in the UK!

KeVin K. said...

Wow. It's going to take me a long time to read through all these bios. And even longer to write my own. (With an ego that requires its own zip code -- postal code? -- I tend to run long when it comes to talking about myself.)

We're definitely going to need some sort of archive in which to keep all these historical documents....

KeVin K. said...

And adding: The crit circle sounds intriguing. I've never shown my work to anyone who wasn't an editor in a position to buy or an instructor at a writing workshop. I'm very ambivalent about the whole concept, actually. (Go on at great lengths about it on occasion.) If such a group within the group should form, I strongly recommend exchanging documents off list. Put nothing on the 'net you don't want to have show up unexpectedly elsewhere. (Plus, some markets that don't accept works that have been published before still count posted publicly as "published" -- something to consider.)

KayJay said...

Late again, sorry! Every Friday rushes by in a blur at the moment. However, I now have builder's tea and toast and Marmite in hand, and am thoroughly enjoying reading about everyone.

All about me: I'm from the North East but have lived in London for the last gazillion years. I've just celebrated my first year of marriage to a tall, hairy comedian.

I used to be an actor. I trained at a great drama school, worked in theatre, did outdoor Shakespeare in the pouring rain, performed panto in Working Men's Clubs and got pelted with cola bottles. Believe me, next to acting life as a writer is a breeze. Rejection? Pah! Try being an actor. Talk about a crash course in learning to Suck It Up.

I gave it my all, but about 9 years ago I fell out of love with it. I'm not a fickle bird - it was a huge wrench, believe me. And of course, it left a massive hole; I needed to find a way to 'make stuff up' again, for love and money! So, I co-founded a children's theatre company and started writing plays and adapting fairy stories for the stage. I rediscovered writing; something I'd always loved but had been pushed aside by the all-consuming desire to act. After the plays came tentative beginnings of children's books and I fell in love all over again - in a way that I'd always know I would, {CUE VIOLINS} deep down! Then came the Chick Lit novel, which is still unfinished but definitely getting there. It has been set aside for a little while as my first children's book is now polished and ready to roll.

So now I'm preparing myself for this whole new world of hurt! I've just taken the MASSIVE step of sending out my first ms to an agent (spurred on by winning a competition and getting a nibble of interest! Woo hoo!)

I'm feeling very excited by everything at the moment. Give me a couple of years and maybe I'll be a bit more jaded/bitter/twisted, but right now it feels like the sky's the limit. And I know I'm in this game for good.

I'm more than happy to crit, for what it's worth, but would be nervous to share work on an unprotected site. Anyone want to know anything about the world of theatre/comedy? I'm your gal.

Lane said...

Hi all and thanks B.E.
I must admit to feeling woefully inadequate in the light of some racers achievements. In my defence, whilst I have spent a good deal of my adult life frittering away time and jumping from one thing to another, I have now seen the 'light' and am deadly serious.

Born in Hampshire, I did my degree (English and Art) in London and ending up staying there for 20 years. Now resident in Suffolk.
Have run the gamut of jobs from taking blood samples from chickens to ending up being a college lecturer in ESOL and literacy.

Throughout the years I dabbled in writing. I won the BBC/Pebble Mill (remember them?) short story competition and received a Mont Blanc pen for my efforts. It never worked. I then had articles published in Woman's World (long since defunct), Annabel (even longer defunct) and stories in women's magazines. I found it easy and had few rejections but I was of course the most studid woman ever to have walked the earth because rather than stick at it and build on these small successes, I went off to paint/sing/do whatever took my fancy and of course the years slipped by.
I am now writing my first novel.
When it's in a readable state I'd be grateful for fellow racer's appraisal and I'm more than happy to read anyone else's. I haven't really thought through the whole on/off blog thing.

sheepish said...

Hi everyone sorry I'm late. It's been fascinating reading all your biogs, well done to B.E. for the suggestion. I think my profile says enough about me although I would add that my blog has nothing to do with my wip. My blog is just a way for me to remember all the amazing things that have happened to me since moving to France 16 years ago.
I have always been a voracious reader and have toyed with the idea of trying to write a novel for a long time but it was only in the last year or so that I have had enough time and also the inspiration and story that just came out of the blue. Since starting my novel I have been trying to improve my technique, and have found many useful sites on the internet. Also the Novel Racers are a source of much knowledge and it is just so great to have support whenever you feel the need. I can't imagine what it would be like without broadband it has added another dimension to my life in France, being part of a community of like minded people has broadened my horizons and opened up so many possibilities.
Now, as to my skills, if anyone needs help with anything to do with sheep ---- then I'm your shepherd!!!!!! Now don't all rush at once.


Hi there, I know its Saturday lunchtime and I am as ever late...Can I blame the time difference? No thougth not...sorry, busy with the real world which annoyingly keeps getting more and more demanding.I grew up in Southern England and now live in France but have lived in many other parts of the globe too for varying periods. I have always written stories and poetry and was lucky in that I spent a lot of my time in my formative years following around behind a female poet who happenned to be a neighbour and whose husband had been an author too so just thought this was what people did for a living. Quite a shock to find that actually most people regarded writing as a hobby.

It wasnt until this year that I seriously started writing a novel, which I have now completed,and am on the long trek hawking my wares between agents none of whom so far want to touch it. I live however in hope!

Thanks for this wonderful topic it does make reassurring reading to see how others passions ahve panned out!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful responses. (LOL HelenS - now I have that song stuck in my head.)

I don't know about posting our work here - password or not - but was simply floating the idea of an e-mail exchange. The only work I ever post on the net is work I never expect to sell, or very brief excerpts of my books. Like Kevin said, most places (at least in the US) look at posted on the net as somewhat published. Plus, anything you post out here is available for anyone and everyone to read, so I don't think having unpolished work does anyone's career any good.

wordtryst said...

I'm really, really late, but I've got a great excuse...

Wow. What a resource base we've got here.

I recently did a post introducing myself to the group, so I won't repeat myself here and bore everyone. I'll just say I'm from Trinidad and I started writing seriously in my 30's after a friend urged me to follow my writing dream. I recently received an offer for my first novel - received the draft of the contract today (is it still Sunday?) - finally.

The mere idea of posting work online gives me the shudders, partly because publishers seem to be finicky about that sort of thing, and partly because of my Internet phobias, but I have no objection to critting the work of sturdier souls.

Tea for me, please. Chamomile. I'm off to bed.

NoviceNovelist said...

I'm super, super late but wnated to join in anyway! Great to read about you all - what a diverse community. I was born in Belfast, raised in Australia and have lived in the south of england for the past 8 years with my English husband. I've always written and had a varied history with the word. I was a playwright for a few years and have freelanced as a journalist for about 15. I considered giving up writing about 4 years ago as I had lost my way and didn't know what I wanted to write or even if I did anymore. I enrolled on a CW Master's - had an idea for a novel which is currently on it's final draft. I'm hoping to submit to agents before I return to Australia for a month at Xmas - I'n currently learning to be a bit more disciplined and selfish as a writer or I realise I'll never get it finished. I'm having a blog break at the moment so I can focus on writing. I really enjoy being part of the NR community - feels a priviledge to share with everyone.

Leigh Russell said...

This is such a find! Too busy reading all your stories to spend too much time telling you mine but you can check out my blog if you want to read more. I've been extraordinarily lucky. I started writing about 9 months ago and was lucky enough to be offered a 3 book deal after about 2 months, before I'd even finished the first book, which is coming out in the spring. I write fast - average 2,000 words a day - no idea where it all comes from. I've never written before but have read a lot. I'd appreciate comments on my blog re. my book cover. What do you think? I put my thoughts about writing on my blog and hope you can visit some time. I'll be back!

JJ said...

Well, I'm so late, I toyed with the idea of just not turning up at all.

But really I've just stopped by to say sorry i didn't make it this week. Internet was a bit slow where I was holidaying. I wanted to make sure I stopped by so I didn't get marked 'absent' on the Novel Racers register!


Juliette M said...

Oh God, I am so late, I hope there's some coffee left. Sorry everyone, I've been at a LARP event camping in Arctic temperatures and running round hitting things with rubber swords. Which probably tells you enough about me...

I've always been interested in writing - my mum has some truly embarrassing stories I wrote when I was in junior school about things like D'Artagnan and some fairies who lived in spice jars (HOW did they communicate? I have only just thought of this and I have no idea.) which I am sure she will use as blackmail material at some point or other. I did Creative Writing as my minor subject during my BA, only because nobody was allowed to take it as a major, and went on to do a Masters in Writing Studies. I started writing full length novels at this point, but with each module we had to start a new project, hence why I have so many projects on the go and unfinished.

I got into Chick Lit (after flicking through a couple of CL books and really disliking the genre for a LONG time) after reading Kate Harrison's BROWN OWL'S GUIDE TO LIFE. As a keen Brownie in my childhood I loved it and thought that if this was also classed as chick lit then I could have a go at what I wanted to write about. This became SIZE HERO which I entered for the Miss Write contest. I stumbled on Cally's blog while Googling Miss Write and was hooked - then decided to have a blog of my own.

I'm currently working on two chick lit novels as part of a family series (SIZE HERO and POLLY) and some other projects including two historical novels, an occult chick lit book and some dark fantasy work about Celtic myth. I recently posted my 'first page challenge' as shown by Fiona on her blog, which weirded me out a bit as I am paranoid someone will pinch it off the internet. I dont have any full chapters up because of that paranoia. I would like to crit and be critted (if that's a word!) though.

Hmm, not sure what else to say other than that!

Kate said...

Better late than never.

I grew up in Australia. I couldn't decide on what career direction to follow so I did a degree in Music (classical piano) and a degree in Geology (yeah, rock music, very funny)... After slogging my way through Uni I became a little disillusioned and worked crap jobs in order to save up and travel. After just three months of working in a pub in England I met my husband. We were married last year, and come March I will have been in England for 5 years now.
I'm now working in insurance in London... funny that I'm not the only one!

I had an idea for a Fantasy trilogy while I was at uni and since then I've been slowly toying with it. I did manage to squeeze in a subject or two of creative writing while doing my music degree, but I never really considered writing full time until just a year or two ago.

I completed a very badly written first draft of a ghost/chick-lit-ish type novel during Nanowrimo last year, and I've shelved my original Fantasy trilogy and have started on a new one (I call it Cloud People, but that is not going to be the title.. its just a name to use to distinguish it from Arkedhar - my original Fantasy trilogy which I will go back to once I finish Cloud People).

I've got a few rejections from submitting short stories to a few places on the net, but did manage to be short listed for one. Hooray.

I'm currently amassing knowledge as to how to write as effectively and brilliantly as possible, and also how to dazzle potential agents/publishers. I hope to finish Cloud People - Book 1, soon (well, I actually hope to start writing it soon.. but once I start I'm hoping to finish it before my next birthday. April. I'll be 30. GASP!!). I'm also writing a collection of fairy tales, which I was inspired to write after watching Pan's Labyrinth.

Thats about it from me. Critting each other sounds great, but I'm incredibly selfish and lazy, and also not so confident that I'm any good at critting. I'm also not sure if I'm confident enough to let anyone see my scribbles with a view to pulling them apart. I'll think about it.. but please dont wait for me.

Fiona said...

Apologies again for being so late..can I wash up to make amends? I've been away on a long petsit and then home catching up on chores and avoiding writing.

I have had the following jobs so if anyone wants info, feel free to ask although I got sacked a couple of times so my knowledge is limited!

Jobs: rabies research lab
Secretary (fired twice...stupid career choice for a dyslexic
Receptionist in a nightclub/brothel (didn't know it was a brothel when I went for interview.)
Au Pair - spend three years in Spain, Italy, Greece and North Africa
Assistant Film Editor..longest job so far
Petsitter/dogwalker - present occupation.

Leigh Russell said...

My excuse for being so late - I'll have to get back to you on that. I've enjoyed reading all the biogs so much I thought, inspired by Kate (better late than never) I'd add my own.

I'm a school teacher. I teach English which I studied many years ago at university (college if you're in the USA). In January this year the last of my grown up children left home and I thought, "This is great, I can put my feet up at last." After about two weeks, I grew bored and started scribbling. The scribbling rapidly became compulsive and I produced a crime thriller.

Since then I've been incredibly lucky to sign a three book deal with a publisher. Not only does my first book come out in the spring, but I feel I've been given a licence to keep scribbling.

I haven't had so much fun in years. Getting published is wonderful, but only the icing on the cake for me. The real buzz is writing. I love it. I can't believe it took me so long to discover a creative streak lurking in me. For the first time in my life I feel really comfortable with myself.

I'm sure you understand.