Friday, April 12, 2013

My Journey to Publication by H.L. Wegley


H.L. Wegley

Recently, author H.L. Wegley shared his experience with us on trying to write in a woman’s point of view. If you missed it, you’ll want to check out “A Man’s Perspective on Writing Romance. I’m so glad he agreed to make a return visit to Seriously Write today so we could learn about his personal journey to publication and what he gleaned along the way.
 ~ Dawn


My Journey to Publication
by H.L. Wegley

Computing security. There's an oxymoron—an area where there are more jobs than people qualified to fill them. When I retired from my 50-hour-a-week job in the cubicles of corporate America, I’d accumulated enough work experiences to write a techno-thriller on computing security.

But my left brain taunted me. You can't write a novel. Eventually my right brain threw a right cross, KO’d the left side, and I wrote a ten-page outline. When my wife and I decided to skip the dreary Seattle spring weather, in seven sunny days at Lake Havasu I turned my outline into three spiral notebooks filled with pencil lead.

Nothing to it. Seven days in the sun and voila, a manuscript. But I knew nothing about plot points, character arcs, point-of-view, or how to write dialogue. I had a manuscript, a romantic thriller. But was it any good?

An ad in Writer’s Digest for a novel-writing workshop caught my attention. I signed up. When the instructor critiqued 50,000 words of my MSS, it became apparent I needed to learn the craft. After buying several books, including James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure, and rewriting my story, naming it Network of Terror, I submitted it to an agent. He rejected it.

About this time, I discovered American Christian Fiction Writers and took their novel-editing track, submitting each chapter to their critique group. There I learned more in three months than all my previous efforts combined.

I rewrote my rewritten story, renaming it Hide and Seek. When I pitched it at a conference, it drew interest, but no contract. By this time I’d written a sequel and started a third book in the series, a series that appeared destined to die in three-ring binders on my bookshelf.

Just before giving up on Hide and Seek, I submitted a mini-proposal to an OCW conference. An acquisitions editor requested a full book proposal. I submitted and waited. After 6 weeks, an email arrived stating that, if I agreed to a few changes, I’d be offered a contract. I declined … just kidding.

Eighteen months and 2 rewrites after drafting my first novel, I had a contract. Since then I've received contracts for two more books in the series.

What have I learned?

First, learn the craft. I’ll never master it all, but if I hadn't started learning it, my stories would remain unpublished.

Second, find people to critique your work. For 20 years I developed software. This requires a testing group, people who can wring out the bugs. We need the same thing in our writing, a critique group.

Third, create characters readers care about. A good plot is necessary, but that alone won't keep most readers turning pages for 6 to 8 hours.

Fourth, honor God in your writing. There’s a redemption story inside each of my stories. I'm not saying everyone should do that, but hold tightly to the Christian worldview. Without it, as Randy singer says, you’ve got “… a great escape to nowhere.”



 
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H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who worked as a Research Scientist in Atmospheric Physics at Pacific Northwest Laboratories. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 46 years enjoy small-group ministry, their seven grandchildren, and where he pursues his love of writing. His publisher recently released Book 1 of a contracted 3-book romantic thriller series.



 To learn more, please visit:

Author web site: http://HLWegley.com

4 comments:

  1. Awesome post and great tips, Harry. Thanks for sharing your journey today. Congrats on Hide and Seek and the follow-up contracts!

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  2. As far as a series goes, I'm in the same boat you were, so I appreciate the encouragement, Harry.

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  3. Loved hearing about your writing quest, Harry, and the tips are great. Wishing you continued good luck!

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  4. Thanks for your encouragement Dora, Sandra, and Tanya. I'm a little late checking in today as I've been traveling since 5:00 AM. But I finished another chapter on my WIP while in the air. Speaking of that -- gotta run because my heroine is in trouble with the FBI and needs my help. She doesn't know I'm only going to make things worse. :)

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