Part II of Leanne's writing adventure...
Knowledge gleaned from a writers’ magazine: a writer’s job is to write and submit.
Sounds simple. Until you concern: Write what? Submit where?
In my teens I was seduced by two passions –knitting and writing.
Writing about knitting intrigued me. In 2005, I began writing knitting-related short stories, flash fiction and poems.
A small group of mothers gather in a kitchen to drink coffee and chat.
Cindy starts, “He stays out all night. Who knows where he goes.”
:Linda shares, “She listens to that rap music garbage. Loud. It breaks my eardrums
and I’m downstairs.”
Michelle joins in, “He is disrespectful. He calls me an ‘old cow’ and worse. His teachers all tell me he doesn’t listen, but what can I do?”
Ann adds, “First she got her ears pierced, then her nose. Now she has piercings and tattoos all over the bloody place. She even shaved her head. When I say anything she says, ‘It’s my body.’ I have no say. No say.”
Then it’s Rebecca’s turn. “My daughter knits.”
Then the room explodes with laughter.
“Yeah, I thought the same thing. I thought ‘a mother’s joy a knitter’. I thought we would sail through the teenage years. No problem at all. Then I started noticing what she was knitting. Let’s just say no yarn manufacturer was getting rich off her.
“I told her she was sending the wrong message. I told her that guys would think she was slut, but what does Mom know?”
She is answered by a chorus of “Nothing.”
“Guess what I’m knitting? Come on guess.” She pulls a baby pink something out of her purse. “A baby blanket. Aren’t you going to congratulate me? I’m going to be a Grandma.”
To attract surfers to my knitwear designer web site –www.oknitting.com –I added a blog to my homepage. On the blog I shared news, views, tips. Occasionally, I also posted one of my stories or poems. Wow, was I surprised when I realized these pieces received the most hits.
Inspired I wrote more and soon had enough to fill an 80-minute audio book. I self-published Novelty Yarn in August 2006.
Here’s a review:
‘Novelty Yarn contains a collection of small, tasty morsels that will continue to surprise you right up until the last bite… Ranging from childhood memories about 4-H knitting and lessons from Grandma to night dreams about wild women knitting in the forest, each segment evokes a different mood. Many of the stories made me laugh out loud, while others made me pause…to meditate for a few minutes. The stories are separated by brief interludes of acoustic guitar music… The guitar intervals are just long enough to let your mind rest between the stories. The sensation is like cleansing your palette after sampling each vintage at a wine tasting. The total experience was delicious.”-Donna Druchunas (The Knitted Rug, Artic Lace)
I did receive a negative review. The main complaint was that the stories weren’t long enough.
Interestingly, I had begun writing what promised to be a longer piece – The Sweater Curse. Emboldened I rolled up my sleeves and invested more time crafting it.
As I wrote, I read the work of other knitting-inspired authors. I found cute stories about nice knitters.
“We’re not all nice!” I screamed. Did you hear me? My main character Gwen Bjarnson did and she agreed.
All writers work at their own pace and in their own way. It was during this time that I discovered what worked for me. What I like to do is write and complete shorter pieces while I tackle something longer. That’s what I did while I wrote The Sweater Curse. Among other projects, I wrote articles for knitting magazines. I gained validation when I received my first cheque for writing one these articles.
Month after month, year after year, I returned to The Sweater Curse. Until, one fateful day, I dotted the last ‘i’ and crossed the last ‘t’.
I contacted the editor I’d worked with on Maynely A Mystery. I was confident that she would tell me if The Sweater Curse sucked. She liked it and agreed to proof it in preparation for submission.
I’d answered the question: what to write?
Now, I needed to address: where to submit?
Unlike Maynely A Mystery that was developed for a small audience, I felt The Sweater Curse would have a wider appeal.
In my search, I left no rock unturned. I contacted literary agents and book publishers. My desire to network with other writers, led me to the Romance Angel chat group. It was here that I found the new epublisher Decadent Publishing.
I visited www.decadentpublishing.com and carefully read their submission guidelines. I spent days polishing my synopsis. I sought the help of fellow authors – they were generous with their helpful feedback.
Finally, I took a breath, crossed my fingers and hit send.
Shortly after, waiting in my inbox, was an email from Decadent Publishing.
I was apprehensive. I was certain it was another rejection. I braced myself and opened the email. I skimmed the contents looking for the familiar wording. Instead I found ‘will contract’. I re-read it. I asked my husband to read it aloud.
Acceptance, sweet, acceptance, they wanted my story.
I can’t say enough positive things about Decadent. They are a new author incubator. Wrapped in a cocoon of positive energy, I have greatly benefit from my involvement with them.
My journey as a writer has just begun. My dream is to continue to write and submit.
Leanne Dyck's novel The Sweater Curse will be released from Decadent Publishing on January 10! Congrats, Leanne!