NOTE: This is a guest post by Traci Bell.
Like most writers, I’ve always had characters in my head. Unlike a lot of writers, I was rather misguided as to how I channeled them. I grew up playing with blocks and drawing houses. I majored in architecture in college. About two years in, I switched majors. I wanted to make my design about the characters in my head, but the professors only cared about concepts, materials, etc. You’d think that would have clued me in to my true passion, but no. I have a rather hard head.
I got married right out of college. Five years later that marriage fell apart. I started writing, just to cope with the loss, the guilt, the hurt, and the sense of failure that came with the divorce. When I was finished with the story, I put it away and didn’t think about it anymore. Again… hard head.
I was blessed to find my husband and get remarried. For the next few years I did what any working mother of two small children does – I chased little people in a haze of exhaustion.
In 2007 I was inspired to write again. The manuscript I wrote during my divorce is buried in a forgotten drawer and bless its heart, it will stay hidden there. The characters are fleshed out, but the plot is missing. My second attempt at writing a novel was marginally better. My plot could hold its own, though the manuscript still had issues with pacing, point of view, and tension. By the time I started my third novel, I was addicted. I took writing classes. I read books on writing. I joined writing groups.
I know writers who love to plot and put each scene in their novels on note cards to map out their story. Once they have so many “scene” cards they start the first draft. I tried that and ran for the hills, screaming in panic.
When I start a novel, I know where it’s going and where it will end. I know my characters. Past that knowledge, it’s through my characters that I find my story. They surprise me with where they lead me, and I think some of my best scenes never would have happened had I planned them out.
I have a real passion for the theme in my third novel, which is that your beliefs can hinder you or empower you. As I improved my craft, I told myself that I must believe I could get my third novel published. That belief was there, in the back of my mind, pushing me to learn, to write, to grow. As my heroine, Cassie, learned to believe in herself, so I learned to believe in myself.
That third novel, titled Entangled, was accepted for publication by Crescent Moon Press. I’ve gotten good reviews on Entangled, reviews that make me feel ready to take on the world!
About a month ago, I started drafting a new novel. I went from riding the clouds to hiding under my bed, wondering if I had a fourth story in me. The mind can be a sneaky organ, filling itself with doubt if you let it.
So I had to dust off what I learned writing Entangled and remember that it takes daily recommitment, positive affirmations, and just plain hard work to follow one’s passion – be it writing, playing a sport or an instrument, or learning a new skill. Despite the doubts that plague us, the obstacles that rise up in our paths, the negativity of those we encounter on whatever path we’ve chosen – we must believe.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~ Gail Devers
Thanks for letting me share my journey. I invite you to read about Cassie’s journey of belief in Entangled. It’s available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance ebooks. You can find out more at http://TraciBell.net/.
When divorced teacher Cassie Miller dreamt about meeting her soul mate, her happily-ever-after didn’t include threats of abduction to a parallel world to help him save his people from imminent destruction.
Alexos de Werner, exiled prince of a land now under Republican rule, is searching for the woman that can help stop the disasters devastating his home province of Ennis, in his world of Caedmon. Alex will do anything to save his people, even if they don’t want his help.
Unnerved by the connection she feels with Alex and the new abilities awakening inside her, Cassie refuses Alex’s request for help as ludicrous. A demonstration of his otherworldly abilities convinces Cassie her only choice is to help him.
Once on Caedmon, Cassie must learn to trust Alex and accept her gift before Ennis is lost. Can she open her heart and mind and become the student instead of the teacher?