Friday, April 23, 2010

The Spark

Thanks for all of your congratulations and kind comments on my last post. Ya'll are the best!

Recently, several of you blogged about how you got started writing. I enjoyed your posts so much, I wanted to share my own story.

My first book was written in second grade, and it was titled "Katie in Care Town." Literary genius! I don't remember exactly what happened to Katie. I'm pretty sure she had something to do with saving Care Town. I think the “book” is stored somewhere at my mom's house. I should scan it and share it on my blog.

In high school, I didn't write fiction. I was a speech and drama nerd, and we had a blast. Every year I wrote a speech for competition in the original oratory category. I enjoyed it and did pretty well with it. I also participated in extemporaneous speaking. You would draw several topics, usually about politics or current events, choose one, have thirty minutes to prepare, and give the speech to a group of judges. I always came up with stories to use as metaphors or illustrations. I think this is where I learned about the power of using stories to get your point across.

In college, my freshman English teacher was probably the first person to tell me that my writing was any good. I remember telling my boyfriend, now husband, that I would write a book someday when I actually had something to write about. At this point, I wasn't even considering writing novels.

Before we got married, we both transferred to the University of Oklahoma. I enrolled in the journalism college with an emphasis on professional writing. When I enrolled, I thought I would be pursuing magazine writing. The professor assigned us to write a short story - something I knew nothing about. Mine was filled with mistakes, including my main character's name changing halfway through the story. Across my paper, bleeding with red ink, my professor had written "Hang on to this story.” That note was the spark that started my dream of writing novels.

What was the spark that got you started?


  1. My first spark was a short story I wrote in 9th grade that my teacher liked so well he asked if he could keep it. That put match to tinder. I then penned a truly horrific YA called Circus Summer. Loopy girly cursive penciled into a blue, spiral notebook. I still have it. :)

  2. Honestly, my spark was inspiration from novels that I loved! I wanted to do that. I had no idea how hard it would be. ;)

  3. I love reading fellow writers "Origins". You definitely need to hunt down "Katie in Care Town." :)

  4. Wow, that was so sweet! I'm not sure what my spark was for writing stories...I just did. But for pursuing a career as an author, it was my editor at the paper who put the thought into my head. Somehow I'd never thought about trying to get paid for my fiction. LOL
    Thanks for sharing your story! I hope you find Katie. Sounds cute.

  5. Oh I loved reading this! I am amazed and in awe that you can do speeches like that! I freeze and thus why I am so afraid to even pitch in front of others.
    My spark was when I owned a Christian bookstore and would got to CBA and meet all the authors. I had always loved to write and did many small projects but that's when I wrote my first book:)


  7. Great question--wish I could remember! I always loved telling interactive stories to my friends when I was little. I'd start out, "What if...." then I'd toss something out and let them fill in the blank. The game could go on for days as I formulated the story with my friend in the middle of it. Huh. I hadn't really thought about the first original spark.

  8. My old boss was my spark. I write non-fiction. I have always enjoyed writing, but never thought I could do anything with it. My old boss planted the seed, he always loved my work (I would have him proofread my college work).

    I'm really enjoying your blog.