Sunday, December 18, 2005

Getting Started

Thank heaven for the Internet! What in the world did writers do before the advent of blogs and writing boards and e-groups? Well, okay, they probably got more writing done. But where did they find camraderie? And feedback? What did they do without feedback? I suppose the solitary nature of pre-Internet writing was what Henry James meant when he talked about working "in the dark." He did okay for himself, though, so perhaps it wasn't as bad as I'm imagining.

Personally, however, I need an outlet for my ramblings and, hopefully, people to tell me I'm not crazy when I have a 2am bout of insecurity and consider giving up on this silly "novelist" thing entirely.

So, a word about where I am on this whole "Writer's Journey" thing. I've been writing most of my life. I think I was about nine when I started filling notebooks with stories and even the occasional really bad poem. (Don't worry--I stopped writing poetry years ago.) After a very bad run-in with a very bad "guidance counselor" at age 16, I decided that being a writer was a pipe dream and pretty much put it away. That didn't mean the stories in my head went away, however. About four years later, when I found myself living in a foreign country where I didn't speak much of the language, I needed an outlet for my thoughts and one day I left my apartment, bought a cheap notebook, sat down in a coffee shop and the words just poured out. I've been writing ever since.

Two and a half years ago, I started making notes and testing out voices for a full-length chicklit novel. Two years, a couple of boyfriends and a career change later, I still wasn't finished. That novel, full of characters I adored, had become a monkey on my back and I simply couldn't enjoy writing anymore because I knew I needed to finish that novel before I felt confident to start on anything else. I mean, unless I was sure I could finish one project, how could I be sure I would finish any of the others knocking around in my head? So I gave myself two months to finish--and actually managed to do it.

Once I had a good draft, I sent my manuscript to Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency, who paid me a wonderful compliment when she told me that she'd stayed up late to finish reading it, and then agreed to represent me. Because I already knew that Neph has fantastic taste in literature, I was flattered. Because I knew that she is a dedicated agent and works for a fabulous agency (founded by the lovely and talented Deidre Knight, another lady I simply adore), I was thrilled to be in business with her.

My first manuscript, a chicklit novel set in the wonderful and underrepresented city of Boston, is currently being shopped to publishers, and I recently sent the first draft of my second novel to Nephele. The second manuscript is a cross between a spy novel and chicklit, and I've had great fun writing it. I'm very excited about both projects and about taking my writing from a fun hobby to a serious (and yet still fun) undertaking.

So sit back, comment if you have a mind to, and enjoy the ride. I intend to share thoughts about the process of writing and the literary industry in general. Now, if I can just remember to keep updating. . .

9 Comments:

Blogger Jennifer Echols said...

Melanie, best of luck to you. Nephele is a wonderful agent and friend, and we are both lucky to have her on our side!

Your chicklit/spy novel sounds awesome! Chicklit hybrids are the new way to go, or so I hear...

1:35 PM  
Blogger Joia said...

Thrilled to see you blogging! Your journey is going to be a great learning experience for me and I'm looking forward to observing the entire process.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Shalanna Collins said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Before blogging and the widespread use of the Internet, I used to talk to writers on the old GEnie nighttime network and on FidoNet, an amateur network. But there weren't that many writers to talk to. Now everyone's here. (waving) And it's far more fun!

I'm still waiting for Nephele to make it through the pile down to my chicklit novel and my paranormal novel. Maybe someday I'll join y'all as a "real" writer. For now, I'm a plodder and cheerleader.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mel!

Here's a toast to taking the next step. (Let's imagine I'm drinking wine right now instead of OJ since its still the AM.) I'll be popping by often.

Sarah

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Angel said...

Mel, I'm looking forward to reading all about your trials and tribulations involving this "writing" thing you're doing. ;) I'm also dying to read this book of yours.

Happy blogging!

-Angel

4:53 PM  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

You're finally here!! *hee hee*

So glad to see you on this side of the blogosphere, my dear!!

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Mel! I love that you're doing this, and I'm going to absolutely love watching along as you go on this crazy ride!! :) :)

9:08 PM  
Blogger Nalini Singh said...

Good luck, Melanie. Look forward to reading about your journey. :)

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

I too am looking forward to reading about your journey!

1:39 PM  

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