It takes a village to raise a child. That same village is also treasured in authoring and publishing a book. Upon reflection over the last several years of my writing life, I have many to thank. Seam Keepers, my YA fantasy will release this spring (2021), and what a ride! From my family and friends to my editors, to my beta readers and critique group, to the big guy upstairs, I would not be on the road I am without them.
Cheers to my village!
First of all, I am forever grateful to my family and friends. Once I actually admitted that I was, indeed, writing a book, they allowed me time and energy to pursue this new path. It isn’t the same for all fellow authors out there. I know how lucky I am. And I lift a glass to those sorting through the journey without family and friends support. Hang in there because you can still accomplish your dreams.
Secondly, thank you to my editors! Starting with my first one, way back in 2016. This editor/author told me I was a good storyteller but to take some writing classes and grow. I needed to become a story-show-er instead, though I didn’t realize it at the time. After engorging in a full-on pity-party…with junk food…on my bed…the blinders drawn and bad television flickering the only light in the room, I finally got up. I read her notes, researched and purchased some books on writing, and signed up for writing classes. WOW! Big difference. I learned A LOT!
I encourage all writers to take a variety of writing classes! Just do it. There is always something to learn, to grow, to enrich. And meeting other writers and engaging in book talk is like icing on a cake!
Two years later, I was once again ready for a professional, though I couldn’t get ahold of my original editor. Fortunately, through a PNWA writing conference, I had met Christine Grabowski, who was an editor and an author in my YA Fantasy genre. Her expertise was everything I needed. My story was ready to deepen and enliven with her clear observations, curious questions, and creative suggestions. Together we tightened everything up, including my synopsis, for query.
Thanks to Christine I was able to pitch my book, Seam Keepers, at the PNWA Writing Conference in 2019. It was there I met an editor for The Wild Rose Press, Eilidh MacKenzie, who took on my manuscript and helped me polish and shine it to the next level: publication! She taught me about filtering, character motivation, and the entire process of birthing a book into the world. I cannot thank all three of these editors enough. One writer cannot do it alone. It takes many eyes…and many professional ones at that.
Thirdly, I am on my knees, hands outstretched to my beta readers and my critique group partners! Holy-Moly, I would be no where without them. For any writer, having betas read for the pure pleasure of the story is more than helpful. They are the ones who notice plot holes and random typos. They are the ones who report back the emotions they felt reading, and if the direction the character took was believable or not. They’re just in it to enjoy, which is the goal of every author to begin with. Quality feedback is immeasurable, and it pushes me to make what I’m working on even better. I also need a little cheering on from time to time (blush).
My critique group partners are more than honest…I won’t lie. It’s not always easy to hear the truth about a new piece of writing. However, it is a SAFE place we’ve created to practice and grow in the craft of writing. So, we keep coming back and putting ourselves out there. We speak genuineness, suggest improvements, and celebrate successes on our work together…every week…and I wouldn’t be half the writer I am without them! Thank you!
Finally, I saved the best for last. I must absolutely thank GOD with all my heart, mind, and soul! He planted the first inklings of writing ideas in my mind long ago. I found them on nature walks, almost every time. He’d been doing it since the early nineties, but I hadn’t listened until about ten years ago. And for my upcoming book, Seam Keepers, he sent every sign possible to write this story without stopping, no matter the obstacles (which there were many). Divine intervention may not be a big deal for some out there in the writing world, but it’s BIG over here in my world. And I am grateful! He put a lot of people and opportunities in front of me, and even sent hawks flying in the skies above as little reminders to do the work. Definitely on paths less traveled, I trekked on. In the end, I trusted, and He delivered. Amen!
The journey to creating a book is long, with all kinds of crazy weather on the way. I couldn’t have done it on my own and am thankful to all the people, organizations, and higher powers that guided me along the way. It truly does take a village!
Happy Writing (because at least you’re writing),
Celaine Charles, January 31, 2021
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