Friday, February 15, 2013

A Short Log (I promise!) of My Long Journey to Publication + Some Quick Advice to Those on the Road by Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould
Do you remember when you first learned the alphabet and began putting words together? I sure do! I still have vivid memories of how excited I was when I read my first Dick and Jane book. Some people may develop an initial love for reading, but it may take years before they discover a passion for writing. Today, author Leslie Gould shares how her journey to publication began at a young age, and she offers tips for writers just starting out. 
~ Dawn


A Short Log (I promise!) of My Long
 Journey to Publication
+ Some Quick Advice to Those on the Road

by Leslie Gould

The very first word I ever wrote was “sky.” At four, I viewed the experience as absolutely magical. Around that time, I also made up stories about the alphabet. Each letter was a character with its own personality. There was conflict between some of them, especially those next in “line” to each other, which was most likely based on my own experience as the youngest of four, all born in less than five years.

By junior high and high school I was keeping a journal (oh, the drama!) and writing short stories (pretty bad stuff) and poetry (really bad stuff). The point is, I loved words and images and making up stories from the moment my abilities allowed it.

As much as I loved it, I was terrified of actually doing it—afraid of failing and losing my dream of publishing novels some day. After college I had writing-related jobs—PR work, curating a museum in Ashland, Oregon, working for the Port of Portland, and later editing a bridal magazine. I enjoyed the nonfiction writing that I did in all of those jobs, but I still longed to write fiction. I’d write scenes and character sketches and had ideas for novels, but it wasn’t until my husband’s Army Reserve unit was deployed to Germany, while I stayed home with our little ones, that I finally gained the courage to take a fiction writing class. Soon I was finishing short stories and working on novels.

One thing led to another…ha! Not really. One year of writing fiction led to another year of writing fiction, and although I had some short stories published and I placed in a couple of competitions, it was ten years from the time I took my first fiction writing class until I sold my first novel, which was published in 2003. Since then I’ve written twelve more novels and co-written another four. Believe me, I am still on this writing journey, praying I still have miles to go (and not just because I have three kids in college and another soon on her way).

My advice to writers just starting out is to:

  1. Join a critique group that will also allow you to brainstorm your plots and characters out loud 
  2. Attend writers’ conferences, starting with ones in your area and then national ones
  3. Read and connect with readers; if you don’t belong to a book group join one and find out what readers want
  4. Write, write, write! Outline your story and then get the first draft done without second guessing yourself; rewrite, rewrite, rewrite and edit, edit, edit on your second, third, fourth, and fifth drafts
  5. Talk to God about your story—everyday

And have fun! Yes, it’s hard work but on the days I have hours to write, I feel a wonderful sense of harmony that sustains me.

Click to reach Amazon.
Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller and Christy Award winner The Amish Midwife, co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Leslie’s novel Beyond the Blue was the winner of the Romantic Times Book Club Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2006. Her latest release, Courting Cate (inspired by The Taming of the Shrew), made the ECPA bestseller list for December 2012. Leslie lives in Oregon, along with her husband and four children.

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