I have been working on a book series, Mysterious Warriors, since I was about thirteen-years-old. Now, fourteen years later, I have expanded my first book into a quartet and have several quartets to follow. The biggest lesson I have learned through this experience is to accept critique from those you trust and edits from those who will be brutally honest with you. When I was in high school, I didn’t want to get feedback, especially from my viciously direct older brother. After several years of not knowing how to fix the story I had “finished” when I was fifteen, I finally rewrote Mysterious Warriors into something much closer to how it is today. I had my mom, sister, and best friend read my draft and give me helpful feedback. About a month before I wanted to pitch my new draft at my first writing conference, I asked my brother to edit my book. I received it back from him less than a week before the conference, and he had a lot more feedback than anyone else had previously given me. My brother, who has a degree in Radio/TV/Film and works with incredibly creative people, gave me feedback like: all of your characters have the same personality and turn into you, you have too many characters, plots, and none of them are deep enough, and my “favorite” part of his critique: your book should be four instead of one. Yes. That’s exactly what you want to hear before you’re planning to pitch a book you’ve been working on for HALF your life at your first conference… However, my brother was completely right, and he gave me the most brutal, hardest to “fix” advice anyone had ever given me. And he was completely right. I reworked my book, which is now told in four books: Mysterious Warriors: Unity, Broken, Alone, and Redemption. When people ask me for advice about writing, I always say two things: just keep on writing because you can’t edit a blank page, and find someone who will rip your book apart so you can put it together better than it was before.
Mysterious Warriors: Unity is the first of a quartet about a group of young heroes who must come together and trust one another to protect the town of Whitehaven against the criminal organization of the Xanites. Unity will be free on Kindle, August 1-5, 2015.
About T. N. Hayden
T. N. Hayden and her husband live in San Diego. T. N. Hayden works for the San Diego County Library System as a Library Technician. She has dreamed of being a published author since she was nine. She is the author of the Prophecy Series and Mysterious Warriors Quartet.She is a member of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
I cannot, not create. It is almost addictive, and it doesn’t matter what form it takes. Perhaps this came from creating ways to entertain myself while growing up as an only child on a farm in the butt crack of nowhere. From stretching rubber bands over a cigar box to make my own “musical” instrument to painting or making up characters and plays in the backwoods where I entertained the trees, it seems as though I have always had the need to express. My problem has been how to stay focused with such diversified interests. I’ve tried sculpting, painting, acting, singing, song writing, landscaping, and embroidery, in addition to writing, and a few other pursuits.
I have had multiple ideas for novels over the years, but I had no clue how to write them, and I could not seem to stay focused long enough to complete more than two or three chapters. However, around 2006, I was cutting up with a friend, and a character started channeling out of me. She was a burned out, aging hippie who smoked, and spoke articulately.
“My daughter,” She said, “would never dress out for gym class. That’s because one nipple pointed up, and one nipple pointed down, and all the children called her tiddlywinks.”
After my friend laughed at the first comment, I added, “Of course, that golf ball sized hairy mole on her ass never helped matters much either.”
This character became the protagonist for my first novel. I simply sat down and let her tell her story. I became fascinated to see what she was going to say next. When I would write, I never knew exactly what would come out. I just let her tell her story, and Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch was the end result.
The original joke never showed up in the novel, I don’t know why, and Lovella told the story in a different way than I expected. As I wrote, I realized there were other characters who also wanted to tell their stories, and each one of them had an encounter with the protagonist of the previous novel. Before I knew it, this had become “The Soul Encounters” series. The second novel is almost finished, and two more have been started. By the time it is all done, there may be as many as five novels in the series.
I never knew how to write a novel, but I guess the answer was just, get out of the way and let the character tell the story. Of course, I had to research time lines, historical events and such, but all in all, it boiled down to what seemed like channeling. I am very grateful to Lovella for telling her story through me. I am grateful to have been chosen to dictate it. At this point, I have learned to simply trust the process, and I trust that future characters will tell me what they need to say, when and how they need to say it.
Follow Karlyle Tomms
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I get asked a lot if I ever regret choosing to be a writer, and I always think to myself…I chose this? I’ve been a ‘writer’ since I was three years old. I never chose it. It was chosen for me. Stories have given my life purpose since I can remember, and so my life has been written around them.
It’s not all been fairytales and fantasies of course. Throughout my childhood, I was constantly told (by people who love and cherish me and only wanted the best of course) that I shouldn’t lay my life on a pipedream and that I should focus on more realistic goals, like learning the family farm. Instead, I continued to read as if it was as necessary as breathing, and write stories that baffled and concerned my family. I wrote my way through school, adored by my writing and English teachers-all but one who was an essayist and hated my freewheeling nature. I began my first book when I was 13 and finished it at 17; and believed I was made of sunrays and unicorns.
Then reality caved in.
No one wanted to publish me. I received rejection after rejection until I just gave up. I was nothing. I had four books written by the time I was 20, and couldn’t get a single one of them published. With the encouragement of coworkers and friends, and crafty advertising, I eventually self-published the first two books in my fantasy trilogy Graves of Good and Evil, at the tender ages of 20 and 21, and learned a ton.
I could go on about the dangers of impulse publishing. I could whinge about how I was lied to and cheated and all that great stuff, but in reality, I just learned a very great lesson.
Being a ‘writer’ isn’t about how many books you’ve published, or how many successful signings you’ve hosted. It’s about the stories you have within you that need to be told, what lost memories you’ve been chosen to relive and retell for this world. Most of us didn’t choose to be writers, we just are. The sacrifices we’ve made. The days of staring blankly at the screen; the sleepless nights of frantically fighting the sheets to get out of bed before the thought filters out of your brain. The meals of stale potato chips you found in your desk drawer. The personal truths you hide in the lies of fiction.
I just published my third novel, sadly not the conclusion to the trilogy, but a standalone called Nkayt’hei. I wrote it at a down moment in life; and it shows. The story is gritty, impassioned, and desperate. It was a story that needed telling at that moment and I was the writer chosen to do so. It’s the greatest thing I’ve written yet, and I believe this is because I let it flow out of me; I bled every time I sat down at the computer. I let my inner storyteller loose and she took over with a vengeance.
It all comes down to what it takes to be a writer. That’s what I learned. No matter the dollar signs, no matter the sales reports…it’s about staying true to the voices in your head and writing the best dang story you can.
About A.B.B. Olson
A.B.B. Olson is the author of Elven Race Reborn, Honor of Assassins, and most recently, Nkayt’hei. She currently does freelance editing through her website http://flyingelephantediting.weebly.com/
Though born in Tacoma, Washington on April 27th, 1988, she was raised on a farm in Mountain Home, Idaho. In 2006, she graduated from Mountain Home High School and moved to Boise to attend Boise State University. Discarding the one time dream of being a pink elephant, she became a writer. It has been her passion since, and intends to write until her fingers fall off.
You can find Nkayt’hei here : http://www.amazon.com/Nkaythei-B-B-Olson/dp/1511532149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435473566&sr=8-1&keywords=nkayt%27hei
Or through iBooks on any Apple device
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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