“Hey! Since you lost your job, you could go to the writers’ conference with me!”
My mother’s words did little to comfort me, considering I had just lost what I had assumed was my dream job. But … I HAD always wanted to go to the conference with her.
“But, Mama, the conference is less than two weeks away, and I have NOTHING prepared.”
“That’s okay, just start a new idea now!”
Mama forgot I wasn’t a bottomless pit of story ideas like she was. But … I guess it couldn’t hurt to sit down at the computer. It had been quite a while since I had opened a Word document and just started writing.
The excitement grew over the next two weeks, and soon Mama and I were all packed and heading to one of her favorite places on earth. This was certainly going to be an ADVENTURE.
Huh … adventure. That word has always been a favorite of mine. Ever since I was young it meant good things! Adventure was a good book, an action-packed movie, or a surprise sister date. But really, adventure makes me think of one of my favorite series to dive into as a kid: the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. I loved flipping through the pages, making choices that adapted the storyline. (Somehow, I always ended up getting sucked into a black hole or releasing a squirrel inside the Statue of Liberty and having to start over.)
Yes, this spontaneous road trip was definitely an adventure. I didn’t know how closely it would resemble my favorite series at the time. Reaching the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I was introduced to some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and I felt right at home with the rest of the “odd ducks.”
Over that week, the idea I had typed so quickly in the weeks before became fleshed out into (surprise, surprise) my own form of a choose-your-own-adventure book. By week’s end, I had a ton of ideas, two whole pages written, and a few interested agents and editors.
Fast forward a year. Yes, a whole year.
“Hey! Since you lost your job, you could go to the writers’ conference with me!”
Déjà vu much? This time I gleefully accepted my mother’s idea and opened the forgotten document. Another ADVENTURE! By the end of THAT conference I had a whopping TEN pages written, still a ton of ideas, and more interested professionals.
Fast forward one more time to this past summer.
“Hey! Since I just lost my job, I could go to the writers’ conference with you!”
HA! Take that, Mama! I beat you to it!
I think God was trying to get my attention. This time, I was determined, and by conference time, I had a third of a manuscript and a few ideas left. That week however pivoted me into a very real choose-your-own-adventure. Around the fourth day of the five-day conference, I decided to meet with a publisher I hadn’t met yet (CHOICE #1), not having much to show her besides a few starting pages and a one-sheet proposal.
That conversation sparked this publisher’s interest, and she welcomed me to send her the full manuscript and proposal when it was completed, provided I had an agent. I happily accepted her words and went home with every intent of doing just that. About a month later, I received an email from said publisher asking for the synopsis and first few chapters. I considered politely declining, since it was far from ready, but I didn’t (CHOICE #2). Only a few days later, I received word from her offering me a contract! AND she wasn’t concerned that I didn’t have an agent! I would receive the actual legal document upon receipt of the full manuscript and proper proposal.
You would think I would have quickly finished the novel, wrote a bang-up proposal, and sent it on its way. Nope. I made the decision to not touch the manuscript for four months (CHOICE #3). See? Sucked into that black hole again!
However, around Christmastime, the book started nagging at me, and deciding to muster all the Christmas magic, I managed to write the remaining 40,000 words of the rough draft in just under three weeks (CHOICE #4)! I gave the finished novel to my mom for Christmas, and she helped me do the first edit and that bang-up proposal.
Sitting in a Panera Bread, with trembling hands, I hit send on the most important email I had ever sent (CHOICE #5). And WOW, was it a happy ending!
As I write this, I am planning the release of my debut create-your-own-adventure novel, Once Upon A Book. I think I made the right choices on this adventure, and I can’t wait to see where this choose-your-own-adventure life takes me next!
Once Upon A Book – coming fall 2020! Make the CHOICE not to miss it! Check out my Facebook page for more info and to join in the debut party fun!
From Cathy: How’s that for an adventure? Which of your adventures compare to this excitement? Share your stories with us! And don’t forget to join Faith’s Facebook page! Her book may be touted as young adult level, but as an adult, it’s a fine read, too. Plus, great for those young fiction lovers on your gift lists, just in time for Christmas!
3 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story about … Adventure!”
How exciting! Congratulations to Faith! And I love, love, love Choose Your Own Adventure stories. My boys did too, growing up, and that’s how I discovered them. We would read them together. I am not afraid to read young adult stuff because I am young at heart! Thanks for sharing Faith’s “adventure” with us. I can’t wait to get and read the book!
I’m sure I don’t have an adventure story to compare with that one, but the one that comes to mind, in regards to writing anyway, is when I started working on a book, before I knew it would be a book! I was a John Denver fan from the time I first hear Take Me Home, Country Roads on the radio. I was just 10 years old, but was so entranced by the song I stopped everything I was doing (probably sitting on my bedroom floor playing with my dolls) and just listened. I even said out loud — Who IS that singing? I waiting to hear the DJ announce the singer’s name at the end — John Denver. I’d never heard OF him before and this was the first time I’d heard him sing. His music inspired me from that day forward. Inspired me to learn guitar, comforted me in difficult times, cheered me up when I needed it and led me to 5 of his concerts. But the adventure this led to happened after he died. I was sadder than sad. So much so, I flew to his memorial service in Colorado. Took a walk in a beautiful park afterwards, thinking, praying, crying. A strong thought came to me in that park and that was that the hole in my heart was not meant to just cause me pain, but would be a place for something new to grow. I felt God had spoken that to me. A month later I posted on a John Denver message board (remember those?) that I wanted to put together a little scrapbook of memories of JD and asked if anyone would like to send me their memories of him or thoughts about him, to send them to me, if they’d like. I imagined maybe a dozen would come in and I pictured just a stapled stack of 10 pages or so containing the stories. I’d make copies and send one to each person who sent a story in. Well it wasn’t a dozen stories. It was over 100! From many fans, and from even personal friends and family of JD’s! I couldn’t believe it! Well I couldn’t just staple all those pages together or afford to make 100 copies of all of it. I spent years on those stories. It became too big a project for me to really complete. 300 pages by the time I was done. I flew to California to interview eyewitnesses of the plane crash that took his life, see the crash site and even found a pilot to give me a flight in the same type plane following the same flight path. I interviewed pilots not only about planes and flight but trying to understand the heart of a pilot — why they want to take to the air. The project just grew and grew. I did meet with a self-publishing company, flying to Indianapolis to meet and talk about a proposal, but by the time I was ready to publish, they had doubled their price so I had to bow out.
The project still sits, 22 years later, but I still have hope. But the adventure of putting it all together, the people I met, the stories they shared, the friends I made, and the things I learned about this man that you will never read in People Magazine or elsewhere were a treasure.
So it’s a dream in progress. But I think it has been the journey of it that has really mattered. Sorry this was so long. I don’t know how to tell about it briefly, lol.
Good luck and many blessings to Faith on this project and dream come true!
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Julie! Julie! Julie! I’m also a fan of John Denver and of that song. I “played” it on my guitar many times. I never saw him in concert, but I often sing his songs yet today … even to our grandkids! AND GUESS WHAT!!!??? That song came out in 1971 … and 2021 will be the 50-year anniversary of it!! A perfect time to release an anniversary book dedicated to the man who wrote the song from the people who loved him and it!!! I’d love to help you pull it together and help you find a publisher! WOW!! And thank you for your blessings over Faith. I’m sure she’ll see it!
Thank you so much Julie! Your prayers and blessing are appreciated!!